My sumi adventures this spring back on Whidbey Island were full of wonderful teaching opportunities. Perhaps the most surprising was at the Island Christian Academy when I was selected as a “famous artist” by a third grade student. She bought a copy of Super Simple Sumi-e and painted a number the animals by herself, then did some research about sumi-e and presented it all to her class. When I went to see the art fair at the school, imagine my surprise when I saw my name next to Rembrandt, DaVinci, Monet, etc – the famous artists chosen by other students! Was I ever surprised and thrilled! I later had the chance to teach classes there and the students came to visit the Whidbey Art Gallery where I show my paintings.
I also taught 3rd and 4th graders at South Whidbey Elementary School and decided to introduce some new animals into the mix. First was a horse since this is the Year of the Horse and second was an orca whale, the mascot of the school named “Bubbles”. The paintings were later mounted a a very large piece of paper for display and ended up being a “Wall of Sumi-e” at the South Whidbey Arts Festival at the end of May! It’s is so rewarding to work with kids in this way – success breeds success and builds self-esteem!
Super Simple Sumi-e won another gold medal last fall in the Gelett Burgess Children’s Book awards! These awards highlight excellence in family-friendly books – which in this case is in the Arts category. This medal is in addition to a Gold Medal from Mom’s Choice Awards and a Silver from the Moonbeam Children’s Book Awards. And along with another gold medal I had the chance to teach sumi-e in a variety of settings in Minnesota during the fall and this very cold winter. Two highlights stand out – the first was teaching at a Conference for Young Artists in Marshall, MN which drew inspired kids from all over the southwestern part of the state. And then this winter I had a chance to teach sumi-e to adopted Chinese children and their parents to celebrate Chinese New Year – the year of the horse – sponsored by the the Families with Children from Asia. And also a first for me – getting to demonstrate super simple sumi-e and later teach a class for Wet Paint Art in St Paul, MN! Here are some photos from that event.