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Homeschooled students enjoy free art camp (w/video)

By Carolina Astrain
June 23, 2014 at 1:23 a.m.

Whitney Moreno, a home-schooled eighth-grader, works on a painting for her mother during Candace Coyle's art camp at Victoria East High School on Monday. She's painting a sign that reads "Life Began in the Garden" for her mother, who likes to garden at home. Whitney said she is inspired by her sister, Lindsey Moreno, who is also an artist. The camp is available to anyone interested in drawing or painting from 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Camp ends Thursday.

The halls of Victoria East High School were quiet Monday, but from Candace Coyle's art room, light piano music could be heard.

Four students sat at a long, black desk with drawing utensils in hand, deep in focus.

Whitney Moreno, 12, looked over her older sister's shoulder and watched as Lindsey Moreno, 17, colored in the green of her subject's eyes.

Next to the sisters sat Kalli Cole and Cody Taylor, who learned about the free VISD art camp through the siblings.

"We read about it in the paper," Lindsey said. "I came last year for the pottery and really liked it."

All four have been home-schooled most of their lives.

Coyle, who has been teaching in Victoria for the last 11 years, said the free art camp is a good way to keep students enriched during the summer. Some of her art camp students also benefit from the free meals provided to students at Victoria school district campuses during the break.

For home-schooled students, Coyle said, the art camp is a good way to get those students into a traditional classroom setting with access to a wide array of supplies.

"I love that we are able to open this up to the entire community," Coyle said. "Getting better at their art skills will help them do better in their core subjects."

Coyle said she can have as many as 20 students in her classroom at the camp.

"As long as I don't fill up, I don't have to turn anyone away," she said.

Having a group of home-schooled students with another set of skills has also helped her learn some new tricks.

"This has been a great group of kids," Coyle said. "They are here before 8 a.m. and remain deeply focused on their work."

During the first week of the free art camp, Coyle said the room was a bit more challenging.

"We had a bunch of eighth-grade students who didn't seem too interested in art," Coyle said.

Above Coyle hung a collection of beautifully painted Banyan trees crafted by the first wave of campers.

"I taught them how to use oil pastels with turpenoid painted over," Coyle said as she demonstrated with a canary-yellow pastel. "It doesn't smudge after."

As Coyle admired the student work above her, on the other side of the room, Taylor, 18, sketched a medieval-looking warrior fresh from a video game screen.

After completing school, Taylor said he hopes to work for Retro Studios, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Nintendo Company based in Austin.

"I want to get into the art world and become an animator," Taylor said. "Retro Studios has done things like Metroid and Donkey Kong. ... I like their style."



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