I've been privileged to be the artist-in-residence at Castle Mall for the last 5 years. I was there last week facilitating their Art for Schools programme, which is part of an on-going initiative to foster creativity, confidence and freedom of expression in local children. Over the course of the week, I taught approximately 250 kids from local schools in a series of 2 hours painting sessions done right on the mall.
The budding young artists worked from a reference photo to create a still life floral painting on canvas. They began by looking for simple lines and shapes, rather than the more complex whole. They identified and sketched only the most important details of the photo (top and bottom of the flower pot, overall shape of the flowers, etc). They were encouraged to use the reference photo as a starting point, but to make their own decisions about what to put in or leave out, such as whether they wished to draw the handle (or add an extra one on the other side).
After their sketches were complete, students added texture with collage before ever adding any paint to their pieces. After tons of prep work, they mixed their own colours from the primary colours (red, yellow and blue), as well as white and completed their masterpieces. The mini Monets showed amazing creativity, patience and focus as they worked. They definitely deserve a big thumbs up!
Of course, Castle Mall deserves a big thumbs as well up for supporting kid's creativity! They'll be displaying the works of art until around Easter, so make sure you pop in to have a look at the exhibition if you're anywhere near the area. I'll be adding lots and lots of photos to the Art for Schools album on my Facebook page, so be sure to stop by and show the kids your support by liking it!