Staying In The Lines

Genesis Rios, left, and Victor Lopez, try their hand at painting on a large canvas during the Downtown Dinner last week. At right, Mae Borak, president of the El Campo Art Association, offers some helpful tips to the two young artists. The project was hosted by the Art Association. Her best advice: “Do your best and what happens will happen.”

Butterflies, trees, sunsets, hearts, flowers and more now fill a once blank white canvas, a project that’s a vision of the El Campo Art Association.

As a method to inspire young artists, the Art Association set up a 4.5 by 7 foot canvas on the street during the Downtown Dinner and invited children of all ages to add their own little piece of artwork.

“I have had four calls from parents telling me their kids thoroughly enjoyed the painting session,” President Mae Borak said.

With a little guidance from Art Association members, each child was able to draw and/or paint with tempera paints.

“We gave them a little instruction. I showed one of the children how to paint trees without it being a lollipop,” Borak said.

The level of talent varied from age-to-age, with some standing out among the others.

“Some of them are really talented and can do this,” Borak said. “You could tell they had some type of art instruction.”

The massive canvas now sits inside the Art Center, home to members of the group, until they can decide on future plans for the one-of-a-kind art piece. They met last night to discuss possibilities, such as having another paint session at a future event.

“We might possibly do this at another function like the Farmer’s Market to fill in the empty spaces,” Borak said.

Another idea was to paint over it, creating a blank slate for a future painting session. Where to display the canvas is another decision the group will need to make.

The idea was originally that of member Penny Medders of Wharton who had acquired the large white blank canvas. The initial plan was to have paint-filled balloons attached to the canvas for children to throw darts at, thus bursting the different colors across the blank space.

“At first we were going to do a splatter paint ... balloons with darts but decided not to do that because it’s too dangerous,” Borak said.

Plus, the idea didn’t work because the balloons were too difficult to pop.

“We experimented with the balloons and they were way too light,” Borak said.

So, the group decided to let children draw and paint whatever their heart desired. Borrowing brushes and large shirts to protect their clothing from the El Campo Museum of Natural History, they ordered berets for the children to wear while painting.

“They picked their own paint colors and own drawings,” she said.

Some of the children needed more guidance that others, like the little girl who wanted to paint a butterfly and two toddlers who traced around their hands with mommy’s help.

“This three-year-old girl wanted to do a butterfly,” Borak said. “So I drew one so she could see that it needed a body, antennas and so forth.”

Another girl, who did a flower, knew exactly how she was going to draw it and used different colors for the petals.

“She stayed in the lines,” Borak said. “I am proud of them all, it is hard to paint inside the lines using brushes.”

The artwork, whether it is complete at this point or will be added to, looks proportionate.

“If you stand back and look at the canvas, it is well balanced,” Borak said.

Borak thought the art session was well-received.

“It was really fun,” she said. “I loved the children and we’d love to have more children in art.”

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