2016 Art Classes

I have had 4 years experience working as a primary art specialist, and also exhibit and sell my own work. I am a big advocate in the importance of art education as it enhances academic performance as well as emotional resilience. This year I am running a range of art classes from my home studio. I design my lessons to teach students to make artistic choices and generate their ideas; as well as learning practical skills such as contour drawing and printmaking. I am also able to assist ATAR art students with their art assignments.

Students will work with clay (firing is an additional small cost), mixed-media, watercolour and painting techniques, drawing, and perspective. Homeschool students will be provided with a brief report at the end of each unit.

The Details:

Cost: $96 (casual rate $15 per class) Classes run for 8 weeks.

Primary group: Tuesday  2nd February- 22nd of March

10:30 a.m- 12:00 p.m

Highschool group: Wednesday 3rd February-23rd March (full)

10:30a.m-12:00p.m

After School groups

Primary: Wednesday 3rd  February-23rd of March, 3:30p.m-5:00p.m

Highschool: Thursday 4th February-23rd of March, 4:00 p.m-5:30

Location: Medina

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My year of teaching art: 2015

image“It has been such a sad loss to have my lovely little school in Kwinana close due to lack of funding. The kids, teachers and parents were all heartbroken. It makes me kind of annoyed that the government could not see the value in funding us because we are too small. Small schools are such an asset. Many kids are overwhelmed by big schools; This is hardly surprising, as so much individual attention can be given when class sizes are small. The other school where I teach, has also taken knocks this year, having to reduce their staff dramatically. Again it is a beautiful, small, nurturing school. Fortunately I still have one day there as their art specialist.

2015, as always has been very chaotic at different points. In the second half of of the year I organised an exhibition for both of my schools. One was held at a community venue, the other at the school’s multi-purpose building. These are always huge undertakings, and are a fantastic opportunity for kids. Students always put extra effort into their work, and they help with the curating and openings. These pictures are from both of my schools, and remind me of the reason why I love what I do- seeing those faces beaming over something they have created….art is really so very valuable 💜

Aboriginal Cave Art

My year 4/5/6 students created some aboriginal cave paintings. We gave our paintings the texture and look of rock surfaces by using coloured plaster of paris on hessian fabric. I created a PowerPoint showcasing cave art. We discussed the features of ancient aboriginal cave art, including how they painted animals in an x-ray fashion-showing the bones for decorative effect. The most important aspect of cave art is that it was a vehicle for storytelling. Some of Australia’s cave paintings are up to 15000 years old.

First students designed their rock art painting based on some of the images in the slideshow. I was pleased that most students used this to inform them when it came to doing their painting. This was important, because ancient artists did not have pencils, they would have gone straight into their painting on the rock. We surmised that perhaps they practised their designs by drawing in the sand first.

Continue reading “Aboriginal Cave Art”

Ant Architecture and other musings

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My grade 1/2 group read the wonderfully imaginative book, ‘Roberto the Insect Architect’, where Roberto the ant makes some amazing houses out of a junk pile, so that his friends can have somewhere to live. We discussed what a blueprint is, and why architects need a plan for their buildings. Children then made their own blueprints using blue paper and white oil pastel.

The next project was to make ant houses out of recycled materials. We used generic recyclables, as well as bits and bobs from remida (I love that place- an industrial recycling wonderland located in Perth). I kept this size of the boxes small, as we were doing bug sized houses, after all. In retrospect it would have been interesting to collect tiny boxes like matchboxes- this could be linked with aerial view for older kids.

By far the most interesting thing about this project was hearing what kids had to say about their ant neighbourhood. There were contraptions that lifted to reveal a transportation portal, slides, transparent walls…this leads me to another topic; play-based art teaching. There is a page on my Facebook devoted to this philosophy, and it’s really interesting reading about how children are given materials and perhaps a few ideas on what to do with them, and the high-level problem solving and creativity that results. We teachers are indoctrinated to feel a bit afraid of giving children too much choice, probably due in part to the significant and somewhat heavy burden of classroom management.

Play based learning is done so well in the early years, it’s sad that things become so formal as children get older. It’s my opinion that they still need play to understand the world and lay down those neural pathways for new skills.

My recent choice to homeschool my youngest son ( a whole other blog post, and impossible if I were not working at 2 very understanding and supportive schools)…anyway my son’s problems with reading (he has dyslexia)has lead me to research unschooling. Basically unschooling means facilitating enquiries based on your child’s interests, letting them have a say in what they want to achieve in homeschooling. This has lead me to re-evaluate how I teach art. It’s such a wonderful subject, because most children already have positive associations with art making (once again thanks to early years teaching!). If I can make their time about the process rather than the end product, give them choice of materials and encourage purposeful play, I will see (and am already seeing!) kids kind of wake up, switch on, and become animated and engaged. This is the opposite to the step-by-step art programme where the work, impressive as it is, all looks the same, and resembles adult art, rather than the klunky experimental, messy child art that has a charm and sense of wonder if it’s own.

Back to ant architecture: this book (Roberto the Insect Architect) is long winded for grade 1s but is still very useful and the illustrations could send you on many other explorations including collage, inventing an insect character, puppets and more. Next time I will focus on the pictures and just read the important parts of the book to avoid squirmy children.

Here is an amazing blogsite if you are interested in reading about unschooling:

http://teachersjourneytolife.com/2015/02/02/radical-unschooling-education-outside-the-box-101/

…and Remida’s website:

http://www.remidawa.com

Play based art teaching is a Facebook page hosted by George Szekely.

Aerial View

 

Today my year 3/4 art students created collages of aerial views. We discussed how an aerial view is a view from above, like in a plane. A lot of aboriginal art is based on the aerial view. We westerners are really biased toward seeing the world and art from a frontal viewpoint!

The important thing about aerial perspective is that there is no horizon line, so this was a great follow up for the alien landscape activity, because the focus there was on putting in a horizon line that shows where the land and sky meet.

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We also talked about collage and how it’s a really flexible way of using lots of materials. We used newspaper, coloured tissue paper, coloured construction paper and dry pastels. After I did a quick demo, kids were very keen to explore their own ideas and they came up with some unique ways of using collage to show aerial views.

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