Art League brings a workshop to students

Published 11:37 pm Friday, March 25, 2011

Art: Instructor Fenella Belle, right, discusses the importance of gripping your carving tool correctly when working with linoleum with Nansemond-Suffolk Academy junior, Michelle Fiebrandt and other workshop participants. Students from each of the Suffolk public high schools and NSA participated in the workshop hosted by the Suffolk Art League and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

Suffolk high school students were imitating Picasso on Friday.

Students from each public high school and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy experienced a hands-on workshop and presentation on reduction printmaking and Pablo Picasso. The program was presented by the Suffolk Art League and sponsored by the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.

“This is a really great opportunity,” said Annette Lowe, Lakeland High School art teacher. “The kids get to be exposed to things they don’t get the opportunity to be exposed to in the classroom.”

Email newsletter signup

Students were selected by their art teachers to attend the workshop.

The workshop began with a presentation that helped to familiarize students with the concept of printmaking — specifically reduction printmaking, a technique frequently used by Pablo Picasso that students don’t often have the opportunity to learn about. It also familiarized them with some of Picasso’s printmaking work.

Reduction printmaking is a process that involves carving a linoleum block at different levels and printing on the same piece multiple times to incorporate different colors and effects.

After the presentation, students began to sketch out the design that they would carve into linoleum blocks that are used to create their prints. Presenter Fenella Belle, an art instructor at Piedmont Virginia Community College and professional painter and printmaker, offered students and teachers instruction on how to create each layer of the print while using only a few select colors.

From there, Belle instructed students on how to handle their carving tools and carve into the linoleum blocks safely. Then students began to create the first layer of their design.

The workshop was held between 8:30 a.m. and 2 p.m., giving students the opportunity to complete their projects from start to finish.

“It’s like a studio situation,” Lowe said.

The Suffolk Art League typically hosts four workshops a year in the Suffolk schools.

The location of the workshops rotates among the four schools involved, so that each school has the opportunity to host the workshop.

Teachers can invite six to eight of their students to participate in the workshop when it is hosted at their school. When it is hosted at another school, they can bring three or four students with them to the workshop.

Because art teachers will not be able to send all of their students to attend these workshops, Lowe and other art teachers invite students they feel may continue pursuing their interests in art as a career or a hobby.

“I really like art, and I’m planning on studying art in college,” said Taylor Dice, junior at King’s Fork.

Dice plans to one day become an elementary school art teacher.

“I thought it would be a good opportunity to learn something new and get a chance to expand what I know in art,” said Emilie Black, junior at King’s Fork High School.

Although Black does not necessarily intend to pursue a career in art, she plans to continue taking art classes in college and to continue with art as a hobby.

The workshops are generally enjoyed by all, Lowe said.

“I think it’s been really good. I learned some things, and it’s fun,” said Kela Bogaard, junior at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

Even the instructor enjoyed the workshop experience.

“My favorite part is [that] people not sure if they can do it or not sure if they have a good design walk out with something concrete they are proud of,” Belle said. “Every one of these kids will walk out with their own idea from start to finish.”