Okotoks students showcase creations

By: Tammy Rollie

  |  Posted: Wednesday, Feb 12, 2014 08:38 am

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A dozen junior high students are getting a taste of what it’s like to be professional artists this month.

Westmount School Grade 8 and 9 art students selected their best creations to hang on the walls of the Sheep River Library art gallery in Turner Valley this month with hopes of making a few sales.

Westmount School Grade 9 art student Kyle Robichaud admits he is a little nervous displaying his art in a gallery for the first time.

“It’s the first time other people have seen it other than my family so they are judging it,” he said.

Robichaud said he is confident in the work he does, considers himself a pretty good artist and is excited about the opportunity to showcase what he can do publicly.

“It’s a way to get your art out there and you can make money off of it,” he said.

Pieces Robichaud will have on display include a still life painting of vases using water paints, a pastel drawing of a lion’s face and a cartoon drawing of a Looney Tunes character.

Westmount School art teacher Melanie Morris connected with the Sheep River Library at the insistence of co-workers who live in Turner Valley.

She said she is eager to see how the public reacts to her students’ art.

“A lot of times people overlook student art,” she said. “They think because they are young they don’t have any talent. That is far from the truth.”

Morris said her students’ work is detailed, with influence from both traditional and modern values learned in her art class.

She said some work reflects the artistic impressions of Russian painter Wassily Kandinsky, with his use of shapes and pastel that became famous in the 1940s. Students delved into a variety of mediums including still life compositions, pastels and different techniques with tempura paint, she said.

“You are going to see everything – pictures of a dragon and pictures of a minion,” she said, referring to the animated movie Despicable Me.

Morris admits some of the work on display will be a result of her prodding, as her students, like many artists, are often their own worst critics.

With a bit of encouragement in some cases, Morris said the students are happy with the selections they’ve made to showcase at the art gallery.

“I think they just want the reassurance that it is good and I didn’t give them a good mark because I like them,” she said.

Morris hopes the experience gives her students the confidence and pride to display their work in the future, even if it’s not for financial gain.

Sheep River Library art coordinator Ruth Lindsay said the gallery is a great opportunity for area artists to display their work, even budding artists at Westmount School.

“These kids are pretty exceptional, the pictures I’ve seen at the school, and I think it’s a good way to encourage art,” she said. “They are all artists and they all live in our area and I think it’s good to encourage whatever age they are.”

Lindsay said it’s also an opportunity to mix things up a little bit at the gallery.

Artists interested in showcasing their work in library’s gallery can contact the library at 403-933-3278 or Ruth Lindsay at 403-933-3591.


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