Thursday, 13 February 2014

New year, new ideas.

Well actually some extensions of old ideas. As an artist myself I like to carry and use visual diaries, I have different ones for different reasons, school, house designs, toy ideas or arty ones. The images here are some taken from my recent european holiday.

My 'list' of clothes I was going to pack.
 Some ideas for school activities that struck me as I walked through the Paul Klee exhibition at the Tate in London. Art journals are not always pretty and beautiful - sometimes they are notes scrawled quickly so an idea is not forgotten.(The x scrawled there as I was balancing the sketch book with a catalogue and my coat is actually an r! but it was only a quick note to me so it didn't have to be perfect!)
Sometimes I put a sketch book  down and then I am lured by  soft cream pages of a new crisp journal and I abandon the old one as I begin the new. However if I am stuck with out one I feel a bit panicky! Most artists will use a sketch book or note book of some kind to record ideas, make plans, list things they need or want to remember.

I have used visual diaries or journals in the art room for many years now but mostly with the older children. It is not to say that the younger ones didn't make plans or reflect on their work - of course they have, it is an important part of the creative process. Previously they have done this kind of thing on work sheets, scrap paper or good paper, these then often had no names or room numbers added and with large numbers of kids coming through the art room sometimes it is impossible to get them back to the children.
There had to be a better way!

SO this year every child from yr one to seven has bought in a scrap book which will become their visual diary, they will be used in different ways throughout the year but should be a place where students can jeep a record of their creative journey in the art studio.

Now comes the next problem -almost 500 identical scrap books stored in the art studio! That's going to be tricky as the children still haven't cottoned on to the need to put things where they belong... we are getting there. The answer is to create visual diary covers for the scrap books as our first activity.

We looked at the work of Kandinsky and discussed the way he uses shape or colours, our focus was either

designing artworks using shapes - for the junior years using wax resist with a different colour ink for each class,

using a specified shape and mixing a variety of colours - exploring how many different colours you can make while still keeping your colours bright and clear.

Washing your brush carefully between the use of colours and keeping the washing and mixing water as clear as possible, not washing your brush in mud!

And lastly colour mixing but with a focus on different colour families or colour theories on one art work that has been divided up into segments.

I have done something here I rarely do, but as the focus was on colour mixing and creating visual diaries that could be easily identified as part of a class set I felt OK with using a printed Internet colouring sheet for this activity!)


  1. Thanks for the tips. I am just about to start teaching water painting to my 4 grandchildren - ages 3 to 12.