When my nephew was six he ran a grocery store. He sorted cans of fruit, vegetables and soup. He priced each can and stocked shelves. Then he sold the products to his sister and brother. He was able to add the prices and make change in his head. At a very young age his mathematical abilities shone bright. As a young man, Jimmy received a Bachelor of Commerce Honours and his Certified General Accountant degree.
Sometimes it is difficult to see a child’s potential. But not Jimmy.
My friend Ella Germain is one of those with her ability shining brightly. She is not a mathematician, but an artist.
Her mother, Janice Hall, agrees with me. Ella sees the world through an artist’s palette of colour. Ella is always looking for new ideas for creativity, for different mediums for expressing her art. When she plays outside she is always on the lookout for craft materials and colour combinations.
Ella’s artistic talents were noticed early. At day care she was usually found at the craft centre. Her first project was a pencil drawing. She loved creating paper crafts and painting pictures.
Today she loves art history as well. Her inspiration these days includes the Group of Seven and Van Gogh.
Ella is seven years old. She is in Grade Two at Whitehorse Elementary. There, art is embedded in the curriculum. Last year the whole school worked with the Yukon Salmon Subcommittee to create the fantastic fish mural still seen along the fence of the school. Ella explained the creative project to me at a recent visit to her “studio” home.
While some children’s talents are overlooked, not Ella’s. Her parents recognize and celebrate her abilities. She has attended many art camps over the last few years. This past summer she participated in the Arts Underground art camp. She has participated in the Yukon Arts Centre kids’ program, too.
She is currently enrolled in the Fine Arts for Kidz program offered at Vanier Catholic Secondary School on Saturday mornings. The program is sponsored by the City of Whitehorse Parks and Community Development Department. The class is very popular with young artists. The program introduces art basics to youngsters ranging in age from six to 12 years old. Participants are introduced to a number of creative methods including printmaking, painting, collage and sculpture. Meshell Melvin is the instructor, and Ella loves her lively approach to art.
Ella is busy with acrylic painting and collage. Her collection includes landscapes and people.
I think back to my nephew Jimmy and his mathematical genius. I wonder what Ella’s future holds. Will she be Yukon’s next Emma Barr or Joyce Majiski? Will she attend Emily Carr University of Art and Design? Whether a professional career awaits in her future, I do not know. But I do know that Ella’s friends and family will be graced with her beautiful artistic personality and paintings for many years to come.