I wanted to take the students of Mont Nicolle through my process of creating a mural. First sketching in nature, then creating a collage from the sketches and finally redrawing the collage as a sketch to be painted as a mural.
It was important to me that they spent some time outside looking at nature and interacting with it. Not just for the sake of the artwork, but for their wellbeing. Hopefully giving them tools they can apply in their own time when they are in need of nature
Mont Nicolle is situated in a valley away from the road and surrounded by forest, part of that forest is on school property. So Lucky!
The whole of Year 6 was split into 2 classes. I then held 2 workshops for each class, one in the schools very own forest and the next in the classroom. We ventured into the forest with paper and pencils. The students were then taught to look closely at nature, try to see it differently, not as a tree or leaf, but as shapes, shades and textures. They made rubbings on bark, and stone, crushed up leaves to create colours and sketched compositions. They had to be creative with what they had around them, as they only had limited materials. Some of the techniques they were creating I had never seen before, and have since used in my own practice.
We then went into the classroom with all the drawings, and a few leaves, berries and other found objects.
The students were then allowed to reuse the materials they had gathered to create a new piece of art. They ripped, cut and redrew to create collages which went on to influence the final design. I also asked them to write a few words on the topic ‘what made them happy’ when in nature. You can see some of these featured.
I then took around 70 designs to my studio, and had the difficult task of collecting them all into one design!
Working in the playground of Mont Nicolle school was a great experience. Every break and lunchtime I had feedback from the students, always asking questions about the work in progress. They would bring sketchbooks and create drawings whilst I was painting. Even working from home using the techniques they had learnt in the forest and bringing the finished artwork into school the next day.
The big unveiling gave the whole school a well deserved 15 minute break, with a speech from the Head, Mrs Paul, and Alice Bravery of ArtHouse Jersey. The ribbon, which featured cut-out squirrels and was made by Mrs Paul, was then cut by one of the students.
I am very grateful that I could take part in Skipton School Mural Project, as I was away for the first part. Also to be part of Alice’s last project with ArtHouse Jersey. Love you Alice, and lots of luck on your next adventure!
Thank you to all at Mont Nicolle School, especially Mrs Paul, for being so accommodating. The students were also very polite and well behaved!