Teaching kids in “Winter Art Lab”

Last week I had the pleasure to teach a four-day “Art Lab” during winter break. It was sponsored by Geneva Reads,

Nancy Lane teaches drawing

Nancy Lane teaches drawing to children from the Geneva Boys & Girls Club.

the community’s literacy coalition. Each session focused on a book paired with an artistic technique. Afterward, the children were able to take home their new books as well as the art supplies we used that day.

A grant from the Spring Hill Fund for Youth of Ontario and Yates counties paid for the program. I was assisted by Lindsay Spurling of Canandaigua.

Some of the ideas we explored through art were “creativity trumps perfection”, seeing and drawing like an artist; how abstract design elements can express emotion, and creating collages with similar words and pictures.

Nancy Lane reading during Geneva Reads Art Lab

Nancy Lane reading during Geneva Reads Art Lab

I was not surprised that they loved painting in watercolor – there was plenty of strong color, spattering, and pure wonder at seeing how the colors could blend and flow on the paper. This requires first loosening the kids up, then giving them time to experiment, and freedom from having to “do” an assignment. Some great paintings were made.

Watercolor painting during Geneva REads ARt Lab with Nancy Lane

Painting during Geneva REads Art Lab with Nancy Lane.I was surprised at how interested they were in drawing. I love teaching students how to look for shapes, lines and angles instead of objects they can name. Once someone  understands this concept, their drawings take off. I would have been happy to spend four days on this alone! One of the biggest thrills was when a student brought her new sketchbook she had received the day before back in to show us the drawings she had done at home. She was so proud of them. It is rewarding to have encouraged a young artist’s dreams.

Discussing drawings done the night before with Lindsay Spurling (right)

Discussing drawings done the night before with Lindsay Spurling (right)