Explorations in Art (and Nature)

A Gramma Writes About “Explorations in Art”

“An art lesson with Sue is about much more than drawing or painting techniques. I                          have recently had two days of art with Sue together with my 10-year-old granddaughter. In Sue’s studio, we were inspired by the art and music that surrounded us while we worked. We practiced technique but also began to recognize our own styles. We spent time outdoors, skating, shovelling, hiking, drinking mint tea on a hillside, observing and sketching, and learning through our eyes, our ears, our fingers, our feet, and our hearts. My granddaughter went on her first ever hike with Sue, who introduced her to the pleasure of finding the tiniest flowers, the intimacy of sitting in a small grove of trees, the delightful precariousness of crossing a stream and the joy of running downhill. These days were a lovely gift to both of us, of bonding and of learning so much about art and the art of living.”

At its most basic, “Explorations in Art” is one-on-one art lesson that lasts at least two hours. It takes place here at Kerry Farm, in my art room or out and about around the farm. Most often, it involves two explorers – myself and a young person.

That said, there are all kinds of exceptions. Sometimes “Explorations in Art” includes two children or a parent/grandparent and child. Sometimes adults or teens come. Sometimes it lasts half a day or a whole day. Sometimes we spend time in a natural place, such as at the ice rink or exploring nearby Pheasant Creek Coulee. There is no set curriculum – “Explorations in Art” follows your (child’s) curiousity, interests, and desire to learn.

Let’s get out in the natural world! As “Explorations in Art” approaches the 5 year mark, I want to place more emphasis on being in nature as much as possible, and on making the connection between art and the natural world. Developing a relationship with the natural world in all seasons, learning to really “notice”, and honing observation skills will enrich a young person now, and throughout their life.

Where: Kerry Farm is located on Stone Church Road, near Abernethy, Sask.

When: For some, a two hour block of time can fit in after school. For others, weekends or school holidays are best. Some youth come once a month or every two weeks; others come when they can.

What:   If we can spend time in nature during our two hours, we will.  Here are some examples of 2 hour  introductory sessions where your child I get to know each other:

  • Basic drawing skills
  • Fearless watercolours
  • Paper collage

Other possibilities include plein air painting or drawing, papier mache, pastels, ink, and working with recyclables, portraits, drawing animals, and painting flower pots. (I don’t teach acrylic or oil painting).

  • Cost includes most art supplies.(there are some exceptions.) I accept cash, personal cheques, e-transfers and barter.  If your child has an interest in art and you do not have the means to pay for art lessons, please contact me. I offer a sliding scale from 0 (no cost) to the amounts outlined above.
    • A two hour one-on-one session is $50.
    • If you buy three one-on-one sessions ahead, the cost is $130. 
    • Ten sessions costs $420.
    • A two hour session with 2 participants is $30 a participant for a total of $60. 


Guiding Principles

  • The natural world is the greatest art studio. When possible, we will spend time in the natural world as part of our art practice. All of us need movement, so movement (dance, walk, stretching, tree climbing, skating) will be a part of our time together.
  • Each individual has their own unique “style” and way of seeing and experiencing the world. As a guide, I hope to discover your child’s style and work with them to develop new skills to express themselves more fully. Although “cookie cutter” lessons have benefits, each child will pursue their own path.
  • Creating art is an absorbing, positive, and joyful practice that can enrich your whole life. We often identify the “artist” in a classroom at a very young age. While it is true that some people have natural talent in the arts, everyone has the inherent ability to learn to draw. My own experience is that practicing art for fun helps me deal with stress, provides me with calm times, and increases my enjoyment of life enormously. Our kids are often rushed through life – an hour or two of art provides a quiet centre which many children absolutely soak up. Children and youth often tell me that is a very calming, yet fun experience.
  • Noticing beauty can be an every day practice. There is beauty all around us, even in the most commonplace objects. An art practice helps us open our eyes and truly see the world with gratitude.
  • I will share ideas  with students for practicing art at home, so they can develop a life-long practice of creating art. I feel most successful as a guide when I learn that students continue to create art at home simply because they love to do so. Art does not have to cost a lot of money. I will share examples of art that is inexpensive to create.
  • Teaching is a two way path. I have been teaching or guiding people of all ages for many years, and this I know: I always learn more than I teach. Your children will also be my teachers in a very real way. It is a gift to learn from them and with them. We  explore together.