Thursday, 16 March 2017

Mark Ryden Figures

My current crop of students continue to work hard on the 'Weird and Wonderful' project. Following on from recent lessons on Tim Burton and Maurice Sendak, students have begun to create work inspired by the 'pop surrealist' painter Mark Ryden.

Ryden is known for paintings that blend the cute and cherubic with the macabre and sinister. Though he works on a flat surface in oil paint, I wanted my students to experiment with creating some Ryden inspired figures using Model Magic air drying clay.

The following pieces were created in this material, left to dry for an hour or two, and then painted in tempera paint.

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Tim Burton Inspired Scratch Art

Tim Burton's illustrations often read like a more gothic version of Dr. Seuss. One of the units I teach at Red Balloon is on the theme of 'Weird and Wonderful' and Burton is always a popular choice for students to take inspiration from. In previous years I've always asked students to create Burton inspired art work using pen and ink but this year I thought we'd try out something new.

Below are some Tim Burton inspired illustrations created using scratchboards. I think the bright, almost psychedelic colours really pop out from the areas of black space. This use of wild colour to create the lines really takes the Burton-inspired work in a new direction.

Other lessons which I regularly use when delivering the 'Weird and Wonderful' theme are;

Giant Exquisite Corpses
Salvador Dali Dream Landscape
Max Ernst Surrealist Collage
Fantasy Creatures

Monday, 6 March 2017

Abstract Soap Carvings

Carving into soap is a fun, clean and gentle introduction to working in three dimensions. Many of the young people I work with are resistant to working in clay; they often find it rather messy and frustrating to work in. With these students in mind, I started to look around for some other three dimensional materials that are low cost and accessible. My research led me to carving soap, a medium I'd never worked in before.

As the process of soap carving requires access to sharp cutting equipment, young people should be closely supervised throughout this activity.

When a student is presented with a block of soap and a variety of differently shaped blades, they will quite naturally want to see what kind of marks, shapes and lines can be made in three dimensions. This gentle, exploratory process can lead to particularly exciting sculptural work as the photographs below testify.

If you're looking for other lessons using three dimensional materials, here's a few options for you.

Wild Things in Clay
One Piece at a Time Construction
Wire Mesh Heads
Organic Forms Clay Sculpture
Secret Diary Sculptures