The Fifth graders at Rancho school in Novato were inspired by the many new visual arts ideas and techniques brought to them by mentor artist Mark Edwards. Mark enjoys when the teachers participate along with the students in the art-making process. Throughout the instruction everyone gets involved, and this creates an enviroment that fuels inspiration and builds a sense of community while providing students with the opportunity to create personal masterpieces.
Throughout the artist residency at Rancho, each class enjoys the many mediums and styles of art. A favorite is the painting of the Mona Lisa. Gesture drawing is introduced at the beginning: the students are asked to draw what they feel, not what they see. Portraiture is then discussed and head proportion and figure drawing techniques are explored as students begin to paint.
A favorite project is the cartooning and cartoon strips that each student creates. The students studied figure drawing and body movement. Expressions and character development added to the fun and expressive cartoon strips.
The residency culminates in Italian Street Painting (colorful “paintings” in soft pastels) on the school playground. Students love this opportunity to exhibit in large scale some of the wonderful techniques they have learned in the classroom. These works seem to be most expressive: students love being able to work on larger works and with the vibrant colors of soft-pastels outdoors.
The Fifth Graders at Rancho school have gained much from being involved with Youth in Arts. The program brings together the mentor artist, teachers, and students in a fun, informative, and creative residency where everyone benefits.