The Herald Bulletin

July 3, 2013

Painting like the masters

Kids get inspired at The Anderson Center for the Arts

By Nancy R. Elliott The Herald Bulletin
The Herald Bulletin

---- — ANDERSON – Armed with charcoal sticks and paintbrushes, kids at The Anderson Center for the Arts are exploring art while they draw on inspiration from the masters.

Teacher Stephanie Cochran introduces the kids to a famous master artist during each one-hour class session, then the students create their own work of art.

During Monday’s class, Picasso was the subject at hand. Kids had no trouble absorbing Picasso’s Synthetic Cubism, as Cochran asked them to consider various works. Pointing to the artist’s famous piece, “Guernica,” she explained, “He was painting about the war and how it affected his hometown. He was really upset about it.”

She asked 13-year-old Austin Morgan what he saw in Picasso’s “The Three Musicians.”

“A violin, saxophone … . Maybe a piano,” said Morgan. When invited to create his own work, Morgan wasted no time. “This musician thing just gave me an idea.”

Keying off of Picasso’s work and Morgan’s own background playing the drums, the young artist quickly laid out his idea using charcoal. He then used an ink marker to highlight parts of his work. Finally, he used acrylic paints to bring the work to life.

“I have to pick the colors so it can look like me playing the drums,” said Morgan. “I based this off a drum set I have in the basement.”

Cochran invited Jacob Rowley, 6, to look at another of Picasso’s works, and asked him what he saw.

“That looks like nothing, really,” Rowley said at first. As Cochran drew his attention to a few details, Rowley looked more closely at Picasso’s “The School Girl,” and then announced, “Now, I’m starting to see it.”

Payton, not Picasso

Cochran showed Payton Fetty, 7, how Picasso’s style changed from the time he was a young artist painting more traditionally, to the Cubist works of his later life.

“That’s weird,” said Payton, suggesting perhaps that the progression might have followed a reverse path. He set to work with his charcoal, employing geometric shapes.

“When we’re done, I don’t want it to look like Picasso. I want it to look like Payton,” Cochran told him.

“The nice thing about charcoal, is you cannot mess up,” Cochran pointed out to the kids, showing them that it could be erased as well as smudged. They were also pretty tickled to learn that the art medium they were using was actually burnt wood.

Colton Fetty, 5, showed no hesitation jumping into his Picasso-esque work, happily managing to smudge his face and hands with charcoal, too. He progressed from charcoal to acrylics on his artwork, and then began adding a few stickers.

“Guess what. I put a flea on the dog,” said Colton, pointing to his work.

Rowley easily recalled a previous subject from the class, associating Pointillism with artist Georges Seurat. Fellow artist Morgan rewarded him by allowing him to select a drawing from his own portfolio to keep.

“I think Anderson should really have some art shows with kids, so kids can actually show what they do,” said Morgan. “The kids would actually be happy to show off their talent …. Somebody famous might see it and give them a good career.”

Cochran’s masters class is one of several summer offerings for kids. Summer Youth Art Camp is a four-day session taking place next week for 6-8 year-olds and 9-12 year-olds at two different times. Check the website for more info,, or call 765-649-1248. The arts center is at 32 W. 10th St.

Like Nancy Elliott on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @NancyElliott_HB, or call 640-4805.

What: Summer art classes and Summer Youth Art Camp Where: Anderson Center for the Arts, 32 W. 10th St., Anderson More info: Check out the website at or call 765-649-1248.