Monday, December 03, 2007

Art for School Sake

This past week, I volunteered to help with door decorations at JG and KJ's elementary school. For the past few years, the PTO has utilized the "Candy Land" theme, and every grade is responsible for door decorations that reflect the given theme. The school is decorated from top to bottom. Seriously. They go all out for this school wide project. It's like nothing I've experienced at any other school my children have attended.

I decided to volunteer to help JG's class with the "Mr. Minty" theme as there didn't seem to be many people jumping at the chance to work on the Kindergarten door. Two other moms from the class and I tackled the project together, and we had a blast. Mostly because all three of us were willing to go with the flow on this project, and that fact makes anything I create turn out better than expected.

I know you don't want to read all the boring details, but I'm including them anyway.

I ended up water coloring (using water color pencils) Mr. Minty's face, and we made the body out of paper and striped wrapping paper. We also put each child's face on the tummy of a die cut paper gingerbread man ("Misty's" cool idea) and placed those randomly on the door. "Kelsey" cut out candy canes for the "Candy Cane Forest" and worked on the "required" big gingerbread man that must be on every door. Because we didn't "focus on the gingerbread man" as instructed (guess which one us us encouraged non-conformity?), our door isn't quite mainstream, and that is why it turned out so great. I'll have to take a picture of the finished product and post it here.

We also were assigned another door: Art - which turned into a two door project, as there are two art rooms. Actually, another class was supposed to do the other door, but they liked what we did so much that they delegated the entire task to us, lol. It was a challenge. How does one creatively approach "Grandma Nut"? For this door, I threw out some ideas, and the other two ladies ran with it. The Grandma Nut project turned out even better than our first door! While I worked on the gingerbread interpretation of grandma (okay, I caved and incorporated the required gingerbread element more directly), the other two made nuts and vines.

While we were working on the nut project today, I somehow was volunteered or agreed to draw a resemblance of the principal's dog (a very cute Sir Charles Spaniel). That was a stretch for me. I'm kind of (freakishly) a perfectionist about what I draw/paint when the finished project is supposed to look like something. Someone provided a few photos of the dog, and I drew it with my watercolor pencils. More than anything, I was anxious about the fact that (a.) there was a time factor involved (I had the youngest with me, and she is very patient - but I could work on a drawing for hours and hours if left to my own devices), and (b.) I didn't have the right type of paper for the pencils I was using. Plus, the whole idea of using watercolor pencils is that one should actually use water to blend the colors, which I did not (refer to reason "b"). Then they wanted me to sign it and all, and I wouldn't because I didn't want everyone to know who did the drawing (particularly, I didn't want any *real* artists to know, lol).

Anyway, I've forgotten how much creating art energizes me. I am not a trained visual artist, by and stretch of the imagination, but I really like to draw and paint. More importantly, this whole experience helped me understand my mom a little bit better. She is one of the most talented artists I know, but she never did anything with art because she has not even an ounce of self confidence. Ugh. Today, I was my mother!!! Freakishly so. Perhaps creating visual art is one more talent that I restrain because I fear failure (just as I do with my writing). In my mind, I already know that I can't compete with the best, so I don't even want to try.

Interestingly enough, a few months ago, I had a "what do you want to be when you grow up" conversation with Poetroad. Out of nowhere, I replied, "A visual artist." He was a little caught off guard by that and said, "Really. Hmm, well I guess you had better start producing some art, and we will see how that works out. Maybe you can take some classes or something." He wasn't being unkind, but his surprised response was similar to one that I had when a 5 foot tall chubby boy who didn't play on a school or club team told me that his aspiration was to be a professional basketball player. I've got a plan, though. I'm going to start working on Artist Trading Cards. I figure it will give me a creative outlet and a chance to develop my skills.


Beth said...

Any pictures of the finished product?

bluesugarpoet said...

I was waiting for my friend to e-mail pics she took of our work, but I think I may have to go and take my own pictures, lol.