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Artist teaches students new skills

Glendon School held an art show on Friday to showcase the work students created over the past two weeks.
Artist-in-residence Jeremy Mayne gives a lesson at Glendon School before the art show.
Artist-in-residence Jeremy Mayne gives a lesson at Glendon School before the art show.

Glendon School held an art show on Friday to showcase the work students created over the past two weeks.

Artist Jeremy Mayne spent the last two weeks as the resident artist at the school, working with each grade level to improve artistic skills and knowledge.

The art show included student work with watercolours, pencil sketches, chalk and oil pastels, and paints completed during the last two weeks. Every student from kindergarten to Grade 12 displayed an art piece in the show.

“He has stirred the artistic ability in every student in our school, even the students who may have been cautious or apprehensive about art,” says Principal Ken Pshyk. “It was very successful.”

Pshyk credits Mayne with the unique ability to improve the artistic skills of students over the course of the residency. Visual arts teacher Cory Fergus says Mayne was able to connect with students' interests to engage them with art.

“It has been amazing,” Fergus says, adding that Mayne provided lessons for the skill level of each grade. Fergus says she was surprised to see students' work progress so rapidly over the two-week residency. Students improved technique and knowledge of art.

Mayne describes his residency in Glendon as really pleasant. He said the quietness of the area amazed him. “The ride to work was therapy, as opposed to the absolute cacophony of fighting traffic in downtown Calgary every single day,” he says.

The full-time artist concentrated on two aspects of art. He focused part of his teaching on where artists can be employed, which ranges from design work of manufactured goods and vehicles to painting. He says art is the second largest employer in the country.

“There isn't a thing you touch that wasn't at some point designed or worked on by an artist in its presentation, colour form, or whatever,” he says. “They certainly don't build a computer without it going to the visual department first to see if it looks good and people will want to buy it.”

He also taught the science of art, how vision works, the shape of things, and realist art.

Mayne has been employed as an artist for 24 years. Currently he is an art consultant and works in schools on residencies throughout the school year.

His two-week residency in Glendon wasn't the first work in the area. Mayne also did a residency in Iron River. He says the Glendon experience confirmed for him an idea he developed at Iron River, that rural youth have superior depth perception skills.

“When I teach a perspective lesson, they are very quick to catch on,” he explains. He said he thinks the rural perspective advantage has to do with kids working outdoors more frequently. Also, people in rural areas see buildings at a distance. In the city, tall buildings often closely surround a person, he says.

Mayne said he hopes success and a sense of accomplishment in art will transfer over to other disciplines at school. However, it's tough to make a living just as a visual artist, he warns.

Mayne also taught an in-service to Northern Lights visual art teachers while on residency. The Alberta Foundation for the Arts provided three quarters of the funding for the program, while the parent advisory council kicked in the remaining portion.

Mayne's work and profile can be found online at www.3degreestudio.com.