C.S. Poppenga
Artist in Residence
Greenwood School - LaGrande, Oregon
In May 2002 I was an Artist-in-Residence at Greenwood Elementary School in LaGrande, Oregon (USA.)

The original plan for students to create a wall mural had to be abandoned in order to resolve issues regarding available wall space. Instead, I conducted a drawing workshop followed by painting in line on 4 foot by 8 foot primed plywood panels. Students learned about the visual vocabulary of line. The panels were created in two steps: line created with direct contact on the panel and line created in the manner of Jackson Pollock's action painting.

The paint and the panels were exterior grade. This ball wall (see below) stands in the school's recess courtyard. Already covered with plywood, it made the perfect installation site for ten of the 17 completed panels (five on a side, with two panels split length-wise down the middle to span the top.)
ABOVE: Installed on the ball wall, the panels became functional art. The linear quality of the panels repeated the form and colors of the ornamental trees and jungle gym in the recess courtyard. The energy conveyed by the work also speaks to the energy of the balls hitting and bouncing off the wall from every direction! The final work was coated with a UV-filtering sealant that also contains an anti-grafitti finish. The panels were installed on both sides of the ball wall (the side shown above and the reverse side); each panel was distinct from the others.
ABOVE and BELOW: Close-ups of details. 
Students created lines that related to color fields. Over the initial layers of paint, they experienced drip action painting.
Marks were not random in their placement; Each mark's placement was deliberate, as students had to consider existing marks as part of their statement.

Panels were placed on the floor for each painting session and students moved freely around the surface. Students determined each panel's orientation after the painting process was completed.
Murals don't have to be "just" a pretty picture.

on the school yard ball wall, this mural
truly is functional art!
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can be about subject or,
like this one, they can be about ideas--- in this case, the idea of motion!
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