Following on from our previous lesson in mark making, which focussed on using the paintbrush in a new way and trying different pointillist techniques, this lesson is aimed at developing those skills.
On the board I showed some work by Van Gogh and questioned the group about how the painting made them feel, how the artist might have felt and what he was trying to convey.
Pupils responses included words such as BUSY, ACTIVE, MOVING, NIGHTTIME, EXAGGERATED, SWIRLY, FUN, COMPLICATED, FULL.
I questioned further and discussed how the artist might have build up his painting in layers, letting colours dry then painting over the top. I talked about the use of line; some long, short, thick and thin and the effect these have. I asked the group how the artist had made shapes without using outlines.
With this in mind, I presented my example creating movement using watercolour paints and mark-making:
The left piece was created by using the flat end of the brush (flat tip) and pressing down, rather than brushing. Working from light to dark colours, and adding shadow in a sweeping curve. I let each layer of colour dry and as it was drying moved onto the next piece, before going back and working over the dry colours.
The right piece was done with a round tip small brush, light to dark colours again and brushing in a swirl motion, keeping the brush moving in the same direction. I used small strokes in the centre, then larger ones as I moved towards the outside. I added darker colours in the middle too.
Here are some of the pupil outcomes:
As you can see, some struggled to only use the tip of the flat brush on the left and instead used brush strokes. This is a subtle difference but is important when trying to achieve a calm or active style.
Some struggled to get dark to light on the right image, however overall the pupils picked up the skills very quickly and I’m really pleased with the outcomes! What do you think? Let me know in the comments.