Shapes, Lines, Colour, Texture – All About Art in Form 1

At Eversfield, our children enjoy a broad range of experiences each year under the auspices of the art curriculum. Three half terms are spent teaching art skills such as line, tone, colour and texture, and there is also an opportunity to do some mixed media work, which is always a great deal of fun. The remaining half terms are devoted to design technology, cookery and textiles. In Forms 1 to 3, the two classes are split into three smaller groups, and it becomes very much of a team effort, with the class teachers, Mrs Beech and the teaching assistants all working together to model techniques for the children, to advise and develop their thinking, and to assess the progression of their skills. Using the combined space provided by the Art Room and the neighbouring DT Room, there is a chance at least once during the year for Mrs Beech and one of the class teachers to work together on the same project, allowing for further pooling of thoughts and ideas.

Last half term, whilst Mrs Field and her group explored mixed media over in the Pre-Prep building, Mrs Burnett joined Mrs Beech in the Art Room to investigate shape and line, using work by Picasso as a starting point. At this very early stage in their schooling, the children are encouraged to observe images closely and record exactly what they see. This is far more challenging than it sounds and, if you read my blog about the Form 5 Art Day, you will have seen that this is a skill we are continuing to develop much further up the school. Using the oil pastels to apply colour was considerably more therapeutic, and in the end the children were delighted with the work they produced. Sebastian was proud of how neatly he had applied the colour, which he felt was an improvement on what he had achieved previously, and he also found that working on a larger scale provided an interesting challenge. Jennah, too, commented on the accuracy of her work and wanted to do more. Azumi loves art and says she does lots of colouring at home, which has obviously contributed to her success and satisfaction at school. Nico liked watching the colours develop on his picture as he worked with the oil pastels, a medium which is considerably softer than the normal waxed crayons he has been used to. He was thrilled to find his picture on display in the shared area of Pre-Prep.

Meanwhile, Mrs Field’s group had the chance to explore a wide range of media, and in doing so they built on the work they had been doing in Science on the properties of materials. Their first project was to make a textured self portrait, aiming to achieve as true a likeness as possible. This work was presented in a frame held together only by the adhesive properties of tissue paper, the success of which continues to bewilder me, and decorated with string swirls. Lauren loved the fact that she could make her hair out of sandpaper, whilst Lena created a special hat to go on her head.

For young children, it is always productive to set new investigations as far as possible within the context of prior learning, and Mrs Field chose to make a link with The Gruffalo, which the children have been studying in English. As you may be aware, we have a new nature area at the far end of the sports field. We know that badgers and foxes live there, and children throughout the school have been enjoying watching CCTV footage of these nocturnal creatures in the dining room, but no-one has yet seen a Gruffalo. However, Mrs Field was not to be deterred and set off with her group, determined to spot one amongst the trees. Afterwards, she wouldn’t be drawn on whether or not she was successful, but what the children did manage to find was a whole host of interesting natural objects. In a similar way to Form 4, they used these objects to create beautiful pictures in the style of the famous artist Andy Goldsworthy. Valentino greatly enjoyed the experience, particularly the animals and tree he created using the leaves and stones he found. All the colours and shapes in the children’s pictures came entirely from nature, modern technology intervening only to record their work for posterity using a digital camera.

Taking the mixed media concept further, and again seeking inspiration from a favourite children’s book, Mrs Field’s group went on to produce work based on The Snail and the Whale, another one of Julia Donaldson’s masterpieces. The children learnt how to use watercolour paint to create an appropriate background, and then applied mosaic tiling to their pictures to create the texture of the whale’s body. Finally, as the whale appeared to be lonely, they used air drying clay to make their very own snails. Moulding and rolling the clay is a delightfully messy business, which Chloe in particular said she loved, but it was no easy task, as Ranyah found, since the clay is much firmer than dough or plasticine, and it required a lot of persistence and finger strength to create the correct rolled shape.

By the time you read this, work will be well underway in the second unit of the year. Mrs Beech and Mrs Burnett will be exploring textiles with their groups, whilst Mrs Field will be working on mixed media again with a different group of children. If you haven’t yet had chance to see the work Form 1 have produced, I would highly recommend that you pop in as it is still on display in Pre-Prep, and is guaranteed to lift your spirits on these dull November days.