Saturday, November 24, 2012

Colours flow with more water - part 2

Part 2 of our watercolour exploration started with preparing our paper. Unlike the previous week where I had prepped the paper onto boards, this week it was over to the CKs. Paper was dampened (to stretch the paper) and gum tape cut to size then wet, to secure paper to boards.

Whilst the paper was drying I introduced the CKs to the topic for the day - self portraits. We discussed how their self portraits could be explored. A lot of detail? More abstract perhaps?  As usual, there was no right or wrong approach the work.

We began with a grey lead sketch. There was observation of face shape, eye colour and many decisions (and discussion) around 'parts' that weren't personally liked.

With the boards now dry and sketches complete it was time to start on the main piece. 

To close I invited the CKs to write themselves a note that could be sealed in an envelope – to be opened at a future time. Kind of like a time capsule, as pointed out by one of the boys.    
To assist I asked a series of questions connected to the artist and their portrait, such as:

How old are you? 
What school do you go to?
 Who are the important people in your life? 
What do you like doing?

Some wanted to share with me what they had written, others preferred to keep them private.

For me the letter is a lovely addition to a self-portrait, capturing not only in image but in words a snippet in time. I wonder if in years to come the artists will look back on this with interest and reflection. 

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Colours flow with water - part 1

For the past two weeks the Creative Kids group have explored the beauty and challenges of watercolour. To be honest and fair I was quite surprised that the challenges were few. If any were stumbled upon they were met with creative integrity and not so much of a rumble of works being 'ruined'. Which I was very pleased about, opening up the work to individuality and exploration.
This first week began with views from a far. Landscapes - mountains, trees, flowers, bush, water, nature... Were all identified by the CKs as possible elements to include.
Working on easels with paper pre-setup on boards we began with the sky. Then as a way to explore the technique of wax resistance we drew in the by the land with a crayon. Then it was over to the CKs to form their landscapes.
There were apple trees...
And weeds popping up. New effects were also tried such as using the end of the paintbrush to 'scratch-in' to the paper. Used here for the weed stalks and to depict the flow in the river.
It was a delight to see this work take shape - I wish I had progression photos. It began as daytime with a sunrise, then with gentle removal of colour, with tissue, the day turned into a starry night. Truly beautiful.
One of my other artists had just returned from Italy. She asked if she could paint the sea, as it reminded her of her time there. What a special piece and such a lovely way to hold memories and time.
With landscapes complete we moved to a more free flowing abstract piece. I really wanted to CKs to explore the quality and nature of watercolours. This time we worked on wet paper.
Even though the works were 'unplanned', when we stepped back from the works we saw stories emerge from the works. We could all see a dancing figure in this artists work. Can you?
This artist went back to her landscape work and added some of the new techniques she had been exploring in her abstract piece - splattering! As I held it up, 'looking again', the splatters appeared like little fairies. There was a flurry of excitement. In agreement, she returned to the easel to form up the fairies in more detail.
Some artists simply enjoyed trying different things, that they may not normally. Such as using more water to blend colours and trying different stroke forms.
A discussion at the end of the session revealed that the CKs enjoyed creating the abstract forms most - it was fun. They also liked the wet paper. Personally it was great to see them explore the materials and take an exploratory approach to their art making.

Stay tuned for part 2...

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Puzzling Rabbits - a puzzle no longer

Some weeks back these little rabbits and their carrots appeared on the fence at Sussex Neighbourhood House. With much curiosity our Manager emailed the address (on the carrot) to say thank you and to find out more. What we received back was an invitation to reclaim our lost creativity.

So with copies of the puzzled rabbit template each, the Creative Kids set about answering all the questions raised, by Peta Bunny. We won't spoil it for you (incase you want to participate in the project) but needless to say the individual rabbits depict things of importance and identity.
The rabbits took us two weeks to complete, with a break and another activity in-between.
Sewing and making things with textiles is very important to this artist. So naturally woollen pieces and a bit of stitching was a must!
More stitching...
Words and colours represented important people and events.
A little book for reading. Word and colours for family.
Family and rainbows (an elephant, a missed pet and a favourite colour were added the following week).
Each rabbit was then photographed and sent to Peta Rabbit, with personal messages.


Some lovely carrots were also crafted and sent.

Peta Rabbit has responded to each email. So I look forward to delivering those to the CKs this week.

Thank you Peta for bringing some creative excitement to our neighbourhood. It's great!


Saturday, November 3, 2012

Portraits of home

Mixed media is now a few weeks into term and it's a focused view on our end of the year exhibition. This year we are joining forces with the creative movement and dance group to present a creative arts extravaganza.

First up a major project - portraits inspired by home. To begin we spent one evening gathering together images, which reminded us of 'home' cut out of magazines. This might of been actually images of things we liked, or selected colours and textures which felt homely, or words which held the spirit of home. The room was a buzz with talk and trade of items - food was a very popularly homely image. Then it was a case of creating a 'mood board' to get a feel for what home means, or represents.

The following week these mood boards were the inspiration for the paintings. 

With some timely luck my neighbour had a new bookcase made that week and I noticed the builder stacking nice square, flat off-cuts in her driveway. After checking she was fine for me to collect, we used some as our canvas. A quick sand and a coat of gesso and they were transformed into lovely boards, ready for paint. Some stretched canvas recently donated to the group was also used. As in any group there is a preference to size, the artists were invited to pick the one that most suited them.

Each moodboard was placed on the table, alongside the canvas.
Images or look & feel became the access points – a place to begin, to be inspired by.  

A very delicious looking chocolate strawberry sweet was the way into this painting. 

This artist's mood board was full of multi colours - reflected in the work. 

The composed...

and the abstract. 

All great works and very pleasing to see artist's focused on their individual pieces. The flow of process was exceedingly present, I believe mostly due to individual selection and image ownership. No 'I can't do it' comments, but plenty of smiling, proud faces by the end of the night.

I look forward to seeing them in full glory at the exhibition / performance. 10th December – save the date!