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Kids school and holiday art clubs

Paint the Great Outdoors – day one

This summer Painter Matthew Krishanu returned to Children’s Art School to lead another 2 days of Paint the Great Outdoors. This year we are running 2 courses one at Donhead Prep school and the other in South Park Gardens, Wimbledon – two beautiful and contrasting settings where children can paint outside and take advantage of some beautiful stimuli – buildings, gardens, plants and trees.DSC_0064

Matthew began by showing the children some of his own paintings, along with the work of John Virtue. We talked about how artists have always been inspired by the great outdoors.DSC_0066

We then got to work and together unrolled a giant roll of beautiful heavyweight paper.

DSC_0069We would work together, look at our surroundings and work with charcoal to sketch what we saw.DSC_0078

We had thick and thin charcoal sticks and Matthew suggested that we tape the charcoal to sticks and make our own drawing implements.


A longer tool is sometimes easier to draw with, especially on a larger scale.
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Some of us worked on the shrubs, bushes and buildings, while others got to grips with the dark brooding skies that were threatening our outdoor painting activity!DSC_0099

This implement has thick charcoal none end and thin on the other – to vary the quality of line easily…very resourceful!

DSC_0101Matthew helped us out, demonstrating some techniques when they were needed.DSC_0105

We were experimenting with some lovely results.DSC_0107 DSC_0108

A wonderful scene was emerging based on the reality that we could see. The chilly, cloudy atmosphere was inspiring the drawings and the overall mood of the piece!DSC_0110 DSC_0111 DSC_0112

Thunderstorms appeared in the drawing – but not in real life….thank goodness!DSC_0114 DSC_0116 DSC_0119 DSC_0120 DSC_0121 DSC_0123 DSC_0124

We introduced white chalk to layer on top of the charcoal and vary the effects.DSC_0125 DSC_0126 DSC_0127 DSC_0128

Then the paint came out. We limited the palette to just black and white so we had a unified piece of work. DSC_0130 DSC_0132 DSC_0133

The buildings grew bolder and the skies more tempestuous!DSC_0136 DSC_0137 DSC_0138 DSC_0139 DSC_0140 DSC_0141 DSC_0143 DSC_0144 DSC_0146 DSC_0147 DSC_0148 DSC_0150 DSC_0153 DSC_0156


I think you will agree they worked together really well to produce a fantastic painting  - very experimental with lots of different effects and styles.DSC_0158

They had also had the opportunity to really observer their surroundings carefully ready for the next activity.DSC_0160 DSC_0162 DSC_0163 DSC_0164 DSC_0165 DSC_0167

Matthew then showed the children some new techniques with watercolour paints and charcoal.DSC_0174

We chose an area of the gardens or building to focus on in more detail and worked on an individual piece with watercolour paints on water colour paper.DSC_0179 DSC_0180 DSC_0181 DSC_0182

We used view finders to select an area and look closely.DSC_0184 DSC_0189

The building was a real inspiration.DSC_0193 DSC_0196 DSC_0198 DSC_0200

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Some chose to make careful studies of the beautiful old trees in the gardens.DSC_0213 DSC_0215 DSC_0217

The children were incredibly focussed and some continued for the rest of the morning on one painting.DSC_0218 DSC_0223 DSC_0225

We had some other activities lined up for those working more quickly, using Ginko leaves to inspire new imaginative work.DSC_0231 DSC_0232 DSC_0233 DSC_0234 DSC_0235

By lunch time we had a range of beautifully observed paintings.DSC_0236 DSC_0237 DSC_0238 DSC_0239 DSC_0240 DSC_0241 DSC_0242 DSC_0243 DSC_0258 DSC_0259


DSC_0277After lunch Matthew taught the children about priming surfaces to add layers to a painting. We used primer mixed with leaves, sand and pine needles to create a textured surface that we will paint upon tomorrow.


We added colour to make it more interesting.DSC_0263



You can see the natural textures emerging from the painted layers.DSC_0269 DSC_0270 DSC_0273 DSC_0275
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At the end of the day we all shared in each others work and discussed all we had learnt. DSC_0289DSC_0295 DSC_0298 DSC_0300 DSC_0304 DSC_0306

A great first day’s work. To see what happened in day two – click here

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