Monday, 25 February 2013

Colour Theory

This session began with a critique of artist and educator Hayley Harrison's work 'The Pillow' 2012, www.hayleyharrison.co.uk and sketchbook blog www.morethanweseem.wordpress.com

An art critique is an evaluation of a work of art. This can be viewed as a matter of personal taste, however, while researching for this months blog I came across a set of guidelines (www.wikihow.com/Critique-Artwork) that I think is a useful beginning to refer to for a more in-depth analysis and exploration. It could certainly provide the basis of a very stimulating educational session for children and young people to engage with their own, their peers and other artists work in this way.

It's fascinating and often enlightening to see and hear how artists think and produce. It's such a deep and personal, yet integral, part of the process that it's easy to overlook when presented with a completed work of art.The artist has been engaged with a whole dialogue within themselves from the idea conception all the way through to deciding to make that idea a reality and wrestling with how to achieve that, then evaluating at what point the work is complete and whether they feel it has realised their original intention or this has evolved through reflecting and acting with the work in progress.

Hayley's response was "Crit was really useful last night - starting to put the words personal and dystopia together. Personal dystopias. It helped me develop my language around my practice so thanks. Looking forward to discussing other people's work or arty topics".

Material Knowledge is open and happy to host critiques in all future sessions so do feel free to volunteer yourself and your work, I may even give this a go myself.

The second half of the session was very much inspired by another artist educator Ella Ritchie. She brought along her amazing home made playdough in primary colours and white for us all to have a play with. This was fantastic and we all really enjoyed the tactile nature of mixing colours together to create a whole range of secondary, tertiary, cold, warm and neutral tones.

The recipe for the playdough is:

200g plain flour
100g salt
30ml water
Dessert spoon oil
2 tsp cream of tartar
Food colouring (be careful if using liquid colouring not to make your mixture too sloppy)

Mix all of the dry ingredients together, mix all of the wet ingredients together and combine. Cook in a pan while stirring constantly  until the consistency becomes sticky and difficult to stir. As soon as this happens, tip the mixture out and allow to cool. This is non-toxic, although doesn't taste very nice as it's very salty and can be kept in an airtight container for up to 6 months.

Ella shared her tips with us that if you are working with children who are hyperactive you can add a couple of drops of calming essential oil such as lavender to the mix. Also with really young children you can reinforce how colours are made up by adding gold glitter to the yellow playdough, red glitter to the red and blue glitter to the blue. When a new colour is mixed e.g. orange, you can see the glitter colours in the mixture that went to make it up, gold (yellow) and red.

With the human eye able to recognise 2.8 million different hues we will be continuing with the colour theme next month.

The next Material Knowledge session will be on Monday 4th March 6-8pm in the Art Studio, Level 2, St Luke's Community Centre, 90 Central Street, London, EC1V 8AJ.

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