Monday, 14 February 2011

Whole from the Parts... A Learning Story

Redwood Mural is well on its way... stretching further than originally envisioned and promising to vividly fill Redwood Elementary School's MP Room. 90 ft x 5ft of canvas was used... 450 children (K to 2nd) set the patterned imagery of BUILDING BLOCKS OF LIFE, telling the "story of learning"... from simple shapes & basic colors to the complexities of relationships, nature, and the world-at-large. Initial results from 6 intense on-campus days of painting include 8 large and lively panels plus other special elements. Small groups, smocked for action, came in and intensely set to work... first drawing themselves and then undertaking a special painting task... with fun and story telling all along... Veteran Teacher Keith Wyner, popped in and out taking photos; plan for a DVD Slide Show. Already, Kathy Carl is seeing potential imagery for the ART CARD series.

NOW...Canvases are stretched out on the tarp covered floor of a commercial space in Ft Bragg. ...Franklin Street, next to the Post Office... The space is loaned with kind help of local Realtors & property owners. "My Grandchildren went to Redwood" says Barbara Clark, Century 21, who will cover utilities for Phase 2. Now it is my turn to move paintings to the final stage... Heightened color and density of pattern, accentuate flow, connectivity and relationship, and added details that bring a cohesive wholeness to the work. And carefully drop in WORDS that add to the "learning" story embedded in the piece.

On my hands & knees, I dive into each panel and lose myself in time, colors and patterns. I drag pans of colors and implements across the surface... Interesting to pattern with a lemon, adding "sunshine" and light to the Garden. Parsley adds a delicate feel and I love marks made by corn. Fun to play with a Popsicle stick, making "curved from straight", repeating lines radiating from other elements... Printing with leaves is always satisfying. I use techniques employed with the children. The approach is free flowing, yet careful to honor the children's work, and remember each group's activity that created the imagery I touch. My aim is to bring it all together and
make the WHOLE work together from all the marvelous pieces.

I am honored to be granted this amazing opportunity. "My Pattern" seems to be ...dream big, get things going, wonder how I got here and HOW to actually do this... and then... get completely carried away with the fun, excitement and challenge of making it all work! Thanks to the Community Foundation of Mendocino County for support of the AD ABRAMSON Grant that made this project take off! Thanks to the daring and imaginative leadership at Redwood Elementary, beginning with Principal Mary K. Champagne and Kindergarten Teacher Susan Joyer and by parents, teachers and staff ready to help make it happen! And special appreciation for the children who came in focused, enthusiastic and ready to dive in. They listened, shared, worked and had fun! It was pleasure working with each and every child!

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