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STBF Visual Arts Project 2006

To see the mini exhibition click HERE

Edited extracts from a report by Iain Mitchell Principal Teacher of Art for primary schools in Aberdeenshire who dedicated four days a week for the term January - April to the project.

The aim of the project is to reflect life in our part of Aberdeenshire through the artwork of our school children. The culmination of the project will be an exchange of work with schools in Norway and the exhibition here in the Long Gallery at Duff House. More ...

Click on small pictures for a larger view

In each of the 8 schools I worked with pupils from classes P4-P7 (children aged between 8 and 11). I described the basic visual elements - line, shape, colour, tone, pattern, texture, composition and proportion.

We started off by getting each pupil to make a basic head shape and then turn this into a self portrait.

We then looked at portraits painted by recognised artists and studied how these artists had given as much information as possible about their subjects by way of their dress, the settings in which they were painted along with the animals or objects which reflected their interests.

 Individual pencil drawings of each pupil were thus made with a view to giving the children in Norway as much insight into the character and hobbies of our pupils as possible.

We then moved on to:
bulletstudy composition, line, proportion and the use of different strengths of line to show near and far.
bulletobserve and make coloured die pastel drawings of the favourite snack foods of the pupils.
bulletstudy colour and tone, the mixing of colours and the rendering of various textures

After that individual schools studied their own locale, drawing upon the unique aspects of their own environment for inspiration.

Portsoy : Aberchirder : Ordiquhill : Banff :
Bracoden : Fordyce: Macduff : Whitehills :
Mini Exhibition

In Portsoy we were lucky enough to get a beautiful day before the snow started, to enable us to observe and record the harbour area of Portsoy from first hand experience. Coloured studies were then made back in school. Model boats were then taken in to the classroom. Pencil drawings were made and die pastel studies based upon these drawings were completed.

At Aberchirder, we visited the local Church and made detailed pencil drawings and again on a fine day! Later confined to barracks by snow, we made wax etchings based upon these initial outdoor studies and the pupils made drawings of their own houses based upon research and sketches made as part of their homework.
At Ordiquhill we studied and recorded farm vehicles and animals in pencil and die pastel as well as making an outdoor visit to record buildings of interest in Cornhill. Wax etchings and coloured studies resulted from this original work. We also made a class collage based upon their self-portraits in the style of Andy Warhol.

Banff pupils recorded the fašade of the school, Georgian town houses, and other buildings of note in the town. The magnificent Duff House provided inspiration for drawings of the exterior and detailed pencil studies of some of the wonderful patterns to be found within the fitting and fabric of the House.
Bracoden School is lucky enough to have the picturesque and unique village of Crovie on its doorstep. This provided us with wonderful material from which pencil and die pastel sketches have been made. To complete the seaside theme, fishing boats of various ages and designs were studied and recorded.

I had already worked in the beautiful village of Fordyce earlier in the year, producing a large 16' x 4' outdoor mural on a nature/conservation theme, funded by a local couple. This mural is now hung on the outside of the pavilion, opposite where the couple live so that they as well as the pupils can enjoy it every day. The studies of birds, animals and butterflies, all local to this area form part of the schools display. We then made an outdoor visit to observe and record the Castle and other buildings of interest in the village. Coloured studies and charcoal drawings were made using these original pieces as source material. Farm vehicles were also recorded as the final part of the project.
Macduff School first had to base its entry upon the excellent Marine Aquarium in Macduff. A visit was made early on in the project. The studies of fish and other sea creatures displayed in the exhibition bear witness I think to the belief that these is no substitute for first hand experience when it comes to understanding and then recording what is being studied.

At Whitehills we also made outdoor visits to record buildings of local character and interest. Colour studies were made back in the comfort of our own classroom and finally a visit was made to the harbour to draw the pleasure craft and yachts moored there. These boats made a wonderful contrast to the purely commercial fishing boats studied in other schools and reflect the changes ports have to make today in order to remain viable.

A primary school associated with the Skude Festival in Norway is running a similar visual arts project.

The idea is to send 20 pictures either way. Our ones will be exhibited at the Skude Festival and the Norwegian ones will be exhibited along with our local ones at the long gallery in Duff House during June and July.

Mini exhibition

A small sample of the local art work that has been produced so far is presented below. Click on a picture for a large view