The Practicing Artist

Portraits and Sketches by a Professional Artist in Portland, Maine.

Drawing With The Portland High School Art Club

March 7th, 2018
Posted by Dominic White

Drawing With The Portland High School Art Club by Dominic WhitePhoto by Barbara Loring

Shortly after February's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida, Larry Hayden, the founder the Portland Drawing Society, reached out to Barbara Loring, the art teacher at Portland High School to ask if there was any way a group of artists could respond to the tragedy that is resonating through high schools across the country.

Together they created a non-publicized, non-politicized event where our drawing group, which meets every Sunday to draw a portrait of an honored guest, would attend a meeting of the Portland High School Art Club and draw portraits of the students interested in art and portraiture.

Yesterday I had the pleasure of participating in that event involving roughly forty artists ranging from ages 15 to 69.

10 Minute Sketch of a high school student10 Minute Sketch of Jada

It was not a formal portraiture set up. We each paired up with a student, sitting across each other from a small table and took turns chatting and sketching each other in an intimate setting. The room was buzzing with the constant background noise of questions, conversation, joking, and strangers connecting over a shared love of art.

10 Minute Sketch of Dominic White by a high school student10 Minute Sketch of Myself by Jada

My partner was Jada. She is a sophomore who had never drawn a portrait before, but was eager to give it a try. As we drew each other we discussed what we loved about art, what we found frustrating about it, and what our favorite mediums to work in are. She enjoys painting with found objects that help tell a story. She was also wearing a cool sea shell head band.

Some students, including Jada, had to leave early so I was able to roam around the room and sketch students as they sat for other artists.

10 Minute Sketch of a high school student10 Minute Profile Sketch of Raven

The last half hour we were treated to Joey, a tall slender young man who posed for us center stage in full make up and drag.

25 Minute Sketch of a high school student25 Minute Figure Drawing of Joey

My drawings were not the best during that meeting, but I thoroughly enjoyed getting to know these young artists. What had the biggest impact on me was that it was not a bunch of older artists coming into mentor young artists, which is something I was partially expecting it to be. Instead it felt more like a meeting of peers, which art uniquely enables among people regardless of experience.

10 Minute Sketch of a high school studentDrawing Jada While She Draws Me.