Harry Hurst teacher, Barry Guillot and Alabama Artist, Don Stewart, were recently interviewed as guests on the 690 am Kiss My Gumbo radio talk show hosted by Greta Perry.
READ THE ARTICLE AND LISTEN TO THE PODCAST BELOW!
Harry Hurst Teacher Interviewed on New Orleans Radio Talk Show
Harry Hurst teacher Mr. Barry Guillot was recently a guest on 690 am’s Kiss My Gumbo radio talk show hosted by Greta Perry. Guillot was invited on the show to discuss the nationally recognized Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project that he created 11 years ago, as well as a new partnership with award winning artist Don Stewart from Birmingham, Alabama.
Greta Perry “The Princess of Positive” said about the interview, “It is people like Barry who believes he can make a difference with the youth of America that give us hope for the future. His love of education and his Country is obvious and if even a little bit of that rubs off on his students, they will be fortunate. It was an honor to have him sit with me in my studio (with his 2 handsome sons) as I consider him to be one of Louisiana’s heroes who will continue to make us all proud.”
Jan 24, 2009 podcast
Harry Hurst teacher, Barry Guillot and Alabama Artist, Don Stewart, were recently interviewed as guests on the 690 am Kiss My Gumbo radio talk show hosted by Greta Perry.
Below is the link to listen to the interview. Once the media player comes up, you can slide the dial over to about 28 minutes where the Guillot/ Stewart interview begins.
The first guest is author and LSU graduate, Cesar Guerra. The second half of the show will feature a wonderful and most fabulous artist, Don Stewart.
Hurst Middle Wetland Watchers Featured in George Lucas Education Foundation Documentary!
Destrehan, La., Harry Hurst Middle students are highlighted in the George Lucas Education Foundation documentary, “Wetland Watchers: Kids Care For Their Environment”. The Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project along with the Founder/ Coordinator were featured as an innovative approach to education using project-based strategies through service-learning.
Although the video can be viewed below, a comprehensive article entitled “Swamped: Louisiana Students Become Wetlands Custodians
The Wetland Watchers program is part of a schoolwide emphasis on service learning” can be found on the Edutopia website at http://www.edutopia.org/swamped-louisiana-students-become-wetlands-custodians
strong>HOW DOES HE CREATE SUCH FANTASTIC COMPOSITE DRAWINGS?
In return for the students’ assistance, Dr. Stewart has been keeping the students up to date on the project, sending sketches by e-mail to show them how Ihe creates his art, step by step. This process will continue until the work is completed. Enjoy the sketches and notes at each stage below!
Gator 1 This is a preliminary attempt at drawing an alligator for the NOLA Wetland Watchers project. Barry Guillot's middle school students asked me to draw the animal with a New Orleans and wetlands theme. Having never drawn a gator before, I had to do a little research, and make a few mistakes. This initial design was weak, skinny, and the head didn't fit - but I was learning a lot about gator anatomy.
Gator 2 This is the next step in the Wetland Watchers project. Going back to my reference files, I focused on older, beefier gators, and cobbled several of them together to make Gator 2. This one was more interesting to look at, and gave me more to work with as well.
Gator 3 Gator 2 was modified to make a more interesting design, with more personality and more energy than the other two. He’s still horizontal, but now he looks like he is getting up to go somewhere, and the raised posture gives me more shapes to manipulate as the picture develops. This one was enlarged to 17” in length, and transferred onto a large piece of mat board.
Gator 4 Once the sketch was applied to the board, it became apparent that the design could use some additional tweaking. First, the head was enlarged 15% more than the body, and the neck gained a collar. Next, the right foreleg got scooted back a bit, and I added the toes from the right back leg to balance the empty space under the neck. The eyes were opened wider, and moved up on the head to make the gator appear more attentive and expressive. Finally, I put a little more curve in the tail. The arrow in the upper left is there to remind me where the light will be coming from, so I will know where to put the highlights and shadows.
Gator 5 Once we settle on the outline drawing, it's time to start substituting shapes. Slowly this alligator will be replaced by a composite of shapes suggested by the students. We have at least twenty items sketched in so far. Most are fairly obvious, some are a little harder to find. I’m pretty sure that most of these will stay where they are, but you can never tell how the image will develop, and some of these items may be replaced by others that fit the space a little better.
