Thursday, 31 May 2012

positively eye-popping!

Having driven frequently, during the past couple of weeks, past an utterly amazing sight…..


(a field of blue [cornflowers] and red [poppies] which stretched almost as far as the eye could see)…..


I was finally inspired on my way home yesterday, to park my car at the roadside, grab my camera and click away furiously for the next (at least!) twenty minutes. Cornflowers…..


in glorious combination with poppies.


I must already have had the sight bouncing about in my subconscious, because part-way through our (third!) butterfly extravaganza that morning, I had decided that we should maybe continue our wet/dry investigation by putting some fat blobs of drippy wet paint (in one of our three primary colours) onto some (not-quite-so-expensive-but nevertheless-it’s-good-quality) dry paper…..


before holding it up (but very decidedly over a piece of paper towel to catch the drips)…..


and watching to see what happens.


See how the paint dribbles down to the bottom of the page?  Like stems of delicate, leggy meadow flowers.

I am thinking poppies maybe; or cornflowersSunflowers  even!

Poppies (or cornflowers or even sunflowers) that would look just fabulous on a back- (and partly fore-) ground of speckles…..


(remember how to do that; with a deft, careful…..

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flick of the paintbrush).

And now, with some chalk pastels (yet another different medium to try out)…..


let’s add centres to our flowers…..


petals too if you’d like. 

Finally, I offer you a field of poppies…..

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and some sunflowers; summer clearly already being here…..

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(and even more sunny sunflowers…..

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plus a few poppies to finish up with).

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Ah yes; now I know why I stopped the car!

cross pollination

Positively eye-popping!

(PS A bit of cross-pollination going on here!)

just when you thought we had finished with butterflies…

A new technique to explore in art on Wednesday in answer to this question; what’s so special about watercolour paper?  But first, another question to ponder.  You see, along with our special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper, we would be using just three colours of watercolour paint; red, yellow and blue.  Together, they have a special name.  Does anyone know what that is?

In answer, a quiet voice from the back of the carpet.  ‘They are primary colours.’

And so they are.  Thank you Maddie!

Does anyone know what’s so special about these three primary colours?  Why did I choose just them?

‘Because they make all of the colours,’ answered Yanis.

And so they do*.  Thank you Yanis!

Which of course led to this next question.  And the ones following …

If, for example, I was to take yellow and red and mix them together, what colour would that make?

Bianca’s hand is up like a rocket!  ‘Orange!’ her quick response.

Red and blue?

Itaru’s turn.  ‘Purple,’ he confirmed.

Finally, we think about yellow and blue, which somewhat surprisingly caused a bit of consternation amongst the troops.  Finally we are rescued by Lakeisha, who knows.  ‘Green,’ she tells us.  Phew!

And now Nicholas has a bit of a tricky question.  ‘How do you get black?’ he asks.

And the answer rather depends on whether you are a chemist (yes) or a physicist (no)*.  For our purposes, it’s probably safest to say that if you mix up all three primary colours, you’ll eventually get black (or a mucky dark brown mud).  But I digress.  Actually with our mixing we are rather hoping not to get as far as mucky dark brown mud.

Anyway, let’s get back to our special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper.  And a rather odd instruction.  Because the first thing we are going to do is paint with water!  Not even the tiniest dab of red nor of yellow nor even of blue.

‘But I won’t be able to see what I am doing,’was a common refrain.  But actually, once we start, all is OK as you too will see.

The task was to paint a butterfly (experts we are by now!) onto our special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper, using just water; we want to wet the paper in a butterfly shape.

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(There, can you make out the butterfly in the second image?)

Next, choose just one of our three primary colours to paint (at least) the upper part of each wing in broad sweeping strokes.  You will be putting wet paint onto wet paper.  As you work, watch what happens to the paint.

When you want to try out a second colour, wash the brush and dab it onto a paper towel, to make sure that it is really clean; we are mixing the paints (or strictly speaking, allowing the paints to mix) on the paper and not in the palette.  Once your brush is squeaky clean, you might like to try adding a drop or a blob or even a line of your new colour.

As before, watch what happens when you add it.

Squeaks and squeals follow.  And here…..


as well as here…


and also here…..


you can see why!  Exciting, huh?

When you add wet paint to wet watercolour paper, the paint whooshes along; and if two colours meet, then they mix themselves!

And, even better, once the paper is dry - and special (eek - expensive!) watercolour paper is designed to dry quickly - you can add paint which won’t race across the page and mix itself up…..but sadly, due to a rather looooong assembly, we ran out of time even for that, so like us, you will have to wait until next week to see how that works; meanwhile…..

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enjoy the story so far!

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Sunday, 27 May 2012

symmetry by design

Remember these?  Well, this week in art, we had a cunning plan to make sure that our butterflies really would be symmetrical.  Do you want to find out how we did it?

Take a piece of paper.  Carefully, fold it…..


in half, making sure that the edges meet exactly.  Squish the folded edge so it is nice and sharp.


And then open it out again.  Because, experts that you now are, you are going to draw another butterfly.

Or to be more precise, you are going to draw half  a butterfly (remember, half a body, one antenna and just one of a pair of wings).  When you have done that, refold the two halves of paper together again - and rub like billy-o (a little bit like we did with the spoons when we made these pictures). 


As you rub, your fist - and then the oil pastel crayon, will get warm and sticky – and the melted part with transfer to the other half of the paper.

See what I mean?


You should be able to see the faint outline of the other (perfectly symmetrical) half of your butterfly.

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You might need to trace over those faint lines to make them easier to see.

And then it’s out with the paints again.

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Making sure, of course, that the paint…..

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on both halves…..

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(PS And yes, Ayesha did manage to finish her amazingly intricate butterfly…..


with perfect symmetry!)