The art teacher (Connie McClure at Rockville Elementary School) and I did this project with the fourth grade art class. My granddaughter, Kristin, was in the class as well as another relative, Trent.

Preparation: The teacher and I  prepared beforehand for the art work. We wanted to be more comfortable with what we were  doing. The teacher liked the idea that I took with me.  She had never painted a gourd before. We did a practice gourd first. We did the Santa gourd with the students in three lessons.

First lesson:  The students  observed the shape and size of heads and measured the dimensions. They then studied proportions and drew the dimensions on their gourd donated by Sandlady's Gourd Farm. We got the kids started and then they could finish each part..  The children drew a simple Santa. They started with  A-like eyes.  Next a band across his forehead. Then an upside-down v for the top part of the hat over the band.  The  nose could be a small m. A long stretched out m for the beard.  The mouth
is a cute o. The beard is long curvy lines.  We took pictures of the process.

Second lesson: The students  colored in the eyes with a marker.  Next we showed them how to take a liner brush, dip the end in paint and drag and twist the brush and then put a little white coma highlight in right side of the  eye.  We put a  dot on each eye opposite the comma using the tip of the handle of a brush.  The teacher told them the dot was a reflection of light in the eyes. Next they used a marker to color in the hat. The students used their markers to paint the mouth red and put a bit of darker paint
in the middle of the mouth.  They next dipped a liner brush in butter cream paint mixed with acrylic sealer and dragged the brush down making a beard between the wavy lines on the beard.  Let dry. We took more pictures of the process.

Third lesson:    The students painted the whole gourd with a clear acrylic sealer using a flat brush. We mixed a tad bit of  butter cream with a tad bit of flesh paint and mix a small bit of thinner in that and paint over the gourd.  This gave a transparent effect.  Then they got their pictures taken several times.

With the teachers help, I emailed an article to the Clintonian Newspaper and attached four pictures.  The following week, the students got to see their pictures and project in the newspaper.    The teacher wants to give my other granddaughter private art lessons in exchange for gourds so that she can do more art classes with the schools.

The art teacher, Connie McClure, will teach an art class for teachers using the above project, a Santa on a spoon gourd at my Gourd Fest 2001, August 24 at 9 A.M. and again at and 1:00 P.M.  There may be another class for teachers.  (I will donate gourds to her school projects).

Helen Thomas
Sandlady's Gourd Farm
RR4  Box 86
Tangier, In. 47952
Fifth Annual Gourd Fest  August 24-25
Web site:

Connie McClure, the art teacher wrote to me afterwards...  "Thank you for coming.  That was a terrific project for the kids.  What other classes are available that teachers might participate in?  "