I was visiting a grade three and four class in one of Winnipeg’s inner city schools as part of my job as a university faculty advisor and I saw these marvelous paintings on the wall in a classroom where one of my students is doing her practicum. The classroom teacher had introduced the children to the work of the great Canadian artist Emily Carr and then led them through a step by step process to create their own artworks in Emily’s style. The display in the classroom included photos to show how the children had experimented with color mixing, learned about contour drawing and looked very carefully at Emily’s paintings of trees. They experimented with layering shades of the same color and thought carefully about every brush stroke. The children had also written stories about what it might be like to spend time alone in a British Columbia forest the way Emily Carr did. Emily is always a favorite subject for children when I take them on tours at the Winnipeg Art Gallery. I tell them about her menangerie of animals that included a pet monkey. Her animals accompained her into the forest when she went out in her little trailer she called The Elephant to camp amongst the trees and do her artwork.
A writer in Macleans magazine who eulogized Emily Carr after she died entitled her obituary She Made Trees Dance. So did the amazing students in a grade three four classroom in inner city Winnipeg who inspired by Emily and guided by a creative and enthusiastic teacher made trees come to life just like Emily did.
The photos of the students’ work have been posted here with their teacher’s permission.
Talk About Defying Convention
Old Sun and Emily Carr
Klee Wyck- May Your Spirit Dance
Had a great day at the Winnipeg Art Gallery last week with a grade nine class from the high school in Steinbach where I used to teach. I had a group of interested and thoughtful young women on my tour of the galleries. None of them had every been to an art gallery before and they loved it! “Could we come back?” they wondered. They were very impressed by the Group of Seven paintings. They were intrigued by one of Esther Warkov’s whimsical landscapes. They came up with some really original ideas when I asked them to use our trays of manipulatives to create a personal Inuit wall hanging in the Our Land exhibit.They had definite preferences about what they had enjoyed in the galleries and told me which of the works they’d seen they would like to take home and hang in their bedroom and why.
In the afternoon I guided a different group from the same school as they created their own landscapes in the style of the Group of Seven. They were attentive and engaged. Their work illustrates this blog post.
I had such a good time with this group it almost made me sorry I’m not still teaching.
I Love Art
Olympus Inspired Art
The Exquiste Corpse
I played with clay! There’s a huge exhibit of Greek and Roman art pieces being set up in the Winnipeg Art Gallery right now and the Education Department will be offering a raft of exciting programs specifically tailored for the Olympus collection from Berlin. Yesterday the training program for the guides began and we learned how to make clay pots the way they would have long ago in Greece and Rome, an activity we will be doing with some of the children who visit the exhibit. Some of my fellow guides did such creative work. But as the workshop leader noted kindly, “MaryLou seems to be struggling a bit.” I was. Shaping that clay into something lovely wasn’t easy for me. But I’m not worried. My fellow guides created lots of terrific samples I’ll be able to show the kids and I’ve already learned that all the children need from me in a workshop is the supplies, plenty of enthusiasm and affirmation, some suggestions and basic instructions and their creativity takes over and they produce something great. We also did red-figure painting to recreate the kinds of designs you might see on vases from Ancient Greece. I met with more success with this activity. All the art projects are going to be fun to do with the children!
Learning to Print
Stopping by Woods- A Children’s Masterpiece
The Exquisite Corpse