by Erin Wright, Children’s Garden Educator, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden
For eight years, the Children’s Garden at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden has partnered with Henrico County Public Schools to bring a year- round, rotating student art show into the Robins Visitor’s Center. The art teachers in the schools choose the work for the show, and frame it for their students. The work currently displayed is from high schools from all over Henrico County, and is truly excellent work.
Betsy Yost, an art teacher at Tucker High School in Henrico was kind enough to give us some insight into the process. She says:
For the last several years, I have sent a student’s landscape painting done in an impressionistic style to the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Art Show. For the lesson, students learn about technological innovations that influenced the style and location of French Impressionist painting. For instance, the collapsible paint tube was invented which enabled painters to work out doors. Before this invention, paint was mixed and then stored in pig bladders which were not easily transportable. The increasingly widespread use of photography gave the Impressionists the idea for candid poses in their work. New chemical discoveries allowed for bright paint colors.
After learning of influences on Impressionism, students practice the brushstrokes that the Impressionists used. They learn to scumble — to produce short choppy brushstrokes. They learn to paint using a wet-into-wet method where colors lay side by side with little mixing to create sunsets and reflections on water.
Students whose work has been selected for the show tell me that it is a great honor, and it makes them feel good to be able to see their work displayed in such a nice space. One told me that she could tell that she was improving her painting skills as she worked her way from start to finish in her painting. Another was surprised that her work was selected, but that it made her realize she was acquiring new skills by being selected to show her work.
We here at Tucker High School would like to thank the Garden for this wonderful opportunity to show student work.
The display of natural themed artwork by Henrico County students changes quarterly. The impressive current display of artwork by high school students from Henrico will be in Gallery I until the end of April. Stop by and check out what local teens are creating.