Sunday, July 3, 2011

Painting birds and other wildlife on rocks and slate...

Matty and I are home from our Shawnee adventures. We had so much fun and can't believe the time is already over. We did a lot of work this year including handling the snakes at the nature center and helping kids and adults get over their fears of them like we did last year, but we added a few new things in too! Jenny knows I love to paint birds, and she knows Matty is an artist too, so she wondered if we could put on a painting workshop to teach kids and adults how to paint wildlife on rocks and slate tiles. "Of course we can do it," I said (even though I'd never done anything like that before and had no idea what to do), but after doing a little research and putting together templates from my bird paintings, Matty and I came up with a workshop we thought would be fun. I'm so glad we did it because everyone had a fantastic time and created beautiful and wonderful artwork! When I asked Matty what he wanted to say about the workshop, he said without thinking, "It was like we were all a big family." I guess a mutual love of the earth and all its wild creatures creates a quick connection among nature people, because it really was like we were one big family of artists painting nature!


...young nature artists use acrylic paints to create beautiful nature art on rocks.

Matthew Riccetti looks on to help kids paint during the Nature Painting workshop. Matt helped organize the event and helped paint with the kids.
Matty helps by answering questions, getting paints, changing water...and just laughing with the kids.


...wherever you looked, birds, snakes, salamanders, turtles, and frogs were coming to life under the skilled hands of young nature artists! (If you look closely, you can see the gentleman on the right has created a beautiful Northern Cardinal. Unfortunately because of the angle of the rock, we can't see the colorful Common Yellowthroat the gentleman on the left created...)


...everybody joined in to create beautiful art in nature!


...some artists preferred free-form expressionism...


...while others went for realism.
(I see a happy little Chiggy coming to life here!)


...it was thrilling to watch everyone focus and really get into their art. The variety of styles and subjects was amazing...


...big kids joined in too!
(You should have seen the stones after these two lovely ladies were finished. They were gorgeous!)


...even Jenny's mom attended and created a beautiful Hooded Warbler!

Matthew Riccetti painting after everyone is finished. Matty is a volunteer during the summer for Jenny Richards at the park.
...towards the end of the workshop, Matty sat down and painted a stone too. He created a beautiful frog.

If you're in the area, be sure to check out Jenny's calendar of events. She always has something scheduled at the nature center, and if you live in Cincinnati, Shawnee is only two hours away. The lodge is lovely, and escaping into the forest feels like you've gone worlds away. If your child is at all interested in herpetology, you need to visit Jenny at the nature center. She is the most hands-on naturalist I've ever met. She has an unsurpassed talent for awakening a love of nature in children. You will be amazed at how much your child will learn from just a few minutes with Jenny...

p.s. Matty and I will be volunteering for a week next year at Shawnee too, and we're going to put on the free workshop again. Maybe we will see you there. I'll be sure to post the date next summer.

...also...painting on rocks is really fun! We used really smooth rocks, and I loved the way the creamy acrylics would glide over the surface. I painted a Hooded Warbler on one side of the rock and then flipped it to paint a Northern Cardinal on the other side. I'll write more on that later...

19 comments:

texwisgirl said...

oh what a wonderful art class - combining nature and art into greatness. so neat to see everyone's expressions.

laubaine said...

they are true artists

Montanagirl said...

That looks like a great idea, and a wonderful time! It's amazing what one can do when given the opportunity.

Betsy from Tennessee said...

OH Kelly, What great fun ---and such a wonderful time for mother and son to be together... Looks so interesting --and I can tell how much you two enjoyed your time there... Congrats.

Happy 4th!
Hugs,
Betsy

Elaine said...

That looks like a wonderful class! Everyone was so engrossed in their work. I especially liked the shot of the sweet little girl painting on the rock on the ground. You must have had so much fun doing this with Matty.

Bob Bushell said...

It's a pleasant task to talk to the children. Good artists at work!

Sue said...

It's funny how much the kids all love to paint. I hope they retain that! What a fun day!!

Lois Evensen said...

How very, very cool! That looks like so much fun for everyone. :))

OLDCROWS3 said...

MY FAVORITE PICTURE IS THE LITTLE GIRL PAINTING ON THE ROCK ON THE GROUND. HAT ON BACKWARDS , DRESSED IN PINK . SHOE COLORS ARE GREAT. SO SWEET. A REAL KEEPER.

Janice K said...

That looked like lots of fun, and you could tell from your pictures how fascinated everyone was with the project. I especailly liked the picture of the little girl squating down, painting her rock.

How wonderful to be able to share your love of nature and gift of painting with others.

holdingmoments said...

That looked a lot of fun Kelly.
Those young artists had so much concentration in their faces.

Kathy A. Johnson said...

What a terrific experience. Looks like your young naturalists/artists had a great time.

Elizabeth Seaver said...

Hey, Kelly. What a fun post. You guys are awesome, and so are the budding artists in your workshop.

Thanks for visiting my blog!

Elizabeth Smith said...

How cool! They'll want you every year for this. Thanks for sharing such a onderful experience!

Claire M said...

Absolutely fabulous!! What an awesome activity - so wonderful that you and Matty were able to share your passion with these lucky people. The photos make it all look like such an enriching time -- truly a time for them all to remember!

Kelly said...

...thank you everyone for the kind words! We had so much fun. Everyone is so nice at Shawnee...and so creative. I really enjoy every minute I get to stay there. It's a very special place...with special people...

Hilke Breder said...

Looks like a great class! I love your unposed shots of the kids. At that age the kids have such focus, so unselfconscious! And you must be so proud of Matty!

Diane said...

What fun. I wish I could have joined in.
We just had a beach house family reunion with eight kids. I brought kids watercolors and paper along. They really enjoyed painting shells and sand-dollars, both using them as models and painting on them. And I got a kick out of joining in and watching them.
Shows with even my small amount of experience you can lead this kind of activity.

Banjo52 said...

Kids, nature, paints for young and old. You did a good thing, I'd say. (This is dumb, but I can't help thinking ahead a few hundred years to Martians or merely other earthlings discovering these rocks, a la the cave paintings we get so worked up about--what will they say about us?).