A primeval adventure

Art of the T-Rex: Baldi Middle School students pose by their sculpture of a Tyrannosaurus rex. Twenty-four kids in William Mathes’s art class have been building sculptures of dinosaurs, including a Triceratops, which is now being completed. MARIA POUCHNIKOVA / TIMES PHOTOS

Some Baldi Middle School students have been getting all primeval this year. Twenty-four kids in William Mathes’s art class have been building sculptures of dinosaurs, and they’re not anything close to desktop models.

They’re dinosaur big.

The four sculptures completed this year are on display inside the school, including an impressively huge Tyrannosaurus rex, while a Triceratops is now being finished.

The T rex along with the Triceratops and a Velociraptor will be donated to St. Christopher’s Hospital for Children at the end of the school year. Baldi’s principal Eugene McLaughlin and vice principal Renee Flehinger have been very supportive of the students’ project, Mathes said.

The students are spending a lot of their free time building the sculptures. A few began working on them last year and have shown others how to do some of their work. Using toy dinosaurs as models, the students built their sculptures with insulation, cardboard, duct tape, newspaper and gesso.

Gesso is a a white paint mixed with chalk and gypsum that can be used for canvas, wood panels or dinosaur sculptures. Right now, much of the work-in-progress Triceratops is covered in it.

And so, on occasion, are some of the students. It gets all over their hair and their clothing … and, as a few students chorused, “It doesn’t come out!”

“I had to throw out three pairs of pants because of gesso,” one student said.

Art requires sacrifice. ••