Galt artists leave last­ing im­pres­sion

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Vic­to­ria Vanier, Len­noxville

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.

Pho­tos Vic­to­ria Vanier

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.

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