February 6, 2014 at 11:17 PM
RANDOLPH, NJ- One of the most famous images in Japanese art, "The Great Wave off Kanagawa" will soon decorate the halls of the Randolph Middle School. The piece was re-created in the form of a 4’ x 6’ mural last year by two middle school students, Savanna Templeton and Veronica Theobald.
Eighth grade Art Enrichment teacher Steven Coleman said, “The painting is absolutely incredible and we will be unveiling it on Feb. 11 with a small ceremony.”
The two girls, who now attend RHS, are good friends, and both possess extraordinary artistic ability according to Coleman. While working on their solo shows in the fall of 2012, both approached him about creating a large work of art for the school.
Templeton and Theobald had seen the many large works around the middle school completed over the years. After discussing the difficulty in managing such a work with only two people, balancing a large scale piece along with their daily schoolwork, they decided they were up for the task.
The girls had studied luminary painting in class and its effects in light and shadow when appropriate colors are chosen for the under painting. They used this luminary knowledge and applied it to the "The Great Wave off Kanagawa", and came up with a proposal.
From the beginning, their intention was to give the finished work to the school. Months were spent drawing, under painting, redrawing, and final painting, done with any free moments they could find before, during, and after school.
A tripod stayed in place for months in the room, used each day to record steps in the painting, and of course portraits. The time lapse version of the girls working on the piece is shown in this ‘You Tube’ video:
The great wave off Kanagawa by Katsushika Hokusai is probably the most famous image in Japanese art. It depicts three boats in heavy seas on the point of encountering the eponymous wave, while Mount Fuji is glimpsed in the distance. The print is today often reproduced as the artistic depiction of a tsunami.
Coleman stated, “Our school schedule could never bear this kind of effort. The kids move in and out too fast to catch magic of this kind. The girls have serious self-motivation and needed very little encouragement on a day-to-day basis. They would show up early, work through homeroom, lunches, and every chance they could manage. It was quite remarkable.”
“I never had to push them to move faster because they came to me with embedded work ethic and a high aesthetic. My job was purely that of an art mentor.”
When it was all said and done, the last touches were made the day before the Art Show this past May. Coleman also said “The hours are innumerable and the effort is beyond any parent or teacher's expectations.”
When TAP reached out to the girls for a statement on their experience, Theobald stated, “After completing 'The Great Wave,' Savanna and I only felt pride over our newest accomplishment. I certainly have never spent that much time and energy into a piece to be displayed to many. It was a push for me to only achieve greater heights in the future.”
"The Great Wave off Kanagawa" mural dedication will take place on Tuesday, Feb. 11 at 3:15 in the Randolph Middle School Lobby.