Gator 6 Not as much progress as I would have liked to see on the Gator this time around, though my wife tells me that for every image that has found its proper place, I have discovered a dozen ways that things won’t fit. A few good ideas have stuck to the paper, along with a bunch of half-baked approaches that may or may not make the final cut. The jaw is starting to take shape with a violin, ibis, egret and the NOLA Water Meter cover. Both jaws are now better defined as a cypress swamp, and the tongue is now a bag of rice, with red beans for tooth scars. The streetcar (named Desire) has moved up to make room for a Bourbon Street balcony. There is now a guitar (I’m still looking for room to place a trombone and clarinet), a Hurricane, jambalaya pot, oyster, a couple of dragonflies (one of which may get clipped in favor of an airboat), and a collar for the Blue dog. There is a Bourbon Street lamp, which should be bigger, and it looks like the throat will simply be a casting net.
Gator 7 The sketch is starting to come together nicely. The fact that I have been busy with other projects for a week or longer may have worked in the picture's favor. A lot of new ideas have surfaced in the interim, and some earlier attempts to place important items (like the magnolia flower and the beignets) have finally worked themselves out. I am especially pleased with the idea of the “French quarter” - a 25-centime coin.
Gator 8 Our Wetland Gator is just about ready for ink. I've added a few more items: a state flag, fishing pole, cayenne peppers and mollusc shells for teeth, a football, drum, some swamp mammals, a Wetland Watchers T-shirt, and a LA license plate labeled "S-2-ARY".
It's been two months since I last worked on the Gator. This was partly by design, partly due to other projects and distractions around the studio, and partly because it was summertime.
Gator 10: A little more ink this time, mostly caught up in picky details. Usually by this time I would have most of the items outlined, with very little focus on the minutia. Some of the objects in this picture are a little more involved, and I had to get the details in order before I could get to the outlines.
Gator 10-2 Even though the pencil sketch gives you a pretty good idea of where the different parts of the picture are supposed to go, when you get down to actually drawing the pieces of one of these puzzles, they don’t always fit together the way you planned. In this case, the area around the alligator’s jaw (Gator 10-1) was filled with lots of little details, and had to be inked very carefully. Fortunately, once these pieces were defined, they fit together nicely.
Gator 10-2: Tiny details are also developing around the accordion, which makes up the alligator’s belly (Gator 10-2). Original sketch lines didn’t fit well enough with the actual proportions of the instrument, so things had to be tidied up a bit. While I was in the neighborhood, I became fascinated by the design on the 25-centime coin (a “French Quarter”).
Gator 11: More ink all around. At last count, there were at least 90 items hiding in this drawing. That number will surely change as some things get erased, others are replaced, and still more are added to fill empty spaces.
Gator 11-1: . I'm especially pleased with the new "teeth" that magically appeared between the cypress tree trunks. (From now on I'll claim that they were planned all along.)
Gator 12: This is the stage of endless picky details. Each of the little parts in this puzzle demands its share of attention, some much more than others. Once most of the pieces are outlined, my strategy is to tackle the really complicated ones first. That forces me to focus on the details early in the drawing, and it also keeps me from getting bored. (Yes, this part of the creative process can become tedious, which is why there are a couple dozen drawings lying around the studio only half-finished.) It also gets the lion’s share of the work done up front, so things get easier as the drawing proceeds. Here I’ve finished the Second Line umbrella, Jackson Square ($20 Bill), the Po-Boy and much of the Armadillo, and have worked out most of the details on and around the Streetcar. Just as important, I was able to pencil in a few items that weren’t very clear in earlier stages, like the basketball and bass in the fishing net, and a few extra vegetables to accent New Orleans cuisine. (Up to this point I had entirely forgotten to add any okra. How can you make gumbo without okra?) Some tree frogs were also added here and there for comic effect. I try to keep a running count of how many items have been completed every day. That gives me a sense of accomplishment, and keeps me motivated to continue. So far I have finished a little over 30 of the pieces, which means that now there are around 65 little pictures left to draw in this composite design. One third complete. If I can finish five pieces a day, the drawing should be finished in two more weeks.
Gator 13: Halfway there, more or less. Probably more, since most of the big decisions have been made, and the more complicated problems have been tackled already. There’s obviously still a lot of filling in to do, but it’s becoming much more apparent where everything should go. Someone asked me why it’s taking so long to finish this drawing. Well, part of it is because I’m basically lazy. Another part is that I am easily distracted. Then, there is a truth about professional artists that few people realize: I once read an article in an art magazine that said as a full-time artist, I would spend only ten percent of my time making art, and ninety percent of my day doing the business of art: phone calls, errands, mailings, printing, art shows, errands, phone calls, etc. It all adds up, and takes away from creative time. That article was not entirely accurate. Today, I easily spend ninety-five percent of my time at the studio doing things other than making art. Finally, our studio is a pleasantly busy place. Since I started inking the Gator last April, I have also completed two other composite drawings, begun five more, finished a couple of t-shirt designs, hand-colored half a dozen prints, and spent countless hours wasting time on Facebook. And I had to vacuum the rug once. It’s a wonder I found any time to work on the Gator at all.Gator 14: Everything is coming together nicely. After weeks of sketching and erasing, this one is finally starting to look like ‘one of my pictures’. Actually, I haven’t added much more ink since the last version, however there has been a lot of last-minute problem solving and sketching. For example, the front foot used to be a blue crab, sitting on...something, holding...something else. Now he’s an advocate for responsible hunting with a duck call, spent shotgun shell, and a pair of duck stamps. A shrimp boot found its way to the gator’s tail, the snapping turtle is finally getting a shell, and somebody stuck a “Geaux Tigers” bumper sticker on the accordion. Not much left to do now but roll on the rest of the ink.
