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:

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