ART LESSONS: Bacon teaches TES students about creating

Published 9:17 pm Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Talladega Artist Art Bacon had a message for the fourth-grade art students at Troy Elementary School on Tuesday.

For happiness and success,  “find something you want to do for the rest of your life and do it.”

That’s a tall order for kids not yet 10 years old. However, most of them were seemingly awe-struck at being in the presence of the scientist turned artist, or perhaps, artist turned scientist and back to artist again.

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Bacon was the guest presenter for TES art teacher Jennifer Lindsey’s fourth-grade art classes.

“My fourth-grade art students knew an important artist was going to visit their class,” she said. “They were excited to know that Dr. Art Bacon would talk to them about art and maybe even paint a portrait for them.”

Bacon talked with the students about art and he also talked with them about life. To their amazement, he did both as he painted portrait sketches of two of their classmates.

He asked for volunteers to “sit” for him while he painted and almost every hand went up.  Whether it was Bacon who chose Rosie Staggs to be the subject of his first portrait, her teacher or the classmates pointing to her, soon Rosie was sitting very still and tilting her head ever so slightly “this way just a little more” while the artist was at work.

Bacon talked as he worked, taking and answering questions from his young audience.

“I began drawing when I was about 5 years old,” Bacon answered the students, as he painted. “I’m 80 years old so I have been drawing and painting for about 75 years.”

After high school, Bacon went to Talladega College and majored in biology. He liked science and he liked art, so much so, that he also enrolled in art classes.

“I always painted,” he said. “I always practiced. The more you practice, the better you get at what you do. You’ll never be perfect but you will get better if you practice.”

Bacon said what is so incredible about art is that it can be a lifelong interest.

“You can do art until your last day on earth,” he said. “You can continually get better with art as you can older. But, you won’t get better at football as you get older.”

The students were interested in Bacon’s life. He gave them glimpses into his life as an artist, an educator and a scientist and an artist once again.

His favorite place to visit is France. He has painted portraits of famous people, but not movie stars and probably no people the students would recognize.

Bacon completed his sketch of Rosie and began and completed a second portrait of fourth-grader, Jalaysia Stringer. He signed his artwork and made the portrait sketches gifts to the girls.

Not many young students have portraits signed by a noted artist nor do many students have an up-close visit with a celebrated personality like Dr. Art Bacon.

Lindsey expressed appreciation to Bacon for his willingness to share his story and his talent with her students.