Tuesday, November 22, 2011

T is for Turtle!!

I love the fact that the students who ride the Peacebus are being filled with artful inspirations every day! Continuously I’m being gifted with colourful peace art designs that I use to decorate our bus. Occasionally, I create fun art competitions to focus their talents on specific topics… like turtles!!!

I’ve mentioned before that I’ve created a fun and educational group on Facebook revolving around the subject of turtles (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/turtlebookink/
- please feel free to join our group) and so, I thought that it would be fun to add some creative artworks to the growing library of turtle images!

In the past, whenever I’ve created an art competition, I’ve usually prepared a sheet of paper with information about the art topic to hand out to the students who want to participate.

This time I didn’t. I simple told the students about the competition and then let them have complete control over their own creativity. I’m so glad that I did!

Most of the drawings that were handing in to me where created on regular sized peaces of paper…

… but one student really blew me away when she handed in this rather large turtle poster!!!! Melanie’s artwork is almost three feet long and it is filled with so many wonderful turtle activities. There are turtles swimming with peace fish, rowing boats and rock climbing. It reminds me of a turtle peace resort!

I just rolled with laughter when I noticed this fun character screaming ‘Rock and Roll!’ while he was parachuting to the Earth!

My wife especially liked these turtles playing on a peace rock with one turtle playing with a turtle balloon!!!! Way tew kewt!!!!

Well… after I showed the rest of the student’s this art poster I’m sure that you can imagine what happened. Yup! More art posters!!!

This art poster is so long that I was only able to capture a portion of it to share with you. You can see that Kira has a parade of colourful turtles marching along peacefully, surrounded by a peace sun and peaceful butterflies. You can see that she’s numbered each of the turtles. The poster ended when she reached 15!!

There must be something about turtles that makes people think about relaxing. Here’s another drawing of a group of turtles relaxing at a resort…

… while Sydney shows just one turtle relaxing under the sun!!! I’m looking out my window, as I write this, and I’m seeing drops of rain and fallen leaves being blown by a bitterly cold wind and then I look at this drawing and I’m reminded of summer again!

A few of these drawings ended up on the windows of the Peacebus, so that more people could see and enjoy them!

I love it when a student hands in a drawing for the very first time. This amazing artwork was created by Nikos in grade 3. Just look at all the detail. - two turtles drawn using nothing but peace symbols, swimming in an ocean of peace! Being a bit of an artist myself, I’m completely aware of the dedication to detail that this kind of creation demands.

And talking about detail… just check out Dalia’s artwork, here!!!! My eyes popped out of my head and my jaw dropped when she handed in this creation. I asked her how long this took to complete and I was not surprised when Dalia told me that it took her a little over four hours!!

Really, all the artworks impressed me greatly. The many varieties of colours, textures and environments that the turtles found themselves in, shows a mountain range of imagination. This is one reason why I love my job!!!

Jasmine is one of my great art talents! She has also joined my Facebook group called ‘Turtle Book Ink’ (http://www.facebook.com/#!/groups/turtlebookink/)and she visits this page quite often. I love how she included a turtle book into her drawing. The turtle sliding down the peace rainbow really makes me smile, too!!!!

This is Zarek’s first drawing for the Peacebus, and what a delight it is! When I was first talking about this competition, I told the students that they should think about what kind of environment their turtle would be in. Zarek really blew me away with this creation, complete with an ocean lapping up to a peace beach with some peace trees and shrubs in the distance leading to a peaceful and spouting volcano!! Tres cool!

Now, Andor here went in a different direction, creating a very abstract and psychedelic world filled with gumdrop peace turtles. I think that John Lennon would have been inspired to write about this artwork in one of his songs!

Because the students hand in so much artwork, I sometimes – more like all the time – find myself getting behind in putting their drawings up on the bus. I’ve had some students ask me why their art isn’t on the bus and so I’ve had to tell them all that they have to be patient, “… and because the window decorations don’t last very long during the wet winter months, I’m even saving some until next spring.”

Like Rachel’s two peace turtle designs. It’ll be fun to see the students’ expressions after they have forgotten about their artworks and then suddenly, there they are filling the windows with bright colours to match the colours of springtime!

Mira is a student who rode on the Peacebus last year. She is friends with several of the students who are now riding my bus and she hears about all of our adventures. She also heard that Mr. Jim and his wife had a baby and I was delighted when she came to visit me and to give me this amazing artwork!!!! My wife loves this drawing and she said that Mira did a great job putting her in the most styling of high-heeled shoes!

Melanie handed in another turtle artwork, just a few days ago. She told me that she knew the art competition was over, “but now I just love turtles and I had to draw another one!” In the past, many drawings were addressed to ‘Mr. Jim’. Lately, I’ve noticed that they are now being addressed to ‘Daddy Mr. Jim’ or just ‘Daddy Jim’!!!! This makes my whole soul smile.

When anyone hands a drawing in to me, I always give them one of my black and white peace Stik-ers. This fact remained the same for this turtle art competition.

I told the students that there would be a several winners who would receive an additional prize. As is often the case, I couldn’t figure out who the winners should be – all the artworks were exceptionally creative and well executed. So, I decided to give all participants a small prize to show my appreciation.

I had shown the drawings of the turtle mural I had painted for Devon’s bedroom and I heard many ‘ooohs’ and ‘ahhhhs’ throughout the bus. So, I decided that since everyone seemed to like the turtle mural image that I would make some large stickers using this image and that these would be the prizes for all the participating artists.

I don’t like doing anything that doesn’t include all the students on the bus, so I made an additional present to share with each Peacebus student. I used Ava’s peace turtle design to create a whole bunch of smaller stickers to share! Everyone loved them!! Ava was absolutely surprised, a bit shocked and overwhelmed with gratitude that I had chosen to use her design to share with the whole bus!

Well, we are at the end of this story, but rest assured that this is not the end of the Peacebus art adventures that I will delight in sharing with you in the future!

Until then, be peaceful and be turtley!!!!

Mr. Jim

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