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Students learn drawing skills in summer art class at Houlton library

HOULTON, Maine — At the Cary Library in downtown Houlton on July 31, artist Stephanie Brooks showed two of her students a book of her sketches.

Brooks, an Orient resident who has certification as an art teacher in both Maine and Florida, was hosting the last of two vignette-drawing lessons at the library during the month of July.

She said she limited the class size to no more than five youth to give the children more room to work atop the library table, which was covered with sketchbooks, books on drawing, pencils and colored pencils, and samples of both the students’ and Brooks’ work.

Brooks said she was inspired to host the class because as a child being raised in Houlton, she loved the library and how it helped expand her mind and inspire her.

She said she was guiding the participants in the class, although she acknowledged that some educators believe in giving children the freedom to draw what they want.

“I believe in guiding them a bit,” said Brooks. “My aunt was an artist and she helped me a lot by guiding me.”

She said the students had gone through “a lot” of pencils and colored pencils in just two classes, showing that they “gripped their pencils tightly and really used their muscles.”

The theme of the second class was sunsets. Students Ellie Berthiaume and Emily Hagan, who are both 8 years old, expressed excitement about the prospect of drawing a scene from their homes with a sunset in the background. After showing them a photograph of Vincent van Gogh’s 1888 painting, The Sower, Brooks showed both of the girls how to draw fingernail sketches on small slips of paper so that they could fine tune their designs and then transfer them to larger sketch paper.

Hagan said she “just loved to draw” and that is why she had attended the class. Shown one of Brooks’ sketches of a fox near a lake, she was enthralled.

“I like how you used more than one color for the fox,” she said.

Berthiaume echoed her friends comments, saying that she also had enjoyed the classes and loved to draw.

Although the drawing classes have finished, events at Cary Library will continue through August, including the summer reading program and a class that introduces kids to coding. For more information, contact the library at 532-1302 or visit the facility at 107 Main Street.

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