Session 9:Pose & Poise

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Artist: Helen Barry, School: Our Lady Of Good Counsel G.N.S.

In this session the weather allowed us to base ourselves outdoors. Some of the girls continued to work on the heron, weaving freshly cut rosemary and flexible moist branches to strengthen the structure. As the work progressed the skill level and understanding of a solid structure developed quickly. Often children who have not displayed a strong aptitude in drawing discover that they have great dexterity in working in 3D. My approach to working in 3D is by creating a mental vision first and allowing the hands and fingers to follow. Perhaps like cutting it is best to cut following a mental image rather than draw an image and then cut. Matisse used to draw with scissors very successfully.

Being our doors enable the girls who had completed their wire birds to look at where they could place the birds in flight. We were able to look ore closely at scale and decide how many birds we still had to create. We will at a later stage add colour to the birds but in a very subtle way. We wish to retain the organic and natural look to what we will place in this beautiful space.

In addition to creating our flock in flight all of the children were invited to sketch the outdoor area using charcoal. For most of them this was the first time to use this material. Again the exploration with this particular medium lends itself to interesting and beautiful drawings of observations often by children who had not seen themselves as particularly skilled in drawing. I am beginning to wonder whether teaching art should concentrate on observation and understanding movement of poise before a pencil is positioned on the paper.

As the session drew to a close I invited the class to begin a companion for the heron. Those who put themselves forward were those most reluctant in the first few sessions. This residence had really challenged my approach to teaching art and a curiosity in exploring how art is taught in schools. I am learning about learning something that drives my current studio work.

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