Sara Sealander has been assigning her Art 4B class a project to draw life-size portraits to place in the library for years. Sealander has been teaching art fulltime at Yuba College for 30 years, and for many of her students, this is one of her most exciting projects.
“The one reason I use it is that I like to challenge students and see them be successful,” Sealander said.
It was not successful the first time through, according Sealander. “The first version of this project was just done on butcher paper,” she said. “When the students were all done with their portraits, we had them cut out like big paper dolls and we back rolled masking tape on them to place them on the wall.”
When they finished the installation and went upstairs together, they looked out at what they had done to see their hard work peeling off the wall because the tape would not hold.
“On one level I felt like crying,” Sealander said, “but it was one of the funniest things that any of us had seen, and there was nothing we could do.”
The class still tapes the portraits up to get them placed but puts staples along the edges afterwards.
Soon after the first project, Sealander realized that they needed stronger paper, but the art department did not have a budget for the $400 paper. So the students held bake and juice sales to raise the money. Now the only supplies the students need to provide for the project are dry pastels and charcoal.
This project is a long process for the students. First, the students must decide who they are going to draw, whether it is themselves or a friend.
“They have to pick someone on campus,” said Sealander.
After the drawing is finished, the students must add color with their dry pastels. Then, the students take the portrait outside to spray it down with a fixative. After the portrait dries, they must cut them out. Finally, it is ready to be placed in the library.
“It’s a challenge,” said Harold Miyashiro, one of Sealander’s students. “I’ve wanted to do this all my life, and now that I’m retired I have the time to do so.”
The long process is well worth it to the student artists since many students around campus notice their accomplishment when coming into the library.
“Whenever I go into the library, I look to see if there are any new pictures hanging,” Yuba College student Megan Ruble said. “They always look great. I wish I had that much talent.”