Friday, 5 February 2016

Branches and Butterflies

These pieces were made over the course of three fifty minute lessons. In some ways the work was a continuation of the Mixed Media Landscape and Project Galaxy pieces, but I wanted the students to use some of the techniques they’d learnt to render much smaller scenes.
The young people began by creating the tree trunk and branches from craft paper. I didn’t want the lines to be too neat, so I made sure all the students did some tearing of the paper as well as cutting with scissors. This gave the branches and trunks a much more natural appearance. The students then gave the wood areas a balk-like texture by making marks in willow charcoal. They were really interested to discover that the charcoal sticks they were drawing in were made from burnt pieces of wood!
Two different techniques were used to make the leaves. First, students prepainted paper in colours and patterns of their choice. When the paint had dried, they drew leaf shapes on to the paper and cut the shapes out. The other leaves were made by collaging tissue paper, and then drawing the details of the leaf in with glitter glue.

The butterflies were the last things to be added. They were drawn in pencil and then coloured in oil pastel. I asked the students to keep the patterns on the wings symmetrical. The thick, opaque tones of oil pastel added another visual texture to the whole display, and really made the butterflies stand out from the background.

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