Galt artists leave lasting impression
Always looking for new ways to make students spend more time in the Alexander Galt High School library, librarians Judith Munger and Dale Davidson have been transforming a large corner of the library into a Japanese-style sitting area for students with groupings of floor cushions and low tables.
And now, thanks to a couple of artistic students who have volunteered hours of their time, the new area will have some interesting and beautiful original artwork for the students to enjoy. Michael-Derek Truppner and Kathleen Kirkwood, who are both in level five, have painted several long panels, inspired by Chinese and Japanese art techniques, which will grace the area’s room dividers, adding a lot of colour and interest.
Michael-Derek, from St. Elie d’Orford, has painted a large Chinese dragon on one of the panels. “Judith, the librarian, was looking for ideas of what to put on the panels so I showed her my sketchbook,” explained Michael as he showed me his painting of the dragon, entitled “Destiny”. This young artist likes to do art at home as a pastime, finding it especially helpful in improving his mood.
Kathleen Kirkwood, of Stanstead, was working on a panel that featured a colourful phoenix in flight when I spoke with her in the library at Galt. “I’ve been drawing horses since I was about seven,” commented Kathleen as she added some red paint to the bird skillfully. “In the art concentration program here, last year, I started working with paints, watercolors at first, then I moved to acrylics. It’s so much easier than drawing, and so much more colorful.”
When asked how she got the job of painting the library panels, she explained: “Judith knew I liked the art in the ‘Manga’ books (Japanese graphic novels) because I was in last year’s Reading Challenge. She also knew I had been in the art concentration program, so she asked me if I would do it. I thought it was a great idea – a fun, new activity to do in my last year here!”
What was chal- lenging at first, for both artists, was the material they were painting on: cotton. “I thought it would be hard to paint on, but now it’s fun because you can choose to paint fine lines or ‘wash’ the paint with a little water. It’s easier than painting on a canvas.”
A trio of panels already completed by Kathleen features a beautiful Geisha in a traditional pose. “I was inspired by a poem to paint the Geisha,” explained Kathleen who is learning Japanese on the internet. “I had to learn about rituals of dressing in Japan to study how the kimono works; I was afraid to start it at first,” commented Kathleen about the intricate clothing of her subject. “Another student, Sandy Zhang, helped me with the Japanese writing on the panels,” she added.
Kathleen, a talented artist, seems to have benefitted from her experience in the arts program. “I liked experimenting on my own with art at first, but then I started listening to my teachers. With this project I was going to paint a dragon, but then found out it was already being painted. So I had to do the phoenix,” said Kathleen about the captivating piece that she was working on. “Often the best stuff is what you have been forced to do!”
Although both Kathleen and Michael-Derek are graduating from high school at the end of the year, their colorful artwork in the library will be appreciated by students for years to come.
Kathleen Kirkwood was working on her panel of phoenixes, painted on cotton, last week in the Galt library.
This lovely Geisha, painted by Kathleen Kirkwood, was inspired by a poem by Gackt.
Michael-Derek Truppner painted this Chinese-style dragon in the Galt library.