DENHAM SPRINGS — Paulette Ferguson is passionate about art — and passionate in her belief that art classes for children will help them succeed in all aspects of their lives: from history and math classes to careers in engineering and the arts.
Ferguson has been working with the Arts Council of Livingston Parish to teach children the finer points of painting and drawing. More than 19 children, in grades two through six, attended the Council’s latest children’s art series: Art Sizzle.
The focus of the classes, held for five days for more than an hour each day, was elements of art and basic principles of design. Ferguson said she introduced the youths to basic drawing and painting techniques, famous artists, art styles and art terminology.
During the classes, students created drawings and paintings in traditional media, including pencil, charcoal, oil pastels and acrylic paint, Ferguson said.
They also learned problem-solving skills.
“Art is more than just play; it can help them through every area of their lives, for the rest of their lives” she said.
“If a child wants to become a decorator, he or she has to know about color,” Ferguson said. “If they want to become a mathematician, they need to know about formulas and measurements.”
Research has shown that people who doodle while listening to someone else tend to remember more of what was said than listeners who don’t doodle, Ferguson said.
As 7-year-old Kelsey Wells and other students worked on their paintings during the June 25 class, Mariah Johnston, 10, used a small amount of rubbing alcohol — often used as paint remover — to correct a portion of her painting of a tropical fish.
“It rubs some of the paint away,” Mariah said, adding that she never knew about the technique before attending Art Sizzle.
Mariah says the class taught her other techniques — like the correct way to use a pencil for shading — that have ultimately helped her draw better.
Daylon Westmoreland, 9, painted her picture of a tropical fish using information about primary and secondary colors she learned earlier in the week.
Karleigh Wells, 7, was quick to share her knowledge of blending colors and said she blended red and blue to make purple and create a tropical fish painting using bright colors.
“This is all part of the creative process,” Ferguson said. “They find out the process, so if something doesn’t work, they can find another way to do it.”
Art Sizzle is just one of the classes sponsored by the Arts Council, 133 Hummell St., Denham Springs. The mission of the Council for 2014-2015 is to introduce the “Learning through Art” project in second- and third-grade classes in the elementary schools in Livingston Parish. The project shows how reading, writing, math and history can be learned through both visual and performing arts, their website states.
A list of upcoming classes can be found at www.artslivingston.org.