Jenna has so many interests. She enjoys dancing, singing, telling stories, arts & crafts, drawing pictures, coloring . . .
Butterfly on a sunflower
my Mothers’ Day gift this year
I did find an inexpensive dance class and tumbling class through the school district. She saw it as an opportunity to socialize and didn’t take her dance seriously but did enjoy the tumbling part.
I had her in an inferior swim class. She learned more about swimming when she was only a year old and the two of us took a class together. I had also enrolled her in a theatre class as I figured there was dancing and singing and I didn’t expect that theatre would go overboard with expensive costumes as many dance classes do.
Both my cousin Michelle and my sister-in-law Sunny have offered Art classes and children’s workshops for several years. I don’t know that I paid much attention except for the past five years. We couldn’t even afford those – but this year they both had some good deals.
The first class I took her to was located at an art studio downtown. Michelle introduced her class to self-portraits. She told each child to lie in a position that represented his or her personality.
Jenna chose a position that represented jumping. She placed her feet one behind the other and held her hands in the air. Her head was facing forward when I drew her. Her body appeared much thinner than she actually is and there wasn’t a line to separate her feet.
On the first day the child painted their hair and skin parts. Some started on the face, but not many. I can’t remember if Jenna started her shirt that first or second day. She decided to make her head face the side instead of the front. What she had painted to be hair become mud “that had hit her in the face – and her arms had been up to stop it.” Okay, whatever.
Michelle helped Jenna with her face. I think the reason that Jenna made her face on the side was so she would only have to do one eye.
On the third day the children added yarn to the hair in their paintings. Jenna’s few hair strands were the same exact color as the paint. The next day Michelle reminded the kids that all the strands of hair in their actual heads were not the same color and suggested they use yarns of different tones – which Jenna did. Her head hair actually does look all of one color to me. Some hairs may be darker. I haven’t noticed any highlights.
Michelle also encouraged students to find pictures or decorations that might match their personalities. Jenna – who felt she had messed up on the green shirt she had been wearing the first day – decided that she would turn her green shirt into a camouflage shirt. She hadn’t quite grasped the collage thing that Michelle had mentioned and stuck to her camouflage theme gluing leaves and mossy looking yarn.
I asked her what the camouflage had to do with her personality. She said she would like to be and is interested in chameleons. That is true. But she has much stronger interests. If I had been successful in explaining what Michelle had suggested, her collage may have come across more like this:
Instead she changed her self-portrait again. The pointed foot on top of the flat foot made it appear as though she had a really big toe in comparison to the rest. Michelle suggested that she retrace her other leg. When I had traced Jenna, she was barefoot; when Michelle traced her, she had a shoe on.
It worked. One shoe off, one shoe one. That fits her personality. And the two shades of blue make it look more like pants and her size rather than the skinny deformity that I had pathetically traced.
The children also painted plaster molds that the instructors had made of each of their hands. Jenna and the youngest girl were the only two in the class who had their palms up. Everybody else had them down. I am happy that Jenna had hers different from the norm.
Michelle took pictures of all of her students next to their art work (plaster hands excluded as most were still drying). Jenna did not have her hair in pigtails the first day. She really had been wearing a green top and denim shorts that first day. Her pose is still different from her self-portrait and definitely different from what I had traced.
I wasn’t looking forward to taking her cardboard self home on the train and bus. I had brought two large plastic bags so as pieces didn’t fall off along the way. But as it turned out I didn’t have the opportunity to take it home that day. The entire class will have their portraits on display in the Kindred Spirit Exhibit at Art Access July 18 – Aug 8.
Jenna’s second class was the following week. Sunny gave Jenna some personal instruction as we were often early and had each child paint a picture of a photo or other small picture they had that they wished to be on canvas.
Sunny’s method of teaching is so different from Michelle’s. She taught the children that they could create backgrounds and eyes with different strokes and different brushes. They painted around the table whereas most of Michelle’s class time was spent on the floor (or standing up)
Sunny likes crafts and Jenna LOVES crafts. When the children were through painting and waiting for the final touches to dry, Sunny had another surprise for them (which had nothing to do with their paintings) Each child got to make something out of pipe cleaners and beads. Jenna made two ladybugs:
And this was her final project from Sunny’s class:
We had the painting when we boarded the bus. We had it when we arrived in Kearns to watch my niece and nephew. We left the painting at Kayla’s house when we took the bus home, as I didn’t wish to carry it in the rain. It’s still at Kayla’s because we forgot to get it when we had gone out yesterday and actually had a car.
Roland has not yet seen either painting.
I feel so blessed to have diversity and to be able to expose Jenna to different methods and styles. She had fun in both classes. Thank you Sunny and Michelle!