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Making art that moves

John HartJohn Sekerak, a student in Vicki Parker's art class, paints in the style of a Gerda With painting displayed in the classroom.
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Hair is the secret to showing movement in paintings, fifth-grader Jackson Crockett says.

Classmate Joe Patterson, seated next to Jackson in an art classroom, explained that the Deer Creek students were “making pictures so it kind of looks like it’s moving.”

About 20 fifth-graders worked at applying sponges last week, the day after they learned a life lesson of a famous artist, Gerda With.



With’s students (pronounced “Wait”) learned about the life of the artist from her daughter, Nela Dwyer, a fifth-grade teacher at Deer Creek.

With, who died in February at the age of 92, worked with a variety of media using sponges, tissue paper and whatever she felt expressed the beauty of nature and the spontaneity of children.




“She would just want kids to experiment with different types of art,” Dwyer said about her mother. “My mother would say ‘If you want it to look the way it looks, take a picture.’ “

When Dwyer was named outstanding senior in education at the University of Missouri, With donated a painting, which still hangs in the dean’s office, Dwyer said.

When Dwyer was nominated by the Nevada City School District as Teacher of the Year, her daughters Holly Williams and Heather Kelley, both of Sacramento, continued the tradition and donated one of their grandmother’s paintings to the school.

The 1979 painting, called “The Joy of Living,” depicts three small children who appear to be in motion. It usually hangs in the principal’s office.

Deer Creek students used the painting this week as a model when learning to paint movement and portraits, Vicki Parker, their art teacher, said.

Brett Boger said the subject of his painting was “supposed to be like kind of jumping off something.”

You can tell by the skateboarder hair.


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