Saturday, May 19, 2007

Abstract Art with Improvised Brushes

While in Costa Rica, I was invited Norma Varela at the Colegio Tecnico Artistico in Liberia to give a workshop to her class of fine arts students. The school is the only public arts high school in the country that is free of charge, and many of the students are from poorer communities in and around the city.

She had wanted me to give a demonstration of calligraphy, but since we had no brushes or ink, I decided to ask the students to make their own brushes from found objects around the school.

We were able to gather some yarn, sticks, leaves, feathers, grass, cloth (from an old shirt), glue, and paper from a phone book. I showed the students how to design and secure the brush heads as well.

Paint and paper were also in very short supply, so we worked in groups of 2-3. I asked the students create expressions of a memory or a feeling. They mixed water into left over tempera paint bottles and poured the paint directly unto the paper. Then they used the brushes to move the pigment around.

This was their first experiment with abstract art, and it was very exciting!

Students: Norma Mendez, Monica Contreras, Mario Alcazar, Yarlin Ramirez, Andrea Araya, Christina Rivas, Fransela Melendez, Diana Rodriguez

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