A very enthusiastic 4th class met me this week! some of the class had done their homework – that was some star spotting – trying to find the Orion Constellation in the night sky – well spotted!
Straight into working on the dot mobiles we had begun last week to create a moving drawing in space. Using dots/ circles cut from card and suspended from different levels of sticks. I introduced silver/ gold card so this would bring in elements of light and reflection. Some students added on to their ones from last week and some began new pieces. Everyone got busy – cutting, punching, tying, knotting and taping. Just before break we brought them outside to observe the shadows they create. We hadn’t banked on it being so windy so while this created some beautiful moving shadows on the wall – unfortunately some of them got instantly tangled into knots!
After break we moved from 2d into thinking more 3d – manipulating shapes into form to contain space. I asked the question
What could you do with a paper square to change it?
After initial puzzlement…the suggestion came flooding – cut, tear, rip, fold, scrunch etc.
So then working in pairs the class experimented with all the actions they could take to change a paper square. Another busy session with good working together and building on each others ideas. Here’s the list of action words we compiled – and I would say there is more to be added!
Having focused on red and yellow ochre last week this week (by request from one student) we would be focusing on indigo this week. I began by looking at images of where blue pigment comes from – LAPIZ LAZULI comes from Afghanistan, found in rocks it is ground down to make a powder pigment – ultramarine. It is one of the most expensive colours in the world because it takes so much rocks to make just a little bit of pigment.
We also looked at INDIGO – natural indigo comes from plants in China and Vietnam. The leaves are rubbed together by hand – so people end up with blue hands – (like smurfs!) – mixed with water to create a deep blue dye that is used to colour the handmade fabric or material to a beautiful deep indigo. The longer the material is left in the indigo liquid the darker it gets. We looked at a patterned indigo fabric from Vietnam.
So now it was time to experiment with blue pigment on paper first – mixing it with water and then putting washes on top of each other building up to a rich dark blue……truly beautiful!
Looking again at the patterned material from Vietnam we looked at how the pattern was drawn on with wax before it was dyed – like batik or wax resist. So using oil pastels we drew patterns and pictures onto canvas – leaning heavy on the pastels so the lines were nice and thick. And then gently applied washes of indigo over the drawing and hey presto the lines and patterns reappeared! As if by magic!
So then after break we did the opposite – starting with indigo canvas we painted with white paint. It help explore the idea of opposites and reversing the colours. The indigo canvas is from an old Ikea blind so a lovely surface to paint on. Check out this beautiful cloud and a car in the snow!!!
Through focusing on drawing before building into construction I wanted to look at the idea of scale and static and moving drawings. So reflecting back on the previous session where we had used teeny tiny dots to begin our drawings and as the drawings grew in layers we then added light and shadow to create a moving live drawing.
This week we, each one of us was physically going to be a dot in the drawing….we would need to move out to the yard to upscale our drawings. As the winter light is so bright and also a low sun casting long shadows it was perfect conditions for this exercise! In groups of 5 students – each student had a turn to position their fellow student dots and using large chalks draw various lines connecting the dots. Building a layered drawing in human scale. A drawing that was somewhere between 2D and 3D….and also moving because of the shadows making it ephemeral (to be explained next week) – but captured through the images above.
We then tried to make the biggest longest shadow as a class group and then bunched right in so we were the smallest shadow dot we could be. Then each group made one shadow shape from their group. Some strange shadowy many headed animals began to emerge!
After break we looked at some star constellations that the class could look out for in the night sky. This was to explore the idea of macro drawing – huge drawing – connecting dots in the universe – out of this world!
Then back to physical dots and lines we began making simple mobiles – focusing on range of circles/ dots and lines of thread and stick. We will return to these next week as we kind of ran out of steam!
Here’s Orion, The Hunter Constellation.
This week we travelled back in time to use the art materials that the cave people would have used 1000s of years ago. We looked again at the image of the cave painting from France – talking about the colours and where they might have got their paints? There were no art shops so they had to make their own paints. But from what? Looking closely at the browns, reds and yellows we thought they looked a bit like mud or rocks. So we talked about how they might have mixed them into paints – breaking the rocks up smaller using other rocks until they were like a powder they could mix with water or animal fat. We looked and smelled the pigments – red ochre and yellow ochre.
We also talked about how they might have put the paint on – Aurora thought they used spray paint because of the splashes. So I explained how sometimes they put the paint in their mouth and sprayed it out onto their hands on the cave wall. And also how they made their own brushes from natural things they found around them – oh like panda sticks one suggested as we looked at the bamboos I brought in for making brushes, and some bristly hair!
Working on canvas lots of animals, people and patterns began to appear in the cave paintings – including a lovely pair of flamingos!
We used some beetroot juice to mix some lovely pink colours and also tried some charcoal hand drawing, mixing the charcoal with the paint creating darker purples and browns.
Lovely work Senior Infants!
First week back with Ms.Gorman’s 4th Class – lots of familiar faces and one or two new faces. We have decided that we will work on construction over the coming weeks. But I was going to start by breaking construction down – what do you start with? We discussed how a cube for example is made up of squares on each side. Squares are made up of lines. Lines are made up of dots or points. So everyone on their paper plotted ten dots. Then explored the different ways they could join these dots – directly and indirectly. With ten more dots we added a layer to the drawing using pen this time. For the next layer on the drawing using a hole punch we got ten dots to stick on top of the drawing. Now to connect these using the black card as the lines.
There was an explosion of ideas in the classroom as the drawings expanded up, around, weaving under, bridging over, linking through, twisting, arching, bending, folding and even using the holes in the paper to thread thin paper lines through. Fantastic!
As I began to take photos of the artworks we noticed the low sunlight of the cold January afternoon was casting long shadows which became another layer in our drawings. And some even created moving drawings moving the artwork in the sunlight so the shadows moved in waves.
Here’s Mya’s moving Expanded Drawing:
Great work 4th Class!
Lovely to start back with Ms.O’Connell’s Senior Infants Class – lots of familiar faces from last year and a few new recruits! We will be working on paint and colour over the next few weeks. So to begin we looked at all the different elements of painting – What paint are you going to use? Are you going to use the paint thick or thin? What are you going to paint on? What are you going to use to put the paint on? And that is all before you decide what coulour you are going to use! Or even what you might paint!
Using watercolour paper – which is bumpy and stiff like cardboard we started with just water – allowing the water to flow all over the paper. Then dropping in just the teeny tiniest drop of paint to and letting the paint flow where the water was flowing. Beautiful flowing paints!
Now time to add a second colour and let them mix and flow together to create and new colour…..gently and slowly the blue drops mixed with the red and there were streams of purple!
After break we looked at an image of cave painting and we looked at all the animals, figures, shapes big and small painted in the cave many thousands of years ago.
Here is some of our experiments in paint and colour.
Building on our weeks of puppet making – for our last workshop I suggested we would make some Christmas puppets. We would still be using the basic principles of our puppet making with moving limbs and this time a string pulling mechanism. We were going to be using card, brass fasteners to give the moving action and a stringing system so the limbs could move when the string was pulled. Once again with a template of head/ body/ arms/ legs we could customise the puppets and add a seasonal twist.
They could be Santas, they could be Elves. We had a really busy workshop and everyone set to and got cutting and connecting. There were protestations of not being able to thread or knots the strings but with a bit of holding and helping with each others – everyone in the class got a moving puppet made! Brilliant morning and everyone was very proud of their Christmas puppets.
Happy Christmas 6th Class Holy Family!