From art student to teacher for a day

Artist Paula Lucia returned to Daves Avenue Elementary School on Monday, speaking briefly to students about her experiences there. The 2009 Los Gatos High School graduate attended Daves when she was in grades three through five and returned to town as a guest of the Art Docents of Los Gatos.

Volunteer Guides were formed in 1973 to provide high quality arts education to students in the Los Gatos Union School District.

“Because Paula went to Daves, Fisher Middle School, and Los Gatos High School, she is teaching kids directly that they can be artists,” said docent Theresa Bricker.

Lucia entertained 23 classes of children on Monday with stories about making “self-portraits with weird faces that my mum uses for Halloween decorations”, but added that she had to take her art seriously after the university and earn money.

“So I became an art teacher. Teaching art is a really cool job,” Lucia said.

She currently teaches at Marvegos Fine Art School in San Mateo and has a studio in San Francisco, where she creates hats from upholstery scraps.

“I spend half my day with kids like you and the other half of the day I’m an artist,” Lucia said.

And then she talked about making hats.

“The first hat I made wasn’t so good,” Lucia said. “But when I made a second hat, I wore it outside and people would come up to me asking for hats. That’s the best thing, it makes people feel feel good about themselves.

Lucia charges $110 for a hat and sells them mostly at arts and crafts fairs.

“Once I have all the fabrics, I cut out the pieces and put them together,” she said. “Then I make a sweatband and maybe add a hidden pocket for keys or lunch money. It takes about six to eight hours to make a hat, but I don’t stop until I’m done.

The children were enthusiastic about Lucia’s hats, with first-grader Carlton Kalin saying, “I like the blue hat she made a week ago.

Freshman Violet Stuermer also liked the blue hat “and the one she’s wearing – they have life”.

Lucia also talked about painting.

“My paintings are abstract, which means it’s not a landscape – there’s no one in it – just shapes and lines,” she said. “There are no rules, it can be anything.”

As she draws triangles and lines on a white sheet of paper, Lucia explains that she starts her paintings with light colors in the background “to make things seem really distant. Then I do the middle, which has shapes and lines, and then I paint the sides. Towards the end I add more lines to give definition to the painting.

The lines are what drew first-grader Julia Zacherl to Lucia’s art.

“I like his paintings because they have lots of colors, lines and details,” Julia said.

Lucia spoke with students from Lexington and Blossom Hill Elementary Schools earlier this year and will be at Van Meter Elementary on May 14.

Artist Steven Bruce, who creates art by applying acids to copper, will speak to art students at Fisher Middle School in March.

Kayleen C. Rice