Today we held one of TBG’s two art camps. It was supposed to be outdoors, but it rained all day, so…never mind on that, except for a five-minute walk in the shade garden when it let up for a while.
(There was still fairy dust on the ground from back in mid-June when we had our Fairy Gardens camp, but the group of kids I had at that moment kept insisting it was just glitter. What a bunch of little skeptics! Sadness.)
Instead we were in the conference center. Two of the stations – watercolors and tempera paints – were in the main room to the right, but mine (oil and chalk pastels) was in a separate room down the hall past the bathrooms. Which I was okay with, because our watercolor teacher, for example, is a professional watercolor artist, and I would’ve felt really awkward trying to teach a medium that I barely use in the same room as a professional teaching her medium of choice.
Plus my room had some nice windows that were wide open, and I love windows. (Which explains why I continue sleeping out on the porch even though it’s not horribly, horribly hot in my bedroom anymore.)
This is my practice paper from yesterday (when I figured I should finally experiment with the oils Diane gave me, since I was supposed to be teaching them and haven’t used them since probably middle school):
The first group of kids I had were kind of quiet, focused completely on their work. And I didn’t have much to really teach them, after my brief opening spiel, which focused on the mixing and blending of colors. But there was this one girl who seemed utterly unenthusiastic right from the beginning, when Diane was giving an introduction at the start of camp, so I decided to give her some attention in class. Nothing special, I just got her started by asking her what types of things she liked and might want to draw. She started off with flowers, and from there – wow. Flowers, clouds, the sun, a worm, a butterfly, trees, the window with clouds behind it… And the best part was, despite how irritable she and her mother seemed at check-in, once she got into the drawing, she said, “I can’t wait to show my mom!”
The second group was a little more talkative and had great imaginations…but they were the skeptics, which I have to hold against them a little bit because I find it upsetting when young children are unwilling to even pretend to believe in things like fairies. Still, they were a fun group. One of the boys had an unbelievable understanding of four-point perspective. He drew a bay window looking out on the ocean – you could tell it was a bay window because it looked something like this (only better):
The last group was the best, though. For some reason, while they were getting started, I thought, “Figure drawing.” Then I wished I had thought of that during the first group’s session. Then I said, “Does anyone want to try figure drawing?”
I only had two kids who wanted to, but hey, what the heck, right? One of them was willing to pose as well, so she was our first model, and then she drew as I modeled for her instead.
And then one of the older girls brought a picture she’d drawn over to me. It was a woman in a dress, and it was actually pretty good, especially considering that she said she’d never had any art classes. I figured she could benefit from some actual teaching, so I offered to teach her how to draw the human face – using the technique that everyone learns in high school:
All in all, it was a fun camp. But I’m really looking forward to Monday, when our second session of week-long camp starts…