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‘The BFG’ Image making workshops at Warmington School

9.3.15

A different musical choice to add to my Blog Title Soundtracks page, but perhaps not a surprise to anyone who knows me either. I’ve always admired Fred Astaire, he was a class act.

The song title selection however couldn’t be more appropriate. It’s been another day of drawing workshops at Warmington School leading a group of year 3&4 children this morning, followed by a group from years 1&2 this afternoon, and once again some very successful pieces of work have been produced.

Both groups definitely had their listening ears on. I began each session with a short talk as an introduction to portrait painting and they appeared to enjoy the images presented to them of work by Leonardo Da Vinci, Rembrandt, Graham Sutherland and William Dobell before moving into the arena of caricature, discussing works by Honoré Daumier, Max Beerbohm, Gerald Scarfe, Marco Calcinaro, Sebastian Krüger and Patrick Strogulski. Feeling suitably inspired, we then settled down to some practical work.

The first exercise was to produce a portrait drawing, loosely based upon a measurement system devised by Da Vinci, to analyse the proportions of the human head. Using pencil on an A4 sheet of paper this was a very disciplined exercise which demanded a high level of concentration as drawings were constructed upon a carefully drawn grid.

However this was simply the appetiser for the main course as the next drawing was about to prove. As a complete contrast to the preliminary exercise, the emphasis now was to allow distortion of features to become a priority in order to produce an illustration of a character from a book by Roald Dahl.

First I read some passages from ‘The BFG’ which described the main cast members; Sophie – a young girl who is “kidsnatched” from her bedroom at the orphanage where she lives; The BFG himself – a kind, gentle giant who can be found every night blowing good dreams through the bedroom windows of sleeping children; and the nine scary giants in Giant Country who are about twice as tall and wide as the BFG, and a lot more horrible – The Bonecruncher, The Fleshlumpeater, The Bloodbottler, The Childchewer, The Meatdripper, The Gizzardgulper, The Maidmasher, The Manhugger and The Butcher Boy.

Chalk pastel was used for this exercise and my intention is now to select the most successful drawings and incorporate them into a mural which will be painted in the library at Titchmarsh School later in the week. As can be seen from the examples below, I have several very worthy contenders to choose from………..

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Image making workshops at Warmington & Titchmarsh Schools

17 & 18.11.14

Not the most accurate of weather forecasts. It wasn’t really very cold and both days began by being misty and dull, however the sun did shine brightly during the afternoon session of the first day and made a fleeting visit on the second. Nevertheless, this slight exaggeration of the truth is still a good excuse to include the Foo Fighters on my Blog Title Soundtracks page.

This week I have returned to work with children at Warmington and Titchmarsh Schools following a invitation from Executive Head Josie Milton. I was asked to give an art history/appreciation talk using the Impressionists as my subject, lead some drawing workshops and to paint a mural during a French themed week.

I met with two groups at each of the schools, years 3&4 during the morning sessions and years 1&2 in the afternoon at Warmington school on the first day, with a similar timetable at Titchmarsh School on the second. The schools would amalgamate at the end of the week to participate in a ‘Unity Day’ when we would paint another mural together. So watch this space to see how it turned out.

After my short talk about ‘The Story of Impressionism’, to which all of the groups listened very well and even contributed by asking several questions, I invited the children to work with me en plein air. First we made a small ‘sketchpad’ by folding an A4 piece of paper to A7 so that it would fit in the palm of the hand, and after some preliminary advice in the classroom about ‘taking a line for a walk’ using an HB pencil, we bravely ventured outside. A collection of small drawings were produced, accompanied by descriptive words which might trigger and reignite memories and sensations at a later date.

Titchmarsh Church

With this being a new experience of drawing outside the classroom, as well as it being the third week of November, our time was naturally determined by the temperature, however all of the groups made some very successful notations which involved careful looking and a high level of concentration. The year 3&4 groups walked a short distance to work at nearby churches, the Church of St Mary for the Warmington group with a different Church of St Mary for the Titchmarsh group, while the Year 1&2 groups worked on their respective school fields and play area.

Returning to the warm and controlled conditions of our ‘Studio’, we then worked together to produce a more finished version of one of our outdoor scribblings on a larger scale. Some good drawings were produced as a result and hopefully the working method I introduced might even encourage personal and individual work in the future. The note taking process was so simple and unfussy, and illustrated that the act of drawing is comparable to keeping a diary, and can be just as private.

As usual, I was far too preoccupied to take any photographs on either day, so many thanks Josie, Cathy, Mikayla, Lorna and Gill for taking these:

Warmington Year 3&4

Warmington Year 1&2

Titchmarsh Year 3&4

Titchmarsh Year 1&2

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