Rojo Art are artist educators and developers of art projects outside gallery settings. Since 2002 we have been creating imaginative spaces and processes for people to make art and explore their connections to each other and the place they live. We recognise that the act of making allows a different quality of conversation and experience to take place
We are an evolving practice so check back regularly….
Second group embarking on the soil project (see previous post). I was interested to see some 3 d drawing of the soil sample.
We started out by examining a large clod of soil under magnifying lenses and making detailed pencil drawings imagining we were soil scientists making an investigation. This activity proved to be quite captivating with many discoveries in the soil such as small insects and tiny shiny particles.
Next we thought about how people worked with soil in the garden and made some garden workers that we photographed in the school vegetable garden. With the next group I think I’ll expand this question to think about other people who work with soil and encourage more thinking about the tools used.
The following week I’d asked the students to bring different types of soil they found in their own environment. We started out by making a sample collection and naming the different types. It was the day of the England match and one of the soil collections was named after the team. The students examined the soils very closely and were able to distinguish between types that were visually very similar.
We experimented with using the soil as a pigment thinking about how paints are made using water and PVA as the medium. This activity gave the students a chance to really appreciate the colours, textures and components of each soil.
After exploring how it felt to use the paint and how to make marks with it I suggested that the children use the soil paint to imagine the underground world under a large tree. We started with a shared drawing to warm up and then moved on to painting, extending ideas by adding finer details with pens after the paints had dried.
This was the last of the sessions making artwork about snails. The children developed their own ideas thinking about where snails might live. I only managed to photograph a few but really enjoyed the sharing and development of ideas between the group this week.
Last week the children used there snail observations to make foam print blocks and by the end of the session we’d made snail and leaf prints for the artwork this week. I noticed that the younger members of the group find printing a difficult concept, why would they want to get involved in the messy process of printing when they can think through their ideas much more easily when drawing? I need to consider how I introduce this activity for the next group and whether I include the more immediate mono-printing.
This week we returned to thinking about snail habitat and started with some textured, rubbed leaf backgrounds then adding their printed snails and leaves and some foliage to create a more 3D scene.
Fergus became absorbed in the using different papers and layers for leaf rubbings and create a series of black and white images. Some of the children returned to the drawings of the first session and incorporated them into the habitat background.
After working with texture and print, Leo returned to drawing and reimagined the snail race that the children had set up the first week. This is the drawing at mid-point and he was still working on it when I went home.
Today I put on the gardening gloves and turned over every flower pot in my garden looking for snails. Where are they when you need them? I eventually located six lucky ones who would be the inspiration for our artistic inquiry this term.
I’ve decided to explore how to build new knowledge through inquiry based learning and in particular through material investigation.
We started the session by making a shared drawing and writing about what we already knew about snails. Interestingly a discussion on slowness resulted in lots of turbo charged snails being drawn.
I brought out the live snails and asked the children to spend 15 mins observing with magnifying lenses and making detailed pencil drawings.
The snails turned out to be lively models. This is Christian’s drawing of them stretching out on the side of the seed tray. We spent some time talking about questions that the drawing process brought up. Some of these were:
Why are snails so slow and sticky?
What are their antenae for?
Why do they have shells?
I then invited the children to choose materials from the table to make an artwork about the snails perhaps thinking about the questions they had been asking.
Some chose to tell a story through their art which was perhaps a way of thinking through the ideas we’d talked about. Chloe focussed on the shell making this collage drawingAfter making a story and drawing about snail predators (this led back in to the shell question), Isla set up a snail race track with the help of Leo and Joshua. During this activity we discussed whether small or large snails were faster, whether snails had genders and also discovered that snails could do their own painting when the dragged their slime over felt tip.
This week’s session started by revisiting the blind contour drawing of musical instruments the children had made last week. I pasted these onto a large sheet of paper and we took a closer look at them. The children began to see recognisable shapes that might initiate another drawing and I invited them to draw ‘in conversation’ with what was there and with each other. The only rule was to avoid drawing on somebody else’s lines. Fergus immediately found moustache like shapes in the baritone drawing.
Next we tried some quick gestural drawings experimenting with ink and brush. I’d also brought wire and found metal objects to extend these drawings. The children found their own direction with these objects modelling inventive instruments and using them for printing.
Only 2 sessions for this group and both will take close looking and drawing as their starting point.
I managed to get hold of some old brass instruments and after identifying them all we used some different methods of looking.
Firstly we ran our fingers around the objects looking for the edges then followed this up by drawing the lines we could see in the air.
Next we tried our some blind contour drawing and some of the children developed this into continuous line drawing and also laying the instrument on the paper and drawing round it. Chloe bravely tried drawing with her eyes closed feeling her way around the objects.
After the focussed drawing some of the children moved into imaginary drawings based on their observations and questioning the stories behind the musical instruments. Who used to own them, why were they no longer played and what will happen to them next.
A couple of people decided to let their instruments rejoin an orchestra and managed to conjure up other instruments to draw.
This was the last session of exploring water and again tried using it as the medium. We started with marbling using water, oil and food colouring thinking about the science behind the technique.
To finish we tried the same technique using diluted acrylics and shaving foam. This was a first for me but some of the children knew the technique and demonstrated to the group.
At the end of the session we sat down and thought about ways the papers could be used in next week’s process. The children decided they’d like to make books about imaginary animals using the strange shapes of the marbling as a starting point. They also decided to bring in a few strange creature from home.
In this week’s art club we continued to work with the rain theme-it was still raining. The children looked at reflections in distorted reflective surfaces and tried to capture these by drawing around each other’s image. They decided that reflections were quite wobbly, broken up and not the same colour as the real thing.
We created layered drawings of water and reflections using translucent paper thinking about the strength of the mark making on each layer.
More ideas on the rain and puddle theme.