Welcome to Newark Community Art Club
Hello! I hope you are all well and staying safe. For anyone new, Newark Community Art Club, which I lead, is funded by Nottinghamshire County Council Local Improvement Scheme (LIS) and is an inclusive art club for young people in the Newark area. We normally meet once a week on Wednesdays after school at Newark Academy but currently have only digital means to stay connected. Art is helping many people to get through this difficult time and it can be a good way to deal with worries and anxiety. I have set this page up for you to look at and get some ideas for art activities you can do at home. There are a number of activities to choose from below, scroll down to the bottom for the most recent additions (the numbering started again at the beginning of the new academic year in Autumn 2020). All the activities will have files you can download and either work from on screen or print out and use and will be numbered but you can do them in any order you like. Take care, stay safe and keep being creative!
Activity 1 - Colour Wheel and Colour Mixing
There are two files here for you to download and use together to do a colour theory and colour mixing activity at home. Now is an ideal time to do some colour mixing to make a rainbow inspired picture for your window.
Activity 2 - Landscapes with collaged layers
This activity will help you to look at perspective and scale of what you can see around you and the good news is that you don't need much in the way of materials - you can even use some scrap paper/packaging that might end up in recycling. Downlaod this file which will explain the activity and be creative with the materials you have at hand!
Activity 3 - Mark making and Mondrian's Trees
Learn about how the artist Piet Mondrian changed his way of drawing trees and how using different drawing strategies can change your own drawings. Download the two files below and if you have time go on and do activity 4 too which follows on from this and carries on looking at Mondrian's work and influence.
Activity 4 - Mondrian's Grids
This activity is very easy to do but at the same time gives you an idea about the power of grids, primary colours and why a black outline pops. Mondrian's work has influenced so many areas of fashion and design that it is worth spending some time researching him if you have time. The handout above on Activity 3 shows you some images of his influence including Nike Dunks :)
Activity 5 - Tony Cragg - colour and collage
Tony Cragg is a really interesting artist to look at so do look him up as part of doing this activity. Download the files below and make a Cragg inspired collage or do it on a much bigger scale as a temporary installation with real objects.
Activity 6 - Texture Hunter
For this session you are going to investigate your home/garden for texture and make a piece of art from what you find, which can either be representative or abstract.
Activity 7 - Portraits inspired by Hassan Hajjij
Look up the artist Hassan Hajjij. He is an artist who works between London and Marrakech (Morocco) and his portraits are brilliantly colourful and full of pattern. He has made portraits of some very famous people including Billie Eilish, Cardi B and Madonna. This activity will suggest ways you can do a portrait inspired by his style.
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Activity 8 - Negative space drawings
What is negative space? Why is it useful to help us improve our drawings? To understand it we need to understand line and shape first. There are two drawing exercises here which will help you improve your drawing skills and all you need is a pencil, a piece of paper and something to draw.
Activity 9 - Protest Imagery
This activity is going to get you looking into the history of some of the symbols we now take for granted as being associated with movements. A strong and recognizable sign or symbol can ‘speak’ much louder than words. This session is about doing some research into the history of two symbols which are particularly relevant at the moment (early June 2020) : the Black Power symbol and the Rainbow Pride flag. It will also help you to analyse protest imagery and gain an understanding of what makes up a successful sign or symbol. You can then go on to design your own campaign symbol.
Activity 10 - Keith Haring's legacy
Keith Haring would chalk up his images on unused areas of the poster displays of the New York Subway with the aim of making art that was accessible to a diverse audience. His work is particularly interesting because although it was very accessible, colourful and in many ways a joy to look at, yet it also tackled important social and political messages to do with LGBTQ+ rights (particularly relating to the AIDS epidemic), campaigns against drug use and the fight to end Apartheid. The downloadable activities below will help you learn more about Haring's work and also understand why it is such a brilliant style to get a message across.
Activity 11 - Exploring Materials - 2D to 3D
This exercise is designed to get us away from thinking only of using the usual materials when we come to make art and also make us think about re-evaluating what we can do with the resources we have around us. It will also make it clear that something simple and 2D like a sheet of paper can be transformed into a 3D sculptural form.
Activity 12 - Georgia O'Keeffe and the cropped image
Georgia O’Keeffe was an American artist. Her use of line, colour and shading together with cropped composition made her flower and other works full of impact. This session will take you through a process to help understand why cropping an image and enlarging it can have a massive influence on how we read it.
Activity 13 - No Paint? No Problem! Make your own
We are all used to the convenience of ready to use paint colours that are reliable, bright and don’t change on the paper. It hasn’t always been so. Before the advances of the chemical industry (which led to the development of chemical based colours such as cobalt blue and cadmium red etc), artists used to have to produce their own pigments and mix them to produce their own paints. This often meant using a number of earth elements, some semi-precious stones (ground to a powder then mixed with oil or egg etc) plus various plant and in some cases animal based colours. This session is about you having a go at making your own paints with things you may have at home, or in the garden, if you have one.
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Activity 14 - Artists do self portraits for good reasons
Self-portraits have been central to many artists for their careers. Often it is the case that they have used themselves as a subject because they could not afford to pay for a model. Sometimes however it is simply the case that our own image is with us and easy to work from, as long as we can locate a mirror that is. This session will take you through a set of quick drawing exercises to help you improve your hand eye co-ordination and at the same time you can have fun making different kinds of portraits of yourself.
