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.
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.
Back to art club with a topical theme and watery materials;
This is what we did today
wet on wet-puddle patterns
This is what Isabella likes to do in the rain
wet on wet watercolour-puddle patterns
wet on wet-river
What we like about rain
Wax resist and watercolour-puddle patterns
Wax resist and watercolour
Back to art club today with some old faces and a couple of new ones. This term I wanted to once again work with subjects relevant to a rural school and also explore some ideas I’d been having while walking in the forest.
We started this week discovering the texture of tree bark. The children drew the bark patterns by touch and tried out some rubbed textures on a large shared drawings. We discovered oil pastels made the best rubbings and that the bark smelt of mould, mushrooms and Sebastian’s garden den. A variety of bugs escaped from the bark and we tried to draw them as well.
I then introduced some air-drying clay. The children looked at tree structures and used the clay to make their own on a large ceramic tile, some went for 2D and some 3D, others created some amazing patterns populated by clay characters.
We used various tools to make marks to represent the texture of bark. A bead coaster was a particular favourite.
Next week we’ve decided to paint the tiles and clay trees.
This week the children used their printed bark textures from last week and combined them with collected oil pastel rubbed textures to create collaged landscapes. As they collected the textures the children soon realised that they would work well to represent the bare early spring landscape around their school.
I’ve been trying to let the children lead my session planning more this term. Last week we enjoyed working with natural objects so this week I brought in some of the amazing lichen I’ve been finding in the forest this month. As they’d enjoyed working with colour last week I decided to introduce water colours this week. Some of the children used a mixed media approach combining the paint with charcoal and oil pastel.
It was the last of four art club sessions for Norton children this week as well. They’ve worked on the same project as Lawshall so its been interesting to see different ways in which they interpret the idea and explore the materials.
It’s been good to watch the children find creative ways to overcome the difficulty of handling the natural materials. In some cases this meant holding someone else’s nest together while they fixed it with wire and in other cases some excellent collaborative artwork.