Learning to Draw From an Expert

Remember when Pacifique was here last year and we were SO EXCITED?!  And the year before when we first met them?   Well…since then we’ve developed quite a close relationship with the NIYO Cultural Centre and are lucky to be able to learn from these amazingly talented artists often.  This time Pacifique brought some new friends–Patrick and Figy.  Last time we focused primarily on music and dance, but this time Figy has been able to share his painting talents with us.  WE WERE EXCITED!

First, he did a little bit of pre-planning and basics instruction at the easel.  Everyone really wanted him to start by drawing tigers and lions, but Figy helped us understand that we have to start with simple and THEN we can stretch out and do some harder things.  We were going to start with butterflies.  Just like the lesson Ms. Holzmueller had done with us the previous week, he showed us how butterflies are made of shapes we already know, like ovals.  Easy peasy!

Once we had sketched our butterflies, we gathered for a painting lesson.  Figy is a master with watercolors and had much to teach us.  I was so excited to learn a tip that I had never learned: before you start painting, you “paint” the paper with water!  This helps the paint then “float” around on the water.  SO BEAUTIFUL!

After this next part of the lesson, we tried out hands at adding color to our own creations.

We weren’t finished yet, though!  We would leave them to dry overnight, and then trace the details on top of our paint with permanent marker.  WOW–what a great combination!  Check out Figy’s example he made for us:

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AND THEN (as if it hadn’t already been an amazing time together!), he called kiddos to the rug as they finished painting, telling them he had a secret to tell them.  He quickly had a line forming in front of him as he whispered quietly in each kiddo’s ear.  No one except that kiddo had any idea what he was talking about!

We soon found out that was he was talking to each kiddo about was what other animal they might like him to draw and quickly a pretty impressive list started to form on the easel paper.  And then he started drawing them for us!  Right before our eyes they begin to appear on the paper, like a colorful 2D zoo!

Did you notice what started to happen as he added animals to the paper?  Kiddos were so inspired that a whole new drawing lesson ensued and everyone was trying them out, too! Love it when that happens.  You don’t even have to invite them or suggest that they do it–just showing them is all the invitation that need! So organic. 🙂

So then Friday when we came back, we took our turn with the Sharpies and finished our paintings.  Aren’t they beautiful??

We were so inspired and thankful to Figy for sharing his talents with us!  We have even started another watercolor painting project in math that we’ll finish this coming week, too.  Stay tuned for updates on how we transfer this learning to another situation! 🙂

Artists in Residence–All the Way from RWANDA!!

We are lucky at Robinson.  While I could go on with lists and lists of reasons why that’s true, the biggest reason right now is because Pacifique and Tresor are here.  All the way from Rwanda!

Through work and love and more work (and fundraising!), we (I mean Mrs. Berger) were able to secure some AMAZING artists to spend the next two weeks with us. We are SUPER excited to have them here, and it’s funny how much our kiddos treat them like celebrities.  It’s so fun to hear, “I saw Tresor in the car rider line!” “Did you see Pacifique outside?  I did!”

I think my favorite part of this once-in-a-lifetime experience is the way it was planned, and how it’s about so much more than just learning how to dance, how to play a drum or looking at beautiful paintings (although those are FABULOUS things in themselves, for sure!).  Like with most everything else we do, the focus was on bigger ideas, and on how this could change our kids in big ways for their future lives.

This residence asks our kiddos to chew on these big ideas and essential questions:

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And while I am certain that there will be more stories to tell, dances to dance, drums to bang and art to share at the end of their time here, for now I can share some pictures and videos from their first day here with us.  We had an assembly to welcome them, and to get the party started.  As you can see, the energy is contagious (and so are their smiles!)!

It was hard to decide which videos to share, but I’ll start with these:

We are excited for the weeks to come, and for all the things we will learn! 🙂