Abstract Art at Wellspring Living

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This week Paint Love had the great privilege of bringing an abstract art class to the girls at Wellspring Living in Atlanta, GA.  Paint Love artist Ashley Hizer, taught a fun, creative and interactive class to the girls in residence at Wellspring. Based in Atlanta, GA, Wellspring Living rescues and restores girls out of sex trafficking. Wellspring was one of the first organizations Paint Love served and continues to be one of our favorite organizations to work with and groups of youth to love on.  This week's project was no different!!  This was our first trip to their new facility.  In true Wellspring style, the new residence was warm and inviting.  They have created an environment that works hard to make the girls feel loved and supported.  From beautiful themed rooms, to a state of the art kitchen donated by Chick-fil-A and to (one of our favorites) the "Clothing Closet" donated by the Junior League of Atlanta filled with everything a girl could want!

We felt so welcomed by the staff, coaches, and the girls upon arrival!  Ashley Hizer had a room full of eager artists.  She spent two hours teaching, painting, and encouraging the girls.  Beginning with stories and samples of famous abstract artists including Jackson Pollock, Wassily Kandinsky, and Willem de Kooning, she taught about the differences in brush strokes and honed in on the "freedom" these painters used in expressing their creativity.  Ashley even brought in a few pieces from her own work.  We love her style and we were so excited for the girls to get to see her work in person!  (You can check out some of Ashley's incredible work here.)

Like sprinters at a race line, the girls were ready to dive in and begin creating.  With paint brushes flying and the freedom to create whatever they wanted the girls quickly embraced their creativity.  No one was want for ideas!  It was such a joy to watch them paint, paint-over, and land on a finished piece they were pleased with.

We might have gotten a little messier than usual in this class, but when your expressing yourself…there are no limits!  When it was time to wrap up, the girls jumped up and began to help us clean!  What an amazing treat to be able to serve these sweet and generous young women!  It was such a joy to be around a loving group. And it was so much fun to watch Ashley share her amazing talent!

When asked about the event, Ashley said, "It was such an honor and privilege to work with such an awesome organization. Thanks to Paint Love to connecting me to these incredible girls who I believe blessed and taught me much more than I could have imparted. They created some beautiful masterpieces expressing their individual personalities, and I look forward to making more art with them!"

We are beyond grateful for the work, time and resources Ashley put in to making this event so great! We are so lucky to have artists like Ashley who  have a heart for youth in Atlanta! We also want to thank the staff and young ladies at Wellspring for making us feel so welcome and our generous donors Amy Motteram and the Noel Family for providing canvases.  It was a wonderful event!! We look forward to our next opportunity to serve once again at Wellspring.

Norton Park Elementary School

Based, in metro-Atlanta, Paint Love connects artists and organizations in the community for a positive impact on youth.   Yesterday's project at Norton Park Elementary School kicked off Paint Love's fall event schedule!  What a wonderful way to start the season!  We are thrilled to be making an impact in our local community and partnering with such amazing artists and organizations. Paint Love artist, Morgan Corbett, led a group project for 3rd and 4th graders at Norton Park.  Together, they created a large painting to hang in their school.  Norton Park Elementary is a Title 1 School, where 92%-93% of their student population is on a free-reduced lunch program.  With limited resources for guest artists, Norton Park's Art Teacher, Sabrina Barilone reached out to Paint Love to provide a fun and unique art experience for their students.  We were thrilled to be involved!

Many of the students in the class had not worked on canvas before, so Morgan, with insight from Ms. Barilone and support from Norton Park Principal, Doug Daugherty decided to do a mural painting on canvases that would be hung in the school.  Morgan suggested painting of picture of the school building.  Morgan, an art teacher herself and professional photographer, used photoshop to manipulate photos of the school to create a bright and colorful reference photo for the students to paint (in a style similar to Pop Art works by Andy Warhol).   She gridded the photo into 42 sections and gave each student a piece of the picture to paint on their canvas.  What resulted was beautiful!

With less than 2 hours with the group of students, Morgan taught the students about Andy Warhol, acrylic paint, and the concept of painting on stretched canvases.  She demonstrated how to draw out their piece of the picture and mix the paint for their canvas.  The students were amazing. Their attention to detail, patience, and welcoming hearts made the project so successful.  The supportive environment and artistic foundation Ms. Barilone had created in her art room certainly paved the way for us to step in for a day and make something so wonderful!   As the students finished their piece of the "puzzle", we laid the canvases outside the window, so they could begin to see their picture come together.  They were so excited about seeing their work in the school.  After the canvases were complete, we hung them together on the wall. We hope this is a piece the students, teachers, and staff at Norton Park will enjoy for a long time!

Principal Daugherty commented on the event saying, "This was a win-win for our school and students. Paint Love was gracious in their time and resources spent with our students. Without their willingness and kind hearts, our students would not have been able to be part of a creating a wonderful, modern piece of art that is the talk of the school. And it was more than just painting for them. It was educational, inspirational, and rewarding. Paint Love is to be commended for being able to bring those experiences to students. Their mark on our students will be reflected and honored each time a student, teacher, or parent walk by the amazing student created mural painting that will brighten our halls for years to come."

When discussing this week's event, Paint Love artist, Morgan Corbett noted, "I am thrilled I had the opportunity to impact these students in a creative way! It was so meaningful to me that we were able to give these students a unique art making experience that they might not have otherwise. Paint Love is doing great things in Atlanta and I love being a part of it!"

