We had a super morning at the gallery at dlr LexIcon. The exhibition was called And the tide was way out by two artists – Paul Hallahan and Lee Welch. Great discussions around how the artworks were created –
First with Lee Welch’s paintings – How was the paint put on? What was it painted on? Was is cardboard or material? Was the pattern on the material or had the artist painted it? Were they stencils? Was it a face? Was it in a museum? Was it a statue?
With Paul Hallahans paintings – Was it another world? Was it outer space? Was it a map? Were there borders? Was there a flight path? Were there different animals hidden in the paint? Had the artist used alcohol so the paint separated in some parts and blended in other parts? Had the artist used ink for the black bits along the edge?
Both groups loved the moving projected painting – what could it be? Was it blood inside a body? Was it a close up? Was it another world? Was it the earth from space? Was it the future? Was it a hole that we were looking into?
Lovely morning and gave us inspiration for creating layered artworks using chalk pastels on tracing paper so light could come through. And also using pencils to make more defined marks. We worked on both sides of the tracing paper and then using black sugar paper created a circular frame or lens through which to view the artwork.
We were continuing on with our explorations into Self Portraits -we began by going back to the mirrors – looking at shapes, size and proportion – measuring where our eyes are, ears, width of mouth, nose etc. Looking at features on the face and how they link up. So we did some blind drawings…..everyone found it really hard not to look and found their faces all mixed up when they looked at their drawings…some forgot to look at their faces in the mirrors while doing the drawing. So we tried this again, really looking at our faces in the mirror and trying to co-ordinate our hand to make the drawing! We focused in on the eye – getting the details of different parts of the eye and the shape – where the eyelids, eye lashes, pupil, iris are and connect.
We spent a bit of time then doing colour studies – using coloured pencils we did a tester piece on blending colours – working two colours together to get a gradation of one colour to another. Then looking really carefully and colour matching we made sheets of colour samples – holding them against our faces to check the colours. Some beautiful palettes created!
We also took some time to look at and discuss two self portraits – Frida Kahlo and Vincent Van Gogh. We looked at what was around the figures, what we could tell about the person looking at their portrait and how artists do not always show themselves at their best!
Following on from last week when we had begun to create 3D standing walls from square shapes I wanted to develop this further with more construction techniques. We began by reflecting on last week and what techniques, processes, ways of making we had used to make our buildings stand up. the class had read The 3 Little Pigs since last week so that was great for talking about strong and sturdy walls and if they could be blown over. This was going to be our task – to build a wall that would not blow over!
We experimented with standing the card on its side but remembered from last week that it was too thin – so we looked at folding and also (new for this week) – curving the wall so it balanced – or we could roll it around and join it so it was like a tower. We would need to add some flaps to get it to stick to the base. This was a new technique and it took everyone a bit of time and helping hands to figure this out! Trying and testing and problem solving!
We ended up with a village of beautiful buildings!
After break we had a look at some images of buildings and what shapes are used or joined together to build the building. We looked at the Aviva Stadium and the LexIcon Library where we will be going next week for an exhibition visit.
Robert Smithson – Spiral Jetty
Egon Schiele – Study of Hands
Following on from our explorations of different sorts of drawing we began this week looking at Robert Smithson Spiral Jetty – was it natural or man made? Was it really in water? What was it made of? Were those people real or photo shopped into the picture? Was this really an artwork? Is it still there? Where is it?
We then had q brief look at Egon Schiele’s hand portrait – looking at what we can tell about the person just looking at a drawing of their hands – was it a man? was it a poor man? Look at his old sleeves? Maybe he was poor?
This was a good lead into how much you can tell by the way something is actually drawn – observational drawing but expressing emotional detail – through use of expressive lines. So after a quick mark making warm up with graphite and pencils we were going to try doing a self portrait. Feeling all over our heads to find hard and soft surfaces, textures, hollow and solid spaces, smooth and rough. And then beginning the portraits – this was going to be hard! I reassured the class that drawing faces is the hardest thing to do so just getting the features in and showing some depth through shading.
And indeed the class stuck with it and really tried hard to get the shapes and shading. Here are some of the self portraits!
We began this week by reflecting on how we had built houses and buildings using clay last week. We talked about the shapes we had used and how we had got the walls to stand. The class had had Lego workshop before I came in so this gave a perfect continuity for us to discuss making a strong structure and putting it on a strong foundation or base and trying and testing different ways of constructing.
So we gathered around and looked and tried and tested ways of getting a rectangle to stand – glue on the edge? Buit the edge was too thin so it fell over. Put it flat and another rectangle on top? Too flat! Like the clay – what if you put two rectangles together side by side so one supported the other? This could work! What if you folded the bottom of the rectangle so there was more to glue onto the base? Well that could work too! And we would need to measure also to make a roof that would fit!
So armed with card, cardboard base, glues and scissors we spent a very busy morning. Everyone tried and tested finding different ways and techniques to get the walls standing – adding card to support the walls. Measuring to make a roof or using long strips to arch across the roof using narrow strips. Great problem solving and great building Junior Infants!
Last week we had talked about who uses drawing so we began this week looking at two different drawing. Discussing what the drawings showed – how to read the drawings – what information was in the drawings – were they done by hand?
Lots of discussion and got us thinking about who not only makes drawings as part of their job or work but who needs to be able to read or understand these drawings. Architects – builders – plumbers – engineers – electricians – window fitter – carpenter – interior designers – and of course the client or person who is getting the house built.
We had explored some mark making in the previous week so over the next few weeks we will bring some of those marks into our observational drawing. Observational drawing is drawing or recording what you can see, what is in front of you. This is a really heard exercise and we need to train our eyes to look closely and our hands to draw what we are seeing and take our time!
We set up a group of apples in an “interesting” arrangement – different heights, different angles – looking at light and shadow. So beginning with getting the basic shapes, outlines, proportions and the shapes and forms where they touched each other or were behind or in front of each other. Then took an apple on its own (most resisting the urge to take a bite before drawing it!). Getting closer we used magnifying glass to examine the skin surface – texture and pattern. Finally cutting in half to explore the insde – different texture and pattern. Great focused work by 3rd Class!
This week we began as before with warming up and warming up our hands and did a bit of a work out! As we warmed up the clay, passing the clay between our hands I began telling the story of Mr and Mrs Stone living in a cave thousands and thousands of years ago. Mrs Stone wanted some water so sent Mr.Stone out to the river – the blue carpet became our river. How was he going to bring water back to the cave – there were no cups or buckets or basins….what would he do? He could try using his hands as a cup but the water kept spilling. Then he noticed some clay along beside the river and thought maybe he could use that. He made it into a ball – (just like us with our clay) – and then made a hole in the clay – not all the way through cos’ the clay would fall or spill out.
So together we made bowls – thinking about whether it would be able to hold some water. We would have to test them! So we poured in water and tried them out! Just one spill and one repair job! We could bring the water back to Mrs. Stone patiently waiting in the cave.
Following on from last week when we explored making walls standing up by using a supporting wall and built on roof, this week wanted to explore a self supporting wall – a wall long enough to curve around and join up and stand on its own. So we did a few experiments checking the straightness of the wall, the thickness and making sure it was not to high and would fall over. Everyone had a very busy session making their towers – adding a roof, windows, designs, doors and even some flags!
After break we had a think about where our towers might be and made drawings of the place. Also thinking about what might be inside and who might live in the tower. Busy busy morning! Great work Junior Infants!