Monday, 27 June 2011

City at Night Collage

For this workshop I tried my own version of the City at Night art lesson I've seen on  and other blogs. I decided to start with a circular background for a change and got the students to draw round a record to create a perfectly-sized circle (try doing that with an MP3 - ha!) which they cut out with help from their carers. Next, I showed them how to use pastels to make a moon and lots of stars. I had pre-cut loads of rectangles in different sizes and colours so they could choose which ones they wanted for their skyscrapers and glue them on at the base of the circle. I had also cut out lots of bright yellow squares for the windows. I explained that they didn't have to cover the whole skyscraper with windows because not everyone would have their lights on! They all seemed to understand and enjoyed positioning the windows. As a finishing touch I gave them a cut-out of a cartoon yellow taxi (much to the delight of one car-obsessed student) which they could glue on to the bottom.

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Aboriginal Dot Painting

I know that most art teachers out there have finished for the summer but for a community artist like me the classes just keep on going!
My most recent endeavour was an Australian-themed dot painting workshop. I have used dot painting in classes before but this was the first time I incorporated a hand print into the design (thanks to Kristin Thomas at For the Love of Art ).
I set the scene by putting on a CD of didgeridoo music (it was Didgeralia by David Hudson) and handing out some colouring sheets of x-ray animal drawings.
I then asked them to draw around one of their hands on a sheet of grey paper (black would probably have been better but we didn't have any!). All the students who attend this particular class have a carer with them so I gave them a choice: either the carer could draw around the student's hand or vice versa.
I then demonstrated how to create dots around the outline of the hand using cotton buds (Q-tips) dipped in paint. They could then go ahead and fill-in the rest of the hand. At this point, each student had access to either hot colours or cold colours, not both.
Once they had done this I asked them to draw a simple pattern of lines around the hand. Some students managed this themselves and others needed their carer to do this bit for them. I then swapped the paint pallets around and got them to fill in the background. They all needed lots of motivating to keep going with the dots as they wanted to stop after doing a few in each colour. It was also very tempting for them to use the cotton bud like a paintbrush and make lines instead of dots but I gently discouraged that (unless they were REALLY enjoying it!) A little bit of one-on-one help with each student helped them to get the hang of it. As a finishing touch, they chose one of the x-ray animals they had coloured and glued it on to their picture.
Here are links to the book I copied the x-ray animals from and to the fab CD which all the students enjoyed:

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Collage Silhouettes

I spotted this project on Mrs Jahnig's Art Space and decided to give it a whirl with my art group.
As soon as students started to arrive for class I began sitting them one by one in the 'hot seat' so that I could draw their profiles. I just used a lamp to create the shadows on large pieces of paper. It was a real challenge to get my students to sit still and not turn around to see what I was drawing! I had to be very fast and some of the profiles were a little rough. One of my students did not manage to sit still at all and so I drew the profile of his carer instead. After they all had their profiles drawn, I asked the carers to cut them out (one student was able to cut out his own) and then they began flicking through magazines and choosing images that appealed to them. I told them that I wanted them to create a picture of what goes on inside their heads and so they should choose pictures of things that they like or like doing. I'm not sure if they all understood the concept but they were all very definite about what images they did and didn't like. Few students could cut out the pictures themselves but they could all help apply the glue and stick them on to their profiles. I always like to use glitter glue for a bit of glamour!
The profiles were quite big and most students didn't have time to completely cover them in pictures during the hour-long class. It would also have been nice to mount the finished profiles on to black paper to frame them.
It was really interesting to see which pictures the students chose and I felt like I knew them better by the end of the class.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Five Minute Theatre

Yesterday was a big day for my drama group at Vale of  Leven Academy in West Dunbartonshire. They performed and recorded their five minute play 'Squirrels vs the Moon' about a group of squirrels building a rocket in order to reach the 'glorious white nut in the sky'. (The play was written by the young people - there's no way I could come up with an idea as crazy as that!)
It will be shown as part of 24 hours of non-stop theatre from the 21st to 22nd of June 2011 on the National Theatre of Scotland website:
We will be on sometime between 2 & 3pm on the 22nd.