Session 4 Friday 11th November

The focus of today’s activities would be on understanding further balance, counter-balance, direction, movement and alignment, and using this knowledge to draw.

Sharon surprised the children by posting some photographs on our whiteboard of themselves, taken from the previous session with Professor Murphy.

I used a large floor brush to enable the children to see how straight their poses are, how stable they are and if the can identify the centre of gravity in their own pose; and to further explore the idea of balance and counter-balance, so that if we lean forward in one direction, we need to counter-balance this with a movement in the opposite direction, in order to remain stable.

We revisited our Chinese characters on screen from our first session which resembled people balancing in a yoga or martial arts pose!

We looked at the direction and flow of the shapes which the children made using their bodies and we tried to recreate these shapes on paper.


We used blotting paper and watered down black paint first to recreate the flow and direction of the movements we made.

Sharon introduced the children to what is known as the ‘scribbled mass’ technique. They tried to keep the scribble CONTINUOUS as they attempted with a great amount of success I might add, to recreate the pose or silhouette of the shape which we made with our bodies earlier.

We then used graphite sticks and drawing paper to create our scribbled mass. The results were very effective and we made a wall display. Photos of the display can be seen on Sharon’s blog.


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Session 3…Friday 21st October REAL VISIT

Sharon had suggested we might take time to explore the short videoclips which she had sent us , looking at the work of artist Jackson Pollock. we discussed how movement and energy were integral to his art and we considered how he created on such a massive canvas. We looked at Blue Poles and had lots of ideas about what it all meant!

Today’s session would be an actual visit from our artist as opposed to a Virtual Session, so there was tremendous excitement about the forthcoming activities. We had already begun to prepare our ‘studio’ for the day by emptying the classroom completely of desks and chairs. Sharon arrived early with her prepared canvases and an array of implements which we were going to use during our session: six large boards made from cardboard and already primed with black paint, so we could imitate Pollock and work ‘from darkness to light’, and a real artist’s canvas which Sharon had brought from her studio.

We placed the seven boards around the room allowing adequate space to move freely around each board.

We chose to use  the 3 primary colours plus white and made pots of these colours accessible at each station.

We made different types of implements and utensils available at each board ,in order to give the children the experiences of using all the different utensils and implements throughout the course of the session: watering cans, syringes, baby bottles, spoons, turkey basters, sieves, tubing are examples of some of the equipment we used.

We divided the children into small groups of 3 or 4 working at each board, and we set up a timer on the IWB so that the time spent at each station would be fairly allocated.


In total the activity lasted for just over an hour with some short periods of reflection as we moved around the boards. Sharon stayed at the canvas and each of the children got an opportunity to work alongside her and discuss their work.

Technically the work involved a great deal of concentration and energy as well as allowing time to drip the paint onto the surface. Jackson Pollock’s tools never actually touched the canvas on which he was working so the concepts of BALANCE,CONTROL and GRAVITY were important aspects of the children’s work. Again there was immense concentration on the part of the children; many of them found that they had to restrain themselves from pouring the paint onto the canvas instead of allowing gravity to play a part and control how they could drip the paint onto the surface in fine angel hair lines and criss-cross patterns as well as the splatter effect which was more random. Encouraging the children to control the flow of paint, and to exercise patience and restraint posed too great of a challenge for some pupils who chose quantity over quality. Keeping the paint pots full as the groups moved around the boards was not a simple task, and altogether we used over 12 litres of paint as well as a fair amount of PVA glue and several litres of water.

The end results were pretty amazing and the children were justifiably proud of their results. Moving the boards out of the room to dry proved tricky and there was some movement of paint took place during this procedure however it did not detract from the overall effect.


And this was all before morning break!!!!

The second part of the session involved linking up with Marie Murphy, a lecturer in Sports studies in the University of Ulster in Jordanstown. Sharon thought it would be a good idea if the children explored further the concepts of BALANCE and CONTROL. we had a very interesting and physical session in which the children explored balance and control using their bodies. They were only too happy to participate in these activities and enjoyed the challenge of balancing using different parts of our body to control and distribute our weight. Professor Murphy gave the children some tips as to how they could distribute their weight and maintain their balance for longer.



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Session 2.. Friday 7th October

In our initial activity we used the carbon paper to make marks, firstly with our fingernails, then lightly with a pencil and finally exerting more pressure we made loops across the page. The children were amazed at the results and couldn’t believe how it duplicated their work. (Those of us who ever had ‘lines’ to do as a school punishment were well aware of the duplicating properties of carbon!)We began by looking at our hands and our wrists, our lower arms and our upper arms, and how we could use our different limbs to control an art stick.

