Search This Blog

Welcome to my blog

Saturday, 30 June 2012

Team Spirit Mural

The finished mural with the motto "Together Everyone Achieves More" The first letters of which spell TEAM

Taking the theme of “Team” lastweek I spent time working with pupils from Ghyllgrove Juniors to create a 16 ft mural that will adorn the school bike shed.

The pupils started the week working on designs inspired by what they most liked about their school, what their school was particularly good at and what their favourite subjects were. Prior to commencing work on the design the children took rubbings from the soles of their shoes, and objects, surfaces from within their school. Once the pupils collated their inspiration materials it was time to get to work on formatting ideas for the final design.
After the design was finalised, I drew up a copy for the children to work their designs and include their ideas, patterns and images

We decided the purple and yellow worked very well for the first panel with the pencils

This was a alternative design, which was less  complex, however the children opted for the more challenging design

We decided that the mural wouldbe a four panel piece, each panel representing one of the four team colours(red, green, blue and yellow) within the schools. To add a bit of spark to the piece we decided each coloured panel could only be paitned with the team colour, the complementary colour of the team colour and black and white.Therefore the red panel could only be red – green –black-white.
After consolation with the children the final design was drawn up and sketched onto the boards.
Prior to paitning I drew up the design onto board
I was so impressed with how the children worked as teams to complete the panels in just 2 days

Adding colour to the first board

Making sure the paint brush strokes all go the in the same direction

The bulk of the painting completed on the green boards

The blue board ready for outlining and finishing touches

The red board being painted

Nearly complete and starting to take shape
Using acrylic paint the children concentrated on painting the mural. Children were shown how to mix colours, to apply paint smoothly to board, how to hold a paint brush and learnt a little colour theory.
Completed yellow board

Completed green board

Completed blue board

Completed red board
Finally finishing touches were added to the boards prior to placing next to each other to evaluate the overall piece
Before the pieces go outside theywill be painted with outdoors varnish to protect the colour and the board –this will also add a nice sheen to the finished mural.

If you are interested in finding out more about having a mural painting for your company, school, group please contact me on

Midsummer Drawing Night

On Saturday Kate Hardy organised a 12 hours drawing night, where 8 artists explored drawing as a working process at the project space - Studio 4 based in Chisenhale Studios in London (For more information on the space view Starting at 7pm artists explored the use of mediums from charcoal, pen, pencil and collage whilst responding to themes including continuous drawing, portraiture, natural form, film and birds in flight – completing the last sketch at 7am!
Paper chicks by Lisa Smith, collage, ink and charcoal on paper
If you look back on art history, drawing has been a familiar part of the creative process. Traditionally, printmakers, painters, and sculptors might dash off sketches to practice technique, keep notebooks as a way to gather and organize ideas, or draft formal renderings. With the range of mediums, methods and techniques of drawing that are readily practiced in contemporary art, this drawing session provided us with a chance to use drawing to brainstorm and experiment, to explore ideas, and to propose,  circulate, and chronicle works in a range of drawing media.
Within my workshops I am always preaching observation is key to successful drawing, practice daily and experiment with your materials, however if I am honest – within my own practice I tend to mainly draw with water-soluble crayons, draw when I get the chance (which is NOT every day) – BUT I do maintain a keen observation of my drawing subject prior to any commitment to paper.
What I felt was so successful within this event was the continuous drawing, the continuous change of subject matter, the continuous change of light and the range of mediums to experiment with. Working alongside fellow artists I felt that I could relate and was inspired to respond to their style, ideas, visions and practice. It was a joy to reengage with drawing as a creative process.
Here are some images of the work created over the 12 hour period:
Continuous Drawing - Project 1
The first project of the night was continuous drawing, each artist started of a drawing on a piece of  A2 paper , folding over the image once completed and passing onto the next artist to continue
Admiring the finished pieces

This was a great starting project, to loosen up, get to know the other artists and more importantly to have fun! 
 Portraits - Project 2
Pinning up the blind contour drawings to the studio wall

Portrait work in Charcoal, prior to the portrait work led by Kate, we all completed a blind drawing on the person sitting in front of us. The idea behind this is to take the time to observe your subject so that (in theory) when you start to draw your portrait you have familiarised yourself and focused on key features, shapes and forms

Finished portraits 
Joys Charcoal drawing on me. It's funny how when you draw yourself or if you are drawing each other  -
you always end up looking so stern in the portrait
 Hands - Project 3
The next project was led by myself, looking at hands for inspiration. This light was really interesting at this time and as you can see from the picture it was quite easy to cast shadows. We used our hands to create mythical beasts, animals or observational drawing of hands

