Music, Movement and Mark-making
The holiday workshops took in loads of different activities all based around music, movement, mark making and patterns. As always, I set the scene with the young artists and we talked about patterns, numbers, music, mood, colour – they shared their ideas as much as I gave them some background information. We looked at artworks on the iPad – and talked about splatter paintings and abstract art – and the different ways of expressing emotions and mood through different art processes and how the medium is applied to the paper or canvas. We talked a lot about ‘automatic’ drawing and ‘taking your pencil for a walk’ and in particular looked at the artwork of Bernard Cohen. In addition to this we discussed ways of making patterns and marks as a way of creating an artwork, rather than drawing realistic and identifiable subject matter. The vocabulary the children used included such things as scribbling, scratched, smudging, smearing, whooshing, waves, swirls, splashing. We then talked about the mood, rhythm, pace and beats of music, how certain tunes make you feel and how these can be expressed through mark-making and making the music ‘visible’.
The focus of the activities was the children visualising their movement and responses to chosen pieces of music through different drawing materials. These were further developed in activities which focused on drawing patterns and marks – we used all of these ideas on the last day when we did some ‘obligatory’ seasonal activities – decorating Easter eggs and making Easter chicks!
The young artists listened to a piece of music by Brazilian musician, Sérgios Mendes – Mas Que Nada – I chose this piece of music because of its fun bossa nova, Latino and funky style. I think it epitomizes summertime happy beats!! Everyone listened to the music quietly with their eyes closed and then wrote down, in secret, the first colour that came into their mind based on how they perceived the music. They then painted their canvas that colour. There was a good bit of dancing by this point! The children chose to make their painting with splatters – we took this outside into the sunshine all the while listening to Mas Que Nada. Afterwards the children described their paintings as ‘lively’, ‘like fireworks’ and a ‘carnival’!!
Wall-drawing with pastels, chalks and pencils to two different types of music. First off, Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy The children took some time to dance, and then started to draw their movement on the wall…. some children moved their hands in time with the music, changing as the tempo of the music changed, others used different patterns as the sounds changed in the music – the staccato type sounds being picked up by many of the children. Last up was Staying Alive (a wee nod to the Despicable Me film which I know they all loved!!) The same process and materials, but this time much more vigorous, lively and fast mark-making – stronger, bolder colour and marks!!
Taking our pencils for a walk
We took clipboards and pencils outside for this activity – enjoying the Spring sunshine and the patterns made by the shadows. The children were encourage to freely draw whatever shapes and patterns they wanted to – some chose to trace the patterns made by the shadows, others created intricate repeat patterns, some added colour, others just used graphite pencils.
Printing and pattern making
Using white paint the young artists made 2 sets of prints – firstly, using plastic cups, they printed overlapping circles on to paper, secondly they made potato prints. Once the paint had dried, thinking about all the patterns, marks and colours used so far, they were encouraged to create interesting artworks using the spaces and shapes made by the circles. They did similar with the potato prints – ‘decorating’ the Easter eggs with lots of colour and pattern.
Modroc Easter Chicks
As a final activity, and to really make the holiday workshop properly seasonal, we made Easter chicks. The children modelled the chicks with wire and modroc, and once dried painted them lemon and golden yellow. Each chic was arranged on drift wood I had collected from St Cyrus beach.
A crazy, busy, full-on three days of fun splattered fun (and feet), colour, summer beats and lots and lots of happy, happy young artists with AMAZING artwork. I just wish I had been able to capture more with my camera – and video camera…. next time!! x