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Painting Winter Wonderlands

by Amy Peters, Art Teacher

Inspired by the annual exhibition of whimsical palette trees at the Florence Griswold Museum in Old Lyme, this December during visual art time each TCS student in grades K-8 painted his or her own palette to celebrate the winter season and the legacy of this Old Lyme artist cooperative. 

This Old Lyme museum began the tradition of inviting artists to paint palettes, the traditional wooden artist’s tool used for mixing paint, in 2004. That year, 52 artists were invited. Now, the number of palettes has increased to more than 200 with art world luminaries such as Sol LeWitt, TCS Parent ‘99 and ‘97, creating works for this popular exhibit. The idea behind the creation of the palettes is to honor the legacy of the many influential landscape painters who lived and worked at the Florence Griswold during the early 20th Century,  including luminaries like Childe Hassam and Willard Metcalf. These and other painters working there captured the beauty of the Connecticut countryside --- the stone walls, the Sound and its views, farm life, pastoral scenes. The artists commissioned by the museum beginning in 2004 to create palettes did the same, honoring this history.

Now, the students at TCS have done the same. Working with acrylic and tempera paints on wooden palettes handmade by John Nimmo from Oogolah, Oklahoma, the students created traditional holiday scenes, abstract landscapes, delightful snowscapes, dancing snowmen, winter cityscapes, winsome cats and dogs, cozy rooms lit with blazing fireplaces, dramatic solstice sunsets, fir trees dappled with sparkling snow, and more. 

Mother Nature cooperated as the 200 palettes were hung (with thanks to Dave Capece and Alex Vickcheka) outside on trees and the wagon for the Winter Concert. As the palettes were hung, snow gently fell, creating a beautiful, sparkling, and magical tribute both to the beauty of nature as well as to the beauty and the imagination of the students’ art work.

  • Arts