Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Kelly's Ghost

Jacobi, Kelly's Ghost, acrylic, 16" x 20", 2008.

This is a painting that I just finished. The title refers to a girl named Kelly who left our school earlier this year. (This was her third year in my 2D Art class.) We were working on a self-portrait painting project at the time. Kelly spent only a day or two on this project; basically, her portrait was just sketched in, using light gray and a brush (I make them establish their drawing with a brush-- no pencils!).

Kelly, who was often absent from class, just sort of faded away. I don't know why she left. She was gone for several weeks before she officially withdrew from the school. Anyway, a piece of canvas paper with her barely begun painting was left behind. I had saved it hoping she would come back. After she withdrew, I went to throw her piece in the trash. I looked at it, and said hey-- I could paint on top of it. I paused to consider if that would be cheesy or weird in any way, but ultimately, I figured what the heck and used it. This final product bears little resemblance to what she had started with (other than the basic composition), and does not resemble her in the least.

Kelly had a cheerful disposition; she was one of those kids that makes teaching fun. The class she was in is somehow diminished without her, yet she remains in our memories. I would like to dedicate this painting to Kelly, wherever she is. We miss you, Kelly!


The Reverend Jon Boles said...

Very nice! Beautiful but also somewhat unsettling at the same time.

Sheree Rensel said...

Rick, I understand this totally. I have so many students who come and go. Sometimes they reappear a year or two later. Sometimes they become memories, like you said. It is difficult when the student who makes the decision to leave is someone special and reminds you why you teach. I think it took me a while to understand, we as teachers can only do so much. The most important thing we can do is be there for them when they decide to come to school.