Teens brush up on oils

Published 12:24 am Saturday, April 21, 2012

Virginia Museum of Fine Arts visiting artist and educator Marjorie Perrin gives expert advice to Lakeland High School students Johnny Wilson and Carlie Salmon.

Art students from Suffolk’s four high schools got a taste of oil painting — many for the first time — when a special visitor from the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts came to Lakeland High School Friday.

Thanks in part to the Suffolk Art League, students benefited from the valuable experience of Marjorie Perrin, an artist for 35 years and teacher at the museum for 25 years.

Students established their compositions with drawings, mixed colors and were instructed on brush technique.

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Each student worked from a different photo, mixing his or her own colors from a limited palette.

“We had a group critique so they could each see and plan from one another,” Perrin said.

Perrin said she doesn’t visit high schools as often as art leagues and art groups. “I love to see the light bulbs go off in each person,” she said.

“A lot of the time you are telling them things they already understand but don’t know how to carry out. It helps them go the next step to carry out their creative ideas.”

Lakeland student Johnny Wilson said he hadn’t used oil paints before. “It’s always good to learn a new medium if you are trying to get a career in art,” he said.

Fellow Lakeland student Carlie Salmon liked learning to create different textures and perspectives with the oil paints. “It’s because it’s thicker,” she said.

Carlyne Thorndike, from Nansemond-Suffolk Academy, said the beach scene she was creating could be Virginia Beach, Nags Head or the Outer Banks.

“I’ve never painted with oils,” she said. “I’m mixing colors and painting with different textures.”

Nansemond River High School student Jaelin Smith said oil paints have many different qualities from watercolors.

“It gives you a different variety of colors to mix,” she said. “It’s easier to blend more and even if you make a mistake it’s easier to cover it up than with watercolor.”

The class was organized by the museum’s Office of Statewide Partnerships, art league Executive Director Linda G. Bunch said.