DENHAM SPRINGS -- While instructor Dena Olinde walked around and offered tips on color combinations, several young artists were busy at work bringing their imaginative illustrations to life.
And they had quite the variety.
One girl illustrated an underwater turtle, sketching the outline before coloring in a purple shell. Another girl drew a lion and gave it a blue mane of hair before filling in a sunny backdrop.
Another artist illustrated a fancy-dressed blue feline wearing a three-buttoned yellow sweater, while another created a narwhal, the majority of its red body under the sea while its yellow tusk rose above the surface.
Other animal illustrations included a bear, a bat perched on a tree branch, a butterfly with multi-colored wings, and a blue-and-green striped bumblebee with a “ZZZ” in a bubble above its head.
Meanwhile, one girl illustrated an orange bunny with tall green ears and streaks of blue running down its face, which she noted were tears.
“The poor bunny lost her carrot, so she’s sad,” the girl said.
Art camps returned to the Arts Council of Livingston Parish during the first two weeks of this month, when several young artists honed their skills in multiple visual arts camps under seasoned instructors.
The first session was conducted June 1-3 while the second session ran June 8-10. Students in the camps were made up of children ages 8-10 and ages 11-13.
The camps were in line with the stated mission of new ACLP President Ken Crotwell, who earlier this year said he wanted his tenure to build on the Arts Council’s emphasis on education. In recent years, the Arts Council has sent artists to lead classes in Livingston Parish schools, and workshops for all ages were held on a regular basis.
But in-person camps and classes were cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic, a blow to many young artists who were used to spending some of their summer days inside the Arts Council’s downtown Denham Springs gallery.
But with many restrictions being lifted over the last several weeks as more people have gotten vaccinated, young artists were allowed to return to face-to-face classes and camps.
And they showed up: The visual arts camps were nearly full this summer with young people wanting to work on their crafts.
The classes were led by Olinde and Kerry Curtin, two veteran teachers for the Arts Council who trained young artists in a variety of techniques.
Under Curtin, older students learned to draw and color using pencils, charcoal, and watercolors. Much of the artwork was based on “images of summer,” which included a still-life portrait of an egret in a swamp.
“That egret looks like it’s been eating a lot,” Curtin said jokingly to one student.
Curtin said many of his students participated in both sessions, giving them a variety of art to keep and display around their homes. He praised the young artists for the details they added to their swamp scenes, especially one young artist who added a cabinet to the house in the background.
“Lots of details,” Curtin said. “That’s what you want.”
Meanwhile, Olinde taught younger students in the first session how to create a batik design. They learned to make a design on fabric with glue, and then paint the fabric once the glue dried. The glue was then washed off to reveal the batik design.
In the second session, Olinde’s students learned how to scratch art using oil pastels and black acrylic paint. Once dry, the students etched a design onto the paper.
On the final day of camp, Olinde walked around as her students added a variety of watercolors to their animal-themed creations.
“Bright, bright colors is what I want to see,” she said.
This month’s camps were only ones scheduled at the Arts Council this summer, but there are other opportunities for young artists on the way.
Children ages 8 and up are invited to a “Shrinky Dinks” art class under Cherie Ducote-Breaux, another seasoned instructor and the current Arts Council of Livingston Parish Artist of the Year. During the class at the downtown gallery, students will have their choice of making a necklace pendant or a keychain.
The class will be held from 10:30 a.m. - 12 p.m. on Saturday, July 17. Cost is $15 per student and all supplies are included. Those wanting to reserve a spot are instructed to visit www.artslivingston.org and select “Book A Class” to register.
Before that, Curtin will lead his children’s Summer 2021 drawing and painting art class for grades 2-6 at South Live Oak Elementary School. The class will take place on four consecutive evenings, June 28 - July 1, from 6-7:30 p.m. The fee is $45 per session for non-members ($40 for Arts Council of Livingston Parish members).
Under Curtin, students will focus on the elements of art and the principles of design as they create drawings and paintings using images of summer as subject-matter. Exercises using pencil, charcoal, pastels, and watercolor will be completed during the sessions.
In other Arts Council news, the organization is nearing the end of its photography exhibit, which will conclude its two-month run on Saturday, June 26.
The next exhibit at the Arts Council will feature the Denham Springs Fine Art Association, which will display work over the months of July and August. This exhibit will begin on Wednesday, July 14, and end on Saturday, Aug. 28. A reception free and open to the public will take place from 10 a.m. - 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 24.