Saturday, September 17, 2011

Eliot Middle School

This morning I painted at Eliot Middle School. Because my children are grown, September doesn't hold the same back-to-school magic. But I had been longing to paint a school. Eliot is a pretty nice looking school on North Lake Avenue, close to some of my best friends and the Coffee Gallery which is also near to my heart. I like the painting pretty well. It looks just like Eliot, although it doesn't show the distinctive tower. It captures the slightly foggy morning atmosphere.

The school was dedicated in 1931, Charles W. Eliot Junior High School. Charles W. Eliot was the recently deceased former president of Harvard College. The stone plaque at the front of the school, reinforced with earthquake bolts, quotes Eliot, "Man glorifies God first by being useful, second by being happy. The supreme powers of the universe are not mechanical or material; they are hope and fear and love."

I had some personal history at Eliot. When I spent a year as a substitute teacher, physical education at Eliot was my most frequent assignment. I wore athletic shoes and handed out basketballs. It was nice to be outside. Classrooms can be pretty stifling, particularly for a young substitute teacher.

Whether you call it junior high school or middle school, those are some wickedly formative years. You have growth spurts and hormones. You start to learn about the world and keep secrets from your parents. Your wonderful friends and your anxiety form the center of your wildly spinning universe of hope and fear and love.


  1. It must have been a nostalgic and pleasant painting session with this one, it looks great Barbara!

  2. It makes a very gracious painting, and is a much nicer building than my awful, awful school (so many years ago).

  3. Thank you Padmaja and Mise. I look back on school far more fondly than I attended.