It’s hours before young aspiring Leonardo da Vincis will debut their masterpieces, yet they calmly streak their paintbrushes across canvasses.

In their last day of preparation for an art show Thursday, children ages 7-12 received their final summer lesson aboard Amelia Rabroker’s Tap Tap Art School bus parked in Carl Levin Park.

Jylin Parks-Reese, 9, of Nolanville, smudges an oil pastel onto his canvass to sketch a fish. Moments later he flicks his paintbrush into fluorescent pink paint.

“I think it’s fun,” Jylin said, while continuing to intently concentrate on his creation. “I like the colors.”

Rabroker told the group they could paint with warm colors with yellow, orange and red hues or cool colors of blue, green and purple.

She encouraged them to use their own creative flair.

Rabroker said Jylin and the other children participating in the art camp through the Harker Heights Parks and Recreation Department were concluding their week of learning how to make art with recycled materials.

Their fish paintings were on top of a canvass with recycled newspaper as the backdrop and a bottle cap for an eye.

The bottle cap use was an artistic technique known as a relief, in which it comes off the surface, Rabroker told the group.

Another project was a shadowbox constructed with Flip camera boxes, recycled tissue paper, a stick and Bubble Wrap.

“And they chose a season and learned how to make a landscape and a tree,” Rabroker said.

Of the projects, both Aliya Lee, 12, of Killeen, and Shayla Hill-Watts, 12, of Harker Heights, said they liked the recyclable CD project where they used old CDs to either weave or painted black, etched and used paint pens to draw designs.

Shayla said she enjoys painting whatever comes to mind.

Aliya said she participated in the art camp because her father knows she likes art. “I like sketching and sometimes painting.”

Rabroker said Aliya’s father spotted the bright green Tap Tap Art School bus at a stop light, flagged her down, received her business card and found the art camp in Harker Heights.

Aliya said she thought the staff, which also included Tap Tap assistant Denisha Jones, was helpful.

Others participating in the 7-12 age group camp included Hannah Lim, 7; Kate Lim, 9; John Ahn, 8; Joseph Ahn, 10; Dane Kimbrel, 9; and Kalen Luedeke, 12.

Another age 5-7 group focused on an “in your own backyard” theme and made clay frogs along with a sculpture with glued plastic insects.

Rabroker said all youngsters were also taught elements of art through the week, including line and shape.

Contact Rachael Riley at or 254-501-7553

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