Saturday, February 23, 2013


Once again I have gotten very behind in my blogging, so I will do my best to get these up-to-date.
On Saturday the 23rd Feb the CKs explored chalk pastels whilst I read the Hans Christian Andersen tale, The Wild Swan. As I read I encouraged the CKs to draw whatever they wanted, using what they needed from the story as inspiration. Storytime complete and after a small snack break drawings were shared with the group.
Once upon a time in a forest
there was a King and a Princess
the Princess is sent off to live somewhere else by her stepmother, the new Queen.
The wicked Queen casts a spell on one of the Princes.
They saw many sunsets
then the sun rose
A lady in the forest gives the Princess berries
Then one of the Princes, as a swan, comes to the castle.
As the people kneeled before the princess the smell of a thousand roses filled the air.
See one rose is normal the other is smouldering.
There are colours of happiness.
After each CK shared their drawings they were invited to take something either from their drawing or something that now stayed with them to a large long roll of brown paper. Together we created our own story.
A little bird with coloured wings
flies through a sunset
were she meets the evil Queen, a witch.
The little bird steals the Queens power, turning it into good power and flies back past the sunset

Where the little bird finds a lovely red rose

The end.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Week 2 at the Kids Shed

Our second session at the Shed saw us move into the air conditioned boardroom, as the day reached towards 34 degrees. Artist's journals needed covers and to be bound. Measurements were taken, heavier paper trimmed and the position of holes indicated, for Japanese binding. I took these home to assist with and complete the binding.

Next we explored different grey lead pencils. Each artist took their turn at testing a variety. Some liked the lead soft and dark, with the ability to smudge, others preferred hardness and lightness. These preferences were taken into our observation and drawing activity for the day.

My favourite - sketching inspired by nature. From a selection of seeds, shells and other small items the artist's took their time to really notice the shapes, patterns and parts of their selected items. I encourage looking at the natural object as if for the first time. Holding back focusing on what they think or know it to be - such as a shell. But instead to observe and consequently draw exactly what is seen, for example a shape which curves to the right and the patterns within. In this way noticing the beauty and artistry of nature is observed and I believe drawing skills are enhanced in a flowing manner.

Texture was also noticed, such as seed heads that were soft and fluffy.
Some decided to include coloured pencil.
This artist completed his drawing by putting it in an environmental context.

I then encouraged him to select a small part of the shell which took his interest to draw larger. Again very good for looking closer and noticing.

Others also did the same. (I love how this artist included the piece of red thread on the seed head)

When she amplified out one part, she was reminded of a star, which she then connects to her family.
The artist below after great consideration explained to me that when she looked at her picture, looking at the middle part, she could see a fish skin. So could I. It made us both smile with surprise.
As the artists drew, with intense concentration I moved around the table one-by-one to checkin on what they would like as their major project. I had some suggestions, as did each artist. I now had a list of what materials were required and we all seemed excited about the weeks to come.
A special thanks to Liz, Chairperson of the House for making us cooling neck ties, supplying bottles of water and watermelon, it was greatly appreciated! We stayed nice and cool on a very hot day.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Loads of love

With a couple of days past St Valentines day I invited the CKs to reflect on people (or creatures) they loved. The idea was to think of one or two loved people to create a 'love card' for. Cards were cut into half with one side representing the person you love (which the artist keeps) and the other side an image of yourself (which is gifted to the one loved). The offering was extended to all living creatures, but as one CK pointed out 'they', if animals, might not be very careful with the picture. He thought of his cat who he loves but would probably rip it. It would be ok if his cat was an orangatang as he would be smart, but his cat... Not so.

After taking a bit of time to decide the CKs started their pieces.

This artist drew two flowers.The flowers reminded her of her Mum (who she loves) and she wanted to also give her a flower.

This artist created a card for his ghost friend. He is a friendly ghost but a lot of people are scared of him.
The ghost hurt his hand and has an ivy bandage on it. That's the artist in blue.

There were cards for friends who cheer the artist up when they feel sad.

Complete with special messages

One artist created a representation of a boy at school. But she didn't want to give him a card - that was naturally ok!

Another special friend, this friend is a Creative Kid too.

To close we all took turns with cleanup tasks. Washing the paint palettes out was in itself a very creative process as we watched and named the colours we saw appearing in the ever changing coloured water. All tidy we spent a bit of time reflecting on those we loved, sharing these special people with the group and what they meant to us. A lovely end to a lovely morning.


