Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Building Bridges with Art

This past week I taught printmaking to a group of Lowell  kids, ages 9-14 in a summer program called, "Art with Artists".  This children's art program was funded by a Parker Foundation grant written by my good painter friend, Meredith Fife Day, the program's coordinator.

For a creative theme, I presented lessons which looked critically at bridge design and construction. The students enjoyed creating bridges using a variety of printmaking techniques: roller printing, white line relief prints, & monoprints.

The kids looked at and talked about artwork created by the likes of Andy Warhol and his silk screened print, Brooklyn Bridge, Katsushika Hokusai's View of Mount Fuji Under a Bridge, The Pont du Gard Roman Aquaduct Over the Gard River, Avignon, France and Landscape with Bridge by Paul Schamberg.  I presented my plein air oil paintings of bridges as well.  

While sorting my own painting to prepare for class, I was surprised just how many bridge paintings were in my inventory.  I have always been attracted to the water's edge and boats of all kinds and so there should be no surprise to see a bridge crossing over streams, rivers and marshy areas where I have set up my easel.

Stone, wood or steel, each bridge is an engineering amazement: some are linear in design, others solid shape construction.  I must confess, I have never been attracted to Jersey Barrier bridges. Ugly! What a bane to the aesthetics of bridge design.  

The photos to the left are "Art with Artists" participants enjoying their 'printmaking' days.

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