Image making workshops at Dogsthorpe Junior School

– Landscape & Seascape

22 & 23.5.14

A couple of days working with children from year 4 at Dogsthorpe Junior School, Peterborough, to generate some ‘Landscape’ and ‘Seascape’ images following an invitation from Head Teacher Charlotte Krzanicki. The first day was spent using charcoal, the second chalk pastel.

I met with three groups of 30 children each day and sessions took a similar format, I displayed a couple of my own charcoal and chalk pastel drawings in the room so that the children could identify a comparison with my regular working practise and I also worked alongside them to produce a drawing too while they made theirs. We began by making an initial investigation and exploration of working with the medium which was followed by the production of a more finished drawing as a conclusion. However, although each group received the same introduction their end piece was a different subject.

In my own working practise as a painter I often produce interpretations of the work of others which I refer to as ‘Souvenirs’, a term stolen from Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, a nineteenth century artist who produced some wonderful watercolours of paintings he had seen and admired. The concluding piece for each group therefore was to produce a variation on the work of a Master, however rather than showing an illustration of a painting and making a slavish copy I described a scene and asked them to picture it in their mind before we worked together to make our interpretation of it.

Working on a board which they could all see at the front of the class to produce my own version I suggested a series of stages in which the drawing could be constructed. We drew a portion of the composition, followed by another, until the sections pieced together into a picture. The children were totally oblivious of the painting they were creating or its title until it was finished, and after their teacher had searched for it on the internet it was revealed to be shown to them at the end which made for an interesting comparison.

Day 1 had a ‘Landscape’ theme and the painting I selected for the first class was ‘Christina’s World‘ by Andrew Wyeth, for the second one of the many compositions of ‘Mont Sainte-Victoire‘ by Paul Cezanne and ‘Salisbury Cathedral from the Meadows‘ by John Constable for the afternoon group.

The theme for Day 2 was ‘Seascape’, with the first group producing a variation of ‘Snow Storm; Steam-Boat off a Harbour’s Mouth‘ and the second ‘Peace – Burial At Sea‘, both by JMW Turner, with the afternoon group tackling ‘The Cliff, Etretat, Sunset‘ by Claude Monet.

All the children made brave attempts with their image making and some successful images emerged. Unfortunately I didn’t photograph the children’s work so the examples illustrated here are the images I produced while leading each of the groups…………..

Nevertheless, these sunset images after Monet were all produced by the children and are a selection from the last group of the day. Considering it was a Friday afternoon and the last session before breaking up for half term, I think they produced some pretty breathtaking drawings!

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