It can be difficult enough to think of art projects suitable for transition year students when you have a mixed class some of which have never done art before or they have only done art in 1st year so are out of practice or very weak. I find crafts work well and I always like to come up with group work as its good for students to get to know each other better as they are normally in a mixed class group unlike in their Junior classes so some students may not know each other.
Portrait drawing works really well. I take photos of all students and they manipulated them in Photoshop to break them down into 3 tones- black, grey and white. These are printed A4 size. Using a grid system students draw themselves. Students who have done art before love the challenge of drawing themselves from the photos and students who have not done art or are very weak can trace the photos and still have the ability to produce good work.
These drawings are used to create the stencil, one for each colour printed (black, grey and white). Here are some photos of the process for you to see as well as some examples of finished student portrait prints.
From my regular walks through Dublin city centre I started to notice that some of the normally painted dull grey traffic light boxes I am used to seeing had been decoratively painted. As you can see from the photo, traffic light boxes tend to regularly attract graffiti and stickers, which make them look bad and the council has to re-paint them on a regular basis which costs a lot of money. It turns out it’s an initiative that started back in June by Dublin City Beta as a pilot program involving the painting of 11 boxes (Some have all sides visible, others are up against walls) in and around the Markets Area in the North inner city (from the river north to King Street and from Church Street east to Capel Street) with artwork. The brief was to design something that could be painted on a traffic light box that reinforced or enhanced the identity of that area of the city. Anyone could submit a design to Dublin City Council for consideration along with an explanation of why you think it strengthens the identity of the area , you don’t have to be a professional artist or art student.
This map shows the location and allocates a number for each box so if a designer had a particular design for a particular box that highlighted an aspect of the history of a particular street or road they could state the traffic box required. The design also had to be considered ‘art’ or ‘information’ and not ‘advertising’ however it could mention the designers name/website/blog etc. at the base to publicise their work. In return, they recieve €111 towards materials as well as the opportunity to make their design a reality.
Below are some photos of some of the traffic light boxes that drew my attention while in town recently. My favourite traffic light box artwork is by Tarsila Krüse who is a Dublin-based illustrator, check out her website here. Her design is called the Dublin Harp Lady and is located on Fishamble Street (outside Christ Church) in Dublin 2. She chose a feminine figure to the represent Ireland and the harp to represent the coat of arms of Ireland. Also the colour Blue makes reference to Dublin colours. I love her cartoon style of illustartion and the contrast in colour between the harp lady and the dark blue background.
It is hoped that the beta project will save the council money and enhance the area. Each artwork will hopefully last for a couple of years but could be repainted grey at anytime and free again for new artwork submissions depending on feedback so the most important thing they ask for is your opinion. To find out more about this great initiative visit their Facebook Page here.
I think this project is a great idea it not only saves the Council money, it enhance the area, making it more attractive as well as providing an outlet for artists to exhibit their work. Wouldn’t it be great to do something similar to brighten up the school grounds. Anyone ever try anything like this in their school? feel free to leave a comment, thanks, Ruth 😎
Yesterday I visited ‘Granby Park’ a temporary transformed vacant Dublin site on Dominick street lower in Dublin city centre. This was created by the non-profit voluntary the importance of creativity in Ireland. For four weeks, there will be art work on display, free arts events, outdoor cinema & theatre performances, live music, educational activities and a pop-up café open to the public.
I was really impressed with all the great work that had been done to create this temporary space. I particularly liked the art work on display. My favourite art installation piece is called ‘Fizzy Flowers’ by Rachel Kiernan and the Eve Estuary Artist Group (a training centre for individuals with intellectual disabilities based in Lissenhall, Swords, HSE Dublin North East). It consisted of 100 brightly coloured flowers made from recycled plastic bottles attached to two weeping Beech trees. I love the contrast in colour between the flowers and the trees. This would be a great 1st year sculpture project, imagine the trees in your school decked out with these colourful flowers.
Today I went to see the ‘The Bright Side’ annual sand sculpture exhibition in the courtyard of Dublin Castle which focuses on what is good about Ireland and being Irish. It is created by a group of three Irish sculptors (Daniel Doyle, Niall Magee and Alan Magee who are all graduates of Fine Art Sculpture from the DIT) called Duthain Dealbh (pronounced [du-hawn dah-liv] in Irish), meaning Fleeting Sculpture. The group who have worked collaboratively together since 2001, specialize in sculpting ephemeral materials of sand, snow,ice and fire and have attended sculpture festivals all over the world.
I was unfortunately away when the artists started the live carving of the sand sculptures on the 29th of July – and lasted 7 days but I did see them sculpting the sand last year and it is really exciting to watch the forms being built up. This Sand Sculpture Exhibition which attracts thousands of visitors went on display from August 5th and will remain on display until the 27th of August. If you are in Dublin during this time, I highly recommend going to see this work.
My favourite piece is ‘Character Building’ by Daniel Doyle I really like all the fine details, especially the eyes and the carefully sculpted hair. I think the cracks in the face emphasises how fragile we can be but still not break or fall apart.
Description: ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger’ Daniel’s sculpture puts a positive spin on negativity. While we have plenty to complain about in Ireland, both in recent years and historically, it has made us who we are today. ‘Character Building’ doesn’t try to hide the negativity but implores us instead, to embrace its potential’.
‘Character Building’ by Daniel Doyle
‘Gift of the gab’ (Irish slang for the ability to speak)
‘Genorosity’ by Niall Magee
‘Ceol in the soul’
As an art teacher, I always keep an eye out for ideas for the classroom. I have just returned from my holidays in Prague. Here are some pictures of some really nice African masks made from terracotta clay that I saw displayed in the window of a school called ‘Základní škola u svatého Štepána’ which translates to ‘Elementary school at St. Stephen’s’.
The masks were made by the ‘školního klubu Keramická dílna’ which translates to ‘school ceramic workshop club’ by students from 4th class (age 9-10). I see from their school website that they have some photos showing the students making these masks. It appears that they rolled out slaps of clay and rolled newspaper into a face shape to support the clay at the back. The surface was then decorated with relief pieces, textures and earth coloured slips.
I love the contrast in colour between the terracotta clay and the coloured slips applied to decorate the masks. This would be a great 1st year ceramic project that could be incorporated into portrait drawing to make it a bit more advanced for the age group.