Debra Lynn photo                                Children finish their scary masks just in time for Halloween.

Debra Lynn photo Children finish their scary masks just in time for Halloween.

Debra Lynn instills creativity in North Island children from her art classes

“It’s supposed to be self-expression,” said Debra Lynn, art instructor.

Little Picassos continues to instill a sense of creativity for children. Debra Lynn, the instructor of the art class, said the tots program will also meet the developmental needs of children, who are reaching the age where they start to use crayons, markers and paint brushes.

Lynn said that the last class for Little Picassos is this Wednesday, Oct. 31. The class started Sept. 19, which ran for an hour every week for six weeks. To end off the class, Lynn also taught the pupils to paint their own “monster masks” and created their own monster pet spiders with playdough, pipe cleaners and googly eyes.

“The response overall has been great,” said Lynn, “I’ve been told by several parents of my Little Picassos group that their child looks forward to coming to class every week.”

She added that she held her first “Adventures in Art” class, which started on Oct. 20. “Although some of the students were a little nervous about coming to the first class, I watched faces gradually start to lose their apprehension, then smile and brighten up as the lesson progressed.”

Lynn noted that Little Picassos, ages three to five, and Paint Club will start Jan. 23 in the new year. The classes happen from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. in room four of the Old School in Port McNeill.

“This past fall was the first phase of the Little Picassos program,” she said. “The winter session of the course will maintain the same approach, but with all new projects. In fact, this course will have all new material for two years straight,” she added. Lynn also said that the program won’t reset until Fall of 2020. Parents will be able to enrol their children again all while having a fresh, exciting new art experience. Lynn said that Little Picassos will come to the Hub, in the North Island Mall, in Port Hardy in 2019 Fall.

Adventures in Art will run on Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m., Feb. 2 to March 9. In this course as well, I will also offer all new material for two years straight. There will also be a course for eight to 12 year-olds, called Paint Club, running Jan. 23 to Feb. 27, at 3:30 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Wednesdays.

The courses are an effort to develop fine motor skills of each child in the tots program. “I provide them with a wide range of materials to experience,” said Lynn.

The course also introduces basic art concepts, such as line, shape, colour, and even relates to science topics (such as the composition of a flower or the anatomy of a spider).

”The projects are set up in such a way as to highlight the charming qualities of this age group’s artistic expressions — so that the children can go home with final products they can be proud of. Also incorporated into the courses are group discussions, stories, videos, powerpoint presentations, song, dance and play acting,” Lynn added.

The main objective for this course, emphasized Lynn, is for children to have positive first experiences making art so that they can express themselves easily as they get older.

Adventures in Art includes storytelling which may cover storybooks, videos, powerpoint presentations. These skills will also be “incorporated into the program to help children expand their awareness of the world around them and stimulate their rich imaginations,” mentioned Lynn. She also noted that this age group includes plenty of group discussions and talking about their art.

Paint Club, for eight to 12-year-old age group, will be similar to an adult art class. “They will learn specific techniques for painting still life, portrait, landscape and abstract, with some fun and playful projects in between,” she said. “For inspiration, we will look at the work of famous artists, have group discussions and play art games. When I taught this course while living in Mackenzie last winter, I had solid attendance right until the end of the session. The children knew the value of what they were learning and came to class simply because they wanted to.

The pupils enroled in Paint Club will also have an opportunity to participate in another program called “Art Medley,” which is a multi-media course.

Lynn mentioned that the classes are more so about the inspiration to make art, rather than finishing a final product similar to that of an adult. “It’s supposed to be self-expression,” she said.

Lynn has a bachelor of fine arts from the University of Alberta and an MA in art education from Concordia University in Montreal. She developed this course while teaching at the City Arts Centre in Edmonton back in the 1990s.

If you’re interested in enroling your child in a class contact Lynn at (250) 209-0041 or at

North Island Gazette staff

Correction: The photos were misattributed to Debra Lynn, but are in fact credited to Laura Chase. The Gazette apologizes for the mistake.


Debra Lynn photo                                Debra Lynn, art instructor, reads to her art class.

Debra Lynn photo Debra Lynn, art instructor, reads to her art class.