Artist brings out talent in Edy Ridge Elementary students
- Barbara Sherman
- Sherwood Gazette - Features
This fall Edy Ridge Elementary students were the lucky recipients of art lessons with a South American flavor.
Carlos Horcos, a native of Chile, worked with each class in the school for three sessions, exposing students to a little art history plus hands-on experience with different mediums.
On a Monday in early December, he spent almost an hour with fifth-graders in Kati Jackson's class.
Using a PowerPoint presentation, Horcos first displayed a 15,000-year-old painting of a hunting scene in the Caves of Altamira in Spain.
'To me, art is the way human beings express feelings,' he said before asking the class, 'Who makes drawings for your mom? Why? Because you love her. Back in the Caves of Altamira, they were drawing hunting. There were no grocery stores, so they hunted to survive.
'This is an early example of art, and it was not easy to draw things in a cave.'
Horcos then moved on to other ancient paintings, including a buffalo hunt from the Sahara painted 8,000 years ago.
'Who likes color?' he asked. 'This room is full of color - hundreds, I think. How many colors are there?'
Horcos, whose lessons were very interactive, went around the room pointing to students and asking how many colors exist. The answers ranged from three to 2 trillion.
The correct answer? Three - red, yellow and blue.
Horcos then went on the explain color wheels, secondary colors and qualities like hue, value and intensity.
'Black makes shades darker, and white makes them lighter,' Horcos explained.
After the lesson in colors was over, each student got a sheet of white paper, a set of watercolor paints and a plastic cup filled with water for dipping the brush along with a warning, 'Don't drink the water.'
Using an overhead projector, Horcos showed the students the correct way to hold a pencil to draw the outline of a leaf, saying, 'I really need for you to express yourselves on paper.'
Drawing three lines to approximate the shape of a leaf, he said, 'Do you like my leaf?' When the kids said they did, Horcos said, 'Are you guys crazy? It's just lines! You are the artist today, and you create your own leaf.'
Horcos demonstrated to the students how to hold a brush correctly and on the overhead display showed them 40 different leaf shapes to give the young artists ideas.
'Go ahead, be creative,' he said. 'You are the oldest kids in this school, and I want to see nice shapes.'
As the kids got busy on drawing and painting their leaves, Horcos went around the classroom, offering encouragement and support, saying 'Beautiful! Wonderful! Nice! Good job!' until the lesson was over, and it was time to put all the supplies away.
Before he moved his cart full of supplies to the school's lower level to teach a kindergarten class, Horcos talked briefly about how he got to Sherwood and Edy Ridge.
He was teaching underprivileged people in Chile when he met his future wife, Tori Scott, who was born and raised in Sherwood and was in Chile teaching English.
The couple got married and lived in Chile for a while before moving to Sherwood in January 2010, where Horcos has been working as a freelance graphic designer who also creates 3D animations.
He has more than 15 years experience in the fields of graphic arts, architecture, engineering, geology and mining.
'My main experiences are with Chilean and International Enterprises,' Horcos said. 'I have had the opportunity to share my knowledge and creative solutions in various degrees. I bring an international perspective to the table and am able to work with many different types of people and personalities.'
How Horcos got to Edy Ridge is all about connections.
'Carlos was my daughter's assistant soccer coach in Sherwood for the U13 Classic Girls (last summer), and I knew he was good with the kids,' said Edy Ridge Principal Frank Luzaich. 'When he brought his artwork to practice one day, one thing led to another. Now he's our artist in residence.'
Horcos picked up the story, saying that Luzaich invited him to Edy Ridge the day after he brought his paintings to practice.
'Frank wanted some art in his office, and he also was looking for an art teacher,' Horcos said. 'I love kids. I have four brothers and three sisters in Chile. I like for kids to do their own thing.'
In the school newsletter, Luziach wrote about how Horcos was energizing and inspiring the students.
'He is doing a great job with the students and leading effective lessons that are fun for the kids,' Luzaich wrote. 'The detail and texture on the leaf tiles is pretty amazing. Edy Ridge is very lucky to have such a positive and playful art teacher in residence for two months.
'Further, he has been conducting instruction in both English and Spanish, which is a wonderful bonus for our kids. This project impacts all 575 students in our school and is being funded by a sizable grant from the Sherwood Education Foundation.'
Once all the lessons were over, there is one major project still left to do.
When Edy Ridge opened, a life-sized rain tree sculpture that has a huge trunk and many branches was 'planted' at the front of the school, but there was no money to pay for the metal leaves needed to complete it, according to Chrissy Lawrence, the school's instructional coach.
Now the school has the funds to create and attach leaves to the tree.
Horcos said he will use a plasma machine to cut the leaves, and as the process is dangerous, students will be able to observe but through a window.
Horcos will work with Ivan McClean, the original artist of the tree, to attach the leaves.
So the tree that has been perpetually bare since it was created will soon 'grow' leaves to live in a perpetual springtime.
For more information on Horcos, visit his website at: www.freewebs.com/abdodiseno