I have just finished editing the ‘As I See It…’ short film created by pupils of Ladywell Learning Centre and their family members. The short talking head films focus on an aspect of the artist’s views on things around them. Each piece was created by painting (acrylics) a portrait on card and then adding moving mechanisms for the eyes and mouth to animate it. There is no digital editing in any of the pieces themselves, they are created and manipulated by hand in front of a flip camera while the artists’ audio is played in the background.
I was very happy that the adult family members were as willing to take part as much as the pupils and their younger siblings, it has made the selection of views varied and very interesting to watch. It’s definitely a project I’m very proud in being part of.
I recently featured the work of Katie H-M (from S5, Oban High) in a pupil profile and have a little update for those that were as mesmerised by her work as I was. Katie has been in touch and she has collected some thoughts and her favourite photo to enter into the Young Brits at Art competition.
The competition closes on the 30th April, so those that are a little bored of me going on about it will be happy to know that I will be thoroughly ‘shushed’ after that.
Anyway, Katie has emailed me her work and I will submit it directly through the website as a single entry. In the meantime, enjoy the finished entry below:
This week’s ‘Artwork of the Week’ comes from Megan G from Castlemilk. Megan had attended the Young Brits at Art workshop on Sunday 21st Feb at Kelvingrove Museum. Her artwork had to reflect or relate to ‘a world without prejudice’ as a theme to be entered into the Young Brits at Art competition. Megan decided to focus it on name calling and teasing. She created the image above within a three hour session, really only working on it for around an hour to an hour and a half.
Megan uses pencil scribbling to add tone and texture, black Sharpie pen to highlight detail and a toothbrush to spray a little light shading of blue for a hint of colour. She wanted her image to look monotone so that her fiery red hair would attract the eye. The hair was painted with daubs of acrylic so that it stood out.
I really like the image and the writing is funny, yet makes a good point about the issue. Her piece is called ‘See Me!’ which I think is very apt. A really strong but delicate image that completely reflects Megan’s personality. Well done Megan!
I use an exercise called ‘Learning to see’ with S3 pupils to try and open them up to critical evaluations. Using their own work, pupils lay out a display across numerous tables, allocating a box to each piece for criticism. Then each pupil moves around the display from piece to piece, in a clockwise direction, writing in as many points about the artwork as possible in 30 second bouts. This task gets increasingly tough as previous pupils have already stated the obvious on each piece. It gets harder and harder to find elements to write about.
It is important that these exercises remain visual. It is Art after all. I only wish that pupils could answer critical questions with drawings, though that’s not the way the system works. The most important thing for the pupil is that it still feels like Art & Design. Getting handed a badly photocopied, black and white page, filled with type does not feel like Art. If pupils feel that their Art period has been stolen away from them for some English or Maths exercise, they will not enjoy the task. They will approach it with resentment and will not get the most from it.
I feel it’s important to keep the subject visual. Coloured pens, working on large areas, notes with doodles, diagrams, drawings, mind mapping, they’re all important to form and record the thoughts of artists. Da Vinci didn’t record his thoughts in endless type, working artists today do not plan artworks by word processing, so why should we expect our youth to suddenly change that? We can only learn to evaluate and criticise by bridging the gap between the drawn and the written. This does develop over time, but it can be pushed forward by merging the written with the drawn when learning.
We are born with a knowledge of what looks ‘good’ and ‘bad’. Even those who feel they are not good at art seem to know the difference between well and badly drawn. We have that skill of classifying and labeling, but we don’t know why we make those assumptions until we learn why that is. We need to learn about the qualities of line, the importance of shape, of different styles. We need to gain the words to describe why we feel something works and something doesn’t. So although we can see, we need to learn what we see and that is the greatest challenge in Art. Drawing is easy, it’s seeing that’s the challenge.