Fall 2014 classes off to a great start

We're just finishing up our second week of the Fall 2014 classes and things couldn't be better. It's always a bit of a voyage of discovery when starting out a new session because there are a few unknowns - new students mean new personalities and differing levels of skill. We have to get to know everyone and design our instruction around people's needs and interests. Things have been going very smoothly and students and teachers alike are having a great time.

For the first time this Fall we are offering an adult watercolour class on weekday afternoons. The wonderful and talented Erin Vernon is the instructor and there are eight eager students with more people showing up each week. The class started out learning a bit about colour theory and mixing the different pigments. They  have been learning so quickly that they were able to complete a small still life last week. Check it out:

Our kid's classes are always so much and that's so important to us. There is a bit of a difficult balance as some of our students get older and need to be challenged more deeply. When kids are in grades 6, 7 and 8 that is the time that we need to start helping them refine their skills as well as to find a stronger artistic identity.

In our "The Artist's Portfolio" class we give our students a good amount of freedom to choose the way their project will develop. We give them the general idea and the materials they should work with. We give them some technical instruction as well as continual guidance as they work through their idea. For example, Brad has his students working on a clay portrait in relief. They had to do a few versions of the sketch before they could be 'approved' to start working in clay. As they work through the modelling process they have to add unique elements to give their sculpture a sense of their own artistic individuality.

In my group we've started off with a more straightforward project and I'm trying to get the students to really understand value as an element of art. It's so important to learn this to improve your drawing and painting to add depth, perspective and to make things look realistic. So far, the kids have done a great job sketching objects in pencil. Next, they will move on to a monochromatic painting of the same object.

Metal pitcher by 12 year old student

Metal pitcher by 12 year old student

Metal goblet by 12 year old student

Metal goblet by 12 year old student

I'll post some more pictures as these projects - and many others - come along. Thanks for reading!

 

Julia

 

Summer Art Camp 2014 - A Creative Whirlwind!

Summer 2014 has been so much fun at Freehand. We had an incredible time with our imaginative students, talented teachers and volunteers leading the way. We're now in September and I can't believe how quickly the summer went by. We wanted to share some photos of the wonderful work being produced this year. 

We started off the summer with Video Game Week. This was a great opportunity to use a popular medium to teach kids about drawing and design and to open them up to future career opportunities that are available to artists. We had a fabulous time designing characters, drawing landscapes for side-scrollers and creating 3D worlds. 

Miniature arcade games made by our students in Grades 3-5

Miniature arcade games made by our students in Grades 3-5

Space invader mosaic pixel art!

Space invader mosaic pixel art!

Our third theme was Stargazers and we took inspiration from all things space- real or imaginary. We painted solar systems, made clay spaceships and aliens and even created a "Field Guide to the Galaxy" to showcase the creatures we dreamed up. Check out some of the highlights:

Clay spaceships photographed in front of our solar system paintings

Clay spaceships photographed in front of our solar system paintings

Alien collagraph prints

Alien collagraph prints

Astronauts!

Astronauts!

Lunar landscapes

Lunar landscapes

 

Next up was Flights of Fantasy from July 7-11. The studio was filled with dragons, fairies and all things imaginary.  We started off the week designing and then building our own castles out of clay. These had to be fired and weren't all finished until Friday. Well worth the wait!

Clay castles and Firebird by JK-SK campers

Clay castles and Firebird by JK-SK campers

Animal Kingdom was next up and it was truly wild! Our students have so much knowledge about animals and their habitats that this is always an easy place to find inspiration. Each day of the week we worked on a different habitat or region of the world and created animal themed work based on who lives there. On Monday, it was clay clay clay! We were inspired by Safari animals and made portraits in the morning and habitat relief sculptures in the afternoon. As the week went on Freehand was turned into a total zoo!

Clay animal portraits

Clay animal portraits

clay animal mask.JPG

Tuesday was all about animals who live near water. In the morning, we did styrofoam prints with painted backgrounds to show reflections in the water. They turned out wonderfully! In the afternoon, we printed patterned backgrounds and then stencilled animal silhouettes in the foreground. Check them out:


animal art stencils.JPG

I have to admit, animal week is always one of my favourite themes so I just have to share a few more pictures. I wish I had a whole art gallery to fill with these images!

Insect and habitat shadow boxes

Insect and habitat shadow boxes

JK-SK Clay Animals

JK-SK Clay Animals

Painted acetate on wooden board

Painted acetate on wooden board

Fish tessellation prints

Fish tessellation prints

Although we incorporate lots of three-dimensional work into all of the camps we always make sure that we have a Sculpture Week at Freehand. Each year it is probably the most popular and tends to get filled up most quickly. There's something about creating art that you can hold and look at from different ways that appeals to kids (and adults) on a deep level. Working in 3D can be a challenge and often involves many steps from planning and experimenting to constructing and finishing. This year, we were inspired by sculptures from the ancient world as well as more contemporary work. We're so proud of our students and teachers for making this week run smoothly and for producing such great art throughout this messy process. Well done!

Clay dragon

Clay dragon

Mini Easter Island Heads

Mini Easter Island Heads

Louise Nevelson inspired found at sculpture

Louise Nevelson inspired found at sculpture

Sleeping dragons all painted 

Sleeping dragons all painted 

Hope you've enjoyed seeing some of the awesome work from Summer 2014. Next up, Fall 2014 term and so much for creativity...after a break for the teachers, of course :)

Fancy self-portraits

Last week we had a lovely visit from some of our friends at Wunderkind Le arning Centre. The kids joined us for a creative afternoon of painting, drawing and sculpting. I wanted to share this project with you because I just love the way they turned out. 

At Freehand, we do a lot of projects based around self-portraits and there are many reasons for this. Self-portraits are an excellent way to teach observational drawing and faces are one of the most difficult subjects to get really good at. Getting the shapes, proportions and likeness close is really difficult. Many famous artists do self-portraits over and over and over again throughout their careers because it's such great drawing and painting practice and you don't have to have a model sit for you.  

For our workshop we wanted to have a finished project that would be fit for our rococo-inspired swirly gold frames. We started off by painting the inside of our wooden shadow boxes with coloured india inks in a swirly abstract pattern.

While those were drying we started working on our swirls for the frame around the picture. We used model magic and made our best snakes, spirals and other favourite shapes that we then glued down using regular, white school glue.

Then, of course, we had to practice drawing ourselves. We studied our faces carefully in the mirror making sure to look for the shapes of our eyes, eyebrows, nose, lips and hair and then we set to work sketching ourselves on scrap paper. Once we felt we had enough practice we drew the final portraits on op of the painted wood and then went over all of the lines with a black sharpie.  

Lastly, all that was left to do was paint the frame gold! This was easier said than done, however, because we had to make sure that we covered all of the model magic and the wood...there were a lot of little cracks and crevices to get the paint into. It was worth all the effort though because they came out looking magnificent. Have a look:

 

 

 

Camille portrait.JPG
Wunderkind portrait.JPG