Since our last journal episode (part one), I moved from a shared place to my own place, thanks to the headmaster of the school. It was great because I started coming down with getting sick and I was worried to get others sick. So I welcomed the privacy and becoming isolated. Plus with heaters, I needed the warmth, the cold was not doing my health any good. So my living situation did improve. My health was another story. But the show must go on, right?
One of the other highlights of the art projects was taking the class outdoors. I scouted the area before and thought that it would make a great place to relax and create art. Away from noise, cars and other distractions. It was a 10 minute walk from school in the Chinese farmland. After a quick demo drawing, the kids just scattered on their own to find their patch of grass and started to draw and paint. I didn’t have to tell them that, they instinctively knew what to do. I encouraged and pointed out subjects at least, such as ducks, the farmland, water, homes, etc…
During the project, I finally talked with one of the people living in the village. An older woman who was friends of a local family, was caretaker of this girl toddler. She was about 18 months old, very big, quiet and cute. But in her short life, she already dealt with adversity. Her brothers didn’t seem to like her, and abused her enough that the caretaker intervened to help the child. I could never understand why little boys could ever behave that way towards their little sister, but at least the baby has a chance to grow up without violence around her. I never got her name, as the caretaker was telling me her story, and one of the volunteers was there to help translate. I’m considering doing a painting portrait of this little girl. It’s gonna being something special.
After 90 minutes outdoors, the kids did a fab job creating a variety of scenes in the area. I sensed they had a deeper appreciation of the area too. This project to me was so important to connect with nature and disconnect with time wasters like phones, social media and other stuff teens are into. Art can help slow things down, take in everything and just be. I hope the kids experienced that.
Later on, I asked what project did the kids like the most, and many of them said this outdoor one. I’m glad, because being out in nature is healing for anyone.
Part 3 with the big mural coming soon!