"Does everybody know how to doodle?"
Demonstration: February 20, 2002
Walker Elementary School, Ashland OR
ASHLAND -- Ashland artist Alicia Mannix spent a fulfilling morning -- a mere 15 minutes -- doing what she loves -- painting -- for the student body of her 10-year-old's school.
Mannix spoke and painted at Walker Elementary School in Ashland on Wednesday, February 20, 2002. She is the featured artist on the walls at the school of 260 students, grades 1-5.
She demonstrated to students, teachers, administrators and parents, and gave a few words on her spontaneous style of doing art which she calls "Doodlism" during the school's regular "Sharing Assembly," featuring poems, songs and performances by students, and the guest artist.
"I had no idea what I was going to do," she said later.
"So I set up my easel and my canvas and my house paints."
"I'm not here to talk about art, I'm here to do art, and show you a way to do it," she remembers saying, from the cafeteria stage.
"Do you ever find yourself not knowing what to paint because you never know how to start?" she asked them.
"Yes," they replied enthusiastically in unison.
"Does everybody know how to doodle?" she said.
"Yes," the children cried.
"That's all you need to know," she said. She showed her paints and brushes and tools, such as a sponge on a stick, then asked them what color she should begin with. Red was the color of choice of the happy children. "That's what I was going to start with," she said.
"So then I started splashing paint on the canvas," she said. The kids chose all the colors. After some time, she said, "I really don't paint on an easel. This is how I really paint. So I put the canvas on the floor and poured paint on it." Then she propped it up so the paint could drip down. "It's painting itself," she told them.
She stopped then, and fielded questions from the audience, and after awhile said she needed help finishing the painting, and asked if anyone would volunteer. Scores of hands flew up, and she chose four children to help her paint. A little later, the painting was done.
"I showed it to them and they started clapping," she said. "It was so incredible."
"That was my 15 minutes of fame," she said. "Andy Warhol was right."
Teachers and students alike approached her afterward, especially students from her son, Thomas Wray's fourth grade class who know her, to thank her and tell her how good the exhibition was.
"They were surprised that it came out not as a muddy mess, but as a nice looking piece," she said. But doodles are her form of generating expression and art, she admits, and grasps, as a style.
"I do a bunch of doodles and I just wait and some shapes come out," she said. "Everybody can do that."
The morning was fulfilling, she said, and the audience clapped and cheered. The painting, on a 36 by 48 inch canvas, is called "Shared Assembly" and will be on display at the school, along with two dozen paintings at Walker in her show, "Spontaneous Doodlism."
Her exhibit opened January 25. The exhibit is open to the public Monday through Friday during normal school hours.