Tuesday, March 11, 2008

My High School Adventure

Working with these kids is a huge privilege. At the end of each session I am dumbfounded at their sweet willingness to sign on for anything; they are the bravest, happiest art-makers around. I remember the confidence and joy I felt at that age too before art-school-doubts set in. And the work these kids produce reflects their joie de vivre . You'll see.

We're at Lakeridge High School and for two weeks several art classes are working with me on an encaustic intensive in the artist-in-the-schools program. It requires me to get out of bed earlier than usual but it has been a worthwhile adventure; working with the teacher and her students has been great. I'll be showing you more of their work as the weeks progress.

These are the portraits from day 1 of painting with wax and dry pigment on the hot palette. If you've tried it you know it is a challenge; that first time firing up the torch is rather breath taking.

But look closely at the portraits they created using only 4 colors (ochre, burnt sienna, titanium white and black). I was frankly amazed.

I dont know how closely you can examine these but they are very moving in person. It was wonderful to watch what came out of the class.

I shot the individual paintings quickly at the end of class so didn't get many of them and wasn't picking out my favorites; this is just a random sampling. Pretty amazing, huh?

Gosh, I can't help beaming with happiness as I look at this work. The last one, "Cadaver Cove" is a poster for a movie one of the kids is making. Uh, yeah. These guys are pretty amazing.

Not a small class either. Today I think we had 28 and yesterday 48 in the class. So we have been painting in wax - pretty wonderful stuff. You are looking at the people who will be showing their work in galleries in the next few years. They are bound for art schools all across the country; futures bright.

Last night when I came home from teaching I was so tired that tears sprung to my eyes as I opened this Birthday-Pisces gift from Ro. Life is so full and so good right now. I just try to take huge bites of everything because I want to do so much in my time here. My heart is full to bursting with love and appreciation for the kindness others show me. Maybe some day I'll talk about worse times in my life or again I may not. Maybe I'll just say that I'm glad I made it through those times to finally arrive at a place where the world looks so beautiful.


Dale said...

You truly seem blessed, working with such wonderful young artists. I am a teacher myself (elementary) and i can tell you that i do truely love it.

What lucky kids, getting to work with encaustic art like that! I just want to pretend to be one of the kids, and join in in on the fun and learning hahaha.

Kelly Snelling said...

you are precious! i would have been beside myself with joy if you had come to my art class in high school, judy. and i know these kids will be blessing you every bit as much as you are them. oh the beautiful life!

Maralena (AKA: mcdc3s) said...

Well that is wonderful. They really look like they connected with you... and you them. That is so important. Great experiences for all of you.

Kelly Kilmer said...

Those are quite amazing and very very cool!!!

Matt Brooks said...

Judy Wise,

I just want you to know that you are probably my favorite artist. Ever since you spoke at our Artist After Hours and did the transparency paintings with us, I have been in love with your work. But the reason why you are probably my favorite artist is not just because you create cool art, but because you do your own thing. I have learned that is it O.K. to spill wax on the table as long as you are enjoying the process of expressing yourself through art. Thank you so much for everything you have taught us.. and I hope to learn more throughout the next couple days!!

Matt Brooks

p.s. I have my transparency painting posted on my blog because I thought it was such an awesome project. Thanks again

Ro Bruhn said...

What a great teacher you are Judy if Matt is anything to go by and I'm sure he is. What wonderful experiences for all concerned.
Enjoy the earrings, you deserve them, you give so much of yourself and your art to us all.
Happy arting

Karen Hall said...

How fabulous

Chrissy said...

Such spontaneity, coming from having to work with a medium that demands freedom and informality.

Looking closely at the group picture, it seems these aren't self-portraits. Is that right? If so, each artist has caught something beautiful and personal in the face of the sitter.

You are obviously a very inspiring teacher. What I'd give to join a class of yours!

Carmen said...

Wow! The work those kids produced is amazing!!! How neat that they are getting the opportunity to work with encaustics in high school and the opportunity to be taught by you!

Carla Sonheim said...

Those portraits are so wonderful. OMG!!!!!

Karen Cole said...

OMG.....these look as good, if not better than the Fayoum mummy portraits. Did you show those as an example, or are these kids just channeling the ancient Egyptians???

What an inspiring teacher they have.

....and a Ro pair of earrings? You are a lucky birthday girl.

Serena Barton said...

I love what you're doing with the high school kids--how exciting and valuable! They are learning about the past at the same time as immersing themselves in the moment with their portraits. All the pieces are so alive!

Allegra Smith said...

One of my mottoes is "Knowledge belongs to the seeker" and to see how generously you bestow that knowledge should be a joy to the heart of any artist, and an example to follow.

Just think, if they are so talented right now, what may be hidden inside that your generosity is going to bring forth in their lives? What a gift! and what a giver! Your talent is boundless and so is your generosity and you have my love and admiration because of it.

Lynn said...

absolutely fantabulous art by kids and lucky them to have you as a teacher when you go there...and I knew those were Ro's earrings before I read that they were! So distictive. Again, Lucky you.
Isn't it nice when we grow past the bad/hard times in our lives and get to just enjoy the good stuff? I see no reason to go dig mine all up again.