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Program brings ‘Visiting Artist’ to Caloosa Middle School

By Staff | Feb 7, 2011

Caloosa Middle School students received a special visit Monday morning from a Cape Coral artist who taught them about watercolor painting as part of the “Visiting Artist” program.
The Visiting Artist program, which is affiliated with ArtFest Fort Myers, began because there was not a program being offered for middle school art students. This year the program had 15 schools and 15 artists participate, including Diplomat Middle School, Mariner Middle School, Caloosa Middle School and Gulf Middle School.
Mary Graham, an art teacher at Caloosa Middle School, said she has invited Visiting Artists into her classroom for the past five years because it allows students the opportunity to learn new mediums of art.
She explained that every year her students have a different artist visit their classroom, along with a new medium.
“We get someone totally different,” Graham said.
She said she tries to do a project that is related to the artists every year, so her students can practice that medium.
This year, Cape Coral watercolor artist Charles Greenholdt was the Visiting Artist for two class periods Monday.
“I love having people come in,” Graham said, adding that she was excited to have Greenholdt visit her classroom because she is not a watercolorist.
Greenholdt, 78, shared with the students that he enjoys working with watercolor paints because he has to use more discipline and control while he paints.
He told the class of students that he uses primary colors and paints from light to dark as he finishes his portraits.
Greenholdt said he uses photographs that individuals give him to paint a portrait. Many times he paints the head from one photograph and the body from the same individual within another photograph and put them together to form his painting.
“I integrate all of it,” he told the 6th, 7th and 8th grade students.
Some of the techniques he shared with the class dealt with adding light to a picture. He explained that photographs are shaded in gray, so he spends extra time in adding light to the photograph.
“It’s up to me to light it up,” Greenholdt said. “They have to come to life, when they say ‘hello,’ I’m done.”
He told the class that shadows are also tremendously important when painting a portrait picture because it “gives it dimension” along with giving it shape to look alive.
The class also had an opportunity to ask Greenholdt questions, along with watching him paint a portrait of his first wife Joan, who passed away.
One of the questions from a student highlighted how he begins his paintings. Greenholdt shared that since he really has to “nail” the painting, he sketches the individuals first, but erases the feature he is about to paint, so the graphite from the pencil does not “muddy” the paint.
Aaron Janzen, n 8th grade student, said he thought Greenholdt’s presentation Monday morning was very interesting due to the amount of detail he provided about watercolor painting.
“He shed new light on everything,” he said, which was thought provoking for him about the various ways one can use watercolors.
Janzen said he enjoys drawing portraits of people.
Another student who had the opportunity to listen to Greenholdt speak about his passion of watercolor painting expressed that the discussion of how to create shadowing stuck out the most, along with taking your time to finish a painting.
“Good drawings take a lot of time to do,” said 8th grade student Brian Kafka, emphasizing what he took away from Greenholdt’s presentation.
He shared that Greenholdt’s paintings look real due to the amount of detail that goes into the finished piece of artwork.
“It is impressive that he can do watercolor with so much detail,” 8th grade student Shawn Howard said. He explained that since he does not paint or draw, Greenholdt’s technique stood out even more.
Steven Richerson also enjoyed the Visiting Artist presentation Monday morning because “he is different from others” because “he has his own technique.” The 8th grade student said the message that he took away from Greenholdt’s presentation was his “love for art.”