‘Looking in, Looking out’


This week I started a number of workshops at Tarleton Acadamy as part of my ongoing work for the Chapel Gallery window commission. It was great fun working with a mix of students from years 7, 8 and 9 and again some interesting work was produced.

I have titled the project, ‘ Looking in, Looking out’, and last week begun to explore this theme briefly with the year 10 students at the gallery.

The notion of looking – really looking – the various ways of seeing, is so important within visual culture. I wanted the students to think about what and how they saw and felt when visiting the gallery and continue to consider this in relation to the imagery they will produce.

Initial ideas were discussed around viewing work in a gallery. The students fedback  – physical responses such as posture, eyes, interaction, hands, touch, pointing. This formed a basis for this series of workshops.

The first workshop set the students the task of drawing the figure quickly, recording poses set by their peers. We were looking at the outline of the figure, a continuous line drawing focusing on shape and form. The need to be spontaneous, fast and make committed lines was hard for the students who wanted to work tentively, using an eraser at every opportunity! Some wonderful sketches produced which set the start of the next workshop session.

Here we began to focus on silhouettes. Taking the sketches as a starting point, the students used black paper to cut the figures, heads and hands. We looked at positive and negative forms, creating many images collaging over and behind envelopes with transparent windows.

Next, we processed these images a stage further. The students had freedom to colour the silhouettes or that of the background. They used found and made colour and pattern through wallpapers, tissue paper, old prints and wet / dry media. Composition, scale, transparency and opacity were considered.