Friday, August 29, 2008

Art For Earth

Over the last month I have mentioned my ‘Art For Earth’ children’s environmental art workshops on a few occasions – especially yesterday – and I thought that I’d talk a bit more about what these workshops are.

This coming school year will see me teaching in three of London’s elementary schools. Each month I will teach one (three day) class in each of the three schools. The following month I will teach another topic and a different grade. By the end of six months I will have worked with six different grades in each school. Each grade will complete a large canvas painting. By the end of six months each school will have six unique paintings. Each class and each painting will be based on a different topic. This course is designed to end with an Earthday celebration in each school, next April.

Day one of each class begins with a presentation by a member of a local environmental group. These presentations are about twenty minutes long with a ten-minute question period at the end. Some of the topics to be discussed will be: the Temagami forestland, turtles, wetlands, Carolinian forests, grasslands and butterflies.

After the presentation is finished the class is divided into groups of two. Each group spends about twenty minutes with me and I teach them how to paint using different techniques. At the end of the third day the painting will be completed.

I also have prepared a few homework sheets for the students. Kids hate homework but when they see the homework that I have ready for them they will be happy. I create fun question and answer sheets about the topic of the month. There are poetry assignments and colouring sheet assignments. Sounds like fun homework to me!

To really get the students motivated I will be announcing that there will be six T-shirts awarded for the best colouring sheets. I have also prepared a huge supply of my personal peace stik-ers for the students. Some of these peace stik-er images are found throughout this blog – look for my friend ‘Stik’. And to top it all off – each student will be receiving one of my art prints. I always imagine these students taking my artwork into their home and their parents framing it and years later when these students are in college studying for an exam they look at this picture (that’s fifteen years old by then) and say “Ohhh, that’s what that artist was trying to tell me!”

The photos that you see in today’s blog were taken in 2004. A total of eight paintings were created during this school year. The last painting was donated to the local environmental group that helped me soooo much during this year. It is on permanent display in the main lodge house of the Lower Thames Conservation Authority – just west of Delaware on the north side of Highway #2. The other seven are on permanent display in the Spriet Family’s Children’s Library – in the Galleria mall in downtown London. I’ve only shown two of the seven paintings in today’s blog cuz I want to entice you to visit the library and see the rest for yourself.

Have a great long weekend!!!


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