Day one exploring some contrasts and changes!

It is lovely to be able to work with children in St Patrick’s again. I made a trip to Crossmaglen last week to say hello to all the children. I was very fortunate to be able to look through their sketchbooks, which they kept in a shelf under their desks. What a hidden treat! There were  many fantastic drawings and notes! In particular were drawings made from photographs of some older faces… this intrigued me.

For our first session, (artist Vanya and teacher Kathryn joined us online ) I began by introducing the theme, which is CHANGES.

The children some examples of changes visible in our day to day life:

the weather

changing clothes


The word transformation was offered by one of the children, as another word for change. with this in mind, I explained that as artists we use marks and lines and shapes to create pictures:

I wanted to show the children some drawings and paintings by (some) well known artists to see what sort of marks and lines they used to create the picture of their own faces (self-portrait):

Vincent Van Gogh the Dutch artist (1883 – 1890) and Henri Mattisse, the French artist (1869 – 1954) and Frida Kahlo who was mexican (1907 – 1954)



I asked the children to look carefully at the details of the pictures to see what sort of shapes, marks and lines the artist had used to create a nose, lips or an eye….

To get warmed up in creating some marks ourselves, the children had a go at making 6 very different marks, shapes and lines on their sheets…

They were asked to think about the first mark they had made, to describe its quality, for example light, fluffy, heavy etc and then to make another mark beside it that was in contrast to the first mark and so on until 6 marks were made.

Here is the example I sent the children:


6 marks in charcoal

The children made some beautiful marks and filled their pages.

Next we looked closely at how I made a self portrait:


I asked the children to look carefully at the messy lines and marks that I had used to make the shape of my mouth…

I reminded them that many artists used many different lines and marks to create their pictures:


Here is one by Frank Auerbach (British – German descent born 1931)

The children had a go at creating their own shapes and marks for their features, but they had to look carefully and isolate their eye for example.


I showed them another self portrait, this time by Finnish artist Helene Schjerfbeck (1862 – 1946)

Look at the lovely shapes and lines of the eyes!!

It was coming close to the end of the session, but the children were busy creating shapes and were going to cut these out and lay them on another contrasting sheet to create an image of their eye. All from making marks relating to looking closely at their eye.

Here is some of the work the children made by drawing their features and cutting them out to stick onto a new face shape.:

For next week the children will each take a photograph of the other (taken close up, so only face and neck are in the frame)  and will print these out to use next week when we will explore some changes to our faces!

We hope Vanya and Kathryn enjoyed the session too!


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