“Stunning”, “Awesome”, “Beautiful Masterpiece” just a few of the words you hear walking through the yard at La Ballona Elementary these days. Thanks to a generous donation from the Ruth D. Ewing trust La Ballona was able to bring artist Outi Harma to the school to paint two handball walls, and the response from the students and community has been overwhelming.
Outi Harma is originally from Lapland, Finland. More than 20 years ago, her move to the warm, multicultural city of Los Angeles was the catalyst that catapulted her creative expression. Her images create exciting worlds that merge the visible and invisible. Years of exploration in movement, dance and performance art, bring a wide variety of characters, fluidity and emotion to her paintings. Her work can take you from the beautiful, playful childlike realm to the spiritual and physiological depths where your soul expands.
This is how she describes her painting process:
“There are two main ways that I start my paintings. The most common method is improvisational. I start with mixing and playing with colors. Images begin to appear spontaneously as I paint. I love being surprised by what will manifest on the canvas and letting it tell me a story, instead of having a preconceived idea how to painting will look like. Then there are times while I am in a meditative state, in movement or just sitting in stillness when an image will come to me and keep reappearing over time until I paint it.”
Current first-grade parent, Marti Paez, introduced Outi Harma to the La Ballona community.
“I love La Ballona Elementary!!” Paez said. “As soon as our family arrived with our kindergartner, I knew in my heart we would have to share the beautiful creations of Outi Harma. Outi Harma’s connection with animals, nature, dance and theater unfolds on her canvas. Outi’s gentle and kind approach has been so appreciated by the La Ballona students as they watch Outi create. La Ballona is about community and is constantly inspiring. I had to share it with my artist friends. I am calling on all artists. Find these neighborhood schools and share your gifts. There are young humans that would love to have your creative seeds fill their minds.”
Be sure to visit La Ballona and see the masterpieces for yourself. La Ballona Elementary is located at 10915 Washington Boulevard in Culver City. For more information, go to www.laballona.com.
– Photo credit Marti Paez