Visual Arts Planning: The Seaside

If you are a member of AccessArt please use this form if you would like to suggest a visual arts planning topic that you would like help with. You can see all of the current topics in our visual arts planning series here.


During a recent InSET training session, teachers in a Suffolk primary school, suggested that they needed resources to help them with their theme this term which is the 'Seaside'.

If you are a teacher or artist and would like to share your creative approaches for exploring this theme, then please do get in touch with [email protected]

In the meantime, here are a few posts to help schools explore the seaside, the beach and all things summer!


Making a Festival Feast from Modroc

A bonanza of sweet treats for your summer picnic on the beach by Paula Briggs and Sheila Ceccarelli. A bonanza of sweet treats for your summer picnic on the beach by Paula Briggs and Sheila Ceccarelli.

Communal Drawing: Summer Picnic!

Paula Briggs says : 'What better on a hot summer’s evening to draw a picnic? (And then eat it!)'. Paula Briggs says : ‘What better on a hot summer’s evening to draw a picnic? (And then eat it!)’.

Making Felt Sailing Boats by Ruth Purdy

Felt is one of the easiest fabrics to manipulate and provides a wide palette of colour. Artist Ruth Purdy share a process to combine felt pieces with bright embroidery floss, buttons and beads to make colourful sailing boats. Felt is one of the easiest fabrics to manipulate and provides a wide palette of colour. Artist Ruth Purdy share a process to combine felt pieces with bright embroidery floss, buttons and beads to make colourful sailing boats.

Drawing as Support Activity

Artist, educator and co-founder of AccessArt Paula Briggs describes how she enables an exploration of drawing as an activity to support other artforms, in this case sculpture. Artist, educator and co-founder of AccessArt Paula Briggs describes how she enables an exploration of drawing as an activity to support other artforms, in this case sculpture.

Making Plaster Reliefs

Paula Briggs shows how children made plaster reliefs using clay and foamboard moulds. Paula Briggs shows how children made plaster reliefs using clay and foamboard moulds.

Drawing Shells Big in Charcoal

Drawing shells on a large scale was the theme of a workshop for teenagers that introduced basic steps to creating form and tonal shading in drawings. Inspired by See Three Shapes by Paula Briggs. Session led by Sheila Ceccarelli. Drawing shells on a large scale was the theme of a workshop for teenagers that introduced basic steps to creating form and tonal shading in drawings. Inspired by See Three Shapes by Paula Briggs. Session led by Sheila Ceccarelli.

Exploring Materials: Clay and Water

Sheila Ceccarelli asked teenagers at AccessArt’s Experimental Drawing Class, when the last time was that they had played with clay? Sheila Ceccarelli asked teenagers at AccessArt’s Experimental Drawing Class, when the last time was that they had played with clay?

Drawing Shells On Loan From The University Museum of Zoology, Cambridge

Teenagers explore drawing shells on loan from Cambridge University Museum of Zoology with Sheila Ceccarelli. Teenagers explore drawing shells on loan from Cambridge University Museum of Zoology with Sheila Ceccarelli.

Drawing Water!

In a workshop led by Paula Briggs, children aged 6 to 10 are inspired by the studies of water by Leonardo da Vinci and some contemporary drawings by Rosie Leventon. In a workshop led by Paula Briggs, children aged 6 to 10 are inspired by the studies of water by Leonardo da Vinci and some contemporary drawings by Rosie Leventon.

Drawing Spiral Snails

Join artist Tracy McGuinness-Kelly in exploring recurring spiral shapes in nature. Join artist Tracy McGuinness-Kelly in exploring recurring spiral shapes in nature.

Emma Copley – Painting a Still Life and Seeing Colour

Artist Educator, Emma Copley demonstrates in this beautifully illustrated resource, a step-by-step method for producing a painting of a shell, or similar object, in gouache. Artist Educator, Emma Copley demonstrates in this beautifully illustrated resource, a step-by-step method for producing a painting of a shell, or similar object, in gouache.

Water and Rock: Teenagers explore building drawings with graphite and modroc

In this one and a quarter hour long session, teenagers work with Sheila Ceccarelli to explore drawing rocks found on the beach and build drawings with modroc and graphite. In this one and a quarter hour long session, teenagers work with Sheila Ceccarelli to explore drawing rocks found on the beach and build drawings with modroc and graphite.

