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March 2016: Colorful REFLECTION

April 1, 2016 | By Rachel Zink

“OOOH! This looks like FUN!”

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That’s what Arts For Life student, Piper, said when she walked into the art room at Brenner Children’s Hospital last week and saw the lesson example for these Tie Dye Mini Portraits hanging in the window. Clearly drawn like a magnet to the bright, swirling colors of the example, she tipped the box of liquid watercolor paints toward her, peering in, ready to make her selections.

As part of 2016’s theme the Artist’s Journey, Arts For Life students like Piper have spent the first three months of the year REFLECTing: on themselves, their goals, aspirations, and personal journeys through their artwork. March has offered the opportunity to wrap up this period of reflection with lessons that focus on Portraits, Storytelling, and Background.

When Program Director Betsey McLawhorn saw Piper’s reaction to the tie dye portrait example, she knew immediately that this was a process Piper was really going to dive into: “I knew that making only one tie-dyed piece of diffusion paper was not going to suffice. I suggested she play with the colors, exploring the magic of mixing.” Betsey encouraged Piper to keep mixing and experimenting, and Piper ended up with four different beautiful, bright, tie-dye backgrounds. And with four people in her family—well, Piper knew that a family portrait session was in order. Two hours after taking a seat, Piper had completed a family portrait more precious than any photo session could produce.


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Above: Piper’s Portraits of (from left to right): her Dad, Brother Watts, Mom, and Herself