I am so proud of what you did this year when you painted your school. You are so talented! So creative! You were patient with yourself and you took your time to make a wonderful painting of your school that you love so much. The end result is a wonderful painting and a beautiful story.
I am proud of you everyday, but on this day, I was extra proud. You are amazing! Below is the story of what you did when you painted Hayshire Elementary School.
I love you,
This year for Jami’s birthday I bought her her first BIG canvas and an easel. She is so creative and full of raw talent and watching her grow here is one of life’s joys for me.
When she got started, my challenge to her was that she needed to sketch out what she was going to paint before she started painting. I showed her how lots of famous artists make sketches first so when they paint they are more focused.
Jami wanted to paint her school, Hayshire Elementary.
She took some paper and left and came back to me with this drawing:
The front of Jami’s school is beautiful; and the back is pretty plain. Jami loves her school and feels so safe there. I asked her why this drawing didn’t look like Hayshire and she said, “It does Dad, it’s the back of the school. This is where the buses drop us off and what I see when we play outside.” I love it that she choose a perspective that she knew and felt safe with.
But after we talked about it for a while, she wanted to paint the front of the school since it’s what people recognize the most. Seeing the painting and knowing what it was right away was really important to her. So we got online and she picked out a picture of her school that she liked the best.
Here is the picture of her school that she choose:
About a half hour later, Jami made another drawing. She showed it to mom first and I heard mom say, “Jami! This is wonderful!” But when Jami brought it into my office my reaction was, “This is good, but I think you can do an even better job.”
Here is what Jami drew her second time:
We looked at the picture of the school and talked about all the shapes that both of us saw. As we found shapes, I outlined them over the picture of the school. It’s so amazing how shapes make something so beautiful in architecture.
Here is the outline that we created looking for the shapes in the school building:
Then after we found all the shapes, I showed Jami how when you draw or paint the school you draw the shapes and build them on each other. Jami patiently watched as all the shapes on my paper made her familiar school.
Here is what she saw me do:
Jami then went off alone and made her own picture of Hayshire using shapes.
She came back with this and blew my socks off:
Now Jami was ready to paint. She used a pencil to draw the school to full the whole canvas and spent the next three days painting in our hallway, mixing colors and creating a wonderful mess.
At the end of three days here is her finished product:
I was, and am still, in awe of her. She’s my daughter, so it’s easy to love her. But I was genuinely proud of what she created. It was awesome.
When it was all over she said, “Daddy, I want to donate it to the school.”
All I could think of was, “oh no… what if she takes it into school and they don’t respond well? I hope this doesn’t hurt her feelings….”
We wrapped the painting up carefully, she took the painting on the bus and into school. I was so nervous for her. When she got home I asked how it went and she said, “Good. I gave it to my teacher and told her this is for the school.”
I thought it was all over and that Jami’s painting (that meant so much to her) would be sitting in the corner of a classroom.
A couple of days later Pam and I traveled to Florida for a conference to help raise money for kids in Central PA through Children’s Miracle Network. When we were in a general session Pam’s phone rang and she let it go to voicemail.
This is the voicemail that Pam received:
Jami’s Principle not only loved the painting, shared it with the Architect, but she shared it with the school board and county! Jami was the featured student for her hard work, patience and creativity! Jami was even brought up in front of the school at the end of the year and honored in front of everyone for her work.
Her Principle shared a copy of the painting with the Architect who wrote this email to Jami in response:
The painting is hanging in the main lobby of Hayshire Elementary School. It’s the first thing everyone sees when they enter the school as the leave the lobby. My fear is that Jami’s hard work would go unnoticed and only loved by her family. What happened was so much better: the school and staff love it so much it’s where everyone can enjoy it. And when they see it, they are full of hope for how their jobs as teacher and educators make kids feel. A building turns into something much than just a school. It’s a place where Jami feels loved and she loves it in return.