By TIM DRUGAN-EPPICH, Contributing Writer
For those who are not` artistic, coming across someone who is can be a startling experience, especially when that someone is much, much younger.
On Saturday, the UNH Museum of Art put on their seventh annual “Draw On” event, which saw kids coming in and expressing themselves through the power of paper and pencils, an essential part of a child’s development if you ask the director of the program, Sara Zela.
“It fosters creative and social engagement,” she said. “It also fosters creativity.”
The theme this year was portrait drawing, a choice made based on the chosen field of the visiting artist Alexis Carter Kochka.
“My paintings look at the relationship between people and the natural world,” Kochka said, describing her style. “Questions in my work revolve around ideas of identity and connection or disconnection to the natural world. Who are these people? What are they thinking?”
One portrait subject on Saturday was thinking how well a drawing was depicting her. The subject was Judy Quist, and the artist was her son, Reilly.
“I could never do that,” she said, pointing to the drawing that her son was dutifully toiling away on.
Quist said that she thought that this event was a great opportunity for her son.
“It is great to be able to immerse him for a couple hours into what he already loves doing.”
Reilly, at his mother’s beckoning, finally broke his concentration to say a few words about the activity he was participating in.
“It’s pretty fun ‘cause I like art and drawing,” he said, glancing up but continuing to draw. “And I like when people compliment my art.”
The event had different stations set up for the parent and child teams to work their way through, stations that included basic practice, self-portraits, portraits of someone else and copying masters. The masters to copy included Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh who, it is necessary to add, was presenting his good ear.
Lindsay Raynes, who was there with her daughter, Eva, said that events like this are very important in a world where the arts can be treated as a secondary aspect of learning.
“Arts get the backburner to everything,” she said. “Experience in art can reach kids at a whole other level.”
Kochka echoed this statement.
“Events like this help save the arts,” she said. “It is all about exploratory excitement for learning.”
And excitement was being had by all. Laughter could be heard bouncing off the paintings around the gallery as the future generation worked diligently on its craft, perhaps to create a piece that will someday be copied itself.