Eilis Hanson is a primary school teacher who loves to get art into the curriculum, wherever and whenever she can! She has a BA (Hons) in Fine Art from Newcastle University and studied at Universität für Angewandte Kunst in Vienna during her third year there. More recently, she has studied watercolour painting in Verona. Eilis has taught children in Indonesia, Japan and Italy and now lives and works in Cambridge. She has exhibited sculptures, prints and installations in Newcastle, Vienna and Istanbul.
In response to the National Gallery’s Take One Picture initiative, our school chose to spend a week focusing on Joseph Wright ‘of Derby’‘s dramatic painting An Experiment on a Bird in the Air Pump (1768).
After discussing and exploring the painting in assemblies, each class was set the challenge of responding through art and literacy. The Year Three children were fascinated by several aspects of the painting and many of them had questions about how an air pump works so we started to think about air and how to depict it. We began by drawing. Each child identified an item in the painting that interested them and then sketched it, considering tone, light and shadow as they worked.
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