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Students leave lasting impression

Eighth-graders finish Monet-inspired painting for display at Castaic Library

Posted: June 6, 2009 7:49 p.m.
Updated: June 7, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Castaic Middle School eighth-graders, from left, Jessica Angel, Peighton Hall, Amanda Sanchez, art teacher Carrie Garcia, Rachelle Lyman, Corrin Bond and Samantha Collette unveil their impression of Claude Monet's painting, "The Boat of Giverny," which hangs behind them at the Castaic Library on Saturday.

Thanks to a group of talented middle school and elementary students, visitors to the Castaic Library can gaze at a famous piece of artistic impressionism with a local creative twist.

Fifteen honors art students from Castaic Middle School and nine students from Castaic Elementary School spent two months creating their version of "The Boat at Giverny" by French impressionist painter Claude Monet.

Several of the young artists revealed the inspired painting Saturday as they drew open a teal curtain exposing the masterpiece to the public, proud parents and teachers. The painting is the first to cover the less-than-one-year-old library's walls.

"Seeing the progress and seeing everyone work on it together every day, it's a great feeling to give it to the community," said eighth-grader Amanda Sanchez.

Staff of the County of Los Angeles' Castaic Library chose Monet's work because it flowed with the coloring of the library's walls. They then enlisted the help of art teacher Carrie Garcia's middle school honors students and Castaic Elementary teacher Cynthia Hatton's students to create the fresh work.

Youth services librarian Kelly Behle said the goal was to incorporate a broad age range of students to create a community experience and to give more students of sense of ownership of the library.

"Students can grow up coming to this library and 10 years from now say, ‘I painted that painting,'" she said.

The original canvas was donated by Rosalind Wayman, senior deputy for L.A. County Supervisor Michael Antonovich, and Santa Clarita Valley residents Serge and Corina Hernandez framed the final painting.

But when it came to the creativity, "the kids did all the gridding and painting from start to finish," Garcia said.

Before picking up their paintbrushes, the students had to photocopy the original painting in the proper dimensions and draw the image through a process called "gridding."

Gridding is not tracing but a method of enlarging something by hand-eye coordination and mathematics, Garcia said.

While Garcia had to teach her students some techniques for painting an impressionistic work, her students are "talented kids" who "for the most part, jumped right in and really did a great job," she said.

While referring to the challenges of painting an impressionist piece, eighth-grader Peighton Hall said, "You had to get every detail right. It's like a detailed mess."

Hall agreed with eighth-grade friend Jessica Angel who said it is inspiring to know they'll have a story to tell in the future when their own children visit the library.

The project proved to be challenging for the fourth-grade students who had never worked with acrylic paint, but they overcame their obstacles and Hatton, their teacher, said she was proud of them.

"We had already had some experience with painting in our classroom with water color but it was pretty hard to get inside the lines and to paint with only the tip of the paintbrush," said fourth grader Eric Cheney.

Painting is a favorite hobby of Cheney's who was proud to have his painting on public display where everyone can see it.

"I think it is amazing because I have helped to contribute to a public library," he said.


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