Eco-siblings: Drawing from Nature

By: 2013 Machon Coordinator and Camper Care Team Member Daniel Abramson

This past summer, I ran a special program on Shabbat called “Eco-siblings: Drawing from Nature”.  It was great!  The idea was to have campers explore their relationship with the earth and nature by thinking about their relationships with others, and to explore the idea of healthy relationships through art.

Campers came to the session with partners and to make a link between their relationship with the environment and their relationships with their partners, siblings, friends, family and camp community members; we began recounting the beginning of the Bereshit story. This story looks at how God created the world, the work that it took and how we can also compare this to the efforts we put into relationships in our life. We learned that God made many things in the days of creation, and so we can in, a way; imagine that each part of creation is like a sibling to all other parts of creation.  Then we compared our relationship with the earth with our relationships with our own brothers and sisters.

Then we got to launch into our art!  In partners, campers chose one amazing natural scene to draw, and each partner made a line drawing of that scene.  Then we all learned a bit about painting using atmospheric perspective to make our scenes come to life.  Last, campers traded drawings and completed each other’s work with watercolour paints.  We wondered, “What is it like to allow someone else to take your work and to finish it for you?”, “Do we feel responsible when helping others with their work?”, “How can working with a “sibling” help us learn how to work with the Earth?”  Big questions with amazing answers!

It was wonderful to see the pairs respecting how their partner had completed their piece and complimenting them on the technique and colours they had used. In the end, we shared our work with each other in an informal “gallery walk” and shared our thoughts on why we liked each piece.  Here are some of the images for you to enjoy!

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