Friday, February 2, 2018

Harlem Renaissance and Black History Month

       
According to Wikipedia, his work is in
ithe public domain in the United States
 
This, too, is in the public domain,
according to Wikipedia. 












Yesterday day was art class again for my after school Art Club at the South Natomas Community Center. In honor of Black History Month, we celebrated the work of African American artists, particularly Harlem Renaissance artist, William H. Johnson.

William H. Johnson, as you can see, has a very stylized approach to portraiture that captured so much life and vitality in the scenes he painted. The painting on the left is titled, Street Musicians. the one on the right is titled, Sowing. So I used some of his paintings (from calendar pictures) to  inspire the students, ages 8 to 12 with one high schooler who is a returning student. (The 7-year-old was absent.)

The students used colored pencils to sketch in their portraits on pastel paper, then did the major coloring with oil pastels. Here is a nice sample of their work: 








As always, this class is a bright spot in my week, a break from writing on the computer or reading in a chair. I love the interaction with the students. They are attentive listeners, and when they get to work, you could hear a pin drop for the hour that follows the fifteen-minute lesson. They are completely immersed in art. All I have to do is float around and encourage them. And  I always come home refreshed and enthusiastic.

How about you? If you are a writer, do you have a special break from your writing routine that restores and refreshes you for the rest of your week? If an artist, do you turn to some other pursuit to give you fresh perspective? 

12 comments:

Cathrina Constantine said...

Elizabeth, what a wonderful break! Working with children is the best. My break comes in watching my grand babies which leaves me little time for writing these days...Have a good weekend.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Cathrina. Watching your grand babies sounds restorative. There is nothing like children to re-awaken enthusiasm, they are so curious and lively. My husband and I don't have grandchildren, but my neighbor who is a good friend has one small grandson she watches on a regular basis. Her face lights up every time she mentions him.

DMS said...

The class sound delightful. A great way to be creative in a different way than writing. So interesting to see the pieces that were created by the class. Thanks for sharing. :)
~Jess

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

They really are a delightful class, Jess. And visual art is so different from the art of putting words and sentences together to create, that I always get a different perspective that finds its way into my WIP. Hope your own projects are going well. Have a great day.

Rosi said...

Your kids really captured the spirit of Johnson's art. Nice work!

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks on their behalf, Rosi. I thought they did, too. And it's such a wonderful experience watching them work. They literally go into another zone.

Tanya Lynne Reimer said...

Such talented artists!!! It's wonderful that you can share this experience with them.

Mirka Breen said...

Love this art. Simple, direct, and expressive.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Nicely said, Mirka. I like how they captured it. Thanks for stopping by.

Nas said...

They are talented. They caught details.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Hi, Nas. Yes, that really made me happy. They were able to observe certain touches that made Johnson's style so unique.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

Thanks, Tanya, I just enjoy this class so much. We have an art show coming up on March 10th, and it was fun to watch each student riffle though his/her portfolio and choose his/her piece.