This is it, folks: Gator Aid is finally finished, scanned and ready for press. Not a moment too soon, either. The Wetland Watchers annual fundraising gala takes place in Destrhan on December 6th. (Prints go on sale that day.)
This has been a terrific project for me, and hopefully for the students at Harry Hurst Middle School as well. Their collected ideas and suggestions all settled into the picture, with over 120 individual pieces of Louisiana lore, New Orleans culture, and wetland wonder making up one of the most complex and challenging projects ever to crawl across my drawing board.
Thanks for your help, and for the great work you are doing at the wetland!
CHECK OUT THE PROJECT PROGRESS IN THE ATTACHED POST!
Don Stewart is a former physician who uses his complex artwork to entertain and educate. Dr. Stewart is working with art and science students at Hurst Middle School to create a new drawing of an alligator for their Wetland Watchers project. To see examples of his award winning composite drawings, be sure to visit dsart.com. You will be amazed and humored at the many exceptional works of art in his gallery!
“I’m still a biologist at heart, and part of my training included work along the Gulf coast” said Dr. Stewart, “I am amazed at how much the wetlands have been destroyed in my lifetime. It is encouraging to see that the trend is now reversing, and that the next generation will play an active role in maintaining this incredible ecosystem.”
Hurst teacher, Barry Guillot, was introduced to DOn Stewart's work during a break from as a driver's ed instructo at the McDOnald's Restaraunt in LaPlace, Louisiana. The composite drawing of a saxaphone made completely of marine animals and entitled "Musical Scales" was a perfect present for his sax playing/ scuba diving teen-age son! GUillot wrote teh author's name on a napkin and contacted him that evening about possible doing a wetland themed project.
During Dr. Stewart’s visit to Louisiana, he spoke with the HHMS art students about his work, and received their feedback regarding the new project. Specifically, they provided a long list of items to include in a new alligator drawing. Consistent with Dr. Stewart’s usual drawing style, this gator will be made up of a thematic group of smaller objects – in this case items related to the wetlands, and NOLA.
Hurst Middle students present artist Don Stewart with a painted shrimp boot as a thank you for volunteering to be a part of the Wetland Watcher Project! Along with the students are Hurst Talented Art Teacher, John Taube, Hurst teacher Barry Guillot, and ALabama artist Don Stewart.
“Hopefully this art project will bring more attention to the essential work Mr. Guillot and his students are doing here. It is truly gratifying to be able to use art to contribute to an important scientific and educational effort.”
Students from Hurst Middle School in Destrehan, La are filmed collecting critters along the shoreline of Lake Pontchartrain in the LaBranche Wetlands during a Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Trip!
Diane Sawyer hosts the ABC Children First Special Protecting Our Planet that features Destrehan, Louisiana’s Harry Hurst Middle School Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project in a nationally aired documentary. Globalvision media based in New York granted permission to post this segment!
Birmingham artist Dr. Don Stewart has teamed up with service-learning guru Barry Guillot’s Wetland Watchers to help rebuild the Louisiana coastal landscape.
Last April, the physician-turned-visual humorist was invited to speak with science and art students at the Hurst Middle School in Destrehan, LA. Stewart was also there to gather material for a new drawing, which will be used to publicize and raise money for the Wetland Watchers.
Stewart was the guest of Barry Guillot, an award-winning middle school science teacher who is using the local wetlands as an outdoor laboratory to teach his students about the environment. “Mr. Barry”, as he is called by local custom, is known nationally for his educationally-based wetland reclamation efforts – the Wetland Watchers – and for his leadership in the growing Service Learning movement. Among his many kudos, Guillot has been recognized by filmmaker George Lucas’ Edutopia program as one of the leading educators in America.
“Mr. Barry discovered my work hanging in a local McDonald’s restaurant, and contacted me about doing something to promote the Wetland Watchers project,” Stewart said. “We decided on a composite drawing of an alligator, made out of things native to the wetland, and to the New Orleans area”. Composite refers to the artist’s characteristic drawing style, creating large pictures from a number of smaller images.
