Connecting the Dots.
“On behalf of DAREarts, we would like to thank you for teaching us about Impressionist Paintings.” – That’s how the grade six students thanked our two guest teachers, Joanna and Cortney. Earlier that afternoon, they were busy at their tables, cleaning brushes, gathering paper towels and emptying water containers. Earlier still, there was that hum I talked about in the clay room at the Gardiner. The quiet hum of creative activity.
Seeing the whole picture
Kahlil is a story teller. As he dabs solid dabs of paint on his canvas, he quietly chatters away. The others at the table chatter back, about what colour they’re making. How do you make orange? And the answer comes from someone dabbing blue into the water, filling in the white plane. “Yellow and red. But not too much red.” Kahlil looks at his painting. “I can’t see anything anymore. It just looks like dots.” I ask him to put it up on the shelf and step away from it. Now what does it look like?
“…it looks like mountains and trees in an approaching sunset.” Then he smiles.
This morning, the DAREdelegates went to the AGO to see first hand the work of the masters. This afternoon, filled with inspiration, they’re making their own acrylic landscapes.
“I saw them when they were in grade four. They’re taller, but they’re still them”. Joanna Lozowchuk, who had been away from DAREarts for a few months, working at her own art and teaching, is glowing as she watches them work. “I’ve been teaching at a regular school. I wish they all had this. They all need DAREarts…” Joanna now has a seven month baby. “It’s great to be reminded. Being away sure gives one perspective…and serves to highlight the uniqueness of the program and the power that it has in the children’s lives. It was a great thing for me to see. I knew it, but now I KNOW it.
Cortney Stephenson, our other guest artist, is also an art educator for adults. She expects the best from these kids, and is an advocate for community arts and arts projects. She’s a calming influence as she guides them to go further, to be unafraid, that no stroke is wrong.
Laura MacKinnon, Lead Teacher for DAREarts All the Arts Program told me, “I’m so inspired by these guys, by what they’re doing. Last year, I went and bought a canvas and some paint and brushes and went home and painted. It was so much fun.” Laura’s training and passion is in dancing and singing. This was a challenge to try something new. It is inspiring for us artists to be exposed to the same things the kids are exposed to. We watch them working through their challenges on canvas. Some are perfectionists, and they take their time putting each dot in place. Some are excited, wanting to fill the space as quickly as possible and the result is vibrant. Some take extra time to mix exactly the right colour, some create swirling patterns with their strokes. All are quietly concentrating as they re-create an existing landscape as something unique.
Usually, I focus on the looks the kids get in their eyes when they discover something new. Today, I noticed for the first time how the teachers were experiencing, like parents watching their kids open presents, true joy – through the eyes of children.
For More Information, please contact DAREarts Director of Communications, Cathy Elliott email@example.com