Tuesday, November 8, 2011

"I don’t know what there is in the colour green that makes you think hard": Grade 6 students review contemporary Canadian Painting

The other day, I received a set of terrifically enjoyable art reviews. They were all written by Grade 6 students at a Toronto public school. Their teacher had assigned them to look at the semifinalists in this year's RBC Canadian Painting Competition and make a case for their favourite work. Some of the reviews are reproduced below, along with the works they refer to.


I chose the Untitled art painting first for the competition by Tristam Lansdowne. I chose it because I like how the artist made the colours balance and look eye catching. The background colours look like a peaceful background so when I look at it, it already looks like a clam and peaceful place. In the front the beautiful falls of water and the plant looks like it is a beautiful place with beautiful nature all around it. When I look at the picture it reminds me of my old unforgettable dreams in Sri Lanka. In Sri Lanka, there was a war. After the war we went to Sri Lanka from Canada and saw the beautiful buildings half broken and saw the other beautiful half. I also like this painting because the artist uses emphasis. First the top is normal but in the bottom it has more information. These are the important and good reasons I chose Tristam Lansdowne’s Untitled for first place in the painting competition.


My first choice for the art competition is Blotto by Deirdre McAdams. This picture has a lot of colour and shapes. The type of colour it has matches very well with the shapes. I really like the placement of the shapes because of its rectangular figure and bright pink and orange colours. I admire that this is abstract art because there isn’t really a picture of a person to look at. It can be anything you want it to be! That is very interesting to me. That’s why Deirdre McAdams’ Blotto should win the art competition.


My first choice for this art painting competition is Ianick Raymon’s Decomposition 2. The first reason I chose this painting is because it reminds me of checkers and a movie that I saw. The second reason I chose this painting is because it looks 3D and 3D stuff is really cool. The third reason I chose this painting is because I like how the artist put the checkered pattern in the middle and the corners. It is really creative. These are all the reasons why I believe that Decomposition 2, by Ianick Raymon should win the competition.


My first choice for the art painting competition is Bitsy Knox’s work entitled The Improper Sister 1. The first and most important reason why I chose it is because I really like the shapes. I like the shapes because the triangle shapes seem to bounce. Another reason why I chose it is because the colours make me think hard. It makes me think hard because of the highly contrasted colours, especially the colour green, contrasted with the pink. I don’t know what there is in the colour green that makes you think hard. There are many shapes and lines in the picture. The biggest think is that the colours stand out very nicely. The bouncing shapes make it more interesting for me. These are the reasons why I strongly fee that the painting by Bitsy Know should win the competition.


I chose Amy Schissel’s art because I like how her art looks free with so many colours. The colours of the lines make me want to fly because there is no balance. I vote for her because she knows that art should have no instructions. Shapes don’t have to be shapes, lines don’t have to be straight. You can imagine what you can make from her shapes. That’s why I think Amy Schissel should win the competition.


My first choice for the art competition is Julie Trudel’s painting named Project CMYK, Test 44. The first reason is that I thought how she mixed all the colours and made something look like a black hole! Second, I like the texture of how it is mixed like one part looks higher than the other. Third, I like the cool swirls and make it look like a black hole or a colourful toilet. That’s why I chose this one.


I have to say my favourite is that last piece of writing with its "colourful toilet" analogy. Many thanks to the teacher of these students and to Jackie Braden at RBC for forwarding along these reviews. And good luck to these young writers in future!

For more information about this year's RBC semifinalists, visit the competition website.

(All images from canadianart.ca)


zeke said...


Do the children have names? Any chance of giving the writers credit?

Leah Sandals said...

Howdy back Zeke!

Great question.

I would have loved to give full name credit to these young writers, but the very sensible privacy policies in Toronto public schools these days, and the teacher's interpretation of them, from what I understand, meant that I wasn't to identify the children or their school in any way if I wanted to reproduce their writing.

I do wish these kids well in the future and hope that one day I'll seem them writing as adults!

Leah Sandals said...

ie. with names!

Parts Gallery said...

I wish we could all have teachers this cool in grade 6!

Leah Sandals said...

Yes! Though I wonder how else they approach this topic. Competitions are handy because you have to argue for "the best" but I wonder how else the class addresses art or looking at art. In any case, I'm grateful the teacher was willing to share these reviews with us.