Melynda Enslow started the first session of her new Teens & Tweens Art Party by asking her students to create their own interpretations of Vincent Van Gogh’s famous painting “Starry Night,” with its swirling clouds and intensely glowing stars.
“I like teaching with this painting because it never comes out the same, not even for me,” she said.
Kids ages 9-19 gathered at noon Jan. 24 for the Teens & Tweens Art Party, sponsored by the Concord Parks and Recreation Department. The classes are designed to inspire the students by having them paint their artistic interpretations of famous works of art.
On two Saturdays each month, Melynda Enslow, 28, will lead youths in creating their own versions of established masterpieces.
Enslow brought the idea to the Concord Parks and Recreation Department in 2014 for a yearlong trial. The department now will offer the same classes to adults.
Enslow said that by imitating certain masterpieces, the young participants will gain confidence in their abilities to create and appreciate fine art.
During the three-hour class, each student used acrylic paints on canvas to create their own complete painting to take home. Enslow said the class uses acrylics because they dry faster than other media and allow the artist to build texture while adding layers.
“Use short strokes. Layer; don’t blend,” Enslow said, as each student began to build on top of the dark blue background they had painted.
Though the paint had dried, if they mixed the new paint on top too much, it simply would blend with the existing background into a new color.
“You see how you can texturize it by adding colors on top of each other,” Enslow said as the students tried the technique. “You don’t want to blend too much, because you want the layers to show as separate colors,” she said.
Piper Brown, 9, was the youngest artist in the Jan. 24 class. She said art was her favorite subject in school. Her mother, Stephanie Brown, said the Art Party was one of Piper’s birthday presents.
“She is excited about taking the course and can’t wait to take (her painting) to school to show to her art teacher,” Brown said.
Diego Dougherty, 10, said, “I like learning how you can use paints to build, mixing it up without making a different color.”
Cheyenne Long, 19, the oldest artist in class, said, “I am surprised I can actually do this type of painting. I usually do abstracts, but this is different.”
“It’s a little out of my comfort zone, but I am proud of my work today,” she said, adding that she probably would give the painting to her grandmother.
The class – as well as an Adult Art Party offered 5-8 p.m. the same days – will interpret “Starry Night” at the Feb. 7 and 28 classes before trying a new inspiration in March.