In our next activity we made loopy movements in the air, and then we tried to recreate them on large pages using graphite sticks, restricting our movements by keeping one arm behind our back. Some of the pupils were able to create looped designs with amazing uniformity and regularity in their designs, showing a great deal of control and an awareness of the overall effect which was being achieved. There was again intense concentration involved.


For the next activity we moved outside to the playground where we continued to explore the loopy designs this time using large chunks of coloured playground chalk and an immense canvas to work on. This time the children’s movements weren’t restricted and they were able to use their whole bodies to control and direct the flow of the designs and patterns which they created.

The children used a great amount of energy, travelling as they worked, all the time keeping their chalk in contact with their canvas and exerting a huge degree of control and balance over their own bodies as they moved through their wonderful loopy designs. The work was challenging physically, but the children were very focussed on the tasks and the end results were wonderful. We had an entire playground covered in unique loopy designs and spiral patterns.



When we returned to the classroom we looked at some drawings from ‘The Blackboard Collection’ by Cy Twombly. The children were fascinated by his apparent ‘scribbles’ and we discussed what we had just done and what his work suggested to us.


Cy Twombly   Untitled 1970 44

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Session one….Friday 30th September



Prior to our session, Sharon promptly posted some resources to add to the pupils’ experiences. We received rice paper, blotting paper, carbon paper and a variety of fine brushes including goat’s hair brushes, Indian ink, fountain pens with cartridges, an old wooden nib  and a beautiful feather quill.



We planned to set up a variety of different experiences so that the children could explore and experience all the resources during the session using a carousel type format.


The children were inspired by pictures which Sharon had posted on the Interactive WhiteBoard(IWB) of Chinese characters and Arabic Script.




The children used immense concentration and CONTROL ,which was a key focus in our session, to recreate the characters painstakingly using fine nibs and brushes dipped in ink and in watered down black paint.

Here the children are finding out what its like to use a FEATHER, A STICK and A REAL INK PEN!We also discussed and explored the idea of PRESSURE and how this affected our artwork.


The children were immensely proud of their end results which were displayed on the main corridor of the school and received a lot of attention and praise from pupils and staff alike. The pupils in p6 and 7 have a Mandarin tutor, who was also duly impressed with the children’s work.

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Meeting the Artist Monday 26th September 2016

Today we were delighted to welcome Sharon Kelly to our class. She has visited our school many times over the past few years but this is the first time she will be meeting the children from P3/4. The plan was to meet the children individually, get to know the names and the faces and to discuss our expectations for the project. There was a great buzz of excitement in the class as the children were aware of brothers or sisters who had been involved in previous years and the fun activities that had taken place. An real artist is much more impressive than a teacher who shows you how to draw! So from the very outset expectations were high.

Firstly, after the introductions were made, Sharon and myself established the ground rules for using Collaborate: taking turns, listening , being careful to look at the camera and speak into the microphone.

Sharon left us a little parting gift to discuss at our Circle Time. It was an old accounts ledger belonging to the previous owners of her new art studio. The building was previously a fishing tackle and gun shop and the book dated back to 1903!

We explored the book using a variety of senses: sight, touch and smell and we had very interesting and thoughtful discussions as to what was in the book…

In preparation for our first Art Session, we looked at the cursive script and tried to decipher some of the names and dates and coinage recorded in the book. We talked about what writing materials were used in the book as ballpoint pens wouldn’t have been invented.

The book held an air of mystery because it was so old, and was like a problem waiting to be solved. what did it all mean? We found the names of all the people who worked in the company and how much they earned. One of the people who worked there had the same surname as one of the pupils in our class: ‘Murray’. The cursive script was of interest to the children because we have just begun to learn joined-up writing in our own class.

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Day One

Day one of our Virtually there Art Project 2012 went remarkably well. The School’s internet had been down for 3 days previous. I’m still not sure quite how we managed to link up through illuminate as every other computer in the school didn’t have internet access that day!

Our theme is Changes and Sharon began with a simple activity letting the children make changes on paper using various media. They enjoyed the free exploratory nature of the activity.

We then looked at our own faces…Sharon showed us a self portrait that she had drawn and asked the children to draw eaxctly what they saw in the mirror. They then cut out the features and stuck them on a piece of paper. They struggled with this as they wanted picture perfect portraits!

The session was enjoyable, however technical difficulties slowed the whole process down.
Already looking forward to next weeks session where we will be looking at how the children’s features have changed over the years.

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