Friday, February 15, 2013

Kids Shed 2013

A brand new program and a brand new space but with lots of old friends. If the Kids Shed was a boat last Saturday would of been it's maiden voyage, with my trusty crew on board! It was with absolute delight that I was reunited with six wonderful artists who I have had the pleasure of travelling along side creatively in Creative Kids (some for a year and a half, others for the past year). It is due to their creative growth and development that the idea of the Kids Shed was formed. As each started to develop their own artistic styles there felt a need for more space for independent projects (rather than me guiding group activities each week). This space was found (or kindly suggested by the House manager) to be the 400 volt Men's Shed. In my eyes, backed up by others, it is a funky old warehouse with (you guessed it) a lot of space. The recycled pallet seats, benches and tables are great for moving around to create personal work stations. Plus there is stacks of timber and materials just waiting for a creative outpour.

Joining the six 'old artists' are three new comers to the group. One off a full house! The beauty of the space is that now it is much easier for the artists to assist in the setup. Three sorted paint into palettes, others the water in jars and a couple made sure all the brushes were soft, clean and ready to go. Everyone worked well together.

I wanted to start the group off with a little bit of technique. In the past (in Creative Kids) we have talked about colour mixing as we have been in the process of art making. But now it is time for a bit of colour theory! It was a rather intense process which we worked through together. With the primary colours of yellow, blue and red in our paint palette, new journals and the approval to paint on the wall in the Shed, we began. I sketched out the format of a 'colour flower-wheel' on the wall, which the artists matched in their journals. We painted in the primary petal colours. Primary colours then mixed together to make the secondary colours of green, violet and orange - these filled the petals between the primary ones. The key was to mixed quite a bit of this as we would need it later. I invited the artists to add their mixes to the wall so we could see the variety of shades.

Next we explored the 'arches' connecting the petals, adding more of a primary colour to the secondary mix. For example adding yellow to the green, to produce 'yellow green' or blue to green, to produce 'blue green'. All complete it was on to the middle section to create tertiary colours, the combination of secondary colours, such as green and violet.

It was so interesting to see the infinite variety of hues appearing on the wall - naturally.

We did discover that despite the large Shed space being ultra cool in appearance that it was rather warm in temperature even with the fan going. The good news is that during the week it was confirmed that we could use the office space at the front of the building which has air con. So on hot days we can shift into these, but still be close to our materials and emerging works.

A big thank you to the new creative arts volunteer, Emily, who attended Creative Kids and then travelled with me to the Kids Shed, your a legend!

I can't wait to see what the Kids Shed artists produce, stay tuned...


Creative Kids 2013

The first day back at Creative Kids 2013 was rather exciting. I had a whole new group to meet and a new volunteer (Emily). All this newness called for new artist journals too. A big thank you to my Mum and Dad who patiently helped me remove the backing off curtain fabric samples and trimmed the edges to make covers. I had been home (in NZ) for a couple of weeks prior to the Saturday morning class so their help was greatly appreciated!

We began the day by meeting each other - by name and by telling the group one of our favourite things. One of my favourite warm-ups where you say your name, your favourite thing, then the person next to you reintroduces you and your favourite thing, then their name and favourite thing, until we have made it all the way around the group. We delighted in connecting with others in shared favourites - such as likes of chocolate, animals, flowers and fairies.

This theme of favourites continued into the journals. For a start the front page needed to be personalised! We used 'fancy writing' to 'mark' the artists name and decorated the page with as many favourite things as desired. Rainbows were popular with lovely bright colours curved over the page. Many of the CKs like fairies. This started a very vibrant discussion of garden fairies, letters to and from (!) fairies and of course fairy dust.

With front covers of journals complete we took little folded paper panels (which I had previously trimmed from the base of the journals to fit the covers - no waste here) to create a group piece. I invited the CKs to add their favourite things to the folded panels. All the pieces were then joined together to form the one big piece. This we decided to the hang in the room each week as a reminder of the 'wholeness or togetherness' of the group.

There were panels of favourite colours and portraiture of the artist.

This piece was double-sided. See if you can spot the Zoo on the work above? Then on the next picture (the flip side) you will find the orangutan, with a banana, behind the zoo. This was very well done and required quite a bit of concentration to make sure everything matched ok.

This artist made three 'folded panel pages'. Two were made into a little book and the third as part of the group piece.

The final group piece came together well. I was super careful punching the holes to avoid going through artwork and the CKs, with Emily's assistance, did a great job connecting it all together.

To close we created scribble drawings, with added fun of finding images within the scribble. Can you see the start of a face below. So far with wobbly teeth, an eye and a nose have been highlighted.

A great creative start to 2013 - colourful, creative, imaginative, lots of stories and new little artists to share my love of art with - PERFECT!