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Halloween windows.

In response to a call from City Hall for Halloween window scenes, my advanced art class became famous almost over night! A commission was granted after City Hall officials approved four window scenes sketched in color. Two of the four window were designed by single students and the two main scenes were compilations of the remaining students' ideas. Tracing paper and a good sense of perspective allowed the cat of one sketch and the moon and trees of another to fit into the cityscape designed by a third student. It was important that the ideas of each student be represented in at least one of the four scenes.

Making the Scene

Once compositions and color schemes were decided upon, the scenes were enlarged to fit the windows. Inside the artroom, a transparency sheet was placed over each 8 1/2" x 11" (22 cm x 28 cm) sketch. Using an overhead projector, the main lines of the compositions were traced onto the transparencies. The drawings were projected onto sheets of newsprint cut to the size of the windows. The images were easily enlarged to fill the entire sheets of newsprint. It was sometimes necessary to reverse the transparency sheet since the lettering had to be backward. Several students outlined the projected images using wide black markers on what were to be our newsprint cartoons. We rolled up the newsprint and were ready to begin the work on location.

City Hall provided us with tempera paint, brushes, masking tape, ladders and newspapers. The day before the class was to report to the work site, a few students were given the responsibility of transferring the newsprint drawings to the windows. On the outside of each window, the cartoons were taped in place. On the inside, the compositions were traced onto the windows using a grease pencil. The newsprint was then removed and we were ready to paint.

On the inside of the building, newspapers were laid around the base of the windows. Students were assigned to specific areas for painting, and the colored thumbnail sketch of the window was posted nearby for quick referral.

While painting the windows, passersby would stop and watch the progress, the local paper and cable station featured the artists at work. The outcome of the invitation to decorate City Hall windows proved to be a positive experience for the artists, a great promotion for art in the schools, and an opportunity for the school and community officials to work together.

Special thanks to art teacher, Marge Dickinson of Galvin, Illinois, for sharing her window painting techniques with me.

Elizabeth Bringardner teaches art at Aurora Central Catholic High School, Aurora, Illinois.
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Author:Bringardner, Elizabeth
Publication:School Arts
Date:Oct 1, 1991
Words:443
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