So far, my leaf painting project at the local primary has been an unbridled success. The students involved have been more than happy with the process and the results.
The process being, those children selected to participate search for a leaf they want painted and then request a picture - usually their very favourite thing in the world. That is where my part in the process starts.
I trace the leaf shape onto paper and sketch my interpretation of their request for their approval. Once I get the go-ahead I paint the design onto the leaf.
Of the six leaves I have painted so far I have only had one request for changes at the design stage. And all the children have been delighted with their finished leaves.
The only problem I have encountered is that at this stage, I can only commit to doing eight paintings for each of the Stage groups. So four female students and four male students each from Stage 1 (Kindy, years 1 & 2), Stage 2 (years 3 & 4) and Stage 3 (years 5 & 6) have been selected for my project. This has left a lot of kids disappointed at being left out.
The best solution I could come up with was to run some workshops to teach the students to do their own leaf paintings.
Last week, I held the first of the workshops with the two Year 6 classes at the school. As they were in the middle of their Aboriginal studies, it was decided to combine the two by designing and painting the leaves inspired Aboriginal art.
I started the workshop by explaining how I did my paintings and giving them examples of my design sketches and finished works to look at. My biggest piece of advice to the class was to keep their design simple because without a lot of practice, trial and error, complicated paintings rarely turn out as well as you imagine them. Where simple designs usually turn out at least presentable even for people who insist they don't have an artistic bone in their bodies.
The kids then picked their leaves and went to work.
Due to time constraints we had to paint the background colours on the leaves before doing the designs, to allow the leaves to dry enough to complete their paintings.
The kids worked brilliantly and had heaps of fun during the workshop. As did I.
You can see for yourself the results of their efforts.
I’m planning a second workshop with Year 5 in the last week of term. The only change I think I will make is trying to source some better quality paint for the kids to use. The acrylic poster paint we used for the first workshop was serviceable but not exactly ideal.
Here are a few samples of the students work.