Big Draw With Frederick Douglass Middle School

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Big Draw LA

I set out on another leg of my journey to paint some of the sites in The Big Draw LA events. Big Draw brings together many creative talents who participate in activities around the art of drawing and painting. It began in late September and will run throughout the month of October, 2014.

I didn’t learn of Big Draw LA until mid-October, but when I did, I jumped into action. Interestingly, I participated in my first Big Draw event on October 18th unaware. You can read about it in Big Draw Union Station.

Big Draw Frederick-Douglass Middle SchoolMy second Big Draw outing was at the  Frederick Douglass Middle School on October 25th in Los Angeles. Students and parents gathered together that bright Saturday morning to decorate panels. The panels would then be mounted on a fence in their outdoor lunch area.

The students of were just beginning an ambitious art project when I arrived. I was initially met with suspicious looks when I answered a supervising parent’s questions. “Do you have a child attending this school?” “No.” “Did you sign up as a volunteer?” “No.” I knew I’d better justify my presence quickly, so I told the parent about the school hosting a Big Draw event. Unfortunately, she didn’t know what I was referring to, but fortunately, the teacher in charge did. I was then welcomed into the fold and treated kindly by all.

I explained that I was there to paint their activity, but would be happy to help them. Of course, I was soon put to work. Since I was a ‘real artist’, my job was to help mix colors. That was one of my specialities when I worked in the movie industry, but I discovered that three years into retirement made my mixing skills a bit rusty. I suppose mixing paint is like riding a bicycle; you never really forget. Note: mixing large buckets of acrylic paint is much different than mixing a thimble of watercolor, which I do often.

Frederick Douglass PhotoOnce I got the colors they needed mixed, I jumped back to my painting. I’m glad I captured the children at work. However, I didn’t want to leave without painting the church in front of their school. This is the back, which is rather plain compared to the ornate street view. However, it was the view which was used to announce their event with Big Draw, so I stuck with it.

Light on the Ministry

I used a very light touch with my outreach, giving nothing to the children except the artistic help needed. I did, however, give a WWJP tract to a teacher after she mentioned she once attended a Catholic school. I also gave my business card to the principal. She and I had a friendly conversation; especially after we learned that we both graduated from Washington High School.

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