Friday, January 2, 2009

Little Brother

Joanne and I had returned to London from our five-year cross Canada art adventure in 2004. About a month later, I was already beginning to plan some ‘Art For Earth’ workshops for the city’s youth. After a few meetings the stage was set. I had partnered with the Spriet Family Children’s Library – in the Galleria Mall – and this was our agreement. The Library would provide the space for me to teach, they would advertise this program, register the students and pay for all the needed materials. To make this a free program for the students I had volunteered to teach the classes. In the end the Library would get to keep all the paintings that were created.

I had a lot of help, preparing for these classes. After many phone calls I was able to enlist the services of several local environmentalist, who had agreed to volunteer their time to create presentations for the classes. I taught several of the classes, myself, but this help allowed me to expand on the subjects that I wanted to explore.

One of my speakers works for the Upper Thames Conservation Authority (link). This class was designed to teach the students (and myself) a little bit about the wonders of turtles. It seemed uncanny that my ‘turtle’ teacher has the last name Gillingwater! Scott had brought some real turtle shells to show the class. The students loved touching the shells and feeling the textures on the surface. It was a very interesting presentation. I’m not sure why, but not one photo was taken during Scott’s time with the class, unfortunately.

But I did take lots of photos of the students creating the artwork…

It has always been very important for me to not simply teach the students how to create a painting, but to teach them that before a painting is created the artist(s) must have knowledge of the subject if the painting is to have any significant meaning. The students must have an ability to understand the world around us so that they can focus these thoughts onto the canvas.

For any Londoner’s reading this blog, I would like to invite you to the Spriet Family Children’s Library to see all the paintings that were created during this program.


1 comment:

Ana Tirolese said...

Next time I am downtown I will certainly make it to the library and check out the work. It looks lovely on your blog and I can imagine it will look even better in person.