One of our local elementary schools has an Art Week every year. Local artists are invited to hang several pieces in the lovely wide hallway of this school. Students then select their favorite and do drawings based on that piece of art. And, like any art show, a reception is held where parents, students and artists can mingle and interact. Kudos to all involved. It’s a lot of work by administration, students, volunteers and teachers. Walking down that hallway filled with paintings and inspired student artwork is well worth the effort.
This year, during the reception, I did a demonstration painting. Not the easiest thing to do when you paint wet-into-wet, and start fielding questions. You really don’t want your paper to dry too much, or you can start getting hard edges, which takes away from the softness of the painting style.
But the students and their parents were so full of questions and comments, that I started asking for their input. They chose which flowers were going to be orange, they helped me pick which colors to mix to get the color I wanted. They made suggestions for improvements. They would leave, come back and ask why it wasn’t done yet. They would ask in awe “Are you an artist? Did you just paint that?” Adults would tell me stories about family members who painted, or still paint. My question was always the same: “Do you paint or draw?” The answer was usually that life had gotten in the way. Encouragement to pick up a pencil was my advice. One delightful student told me I should sell my painting for a million dollars. Another confident soul told me she was going to be a famous artist.
Once again, my art has connected me to people with whom I would never get to talk. It thrills my bones.
This painting may have more hard edges than I usually like (Look at the edges of the tops of the tulips compared to the edges of the leaves and vase.) But, in my mind, they are softened by the memory of how much fun I had. Thank you Chairville School in Medford, NJ. It was my pleasure.