Being creative is a huge part of our family life. We draw, we make, we sew, we play music, we sing and T has enough creativity in his little body to keep us all overflowing with ideas for years to come. Having said this I do like to have a focus to their learning when it comes to art and for the next few weeks we’ll be taking a closer look at graffiti.
We started our learning by watching the BBC art program called ‘A brief history of graffiti.’
It’s an hour long program (available from the BBC shop for £1.89) that goes from the very beginning of man’s early mark making on cave walls to up to date graffiti artists such as Banksy.
We found it fascinating and hotly debated whether we thought cave art really was graffiti or whether to was just art that was possible at the time. We also discussed whether the illegalities of graffiti is really the main interest in it and whether artists who display their graffiti art in galleries really are true grafittiists (not sure that’s actually a word!). Lots of issues came up as the program played so it was really very interesting.
I’d ordered some red ochre paint
and some scallop shells to have a go at one of the featured early cave paintings; that of the handprint.
This handprint was some 30,000 years old and had survived and could still be clearly seen.
Was this graffiti? We weren’t really very sure it was but we all eagerly set about making our own.
We mixed a little water with some of the ochre paint and then used the technique that the artist demonstrated in the program: using a small straw dipped into the paint you then use a longer straw to blow across the top of the small straw and this sucks the paint up and out the top.
You get a sort of air blown splatter type effect.
H put his hand down onto a white piece of paper and both T and I blew the paint over his hand.
To say it was hard is a bit of an understatement! You have to blow incredibly hard and in the right place otherwise the paint doesn’t come up and out the top of the straw. You feel very light headed quite quickly!
H lifted his hand up and you couldn’t really see a definite outline so we had to rethink our plan.
I drew round my hand, cut it out and then placed it onto a clean piece of paper.
The idea being that we could blow the paint and achieve a more defined outline as the paper was flat against the page. T had a great time blowing the paint. H had a go but was unable to make the paint come out from the straw.
We had a big reveal after taking the cutout hand off…
We thought it looked awesome! The boys were very pleased.
We’re going to frame our caveman art (after I get H and T to sign it).
It was a great activity but one that I would recommend doing outside and not in your lovely clean kitchen. It took an age to clean up as the ochre paint spread very easily and as soon as you add even the tiniest drop of water to it you’ve created more paint that then gets steered easily.
Also when we finished and the paint had dried we did notice that some of it returned back to powder and we had to shake the piece of paper off a couple of times over the sink.
The boys loved getting their hands incredibly dirty and I think you could do this being a little more creative than we were. If you don’t have the ochre paint or shells then still using the blowing technique with ordinary paint and straws is still valuable if only just to see how hard it is!
For our next session we’re going to look at printing and having a go at making our own printed designs.