DENHAM SPRINGS — Abigail Wallner, 12, carefully listened to instructions from artist Paulette Ferguson as she drew a pelican perched on a pier.

“Draw the oval for the body,” Ferguson instructed.

The instruction was part of Kids Art Fun Day on Saturday at the Arts Council of Livingston Parish Gallery in Denham Springs. The Art Fun Day and Open House was for children of all ages, and parents were able to browse an exhibit of children’s book illustrations by Ferguson while their children enjoyed one-on-one creative time with the artist.

For Abigail, the experience was a fun one and her drawing, which, when completed, displayed hints of brown and blue, wasn’t difficult at all, she said.

“If I look at a picture, I can usually get the image of it,” Abigail said.

Drawing “is all about visual relationships, special relationships,” Ferguson told Abigail.

“She has a love for art, and she’s wanted to get into art camp for the summer so we thought we’d check this out,” said Abigail’s mother, Denise Wallner. She said she thought “this was something to show her more of what art is about. I think it’s great.”

The Arts Council of Livingston Parish intends to keep children interested in art through exhibits that will be held throughout the year, and by rotating different local artists for six weeks at a time, Ferguson said.

Next month, the Arts Council will feature Michael Verrett, a local author of children’s books.

The Arts Council of Livingston Parish is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that was started by a group of volunteers who realized that communities with strong arts and cultural values have strong economic and educational advantages, their website states.

Since its inception, the Arts Council has been a catalyst for artistic development in our area. “Our organization ensures a rich, multi-faceted heritage for present and future generations,” the website states.

“I guess you get to show your expression … it doesn’t have to look like someone else’s,” Abigail said about her watercolor pelican painting.

In addition to the exhibits, Ferguson said the Arts Council plans to once again host Saturday art classes although the schedule is still being finalized.

“Parents can drop their kids off,” Ferguson said. “It’s a great opportunity to expose a child to the arts and for ones who have never been exposed to art to be introduced to it.”

“It (art) is the basis for learning,” Ferguson added.

On the Internet: Upcoming Arts Council events: http://artslivingston.org.

Ferguson’s art: http://www.fineartbypaulette.com.