Middle School English Teacher Alex Knight’s artwork is on display now in the Luck Leadership Center Playhouse Gallery. The exhibit, titled “Oil and Words,” features twenty of Alex’s paintings and twenty collections of prose inspired by the art written by his students.
I am more of a writer than a painter. I have not trained as a painter, except that I do it when I am not writing. It’s more calming than writing, certainly more tactile. Painting brings me a more visceral and physical creativity, when I need it. And it's a great relief to writer's block.
About my students? They are simply wonderful and talented. See and read for yourself. Why do I use art in my classroom, my own work and art from my favorite painters? Kids are inspired to write when they have a beginning, a diving board, a step up. Art provides that. In my 25 years plus of teaching, I have noticed that young writers are liberated from their writing hesitation and fear when they have a photograph, a painting, even a piece of music to write about.
This project has been especially fun because the kids have written about my paintings. Their honesty about my work, their interpretations of it, and their own creativity demonstrated in their prose have been amazing; reading their work each day has helped me stay inspired in my own art, my painting and my writing.
Thanks to all the boys, who braved the pen, the keyboard, the pencil to create these little stories, these little gems of imagery in our classroom!
Below is an example of one of the many collaborations of teacher's art and students' prose on display now in the Luck Leadership Center Playhouse.
Underwater(acrylic on canvas, 60 x 41 in.)
The afternoon sun was beating down on my body, but the second my skin sank into the refreshing blue water my body was at ease. I looked at my hand and saw the wrinkles wondering whether they were from the water or my age. It didn’t matter to me because life felt spectacular and I wouldn’t let anything take that away from me.
—Campbell Reece '24
As the boy leaps far out into the pool, he anticipates the eruption of the liquid when he hits the surface.
—Jim Douthat '24
I arise from the water and stand as still as a tree in the snow. As I try not to lose my footing in gigantic pool, I wave my hands like a tree’s branches in and look down, imagining my leaves shaking off one by one.
—Sonny Bridges '24
Submerged underneath the glimmering water, the boy stares blankly at the jagged, bleached wall of the pool. His fingers delicately bob up and down underwater as if they were a boat sailing through the ocean on an adventure.
—Winston Morris '25
Holding his breath under the refreshing water in the deserted pool, the boy ripples through the water, arm by arm, and leg by leg.
—Steven Bishara '25
Below the phthalo blue and quiet water, the boy was inspecting his hand as if there was a bug on it. He was wearing neon-green shorts and the reflective water made his body look twisted and rippled.
—Ky Zollinhofer '25