Portraiture from primary school • by Katherine Schiliro • Photos by Angelina Bellebuono
The talented artists of Morgan County Primary School are in high demand – at least, by their parents.
And they just had the art show to prove it.
More than 700 pieces of student artwork were on display in the primary school’s gym Wednesday, Feb. 23, as each of the school’s Kindergarten, first and second grade students had a single piece in the show.
The show doubled as a fund-raiser for the school’s art program. Alpharetta, Ga.-based Artomé was called in to frame the piece – they also set up the show the night before – and each individually created work of art sold for $25.
“I think parents enjoy seeing what their children are really capable of creating,” primary school art teacher Leslie Ryals wrote, in e-mail correspondence. “By framing the work, we have captured a ‘treasure’ they will enjoy forever.”
The show’s subject matter differed according to grade level: Kindergarten students worked with Pete the Cat; first grade students, snowmen; and second grade students created their own version of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.”
More specifically, Kindergarten students read the book “Pete the Cat I Love My White Shoes” by Eric Litwin. After learning to use tempera cakes, according to Ryals, students were required to paint their own Pete, choose what shoes Pete would wear, add “a foreground of something Pete stepped in based on the color word on their table,” and then add detail with Sharpie markers. (Further, in an event funded by the school’s PTO, the author gave an interactive performance.)
The first graders’ snowmen were a study in perspective. Paintings started with a blue background using tempera cakes, snowmen were then drawn with oil pastels, liquid tempera was used to create the snowman’s body and the snow and, finally, students added the details – hats, scarves, facial features.
Second grade art students got a good dose of art history – “which always makes the process more memorable,” Ryals wrote – in their study of Van Gogh’s “Starry Night.” Oil pastels were used for the majority of that piece, and tempera cakes were used to finish the work.
“We used the ‘Starry Night’ for inspiration, but I encouraged my students to make their work unique by changing the foreground,” Ryals wrote.
In the spirit of a professional, each child signed and titled their artwork. In all, 296 works were sold, and the $2046 raised will go to purchase needed supplies for the primary school’s art room.
Both students and parents were so excited about the artwork, there were disagreements about where to put the framed pieces once they arrived home.
Paola De Arcos, 8, and her mom couldn’t decide where her artwork, titled “Paola’s Goodnight Star,” would hang, her room or her mom’s.
And when his dad suggested hanging the artwork on the wall in the stairwell of their home, 7-year-old Sawyer Frost informed him of other plans.
“I was thinking about putting it on the door to my room,” Sawyer said.
“I have had several art shows over the course of my teaching career, but I think this was the most successful,” Ryals writes. “Seeing the eyes of a child light up as he shared his masterpiece with parents and friends is definitely unforgettable!”
Printed in the March 3, 2011 edition.