If you could paint a picture of a landscape that you’ve seen, which one would you choose and why?
This was the question we asked the young artists in our Hudson River painting workshop last week. As you might expect from a group of six- to ten-year-olds, the answers varied quite a bit:
“I picked my yard. That’s where I play soccer with my brother and I like playing soccer” – Brandon Sims, age 8.
“I painted the park by my house” – Janet Ells, 6
“I did the sky, because blue is my favorite color” – Eli Jackson, 6.
As part of Wichita Art Museum’s programming around its current exhibit on Hudson River School landscapes, the painting workshop presented an opportunity for kids to learn more about the Hudson River School and its significance in American culture.
Participants had an opportunity to look at the paintings in the exhibit and try to re-create their favorite. They also learned why portraying these natural landscapes was so important to the Hudson River School artists. “We learned that they wanted to paint what America was like,” Addie Hill, 10, said. “The landscapes were really big and open and they had wild animals and stuff, so it showed that people in America were really brave and sort of exploring all the time, like the pioneers.”
Near the end of the workshop, Addie connected this idea to her own life by thinking about what landscape she wanted to draw, and why it was important to her. “I picked the creek that’s by my house,” she said. “It makes me think of being by yourself and thinking about things, because there’s lots of rocks to sit on and read. There are lots of trees and stuff around it that I drew in the picture, so I think if someone looked at it they would know that it’s a place where people like to sit where it’s nice and quiet”
Addie said her favorite part of the workshop was drawing this landscape. “I got to draw a picture of somewhere I’ve seen so other people can see what it looks like too. It’s like the pictures we learned about, where we could see the places [the Hudson River artists] were painting even though we hadn’t been there. I want to show people what my creek looks like even if they haven’t been there.”
Do you have kids who love to create art about the world around them? Sign them up for this workshop to learn basic painting techniques and have fun sharing their art with others. There will be four more sessions of the Hudson River painting workshop before the end of April. View the full schedule here.