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Norwalk Catholic students' art feature watercolor, self-portrait

Cary Ashby • Feb 15, 2018 at 5:00 PM

Norwalk Catholic School fourth-grade student Mylee Reer is pleased with the way her artwork turned out.

The daughter of Zac and Lisa, of Norwalk, painted a farm using watercolor and Sharpie markers as part of an assignment from Leslie Kline, who teaches art for kindergarten through the sixth grade. She had requested her students consider painting something they have seen in this part of Ohio.

“She knew how to use light and dark,” Kline said. “You have to work with layers (in watercolor). She was patient enough until the next round … to add another layer of paint to create more depth.”

Reer’s favorite medium is watercolor.

“If you want it dark, you use less water. If you want it light, you use more water,” the student said.

For another assignment, fourth-grade student Kellen McDonnell created a self-portrait for his version of “The Scream” by Edvard Munch. McDonnell’s work includes oil paint and collage.

“We took photographs of the kids (first). They didn’t know why they were doing it,” said Kline, who had her students imagine they were “hearing something awful.”

Reer and McDonnell’s artwork will be on display in Columbus. They will be displayed at the State Teacher’s Retirement Systems building, 275 E. Broad St., starting Saturday and going through March 16, during the hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. A recognition ceremony will be held from 2:30 to 3:30 p.m. March 3.

McDonnell’s self-portrait will be in the 2018 Ohio Art Education Association’s Young People’s Art Exhibition, which represents students in kindergarten through the eighth grade. He is the son of Ryan and Sara, of Norwalk.

Kline chose to submit McDonnell’s’s artwork for three reasons: His unique expression — with his ears covered, the perspective and the way he used oil pastel.

“His use of oil pastel was very good. His use of perspective was great too,” the NCS teacher said.

Reer was chosen as an exhibitor for the 38th annual Youth Art Month Exhibition, sponsored by the Ohio Art Education Association.

Before painting their versions of “The Scream,” Kline’s students studied Munch, whose family was plagued by illness, and freshened up on perspective. The art teacher said the perspective lessons were needed because in Munch’s painting, the screaming person is on a bridge and there are people in the background.

“He uses his artwork to express his emotions. This was all about (how) he thought nature was screaming at him,” Kline said. “We focused on expressions and how we can use art to express ourselves.”

Reer’s farm piece was part of lessons focusing on artist Grant Wood, who is best known for his painting “American Gothic,” which features a farmer and his wife in front of their house.

“Most people don’t know about his landscapes because they focus on ‘American Gothic,’” said Kline, who appreciates Reer’s use of perspective. “She had a good use of perspective, which is a hard concept to grasp. Sometimes junior-high students have trouble with that.”

When teaching art, Kline said she tries to build confidence with her students.

“One way is entering in these contests,” she added. “I want them to move on with art when they have the choice.”

Three Norwalk Catholic School students won prizes in the annual Barnes Wendling CPA Thanksgiving art contest. Fourth-grader Stephanie Schaffer was a grand-prize winner while Elaina Coriell, a third-grade student, and Aubrey Dilger, who is in the fourth grade, won smaller prizes.

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