Heather Hansen - Kinetic Drawing

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Have you ever heard of Kinetic Drawing?

It is kind of awesome. It might be a completely new concept for you. Artists use their bodies to create their art. Bear with me, I realise that sounds questionable.

Before anyone starts to ask, I am not referring to The Kinetic Family Drawing Test developed by Burns & Kaufman. This is often used by psychologists to assess a child's mental state and how they regard their family unit. They will be asked to draw themselves and then members of their family doing something. They then assess the art work and analysis their situation. 

The Kinetic Drawing I am talking about stems from an art experiment called 'Emptied Gestures', created by contemporary performance artist and dancer Heather Hansen who is from New Orleons in America. She explains her work:

'Emptied Gestures is an experiment in kinetic drawing.
 In this series, I am searching for ways to download my movement directly onto paper, emptying gestures from one form to another and creating something new in the process.'

https://www.behance.net/gallery/10063335/Emptied-Gestures

Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net

Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net

Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net 

Heather Hansen in action. Heatherhansen.net 

Alexander Calder  Antennae with Red and Blue Dots  c.1953  Tate © ARS, NY and DACS, London 2018  These are mobiles that would move in contact with air movement or installed motors. 

Alexander Calder
Antennae with Red and Blue Dots c.1953
Tate
© ARS, NY and DACS, London 2018

These are mobiles that would move in contact with air movement or installed motors. 

 

Kinetic Art in itself is not new. Children will learn about the word 'kinetic' in physics lessons. It means motion, movement of an object or person. Kinetic art began to be used within the creation of art from the beginning of the 20th century. It was used in many ways; to visualise the concept of time and movement, to explore the impact machines and technology were having on the world. In the 1950s -60s it became very popular. Alexander Calder and Naum Gabo are a couple of artists that created Kinetic art in the form of mobiles. See right.

 

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You might have cottoned on to why this might be a great art movement and artist to introduce to your Little Feet. Movement and Art, two loves for most children. To combine them we introduce and widen their minds to the true depth, unpredictability and unlimited opportunities that art can give you and inspire you to create. 

 

Show the video below to your Little Feet so they can understand and visualise what to do. To you Big Feet, how do you feel when you watch it? Don't you think it is quite therapeutic to watch? Or is that just me?! I could watch this over and over again. Perhaps it is the beautiful symmetry in its creation and the uniqueness of each piece. 

What do you need:

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  • Chalk/charcol/crayons/pens (basically whatever you have lying around). 
  • Paper, lots of it (we bought a roll from Baker Ross, but other craft stores will sell them too)
  • Sellotape

Instructions: 

  1. Cut large lengths of paper and sellotape them together. How big they are will depend on how big or small your child is. There needs to be enough space for them to stretch out their  arms and draw on the paper. 

  2. We did this activity in the kitchen as it meant I could sellotape the paper down to the floor. There is no reason why you couldn't do it outside if the weather is good. 
  3. You may need to demonstrate to your Little Feet how to do it before they start. Then just let them play with it. 
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There is something very satisfying about these markings don't you think? 

On another note, Big Feet reading this, you should definitely give this a go too. I had just as much fun doing my own! 

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If the weather is particularly good, there is really no reason why you couldn't just use large outdoor chalks (like we used) and do it straight on to the pavement or garden patio. This would negate the need for paper and sellotape! If they get bored then they can just have fun with the chalk outdoors, as shown below! 

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Introducing Little Feet to Watercolour

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If you didn't already realise, I am a Mummy who loves to do arts and crafts with her two Little Feet, aka Patronus A and B. I like to create in my spare time too and my choice of medium is watercolour. Using watercolour can be beautifully unpredictable. It can be controlled off course, but often if you allow it to create itself you'll be amazed at what happens. 

I had not introduced Big Little Feet (Patronus A) to watercolour until this week. She as asking to do an 'activity', which is what we call our art time. I wanted to do something Eastery so I just cut out a large egg shape. Simple!

Before I go into how to use watercolour for those who have never used it before, I just wanted to share something. Even though I go on about allowing your children the opportunity to explore when creating, in what is called encouraging 'process art', I often struggle with that. I'll have something in my head that we are going to create. Time and time again though, she will surprise me in what she does and will take the craft somewhere that I didn't expect. She teaches me! This happened when we started this painting. 

I wanted to show Big Little Feet how to wet-on-wet paint with watercolour. Wet-on-Wet is where the magic happens. You paint the paper with water first and then load up your paintbrush with watercolour and touch it to the paper. If you quickly wash the brush and put another colour on and touch it to the paper they mix beautifully. As it turned out she made a different kind of magic happen.

After she had tried what i showed her, she saw I had a water-dropper and that is when she took me by surprised. She realised she could make water droplets on the paper and then colour them with her paintbrush and watercolour. There is a video below showing her process. 

After she was done with the water droplets she did go ahead and paint right over them but it was fun to watch her experiment to start with. 

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In fact I was so inspired by what she did, I decided to explore further and take some better pictures of the process so you all could have a better look into how to do it with your kids. 