We want to say a quick thank you to all of the wonderful individuals and families who made this project possible.  Thank you so much for the amazing support Sabrina Barilone and Principal Doug Daugherty provided.  They have created such a loving and inspiring environment for their students!  We want to say thank you to the parent volunteers that came in to help us during our event.  A special thank you to the Noel family for donating canvases and to Julie Ann McKevitt for donating the remaining canvases, paints, and brushes to Paint Love.  And finally, a big THANK YOU to our artist Morgan Corbett.  Without the love, time, and creativity of our Paint Love artists, we would not be able to go and love on so many local students!  

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Kate's Club Art Day: Empowering Teens Who Have Faced Loss


Last Sunday Paint Love had the incredible privilege of partnering with Kate's Club, an Atlanta based organization founded by Kate Atwood that empowers children and teens facing life after the death of a parent or sibling.  

Two Paint Love artists, Kim McGill Stuart and Penny Treese, both wax encaustic artists, led the club's teen students in purposeful art projects supporting the mission of Kate's Club and empowering the teens who have faced loss and grief.  What resulted was an amazing afternoon spent sharing and creating. We witnessed the touching genuineness of Kate's Club students, the love of their staff, and the support of their wonderful volunteers!  It was an honor to be a part of the work they are doing and we are so proud of Kim and Penny for creating an incredible day with such thoughtful and beautiful projects.  The staff of Kate's Club loved the art projects so much many staff members joined us downstairs to participate and create artwork of their own!!  We are beyond excited that we get to go back at the end of this month to teach another group of teens!  

A big THANK YOU to our artists and Kate's Club for creating a place where we can PAINT LOVE in the lives of youth!!

Below are some pictures and descriptions of the projects Kim and Penny so carefully planned and so lovingly demonstrated!!

Before starting our projects for the afternoon, we had a quick pre-event group meeting.  There were several other great organizations volunteering that day at Kate's Club including Ron Anglin, a comic and educational juggler, Camp Twin Lakes, and the Junior League of Atlanta.

Project One:  Burnt Paper and Melted Wax on Canvas

Each student was able to participate in two projects.  The first project was led by Penny Treese.  She wanted this project to represent "Burning Away Sad Thoughts and Creating New Ones."

Penny gave each student a large sheet of paper.  They used the sheet to write or illustrate their feelings, thoughts, and emotions.  They were given time to move around the room and find a comfortable place to write everything down from happy thoughts to feelings of loneliness or sadness to drawings of meaningful objects.

Once the students filled up their sheet of paper, they ripped the sheet into as many pieces as they liked and placed the pieces in a bucket.

We took the students outside and set their torn pieces of paper on fire.

Penny asked the students to watch their thoughts go up in smoke and image their fears going into the heavens, into the universe, where they can’t hurt anyone.

She encouraged the artists to watch the ripped pieces and fragments of the words burn.  Penny asked the students to notice how their hearts felt as they watch the flame and smoke rise.  We helped the students cover their bucket to extinguish the flames before the paper burnt completely to ash.  (We also brought some water to make sure the fire was completely out.)

We love that Kate's Club staff and volunteers joined in on the projects as well!

After all the students were finished with their buckets outside, we took them inside to create their artwork.

The students took the burt pieces of paper and ashes and covered their canvas with them.  They added paint, flower petals, tissue paper, and/or other items to collage with and create a piece of art that captured their feelings.  There was no right or wrong.

Finally, the students dripped melted wax over the top of their piece to protect and preserve the paper and collage items.

The pieces turned out AMAZING!  It was so much fun to watch the students dive into this project, carefully choose collage items, spread out their pieces of paper, and add color.  They loved the process and we loved watching them create something they were proud of and a piece that was very meaningful for them. 

The students started to get a lot of interesting ideas for the melted wax…one being a deceptively waxy glazed donut. : )  We loved that they could have fun, create, and be themselves during our workshop.  And we promise, no one ate the "glazed" donut. 

Project Two:  Emotion Color Study by Melting Crayons

The second project was led by Kim McGill Stuart.  In preparation for her project, Kim researched the relationship of emotions and color.  (We SERIOUSLY cannot be more PROUD of the work and time these artists put in to making this event so meaningful!)

Kim created worksheets to get the students to start thinking about how certain colors can evoke emotions.

The students used hot glue, heat guns, crayons, and other collage items to create works of art.

Kim demonstrated several different techniques the students could use from heating their canvas first, then rubbing the crayons on to hot gluing crayons on the canvas and allowing the heat gun to melt the crayons.

After the demonstration was the over, the students hurried to start their projects.  The ideas and works of art they created were incredibly unique.  Both Penny and Kim, commented on the fact that, though they were the instructors, they learned so much from watching the students use and create artworks with the materials.  The students let go of their fears and enjoyed the process.

It was fascinating to watch the process of the students.  Some of them had a clear vision while other students allowed the heat to help mold and dictate what their final product would be.  Once again, there was no right or wrong with these projects!  And like the first project, these pieces turned out beautiful!!  Pictured below are a few of the amazing finished canvases.


The discussion we had at the end of the session was by far one of our favorite parts of the project, and it wasn't even planned!  We had some time after both projects were complete, so we opened up the floor for discussion.  We allowed the students to describe their work and talk about what was going through their minds during the creative process.  They were so open and honest about their feelings and their artwork.  It was an incredible moment for our team!

We loved when Penny and Kim had the opportunity to speak into the projects as well.  They pointed out some of the unique features of each of the students' work.  It was an incredible way to wrap-up a day full of creativity and emotion.

We loved hearing the student's perspectives on the projects and having more time to get to know each of them.

It was a wonderful day for Paint Love and we can't wait to do this again!!