Photo courtesy of Jill Queen                                Hudson and his sister Marlow do their best impression of Grant Woods’ famous “American Gothic” painting.

Photo courtesy of Jill Queen Hudson and his sister Marlow do their best impression of Grant Woods’ famous “American Gothic” painting.

Students duplicate classics in art class

A quote widely attributed to legendary artist Pablo Picasso reads, “Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

The source of that quote may actually trace back to an old German novel, but it doesn’t matter who said it — with COVID-19, wildfires, and political crises dominating the headlines, it’s clear that quote is more relevant today than ever.

Art is needed, as is getting opportunities to make art to the youngest students on Bainbridge Island.

Specialized subjects that rely upon in-person instructions are particularly difficult to teach as Bainbridge Island School District students remain remote through at least early October, and art is no exception to that.

But where would art be without inventiveness and imagination in the first place? Who better than the art teacher to find new ways to explore creating masterpieces without the benefit of being side-by-side in a classroom.

Jill Queen, art teacher at Wilkes Elementary, said that she spent much of the prior semester last spring using anything students and their families had lying around their homes.

One successful project called “Your Life is Like Art” had students re-create famous paintings, including Grant Woods’ “American Gothic,” Norman Rockwell’s “Boy with String,” Edvard Munch’s “Scream” and Frida Kahlo’s “Self-Portrait with Thorn Necklace.”

She also had students create art with everyday items found outside the home as a way to get them off their computers and into the fresh air.

“Part of what I’m trying to do is get them off the screen and touch the materials,” Queen said. “They really need to be diving into the materials, so it was important to get the materials to them.”

This year, Queen was able to put together packets of materials for students, including spare brushes, paint and crayons from her art room. “It’s like they have a gift they can open up and have these things to touch,” Queen said.

That, along with technology the district has in place, has made it remarkably easier to teach a hands-on subject. But it’s still not the same for Queen, who has to observe her kindergartners madly cutting and pasting through a computer screen.

“They can hold it up to the screen, but it’s not the same as seeing it live,” Queen said.

There are also some things that simply can’t be replicated. In a normal classroom setting, if a young student was having trouble holding scissors properly, it would be easy for Queen to walk over and correct it. If she saw a student making progress on a piece, she could encourage him or her to continue down that path.

But at the same time, students still have the freedom to explore and investigate the materials they have. They can come up with their own ideas within the parameters set by the teacher.

Queen is able to supplement the curriculum with videos on her Google Classroom, where in addition to lessons she provides resources for seeing other artists discuss their work. This includes local artists, such as David Franklin, who is one of two people creating a sculpture for the Seattle Kraken hockey team.

And while students can’t be in-person to talk about and show off their art to one another, technology does allow them to attend small, short breakout sessions where they can interact.

Queen said she has also been able to focus on teaching creativity and allowing students room to see themselves as artists, and help them understand how they view the world.

“That’s the part that they love, and they get to choose where they’re going,” Queen said. “They love when they can choose different areas on their own and the materials they want to work on.”

Photo courtesy of Jill Queen<strong></strong>                                Garza created his own version of Norman Rockwell’s “Boy with String.”

Photo courtesy of Jill Queen Garza created his own version of Norman Rockwell’s “Boy with String.”

Rory dresses up to portray John Everett Millais’ “Ophelia.” (Photo courtesy of Jill Queen)

Rory dresses up to portray John Everett Millais’ “Ophelia.” (Photo courtesy of Jill Queen)

More in News

BI wants ferry service restored

Bainbridge Island wants its ferry system back. The city is sending a… Continue reading

Halloween events in BI

Four Halloween events are taking place on Bainbridge Island as the spooky… Continue reading

The current skate park is for those with advanced abilities. File Photo
BI park prepares for major remodel

Also, COVID vax for all parks users?

The Bainbridge Island City Council will have a public meeting to decide on improvements on Eagle Harbor Drive. This idea was shot down because of how crowded it would be with cyclists and walkers on the same side going in different directions.
Environment not as important on this project

Safety concerns override that on Eagle Harbor plan

It’s a gamble not getting COVID vaccine

Many people still are not get vaccinated to protect themselves and others… Continue reading

Eldon Van Liere stands next to his late wife's painting of Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, where they often traveled together. Tyler Shuey/Bainbridge Island Review
BI artist’s work lives on after her passing

Bainbridge Island artist Elizabeth Van Liere passed away in 2020 and some… Continue reading

The author of this book will be in Bainbridge. Courtesy Photo
Bainbridge Island briefs

Protest exhibit The Bainbridge Island Historical Museum is opening a new exhibit… Continue reading

Roundabouts on Highway 305 divided the Bainbridge Island City Council candidates at a recent debate. Courtesy Illustration
LWV’s debate features rapid-fire answers

Compared with two earlier debates last week, Bainbridge Island City Council candidates… Continue reading

Most Read