May 13, 2016

Vertical Landscapes



Year one made these vertical landscapes in three steps. Initially I led a guided drawing lesson in pencil. Next, the students traced their "good" lines with black markers and did a little erasing. Finally they coloured them any way they chose with watercolour paint.

We had just completed a science unit of work about landscapes, and it seemed only appropriate to attempt this classic art form. I took inspiration from one of Kathy Barbro's many fine lessons on Art Projects For Kids. For any eagle eyes out there, please ignore the missing comma on the class display text!


Dec 3, 2015

A New Addition



One very proud dad right here.
I will post some art again one of these days too!

Aug 20, 2015

Kandinsky on Computer


Inspired by Kandinsky. Created by year 3 students. This collection is the final in a short series, the original post including more context can be found here.



Jul 18, 2015

Newspaper Sculpture



Newspaper sculptures courtesy of year 5 in the final week of school last year. Inspired by my previous Geometric Sculpture post. I might have art directed the bottom left one a little more than the others... They all looked great and were a really effective collaborative task.

May 11, 2015

Manly Pop


Year 5 sketched their “manly” men (beards, goatees, moustaches etc!) in lead pencil and then charcoal. We used watercolour paint to add the “pop” by finishing with a single-colour background and another t-shirt colour. The effect is reminiscent of one of Warhol’s Marilyn prints, but obviously a lot more manly : ) 

I really like these, and they looked pretty rad on the back wall. You can see my previous Manly Men post courtesy of Year 1 here (sans the pop background).






Apr 10, 2015

Recoloured Mondrians II


Reimagining the original. Year 1 drew their vertical and horizontal (ish) lines freehand with black oil pastels, and then used watercolour paints to fill the resulting spaces with any three colours plus white. I've tried this lesson previously with year 5, except they used rulers. You can see their versions here.


Mar 13, 2015

Painted Light



In a dimly lit classroom, year 5 created these light paintings in small groups while I took long exposure photographs. The brightly coloured lights are a combination of small torches and mobile phones with coloured cellophane attached. I've tried this lesson once previously, you can read a little more about the process and see the results here.

Since undertaking this lesson I've come across a 1949 collaboration between Gjon Mili and Pablo Picasso using this same technique. One of their resulting photographs is at the bottom of the post. This and some other photos from the same series ran in LIFE magazine in 1949 and then also featured in a show at New York's Museum of Modern Art in 1950.






Jan 28, 2015

Ming Vases


Year 5 made these Ming Vase arrangements by closely following Miriam Paternoster's fantastic art lesson found here – I had been waiting for ages to try this project with a class! The only change worth mentioning is that I gave the students a variety of vase outlines to trace instead of drawing their own. This saved some time as it's a relatively time consuming, but engrossing project : )


Jan 10, 2015

Drummers Drumming


Year 1 were very proud of their drummers, and rightly so! We began with a guided drawing lesson in lead pencil, traced the lines in oil pastel and then painted. We also retraced the black outlines after painting. My guided drawing was inspired by some CD cover art by Paula Cox, you can view it here on a previous post.


Dec 1, 2014

Australian Icons


When I ran this lesson with year 3 and 4 students, they were in the middle of an Australian theme —including a focus on Aboriginal Australia (I was lucky enough to be with the class on an excursion featuring a guided and very inspirational tour through the bush, where we were taught about the many types of bush tucker and medicine surrounding us). Another focus was Australia’s natural and man-made landmarks, so this art lesson was a way of bringing these two aspects together. 

First, we talked about things that were widely recognised as being Australian cultural icons. Together we made a list (some will be obvious to readers far from Australia, and others may not), which I trimmed down to those that could be easily drawn and identified in a simple silhouette. 

We also spent some time appreciating the work of Indigenous artist Bronwyn Bancroft. Looking at her children’s book Why I Love Australia, we especially noted the bright and often non-traditional colours she uses. 


Then, the children chose their icon and drew it with lead pencil. Next, they painted it and the background in a different single colour. The children then used cotton buds to finish their icons with repeated dot patterns as used by many Aboriginal artists, but also using bright colours inspired by Bronywn’s art. It was quite a process from start to finish, but the children did a great job and the results are stunning.

The most popular icon turned out to be Ned Kelly, as inspired by Sidney Nolan’s famous paintings of him. For those further afield, Ned is our most infamous bushranger. Probably his most lasting legacy is the home-made helmet and armour that he sported, although as it transpired, without much success. He’s a controversial figure in our history — loved and loathed in equal measure. He was convicted of three murders, and hung in 1880 at the ripe old age of 25. Our other, less controversial icons featured here include an emu, a kangaroo, the Sydney Opera House, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Uluru and the Three Sisters. 

As well as enjoying the fine efforts of these students, I hope I may have captured the imagination of any of you viewing from abroad, and you're planning a trip here soon!