Thursday, August 18, 2011

My Crazy Whoa! Summer

Let me say that it's been a minute since my last I'm super glad to have you here reading this.  Thank you for joining me here.

From the beginning of the summer until about three weeks ago, I was on a magical ride.  I partnered with the Oak Forest Park District to start an art program called the “Art House” in Oak Forest, IL for young artists.  Our focus was learning art techniques while doing work in the community.  You can see a video and read an article about the Art House via the Oak Forest Patch.

Art House student, ©Toni Ruppert
 Half-way through the summer, I took on another program in Tinley Park, IL--teaching young people via the Tinley Park Park District Summer Art Camp.  We taught 4 weeks of non-stop action packed classes.  And we had an art show at the end of each week for parents and students.
Proud parent, ©Toni Ruppert
Student Show, ©Toni Ruppert
Well, the summer was Crazy Whoa! - borrowing a term from my teenage daughter.  We face painted at the Relay for Life(American Cancer Society).  We participated in the community kite fly in Oak Forest as well as the Oak Fest--a fun fair for families. 

Looking back, I'm like Wow! - I learned 3 things from my experience at the Art House and the Tinley Park Summer Art Camp: 
  • Young people have a lot to offer the world with their artistry and are genuinely interested in the world.
  • Many of my students needed a tiny bit of encouragement and once they got it--they were off running and creating. 
  • Flexibility was a must.  I learned to be absolutely adaptable in my plans.  One of my students, Maddie made sure I never got too stiff. Thanks Maddie!
With our last art show, my students decided to raise money to supply a huge dog bone for Orry, the Oak Forest K-9.  By selling their art, they raised not only that amount, but also enough for one month supply of food.  I was blown away by their generosity. 
Art House students with K-9 Orry
After teaching this summer, the magical ride concluded.  Last week, I realized that I had not painted in a month. NO PAINTINGS=NO EXPRESSION + NO EXPOSURE.  I'd been teaching young people art for several months.  Though I loved that part of my life too, much of my creativity went to the kids as I teach.  I knew it was time to get back in the studio. 

So last week, I started painting little landscapes near where I live.  Then we went for a little getaway this weekend.  And I painted three more little landscape paintings near the Fox River in Ottawa and Norway, IL.  It was like me and God time.  After not painting for a while, it’s like He whispered to me--”Just Do It.”

Painting on the Fox River, ©Toni Ruppert
Painting in Norway, IL, ©Toni Ruppert

So what’s next?  More teaching in the fall via the Art House in Oak Forest.  And more painting.  Definitely more painting.


Mary said...

Toni, so great to hear about your summer. Your enthusiasm and warmth leave me grinning. And the video is such a tribute to your spirit.

Toni Ruppert said...

Mary, Thanks for your lovely comment. I'm glad you enjoyed this post and that it made you smile.

Bonnie said...

Toni, love reading your words and hearing how much art is such a blessing for you; you have been a blessing for us. Brandon has been able to let his artistic talents soar, instead of just simmer! your paintings are beautiful. Hope to see you in the fall!

Toni Ruppert said...

Hi Bonnie! Thank YOU and Brandon both. Your encouragement is super valued. I loved having him in class. I can't wait to see more of his creations.