Julie making a dove

Joys observational drawings of hands

Mediums available throughout the night included charcoal, pencil, pastels, oil pastels, felts, ink, collage, paint, tape, coloured pencils and pen
Completed hand drawings
 Birds in flight - Project 4
Birds in flight project, this project saw artist explore the use of collage as a drawing tool
Kate's bird in flight mixed media drawing
These drawings were sketched in pen on a pad of paper on a tablet. The idea for this project is that all the drawings will be layered together on the computer to create a unique piece of work

Project 5 - Lunch
We even drew whilst we ate our "lunch" at 2am!
Project 6 - Drawing to Film
Drawing to film,
Watching "Amarcord" (When the puffballs sore!) I really enjoyed watching the film and drawing images that inspired or spoke to me. I drew snippets of scenes and added quotes, shadows in my sketchbook pictured above.

Project 7 - Natural form
My Natural form pencil drawing of a seagulls skull

Drawing natural form around 4am - now supported by large amounts of coffee!

Project 8 - Found Object
3B and 6B pencil drawing of an old shoe, I think Kate said this had been found along the canal,
 such a beautiful object to draw. 

 Project 9 - Found Image

Spike working from a found image.  Using pen on paper

As I had confirmed earlier in the session that portraits really are not for me, I chose to use the heart from the found image above as my inspirational resource. Once again I worked in 3B and 6B pencil

I thoroughly enjoyed working in charcoal on numerous projects which I don't think I have really done since University.  I had forgotten the intensity, the quickness and the raw quality you can achieve with this medium. I think this is one that I am going to have to add to the sketch bag for future outings!

I hope that you have enjoyed this blog and that it has inspired you to think about the mediums that you use and to experiment and explore the wide diverse range of mediums within your practice - at least once in a while anyway!

Monday, 18 June 2012

Spin Painting With Damien Hirst

Last Thursday I had the opportunity to take a colleague and a group of 8 children to Covent Garden to see artist Damien Hirst create his famous Spin Painting art. At the event organised by Tate Modern my talented group of eight met, spoke and worked alongside Hirst and his team from Science LTD. 
Damien Hirst and Camila Batmanghelidjh creating a spin painting

The scene before the painting commenced

After placing on their wristbands and “I o DH” badge, the children chose a template from a selection of six images that related to Hirst’s catalogue of work. These included a sharks head, a rocket, a heart, a spot, a butterfly and a skull. The children then patiently waited their turn to create their own unique piece of spin art with the assistance of Hirst, Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh, Michelle Ackerley from Blue Peter and of course Hirst’s expert team Science LTD. The paintings are made by first pinning the template to the turntable, applying a coat of water to the surface of the template before rotating the template on a flat turntable while brightly coloured paints are poured onto it by the children from above.
The children thoroughly enjoyed the atmosphere of the event, exploring art in a public space and discovering the amazing sights and sounds that London offers. It was inspiring to see their eyes light up at seeing tourist attractions they had never seen before, the eagerness to document the day with photographs and sketches –plus watching them create colourful, stunning artwork.
The event was held in aid of children’s Kids Company, which works to support London’s most vulnerable children with practical, emotional and educational support. 
Hirst, an advocate of Kids Company’s use of art therapy, describes the spin paintings as  “a massive explosion of energy - full of life, colour and optimism,” Hirst said. “All children are artists, so it's great to be getting all these kids together in Covent Garden to make them.”
Hirst’s first interest in spin art arose as a child after seeing the paintings made at school fĂȘtes. Since the early 1990s, he has continued to work on the series which he describes as ‘childish in the positive sense of the word’. Hirst first made spin paintings in the early 1990s and several are on show at the major Hirst retrospective currently at Tate Modern. Check out for more information on this fantastic exhibition.

The card the children were given to select their Damien Hirst themed template from

The selected template is pinned to the turntable by one of the Science LTD team

Once pinned the template receives a layer of water, this will add to the movement of the paint

The children squirt and lay paint over the top of the template

The Science LTD team encourage the children to lay on plenty of colour. It's at this point I smile with pride at the use of complementary colours - now I know they listen to me when I am harping on about colour theory!!!

How beautiful does this butterfly look?

Spin painting in progress

Damien Hirst displaying his painting which will be auctioned off in October to raise funds for the Kids Company

A selection of the 40 plus paintings produced by the children will go on temporary exhibition at Covent Garden as of tomorrow (June 19th), before they are returned to the children.
A spin painting Hirst created this morning with Kids Company founder Camila Batmanghelidjh will be auctioned at the charity’s Gala Dinner in October of this year.

Damien Hirst and Camila Batmanghelidjh

Damien Hirst being interviewed by Michelle Ackerley from Blue Peter