Artist in Residence Guides Junior High Students

GC Arts Council helps students color their world with free art program

Allison Baumann’s 8th grade art class at Cactus Canyon Junior High, 801 W. Southern Ave. in Apache Junction, hosted the Artist in Residence program and was recently treated to five days of free art instruction.

For five days, Vanessa Ortiz shared her knowledge and enthusiasm of drawing and painting with the creative teenagers. Using pen and ink and watercolor, Ortiz challenged the students to pull from their imagination and do a 30-minute ink drawing.

Next, they learned how to compose a landscape with foreground, middle ground and sky. Additional instruction included how to draw a portrait using the correct proportions.

Later in the week, Ortiz demonstrated several watercolor techniques, such as wet-on-wet and mixing color on the paper. The students then added watercolor to their ink drawings.

“Many of the students were enthused about trying new things,” said Kathy Mitchell, who, along with fellow artist Mary Stokrocki, assisted Ortiz in conducting the week-long classes. “When asked what they learned or liked the best about this project, most of the students responded with specific comments such as, ‘I learned how to blend colors,’ or ‘I liked how you can make shadows with crosshatching and dots using ink.’ Students also said they were pleased to learn how to draw better eyes for their portraits.”

Ortiz sees art in a joyful, optimistic way. She is known for her use of beautiful color and sharing the emotions of life through painting. She is an active member in the Artists of the Superstitions art league, she teaches at the community college and has been featured in art galleries in Mesa, Phoenix, Gold Canyon and Apache Junction. She works primarily with alcohol inks and watercolor to achieve her whimsical, colorful creations.

The completed student art work will be displayed at the Gold Canyon Arts Council’s Jan. 16, 2019, concert at the Gold Canyon Methodist Church, 6640 S. Kings Ranch Road in Gold Canyon.

Photo above: Artist in Residence Vanessa Ortiz works with a student to perfect her skills.

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