Introducing Sgraffito using a Coloured Clay Slip on a Terracotta Tile

Artist Eleanor Somerset demonstrates how to do Sgraffito: layers of coloured clay slip are applied to an unfired ceramic body and scratched into to create drawings on clay. Artist Eleanor Somerset demonstrates how to do Sgraffito: layers of coloured clay slip are applied to an unfired ceramic body and scratched into to create drawings on clay.

Detached and Timeless Painting Workshop by Sara Dudman

Artist and educator Sara Dudman shares examples, inspiration and support for working creatively from video to capture movement, including that of the sea, and a sense of place in painting. Artist and educator Sara Dudman shares examples, inspiration and support for working creatively from video to capture movement, including that of the sea, and a sense of place in painting.

Working WITH and IN the Landscape by Frances Hatch

Artist Frances Hatch generously shares her magical processes for creating site specific art, inspired by a variety of environments including costal, woodland and urban environments and using materials found at the location. Artist Frances Hatch generously shares her magical processes for creating site specific art, inspired by a variety of environments including costal, woodland and urban environments and using materials found at the location.

Teachers Make Mark Making Tools and ‘Battle it Out’ with Ink on a Spring InSET Day

Teachers make a group drawing of water at an InSET session with Sheila Ceccarelli. Teachers make a group drawing of water at an InSET session with Sheila Ceccarelli.

Wave Bowls

This exciting resource by Paula Briggs documents a session at the AccessArt Art Lab to create some kind of co-created vessels, part inspired by ceramics by Grayson Perry, and loosely based around a holiday theme as the summer holidays came closer. There was no clear idea what the outcome would be and what emerged was a bizarre but strangely rewarding series of objects which somehow captured elements of all of the terms's sessions. Right at the end, the pieces came together, demonstrating the beautiful ways in which creativity works if we can be open enough and take a few risks along the way. This post shares the process. This exciting resource by Paula Briggs documents a session at the AccessArt Art Lab to create some kind of co-created vessels, part inspired by ceramics by Grayson Perry, and loosely based around a holiday theme as the summer holidays came closer. There was no clear idea what the outcome would be and what emerged was a bizarre but strangely rewarding series of objects which somehow captured elements of all of the terms’s sessions. Right at the end, the pieces came together, demonstrating the beautiful ways in which creativity works if we can be open enough and take a few risks along the way. This post shares the process.

Making Boats that Float Out of Everyday Materials

This was an afternoon session led by Sheila Ceccarelli for Year Four pupils at Ridgefield Primary School, Cambridge, and part of AccessArt’s Brilliant Makers Club, a campaign supporting and championing making experiences in schools. It was aimed at children who love making, and was limited to eight pupils, to allow for a rich, and rewarding experience and plenty of time to play with, and explore materials. This was an afternoon session led by Sheila Ceccarelli for Year Four pupils at Ridgefield Primary School, Cambridge, and part of AccessArt’s Brilliant Makers Club, a campaign supporting and championing making experiences in schools. It was aimed at children who love making, and was limited to eight pupils, to allow for a rich, and rewarding experience and plenty of time to play with, and explore materials.
A workshop by Sheila Ceccarelli for Year Four pupils at Ridgefield Primary School and part of AccessArt's Brilliant Maker Club. Constructing shells felt like an appropriate activity for a mid-summer session, and an excellent theme to inspire building with stuff and exploring how materials might work together to create form, structure and texture. Themes and discussions around transformation and up-cycling were also an important part of this project and tied in with ocean awareness and the importance of disposal and re-cycling of plastics. A workshop by Sheila Ceccarelli for Year Four pupils at Ridgefield Primary School and part of AccessArt’s Brilliant Maker Club. Constructing shells felt like an appropriate activity for a mid-summer session, and an excellent theme to inspire building with stuff and exploring how materials might work together to create form, structure and texture. Themes and discussions around transformation and up-cycling were also an important part of this project and tied in with ocean awareness and the importance of disposal and re-cycling of plastics.