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You will need: 

  • Water droppers
  • Water in a beaker
  • Watercolour paper (doesn't matter either way)
  • Paintbrush x3
  • Watercolours - I have various ones, block and inks. I would suggest buying perhaps three colours of watercolour ink. Ecoline or Dr. Ph Martin. Both can be bought on Amazon and other various art shops. 
  • Paint palette 

Instructions:

  1. Put some watercolour in the paint palette.
  2. Paint the paper with water so it is all wet. With a paint brush dipped in paint touch it to the paper and watch it spread. With the other paint brushes dip them in the other colours and touch them to the paper. 
  3. Allow them to use the droppers to play around with. 
  4. Have fun with it!  
 

For any that are interested in the difference of watercolour paper: 

There are different types of watercolour paper that you can use, each with different properties that will change the appearance of your work. In it's most simple explanation there are two types of surface:

Hot Pressed: smooth surface. Paint will dry very quickly. It is great for large washes but not for multiple layers. It's really good for a combination of ink, pen and drawing. 

Cold Pressed: textured surface. Good for large washes and lots of detail and layers of paint. 

I generally use cold- pressed paper however I have been trying out some Hot Pressed recently so this is what we used. 

De Stijl: Colour, Line & Writing skills

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As promised, this year I will be delving into what this blog and my passions are really about. Art History and cross curricular learning for children. In a matter of weeks my debut book, Potty About Pots: Arts and Crafts for Home and School will be released for public consumption (gulp!). 

Children yearn to get messy and create, whether that is outside in the mud, inside building forts or at the table producing masterpieces. Scientists and child development experts have said that It is crucial for their development and understanding of the world. Since man first walked the Earth, we have had a yearning and an instinctive need to create. The world is full of art and our history is overflowing with it. My mission, however small the impact, is to try and inspire and show that art can be used to learn not just about art and our history but also, languages, maths, english, geography, politics, learning to write, design, you name it. 

And I start completely at random, with the De Stijl movement. 

De Stijl Movement (Netherlands 1917-1928)

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray, and Blue (1921), Oil on canvas - Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

Piet Mondrian, Composition with Large Red Plane, Yellow, Black, Gray, and Blue (1921), Oil on canvas - Gemeentemuseum, The Hague

The Facts:

Red and Blue Chair  , designed by  Gerrit Rietveld , version without colors 1919, version with colors 1923

Red and Blue Chair, designed by Gerrit Rietveld, version without colors 1919, version with colors 1923

  • An Artistic movement in the Netherlands from 1917-1928. 
  • Mostly confined to the Netherlands as the country did not involve itself in World War I and as a result could not leave the country until it had ended. Other countries however, were influenced by the movement. 
  • The artists simplified what they created until it was made of just lines and simple colours. 
  • Colours they used were red, yellow, blue, black, white and grey. 
  • The movement extended into architecture, furniture design, sculpture as well as painting. 

Artists: (to name just a few)

  1. Piet Modrian (1872–1944), painter, co-founder of De Stijl
  2. Jean Gorin (1899–1981), painter, sculptor
  3. Theo van Doesburg (1883–1931), painter, designer, and writer; co-founder of De Stijl movement; published De Stijl, 1917–1931
  4. Ilya Bolotowsky (1907–1981), painter and sculptor
  5. Gerrit Rietveld (1888–1964), architect and designer
Theo van Doesburg, Model Artist House, 1923

Theo van Doesburg, Model Artist House, 1923

 

Bringing Art into Learning

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While looking through some of the De Stijl's artwork, I realised that they were full of aspects I could use to work with Patronus A. The art movement is full of black lines and mostly primary colours. Using this to my advantage I could create a practise writing piece, while simultaneously recapping on colours, written colours and also line copying. It is an easy little activity for your little ones, all the while teaching them a little Modern Art without them even realising! 

We did two different versions of this activity which I will show below. 

 

 

What you will need: 

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  • A3 Paper
  • Pencil
  • Black Pen
  • Red, Yellow, Blue, Black, Green pens/crayons/colouring pencils
  • Ruler

 

Instructions: 

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  1. On your A3 paper, draw some intersecting vertical and horizontal lines with pencil. Have a look on Google images for Piet Mondrian's paintings so some inspiration. 
  2. In some of the boxes, write some colours. We only used the colours that artists of the De Stijl movement used. Black, yellow, red and blue. They also used white and grey, but that was a bit tricker to do. Write the first letter of each colour in bubble form and then the whole word underneath. Make them big enough for little practising hands. 
  3. Then they can trace away. 
  4. Once they have finished tracing the words go over get them to colour each box with the correct colour. 
  5. After the have completed the colouring, give them the black pen and encourage them to trace over all the vertical and horizontal lines. This is good pen control practise for them. 
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Patronus A's Masterpiece 

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Patronus A was keen to do another one once she had completed this one, so I quickly whipped up another one.

I realised I should have done this the first time round, but hey ho you learn from your mistakes. We also added another colour to it too. 

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By writing the colours in their actual colours it  allowed Patronus A to recognise what colour she needed to use to colour in that block. Over time if we do this regularly she will start to recognise the actual words too. Just like how she recognises her name if it is written down now. Though she may not be actually reading yet, she is recognising the same symbols in an a specific order. And that is how the journey to learning to read starts.

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