Our River – Year Five Pupils Build a Communal Drawing in Four Steps

By Sheila Ceccarelli

In this session we approached creating a layered drawing and ‘wax resist’ on a massive scale and pupils loved it!

I was invited to lead the year 5 class at Ridgefield Primary, Cambridge in a manic, one hour session as part of their Art Week and exploration of Georges Seurat Bathers at Asnières, 1884, National Gallery, London.

Children working with masking tape to make long strokes
Initially children worked with masking tape, sticking long lengths of it down the paper

 

Initially pupils draw long river lines in masking tape
This gave pupils a sense of immediate interaction, ownership and excitement at working on a large scale

 

Detail of masking tape
Detail of masking tape – pupils enjoyed working together

 

To get a sense of the length of the paper and prevent the youngsters feeling confined to one part of the sheet, they walked in procession mark making along the length and breadth of the paper
To get a sense of the length of the paper, and prevent the youngsters feeling confined to one part of the sheet, they walked in procession mark making along the length and breadth of it using permanent markers and graphite

 

Initial marks in pen and graphite
They were encouraged to experiment with their marks and imagine the sounds and feeling of water whilst working

 

Pupils are then given a selection of oil pastels and encouraged to work energetically with mark making inspired by the water
Pupils were then given a selection of oil pastels and encouraged to work energetically making marks inspired by the water and responding to the marks and lines already on the paper

 

Pupils building up the drawing with oil pastels
Pupils build the drawing with oil pastels

 

Oil pastels and permanent marker marks over masking tape
Oil pastels and permanent marker marks over masking tape

 

Then the real fun began! Pupils were given paint and coloured Indian ink and encouraged to respond to the existing marks on the paper with strong strokes
Then the real fun began! Pupils were given paint and coloured Indian ink and encouraged to respond to the existing marks on the paper with strong strokes

 

Pupils love this process and enjoy experimenting with how they apply the paint
Pupils seemed to love this process and enjoy the freedom of experimenting with how to apply paint

 

And for some a fully immersive experience!
And for some a fully immersive experience!

 

While others are more controlled in their approach!
Whilst others are more controlled in their approach!

 

There are moments of shear joy!
There are moments of shear joy!

 

Final touches to the river drawing
And absolute engagement

 

Layers of paint over masking tape, oil pastel and permanent marker
Layers of paint over masking tape, oil pastel and permanent marker

 

Pupils then worked carefully together to peal off the masking tape now buried under layers of marks and texture
Pupils then worked together to peal off the masking tape, now buried under layers of marks and texture

 

Removing the masking tape
To reveal the original design with masking tape

 

Working together
Working together

 

Finished work - Pupils marvel at their creation!
Finished work – Pupils marvel at their creation!

 

The fabulous class teacher Mrs Timmis then guided pupils in a discussion about what they might do with or to their river drawing next.
The fabulous class teacher Mrs Timmis then guided pupils in a discussion about what they might do with or to their river drawing next.

 

Pupils voiced many wonderful ideas including populating the river banks with a class picnic or making it into a three dimensional sculpture. I eagerly await news from Ridgefield Primary School as to what happened next!

Many thanks for having AccessArt!

Creative Potential

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