Making A Bigger Splash at Art Club

Another Saturday and another great Art Club. This week I decided that we would look at David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash painting. Maybe I’m dreaming of lying poolside in the LA sun. Wishful thinking. 

We talked for a while about the flatness of the painting, the presence of a person, the use of shapes, rectangles and lines to create the image and discussed a whole bunch more. Everyone in my art groups has an opinion and they love to share. Both groups worked on the same project today. The first group, aged 5 to 8, set the bar high. Group 2 know that I expect more from them. They’ve been artists longer so why wouldn’t I. Today’s more was straighter lines and strong shapes. Details – looking closer at the painting and adding the finer details to make their work stand out more. Our material for this was collage and paint.

Here is what Group 1 created. Remember how little these guys are! I’m impressed.

Never under estimate the joy of a bit of cutting and sticking……that is what collage is whether you are 5 or 55. Check out this little film of group 2. Bare in mind this is the group who arrive filled with giggles and chat as someone pulls out a couple of tubs of slime and invites everyone to take a turn a sticking their fingers in to make the funniest noise. After our beginning activity to get everyone in the right mood to create I don’t tell them to not talk. 

I think it’s safe to say they loved this and immersed themselves into the project.

Here is what they created. I’m dreaming of sunshine and pools even more.

When I planned this class a couple of days ago I didn’t know that Tate Britain are showing a David Hockney retrospective next month. If I can’t get to LA maybe I can at least make it to London for a spot of Hockney gazing. I think we might well look at some more Hockney this term. 


Happy New Year

Happy New Year folks. I hope that the festive season was all that you hoped it would be. For me it was all about sleeping in late, walking the dog and reading. I closed the online shop and completely switched off for a fortnight. I didn’t even scribble in my notebooks or read ‘work’ related creative books. This is unheard of. But I needed it. A total break. So now I am diving into this year refreshed and recharged.

Last week we started back at Art Club. These kids are the best. They will lift me out of the most miserable of January moods and inspire me with their enthusiasm.

We started the first week back with a Post It note art quilt. It’s always good to move about as we create, especially in the chilly January studio.

There were a couple of stand out points last week, particularly in the first group. This is currrently a small group of 5 to 7 year olds. We were working on Post It notes. The kids had a list of prompts to choose from or for me to choose for them and an assortment of materials including collage, paint and pens. The average time spent on a piece was maybe 5 minutes, unless I sent them back to work some more on their image. Caitlin, top left photo, is 6. She made just one piece of art working on this for just over an hour and a half!!! This is a tiny canvas. Her focus and concentration is something we could all learn from. I know I could. She collaged then drew, then painted then collaged some more. So she continued, blocking out the running commentary of chatter that the boys in the group fill the room with. She asked if she could take her finished piece home after it had been stuck to the wall with the others. How could I refuse. We mounted it onto watercolour paper and she proudly took her artwork home. A quiet confident creative soul.

The kids were asked to stick their pieces to the wall as they wished in order to create the quilt. Sam and Thomas rose to the challenge when I gave them prompts and materials that they wouldn’t normally choose. These guys will draw the most fantastic detailed robots and Star Wars craft all day long. In the photo on the bottom right they are discussing their work together. Sam is explaining how he added Post Its together to create a long artwork and Thomas said how adding collage over his drawing and having to work on it longer (I set a 10 minute timer) made his work better. Even at this age they are so capable of explaining their work and inspiring each other. They each have a voice and something valid to say.

Group 2 turn up later and we continue with this project, except I push these guys harder. I make them work for longer. I choose materials they shy away from and prompts for things they don’t usually draw. We always talk about pushing into the difficult space because that is where you grow the most. And these guys deliver too!

They created some beautiful collaged pieces, my photos don’t do them justice. Plus some very profound text pieces were composed. These guys are deep!!!!!

Sabina, 8, wrote “Rose might not ever be a proper rose”

Amy, also 8, told me how she wanted to make strong marks in her art. She said she paused and thought about whether it would make the piece better or worse then told me what she had decided and how it made her art better.

I could go on with more examples but I’m pretty sure I’ve rambled on enough.

My aim in Art Club is to encourage kids to find their creative voice, their style and become confident artists. To be brave and try new things. To stay curious.

Last week was one of those classes when I felt so deeply that these guys are doing and being all those things.

That’s why I love Saturday mornings.

Until I wander in here again to share my thoughts here are some pretty pictures of things I drew and painted a while ago. Enjoy. Thanks for stopping by.


Buy nice things here



52 weeks of drawing my stuff. Week 21

fhaf plug blog


I run an art club in school.

They don’t have any plugs in the art room.

It’s a brand new school. Why no plugs?

I fill a sink with warm soapy water.

The kids think this is the greatest thing.

I am never short of washing up volunteers.

Never underestimate the humble plug.

Prints available here