Young people get creative at Youth Week art workshop

Archie Wall was quite rightly proud of his end result.

YOUTH Week came to life at the Tea Gardens Hawks Nest SLSC, with MidCoast Council hosting accomplished professional artist Sharon Tudor Smith to lead a fun and interactive art workshop on Tuesday 16 April.

With the stunning backdrop of Bennetts Beach and Yacaaba, ten young people aged 12-24 attended the free event, and gained some valuable knowledge of painting techniques that Sharon clearly demonstrated on canvas at the front.

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The chosen image was of a cactus, with a gently fading sunset sky background, which attendees were free to re-interpret as they wished.

“Enjoy it, we don’t want perfection, we want fun,” Sharon told the group.

“Be really expressive, and do something amazing.”

The workshop began with outline drawing simple shapes like ovals and circles, lines, and ‘panels’ in pencil on canvas, over which the fading colour strokes could then be applied.

Most attendees exhibited a clear passion for painting, radiating energy as they shrugged off anxieties and got into their paintings, following Sharon’s guidance.

“Light colours first, dark colours last, and be mindful of which direction the ‘light source’ in the image is coming from,” Sharon instructed.

Archie Wall led the way in experimenting with a flicking effect to make the final image really pop, then actively encouraged and helped others.

Many youths sought Sharon’s feedback, and could be seen allowing themselves a few quiet grins of pride towards the end.

“I surprised myself, having never painted like this before… it’s never going to be perfect,” said one attendee, Casey.

Finishing touches, shadow lines and cactus spike accentuations, as well as some vivid succulent blooms brought on both elation and relief, once the session ended, and parents arrived to be genuinely amazed at what had been achieved in just three hours.

Workshop attendees even started showing photos of their own previous artworks, discussing and encouraging, conversing and complimenting each other.

The workshop also formed a study in how perfectionism can hold back the beauty in the world.

“Some of the most famous artists’ work is messy, like Picasso or Matisse, or Brett Wheatly and his charcoals,” Sharon said.

“I learnt how to be an artist by copying and studying the classics and greats.

“Perfectionism stifles most artists – don’t be tempted to keep fixing and changing,” was Sharon’s sound advice.

By Thomas O’KEEFE

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