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Water, water, every where, Nor any drop to drink.

“Ah! well a-day! what evil looks

Had I from old and young!

Instead of the cross, the Albatross

About my neck was hung.”

~ Samuel Taylor Coleridge, from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner

Teaching Artist Fatima Traore began the day with a serious discussion about water and pollution. Students were quite knowledgeable and shared their strong opinions about our climate crisis, global warming, and the need for acknowledgement, action and change.

Fatima had everyone create several pairs of fast sketches using permanent marker. She asked the class to first depict a known pollutant, then to morph that item into a natural form – straws became ducks, plastic bags turned into leaves, Dorito bags into a plot of grass. We held a mini critique to discuss the ideas and gain inspiration from each other.

To elaborate on the important topic of the day, Fatima had students create a diptych (a single piece of art composed of two distinct panels) of nature as it is now vs. the future and items that pollute the water and earth in the form of a landscape.

Using watercolor in a wet-on-wet technique students blocked out their compositions on both papers thus creating two similar watery landscapes. We let the paintings dry while we ate lunch.

The next step was a focused line drawing using the permanent marker on top of the painted color to create two distinct panels – one of a unadulterated natural scene, the other riddled with pollution.

The work was completed by going back in with paint. Those who finished early were challenged to create a piece depicting water in a city setting.

As you can imagine, delving into such an important topic meant that some serious issues were raised in critique such as the destruction of the coral reefs, toxic dumping and global warming. Many students were recognized for their focused working methods, ambitious artmaking, strong drawing skills and excellent use of composition. And Madison who received many of those compliments was also lauded for her sunny disposition and kindness to everyone in the program!

We look forward to an exciting session with Teaching Artist Candy Heiland tomorrow.

See you then,

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