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Activity 15 - Make and send an art postcard
Keeping in touch with people is really important. Getting a piece of personal post through the letterbox that has been created by a friend, and has a unique design on it makes it very meaningful. Why not draw, paint, collage or print a postcard to send to a friend or family member and encourage them to do the same and send you one they have designed back. Keep the exchange going. It could be an especially good way to keep in touch with an older person you know who may not use digital media to keep in touch.
Autumn Term Activity 1 - Getting your observational drawing skills in gear
When we draw we often spend a lot of time looking at our paper and the marks our pencils make and less time looking at the object we are drawing. What we need to do is spend more time looking (properly looking and noticing) before and during our drawing process. It’s called observational drawing for a reason – we need to observe! This session we are going to focus on improving our analytical skills to make our drawings as accurate as possible. We are not going to think about tone or texture etc here but focus on getting the drawing mapped out accurately.
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Autumn Term Activity 2 - Mark making and Tone
How do we bring form to our drawings so that they don’t just look like 2-dimensional shapes made up of lines but instead have a real 3-D quality to them? Tone can change an outline of a shape and make it come alive as a form. This exercise takes you through some mark making/shading exercises to give you an initial toolkit for adding tone to your drawings.
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Autumn Term Activity 3 - Autumn Forager drawing
We’re in autumn and the leaves are falling, as are tree seeds. This is a great time to gather a few things when you are walking home from school or wherever and keep your eyes open for a few fallen leaves, conkers and their outer shells and things like sycamore seeds and use them for a great seasonal drawing study.
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Autumn Term Activity 4 - Drawing upside down
When we do an observational drawing of a person or indeed anything we sometimes slip into a mode where we aren’t entirely drawing from observation and instead we are partly observing and partly drawing from a collective memory bank of what people look like and relying on drawing strategies that we have used before to make a person look like a person. This drawing exercise will challenge you because your brain will be confused by the fact that the image you are doing to draw is upside down so you have to rely on honing your observational skills.
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Autumn Term Activity 5 - Changing the mood of a drawing
It is autumn, it is the time of year when the colours of summer are waning and the changing cooler and lower light makes everything look different. In this exercise you are going to focus on changing the mood of an image by changing the palette/making it monochrome/using different mark making and shading techniques. Changing the mood of an image is a great skill to have as it helps you the artist to communicate emotion with the viewer.
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Autumn Term Activity 6 - Drawing for Wellbeing - Focus on a Fractal
What is a fractal? It is an irregular geometric structure that cannot be described by classical geometry. This is because it is made up of repeated patterns of similarly regular but progressively smaller dimensions. Nature is full of great examples of fractals such as leaves, snowflakes, flowers, snail shells, crystals, tree bark, or even the path of lightning. Why draw them? Because studies have shown that exposure to fractal patterns in nature reduce people’s stress levels by up to 60%. So spending some time looking at one and drawing it is good for you too!
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Autumn Term Activity 7 - Design a public sculpture
This week’s activity is about imagining you are a sculptor who has been commissioned to make a new piece for where you live which has a focus on Remembrance and peace. You may have a monument or a sculpture near you as a reference point to help you think about what you might design but you can do something completely original and different to anything you have seen before.
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Autumn Term Activity 8 - The Importance Of Light
This week’s activity focuses on the importance of light. Different types of light affect how objects look and therefore we need to respond and change the way our drawings and paintings depict light. So, for instance, a still life arrangement can vary a lot in terms of how it looks to us, depending on whether it is lit with natural light, electric light, or combinations of the two. The direction of the light sources and the time of day and season can all play a part too.
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Autumn Term Activity 9 - Mindful Drawing
Mindfulness is a mental state achieved by focusing one's awareness on the present moment, while calmly acknowledging and accepting one's feelings, thoughts, and bodily sensations, and it is used as a therapeutic technique. This week’s session might sound like it will take ages to do but it needn’t. Mindful drawings can actually be done pretty quickly and can also be fun.
Autumn Term Activity 10 - Drawing to Sound
There are lots of connections between visual art and music so this session is all about tapping into those connections. Many people like to have music on while they make their art and some artists have used music as their inspiration. This session will be a fun way to take you through some mark making exercises in response to music and help you develop a wider range of mark making which will bring life to your other drawings.
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Autumn Term Activity 11 - Drawing with scissors
Late in his life the celebrated artist Henri Matisse developed a method of making pictures he called ‘drawing with scissors’. Sheets of paper that were painted with vivid colours were then used by him to cut shapes from without drawing them on the paper first, so, in effect he was drawing with his scissors. This is a great exercise to try to help make you think about the shape of objects and how to ‘draw’ them in a different way and it is also great fun to do.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 12 - Pop Art Your Interior
We are all spending a lot of time in our rooms and living rooms at the moment and even if we can’t physically change our surroundings we can do it on paper with this session. If you have time look up the artist Roy Lichtenstein; his work was work was influenced by comics and embraced parody. He was part of the Pop Art movement and this session is inspired by some of the interiors he painted.
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