Stewart received input directly from the students, who gave the artist a long list of items to include in the drawing. In return, he has been keeping them up to date on the project, sending sketches by e-mail to show them how the drawing is developing, step by step.
“We plan to have an unveiling of some sort in December,” Stewart said. Guillot has an impressive number of corporate sponsors backing his efforts, and is also in contact with the Louisiana Lt. Governor’s office. The idea will be to sell prints of the alligator drawing to promote the Wetland Watchers.
Donald B. Stewart, M.D. DS Art ™ Studio Gallery 2805 Crescent Avenue
Birmingham, AL 35209
Alabama Artist, DOn Stewart, and Hurst teacher Barry Guillot pose in front of Don's composite drawings on display at the McDonalds in Laplace. This is where Guillot was first introduced to Stewart's work.
Alabama artist, Don Stewart, meets with students at Harry Hurst Middle to determine their ideas on what should be included in a composite drawing themed on wetlands.
Don Stewart's creative art is called composite drawing, where a large pictuer is created from many smaller objects that fall in the same theme. For example, this is Don's motorcycle that is entirely built from different foods and is creatively entitled "Fast Food"!
Hurst 7th grader Gabby shows a student how to plant cypress tree seeds as part of the Louisiana State University Coastal Roots Project. Students visiting the Coastal Roots booth planted seeds to grow 400 cypress trees that will be planted in Wetland Watchers Park next school year.
NFL New Orleans Saints Players and Saintsations visited with students and toured the Wetland Watcher Nature Trail during the annual Wetlands Celebration. Back row (L-R) Saints players Glenn Pakulak, Robert Meacham, and Hurst teacher Barry Guillot, Middle Row(L-R): Saints players Skyler Green, Pierre Thomas, and rep Michael Lewis Front Row: Saintsation Cheerleaders – Including former Harry Hurst student Ashlyn Falgout.
UNO-PIES educator, Heather Egger, reads a first-hand account of French explorers traveling through the LaBranche area 300 years ago, while the students close their eyes to imagine what the land looked like back then. Many were excited to learn that some of the palmettos they were sitting by were alive when these events occurred!
Each student collected soil samples and recorded observations about the physical composition of the soil.
Over a two day period, all of the 8th graders at Hurst Middle were given the opportunity to participate in activities at Wetland Watchers Park. As part of the Hurst Wetland Watchers Service-Learning Project students are able to meet required academic standards while participating in activities that benefit their community or environment. This is the first time in 7 years that eighth graders were involved in this type of trip. Where seventh graders focus on Life science subjects like plants and animals and Language Arts descriptive essays, the eighth grade trip focused on Earth Science subjects such as soil composition and quality, as well as exploring Louisiana History concepts by focusing on the incredible local history of the area. Students took part in GPS Geocache activities that introduced them to the towns along the Lake Pontchartrain shoreline that were destroyed by a strong hurricane in 1915 through maps and survivor accounts. Educators with the UNO Pontchartrain Institute of Environmental Sciences led students through guided imagery activities involving firsthand accounts of journals written by Iberville’s carpenter in 1700 as he traveled through the LaBranche area, as well as math activities where students calculated percentage of land loss in the area over a 50 year period. Lake Pontchartrain Basin educators guided students as they dug foot deep holes in the ground to analyze different soil types and composition, while Dow St. Charles Operations volunteers facilitated stations with students testing and comparing soil absorption rates. Students were also involved in collecting sensory information to be used in their Language Arts classes to create poems about the area. This is an important trip for the 8th graders as during this school year, many of them will be working on collecting and organizing information that will be used in interpretive signage throughout Wetland Watcher Park and the future nature trails.
“I am so excited about the new 8th grade trips. Watching the students’ faces as they learn about events that occurred right where they are standing is so exciting. Everyone that visits the area is able to see its beauty right away, but not many people realize all of the history. One of the parents told me that he had lived there his whole life and didn’t know half the information that he learned out there. Actually seeing a Native American midden dated over 500 years old cannot be replaced by reading about it in a text book. Listening to written accounts of explorers that 300 years ago passed within 100 yards of where you are standing while you are surrounded by palmetto trees that are dated over 400 years old brings history to life for the students. It is hard not to be amazed that some of these trees were in the same place as the French explorers traveled by or that Native Americans may have used leaves off of one of these trees to make shelters.” said Hurst teacher Barry Guillot. “So far all of these activities are working wonderfully in their field tests. I am looking forward to having everything all packaged up so teachers from other schools can check out kits for different activities and share the same types of excitement with their students.”