We are having a great time exploring animals in art with the 6-8 year olds in the Sunday studio courses at the moment. We began by looking at a number of Victorian paintings in the Tales of Love and Enchantment exhibition. The paintings we focused on were Legend of Sir Patrick Spens by James Archer, Blow Blow Thou Winter Wind by John Everett Millais, Married by Water Sadler, and Her First Love Letter by Marcus Stone. In each of these paintings we used the animals as clues to the story in the painting. The children loved the idea that the tortoise represents love, and that by painting it lumbering away from the couple in Married, Sadler has used the animal as a symbol to show that the couple was no longer close.
Walter Sadler, Married, 1896
Oil on canvas, Mackelvie Trust Collection, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki
In the Degas to Dalí exhibition we discussed the Spider by Alexander Calder. The children really responded to the simple lines of the work and the way it moved with the wind. Drawing on the children's knowledge of animals from stories and movies, we brainstormed animals as symbols as we thought about what animal best represented our personal attributes. The children's simple line drawings of an animal was made into a printing plate using string and glue. We'll have some images of their prints soon!
Check out our next blog to see the VIP who visited the children in the studio during our second class!