Posts Tagged ‘painting’


I was recently invited to a North London primary school’s art club to present a painting workshop. I decided to revisit the exciting theme of anthropomorphic animals; Anthropomorphism is making something which is not a human, more human-like.

After a brief presentation about anthropomorphism and the history of animal/human shaped artwork (the oldest example of an animal/human-shaped work of art is the Löwenmensch figurine. It’s approximately 35,000 years old and is a sculpture of a human figure with the head of a lion or lioness), we looked at the paintings of two modern day artists who use anthropomorphism in their work, Ken Hoffman and Svjetlan Junaković.

The students studied photos of animals and chose one they wanted to base their painting on. Thinking about what era, style of clothing and setting they wanted to adopt, they began to sketch their initial ideas on an A4 sheet of paper. When they were happy with their idea, they were able to draw their anthropomorphic animal on artboard.

Students used acrylic and ready mixed paints for this project.

Many thanks to Weston Park Art Club for letting me use the images below. Photographs by Joanna Leigh.





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I was invited to do a clay coil pot workshop at a school in Harringay recently. This is an activity I last did with the Art Cabin students back in 2011, so it was great to revisit it.

We used air-drying clay. To make handing out clay a little easier, I divided it into small chuncks, perfect for rolling into coils (thin sausage shapes). As you can see from the photos, we lined a bowl with cling film and began to arrange the coils to form patterns.

Blending and smoothing the clay in the inside of the bowl will adhere the coils together. The beautiful coil patterns will be seen from the outside. To protect your bowl after painting, add a coat of varnish.

Tips: Don’t make the coils too thin. Don’t let the coils dry out (they become crumbly). Keep a lid or damp cloth over clay chunks to stop them drying out and becoming hard. Use a hairdryer to speed up paint drying times.


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It’s always lovely when artists are invited in to schools to lead a workshop with children. At my local village school where the Art Cabin is based, we had a a local Hertfordshire artist called Jean Picton lead a workshop with Years 3, 4, 5 and 6.

Using liquid acrylics, Jean demonstrated how beautiful poppy flowers could be painted. Jean’s trademark is her beautiful depictions of flowers especially poppies (take a look at Jean’s dress, which she had custom made).

To begin with, students experimented with black ink on plain paper, practising the techniques they had seen Jean do. After another demo, students were able to create their own poppy flower on a blank canvas.

Jean really is a character and the students thoroughly enjoyed her tuition style (which included lots of giggles). I think everyone was pleased with their painting and it was especially nice to see children who don’t always find art projects easy, enjoy the workshop and feel proud about their work.



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Surrealist - Children’s painting project

This is a great painting project which can be completed within an hour. I showed the children (aged 5 and 6 years) pictures of the paintings created by Joan Miró with a brief talk about him.

With a limited palette of blue, black, yellow and red paint, a big piece of paper, I spoke aloud a list of painting instructions, such as:- Paint 3 black circles in different sizes. Now paint a yellow line from one side of the paper to the other. Now paint a red line. Paint 2 ‘m’ shapes anyway round you like . Now paint a blue line.

The children loved the fact that their paintings were similar but not the same. They went on to paint their own ideas of a Surrealist picture.

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All you need are 12 children, 12 palettes with acrylic blobs of colour, some pots of water and a good selection of paintbrushes … But beware, if you put ALL your pots of brushes within grabbing reach, then all your brushes will get used!!

The childrens’ decorations are looking very festive, having thoroughly enjoyed painting their salt dough, the next step will be varnishing and tying ribbon on them.

The messy rating for this activity is 9/10

Allow plenty of time to wash the brushes!

We also started the Christmas school play scenery. This year’s production is ‘Creepy Crawly Christmas’. As you can see from the photo, we were busy painting giant flowers.

I’ve also sneeked in a photo of a costume design by a year 6 for the Macbeth play, which years 5 & 6 have been studying.

The Big Draw competition artworks were dropped off in the very lovely Gentlemans Row, Enfield. Here’s keeping fingers crossed they liked our entry.

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