Preschool artists go wild for giraffes at North Bend Encompass

Encompass preschoolers found their inner artist when Marcia Tuttle-Ryon led a three day project showcased at the school’s Enompass Art Show on Thursday, April 1.

An animal artist, Tuttle-Ryon was an elementary teacher for 33 years before she tried her hand in watercolors in 2003.

Hailing from a family of artists, she was “drawn to the lightness and flow of watercolor paintings” and quickly mastered water color techniques. This led to her winning many awards and wide recognition for her original animal paintings.

Invited to Julie Forslin’s 4-year-old preschool class, Tuttle-Ryon expanded students’ study of animals. Teaching the children the art of painting and two-dimensional art by creating giraffes, Tuttle-Ryon split the more difficult project into three days to give the students a better understanding.

“This is a project that is complicated for this age. That’s why we broke it down in three days,” Tuttle-Ryon said. “It’s been good for them, because it spreads out the ideas and they can have a more complicated product. They are really proud.”

On the first day, Tuttle-Ryon taught the children how to draw the giraffe and paint the sky.

The next day, they continued drawing their giraffes by adding spots with pastels and painting the creatures’ bodies with watercolors.

“It’s really interesting to see the difference in how the kids approach the project,” Tuttle-Ryon said. “You see the differences in how they draw, comprehend, perceive and translate what I’m doing on their paper.”

Tuttle-Ryon noted that it takes a high level of skill for students at that age to look at something and find that same spot on their own piece of art.

By the third day, the students had the drawings of their giraffes complete, but Tuttle-Ryon added one more effect to make the pieces of art stand out — an extra dimension.

Using glue to add yarn for the giraffes’ mane and tale, pom-poms for their horns and raffia for grass, each student held up their giraffe with pride.

“It’s fun, because you don’t know what they’re going to do,” Tuttle-Ryon said. “Even from the first day, they’ve been saying they can’t wait to show their moms.”

To learn about Tuttle-Ryon’s work, visit

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