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home : education : schools September 23, 2017

9/5/2017 12:18:00 PM
SPRD classes touch the nature of art
Harmony Farm Sanctuary animals, pictured by Olivia, Asha, Sahara, and Abby; all members of Jodi Schneider McNamee’s Nature and Art class. photo by Jim Anderson
+ click to enlarge
Harmony Farm Sanctuary animals, pictured by Olivia, Asha, Sahara, and Abby; all members of Jodi Schneider McNamee’s Nature and Art class. photo by Jim Anderson

By Jim Anderson

If you've looked at watercolors, oil, or just plain black-and-white art and said to yourself, "I wish I - and my kids - could do that..." give Sisters Park & Recreation District a call and connect with Jodi Schneider McNamee; she can get you started.

Teaching watercolor is number-one on Jodi's list of what she loves to do in life. So, last March she decided to really promote herself as an art teacher and began an art program at SPRD.

She started teaching an adult class on Thursday mornings, a class where no drawing was necessary. Participants transferred any picture of their liking onto watercolor paper.

The class lasted for over two months, and will start up again in September.

McNamee also got a few kids together for an art class that began in early July. "Lets Paint Nature" was the title. She ran it on Monday mornings at SPRD. Like many wonderful ideas, this one came from Jodi's nine-year-old granddaughter, who lives in Southern California. Having taught watercolor art earlier in her career, Jodi jumped right on it.

She says, "Children ages 9 to 13 are more like little adults, as they already have an idea of what they like and don't like." If you ask McNamee how things went last summer in the SPRD art class she will tell you, "It's been so much fun teaching the kiddos because they are having fun and don't realize they are learning. It's creative work that's play!"

Jodi taught a lot of different watercolor techniques, such as the "salt" effect and dry brushing and dropping in wet paint, which she and her students thought were fun projects. During the times she and the kids were working together, they designed their own butterfly cards and bookmarks.

Sahara Lucus, age 14, who was in Jodi's first class this summer had this to say:

"I really enjoyed the art class because it wasn't just educational, it was also fun. And I learned different watercolor techniques that I haven't learned in regular school yet and so it opened my eyes to new things in art."

They also painted Harmony Farm Sanctuary animals, and kept their original watercolor cards of the animals. Jodi will be helping them make prints in card form of the animals they painted, which will profit Harmony Farm Sanctuary.

Jodi will be starting this class up again, "Easy Watercolor Class for Kids," at SPRD on Thursday, September 21, as an after-school class, an ongoing educational and fun project that will run daily from 3:15 to 4:45 p.m. Young students will be using pets, animals, birds, flowers and other subjects as models.

She will also be offering a beginner watercolor class for adults (all levels), on September 21 at SPRD from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. No drawing experience will be necessary; all the participants will need is the enthusiasm to get started and to look forward to having fun learning. Contact SPRD at 541-549-2091, or email Jodi at

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