This project was carried out during covid 19 lockdown, restrictions were in level 5 when we begun our project last January. The first sessions were done remotely through zoom with pupils from 5th & 6th class participating. We had a great time drawing and learning through zoom, it worked quite well, I was really impressed with the interest and focus every week from all pupils. The majority of the project happened online , so I kept it simple and this resulted in a beautiful drawing project that we completed together in person with two visits to Fitzgerald's Park in Cork city a short distance from the school. We were also very fortunate with the weather on these days. The final art works were made all the 5th class pupils in their pods, it wasn't possible to include 6th class at the final stage for safety reasons.
Working together in pods outdoors in the park on a lovely sunny day.
Making rubbings using graphite sticks from their art packs that I supplied during the project.
Enjoying the space and fresh air, drawing and putting all their new drawing skills into practice drawing from life with all our senses.
5th class pupils admiring their 'Big Pencil & Paper Drawing Show' on display in the schools hall.
A lot of time and effort went into selecting and editing work from our large selection of drawings made during our 2 trips to the park. Each one was mounted and hung under the classes very large group drawing above, every pupil was represented individually as well as collectively.
Detail from the drawings , all drawings were made while outdoors in the park with only paper and pencil, the pupils were observing the surrounding natural environment with all their senses and responding through drawing.
A sound Map
Photo credit Jim Coughlan (Evening Echo) Journalist Ellie Bryne visited Star of the Sea as part of her two page spread article reporting on our project and how I believe drawing should be part of the school curriculum.
We took the schools name as our theme for the project - Star of the Sea - Here is the plan I proposed and carried out , the project was completed just before the first lock down began , unfortunately we couldn't have an open exhibition to the public because of the restrictions.
STARS – we will look at celestial navigation, there are 58 main stars used in celestial navigation. Each star has a name, linked to animals and myth, when each student picks a star by lucky dip, they will come up with drawing that represents that star e.g. “Capella” Aurigae – which means little she- goat. These simple line drawings will then be mono printed onto a large sheet of paper , white on black.
The water colour on Yupo paper had a beautiful effect , very vivid blue with silver text hand written by each pupil. It really captured the essence of the sea.
We made blue paper sculptures which were all shaped and molded around each pupils hand celebrating our uniqueness and the value of the handmade. Originally the plan was to create an installation along with the drawings in their exhibition , but this was not possible due to covid restrictions closing schools in the first lockdown.
A pupil writing the name of her star on our nautical navigation map
Each one of the pupils designed their own star , and learned its name and meaning, then we put them altogether to make the mono print.
Detail of the final piece , the star map and the water drawing.
One of the highlights of our project was the trip to Blackrock Castle Observatory. Both of the 3rd classes came on a coach and we spent an amazing morning getting the full guided educational tour, fully immersed into all things space , but specifically focusing on nautical navigation , each child got to see their chosen star from the project in the star dome projection tent and our amazing guide Caoimhin was full of knowledge and stories for each one. This space tour was gifted to us very generously by the castle events manager Clair Mc Sweeney and they offered us a space to exhibit our project in the castle, but again covid prevented this from going ahead. The trip to the observatory brought our project to life, it enriched our learning and sparked great curiosity and inspiration for all the pupils. Overall , the drawing project connected all the various subjects together , from art history to STEAM to local history and gave a great sense of connection to the pupils who all worked on this together.
And we made the Evening Echo newspaper !
Presentation of our finished TAP drawing project with 77 pupils from three 4th classes
A great exhibition for friends and family to see all the work that 4th class had done during our project. We opened with two songs ‘Ar Scáth a Chéile a Mhaireann na Daoine’, meaning we live under each other’s shadow, or we depend on each other, and ‘Pompeii as Gaeilge’ le Choláiste Lurgan. Bhí an-lá ar fad acu. Bhain gach duine ana thaithneamh as.
A speech from the head master , and a few words from myself and muinteoir Nora. So much work went into this display and the feedback from parents and pupils was fantastic ! Great conversations were had by all discussing art, nature, the environment , education and science.
Nora's 4th class pupils holding up their portfolios. with our framed water colour drawings in the background.
Beautifully drawn covers by the pupils of 4th class
We worked on the theme ‘Ar Scáth a Chéile a Mhaireann na Daoine’, meaning we live under each other’s shadow, or we depend on each other. One branch does not make a tree, so we planned to make a large scale triptych, consisting of 80 individual twigs/branches drawn in pencil and water colour to represent the old seanfhocail 'we live under each other's shadow'
I carried out a series of drawing sessions between the 3 classes, introducing them to drawing- line and mark-making, blind drawing and drawing through their senses of touch, smell & taste , and sound. This built confidence in the pupils to draw freely and to experiment and discover new ways of seeing the world around us. Each exercise allowed them to express themselves, and a great part of this is the show and tell, the pupils loved showing their drawings and telling the story behind it. These specific exercises allow every child to shine as there is no "good or bad" drawing , it's all about the process and fun rather than the finished piece, so it's very freeing and opens up creativity within each child.
We used pressed leaves to practice blind drawing and close observation exercises in the classroom, in preparation for our field trip to Currabinny woods.
Two coaches arrive in Currabinny woods with 77 pupils all very excited to explore the woods through drawing, they made sketches as they observed all the wonderful details in the plants and trees of the woods. They also did a bug search and identified them using a bug kit.
All of the drawing exercises we did in class were put into practice out in the woods. Great observation of details and noticing the richness of the eco systems in real life, discovering through their own curiosities how much is there to see when you slow down and look.
Excellent use of drawing to record the details of a bug , the descriptive words to describe the bug also and a blind drawing to focus on the outlines/contours. This page shows how the pupil was very engaged and focused on something so small as a bug and had the skills to document what they discovered for themselves and to share with the class later.
Without a doubt the trip to Currabinny woods was a huge success, everyone had fun and learned so much about the local woods
Back in the classroom - Each of the 77 pupils collected a twig from the forest, unique in every way just like we are. The project was to draw your twig and paint in colours on the large paper, to symbolize the seanfocail ‘Ar Scáth a Chéile a Mhaireann na Daoine’, meaning we live under each other’s shadow, or we depend on each other. One branch does not make a tree.
Here is one of the three finished framed art works, signed by each pupil and will hang in the new school for years to come, memories encompassed forever.
To really show off the amount of work done throughout the project , we displayed all the sketchbooks and extra pages such as the Fibonacci code using math's and geometry , the code of nature. A word chart was also displayed showing the wide expansion of vocabulary each child had learnt along the way.
Some of the positive feedback from the pupils reflecting on their experience of having an artist collaborating with them in their school.
Midleton College Co.Cork Sketchbook workshop for leaving certs and transition year students - with Carol Healy & Cassandra Eustace