Artist and illustrator Rebekah Raye had an enthusiastic welcome at Trenton Elementary School on May 9. One child entered the library, where we spent the day in art workshops saying, “I can’t wait to get started!”
This time we worked with “Thanks To The Animals” written by Alan Sockabasin and illustrated by Rebekah. The pre-K and kindergarten classes were in for a special treat as Rebekah had an audio recording of Mr. Sockabasin telling the story with soft acoustic music in the background while Rebekah turned the pages.
After the story ended, she handed out beautiful handmade masks on sticks featuring all of the animals in the story. The children held them, dancing in a circle, while she played the tape of Alan singing the Celebration Dance. It was magical.
Older students were shown Rebekah’s technique of using graphite pencils to draw and shade illustrations. One group was headed to The School House Museum in Mount Desert the next day and their teacher explained that they would be using pencils just like these while visiting. We love these connections.
After the graphite drawing, she showed them how to shade and color their pictures with paint markers in beautiful, bright colors. Everyone chose a different animal to draw and the results were amazing.
Rebekah shared advice to the young artists such as, “Do not be afraid,” “We all have our own style” and “There are no mistakes, you just change your mind,” which were helpful reminders for students and teachers alike. One teacher said that she reminds her students frequently that mistakes are allowed. Another teacher said, “I could listen to her all day” and yet another asked to take her home because she is so calming.
The children’s work speaks for itself as Rebekah draws out the very best artist in each child by creating a loving and special space. Like the light that sparkles in the eye of each character she draws, each person she shares her art with also shines. One student said it best; “I can see the light in your eye, Rebekah Raye.”