I was most touched to be asked by my Primary School teacher friend a couple of weeks ago if I would be happy to give my permission for her to get her 7/8 year old pupils to re-create my “The way through the woods” acrylic painting on a large sheet using small amounts of powder paint sprayed with water and built up over a five day process. Of course I said YES! And asked her to show me the photos of the working process the kids use! I couldn’t wait to see the result! I love it when creativity creates more creativity!
And this week the three stages of the painting were sent to me as they were completed..
Stage one, the painting was still wet and the kids covered in paint but they all had really been enjoying it. The enjoyment and inspiration they were getting was wonderful I was told.
Stage one picture was the background picture using dry powder paint sprayed with a water spray to soak but overnight it had dried giving a lovely base texture with a mixed depth covering of bubbles and colour thicknesses.
Stage two picture and the teacher thought it looked quite stunning. She mixed the powder paint with pva glue to form a very thick paste and after sponging some lighter areas with white to the background. The children used their fingers to apply the colours to get a gorgeous raised textured finish. The teacher felt that they really captured the mood within my painting and understood how to place the start of the tree trunks higher to make them look further or closer away. I was told that every member of staff is gobsmacked how the children had managed to build this up, as were the children who were getting so much out of doing it.
At that point, I replied to the teacher how astounded I was at how wonderful the painting was looking at that stage with the trees starting to take shape and the colours really building up already. I’ve used pva glue before for acrylic painting but not for powder paint. I thought the way the children used their fingers would help them to move the paint where they want it to be, rather than using a long handed brush which is a different technique and can be more detached from the work than actually touching it and feeling that lovely paint texture in the hands. I said that I was delighted that the children were getting so much from it too, and that its a simple design but very “forgiving” in that if the trees aren’t placed exactly in the right place it still works as the overall picture of a woodland scene. I thanked my friend for keeping me updated, and praised her for wanting to get her pupils to do it. The important thing for creating art (especially for novices of all ages) is being able to create the image and get the enjoyment from the creation, and not feel at all negative or frustrated over it not going right, and then losing all interest in it. I was absolutely delighted the children were enjoying the creative process from this!!!
My friend said she was pleased I was I was enjoying the updates as they were having great fun. You are right about not focusing in when it’s not right or not the same as what the original looks like. They are really trying to capture what they see. She then said that she had forgot to say that the overall size is approximately 1.75 x 2m. So is actually rather big and they work on it in groups on different parts at a time.
I was even more astounded then! Such a big size to work on!!
The third and final stage was complete and she was so impressed with her class as they are proud of themselves. Completed with powder paint pva finger prints of mixed greens and yellows to leaves. A little more yellow cover up. And yellow shine to trees and final touch with a white acrylic to trunks.They displayed and showed in assembly where all were wowed! It was due to be hung in hall tomorrow for class display then to find somewhere for it for next year. They have enjoyed hearing my responses I was told and she had shared my responses with them too and thanked me so much again.
I replied to her that I hadn’t realised how big it was! That is even more impressive as its harder to work on something that big when you have to keep standing back from it to get the overall view. The fact that all of them are working on parts of it to create it makes the work more difficult to pull together as a whole! I thanked her for keeping me updated with each stage – it had been fabulous to have that contact! I asked her to pass on my very best wishes to her class and congratulate them for a wonderful piece of artwork that they have worked to create together, which is no mean feat!! And thanked her too, for her wanting to tackle this subject with her class and having the insight to know that they could do it! They have succeeded as artists in their own right. I love the way the finished painting is very clearly a rendition of my painting, but has also got their artistic twist within the painting, as all art should do – there is no point in copying it totally and exactly as you might as well take a photo. I cannot tell you how wonderful I think this has all been, and I am delighted to have been a part of this artistic creation, from afar!!