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 Hajjaj
Look up the artist Hassan Hajjaj. 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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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 13 - Make your own Colouring Book
Colouring books have become a bit of a phenomenon and lots of people use them as a means to relax. Research has shown that colouring-in is a great thing to do but drawing is even better for you so this session combines both. You will also get to learn about an artist called Patrick Caulfield.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 14 Pattern, Collage and Still Life Part 1
This is the first part of a two-part process where you will eventually make a still life collage from patterned paper you have made yourself. This session is all about making the patterned sheets first so that you have your own original collage papers to use. Next week will be about how to make use of these patterned sheets to create a brilliant still life collage.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 15 Pattern, Collage and Still Life Part 2
This is the second part of a two-part process where you will now make a still life collage from the patterned paper you have already made yourself. The challenge now is to look at the papers you have made and work out how to use them effectively to make a collaged still life.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 16 - Chinese New Year Papercut
On Friday 12th February 2021 it is Chinese New Year, marking the end of winter and the beginning of spring. It is one of the most important holidays in China and is widely celebrated across the globe. One of the customs associated with Chinese New Year is the decoration of windows and doors with red paper-cuts. Join in the celebrations with this paper-cut activity.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 17 - Mural Mosaic Design
Carrie Reichardt is a contemporary artist who is a member of the Craftivism movement. She uses murals, screen-printing and graphic design. She is well known for her mural mosaic work and her own house has been covered in this art form. This might make you think, what if I could design a mosaic or mural to cover my house? Why not have a go and practice drawing buildings at the same time.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 18 - Make a Maquette
The Tate Modern opened in May 2000 and the huge sculpture ‘Maman’ by Louise Bourgeois was installed in the Turbine Hall, the big central space in the gallery. It is a monumental steel spider and is called Maman. Sculpture on this scale often starts out as sculpture on a much smaller scale with the making of a ‘maquette’ – a small scale version. You can make a similar maquette sculpture using household materials and then imagine what it would look like scaled up.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 19 - Elisabeth Frink Sculpture
Elisabeth Frink grew up during the second world war, but in rural Suffolk. After the war public sculpture received a boost, partly from the influence of the Council for the Encouragement of the Arts (CEMA), affecting the presence of sculpture for the public. Her sculpture can be seen in many public places. Some of her work looks at animals and some have human figures. Choose either for a subject for a small scale sculpture you would like to make.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 20 - Kara Walker silhouette stories
Kara Elizabeth Walker (born November 26, 1969) is an American contemporary painter, silhouettist, print-maker, installation artist, filmmaker, and professor who explores many areas including race, gender, violence, and identity in her work. She is best known for her room-size tableaux of black cut-paper silhouettes. Her silhouettes tell stories. Make a narrative with your own silhouettes.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 21 - Geometric Art
We have pattern all around us and sometimes we are pretty oblivious to it. Lots of patterns on everyday items have interesting geometric forms. Some great artists like Tess Jaray have looked at geometric pattern and used it as a springboard for their work. With this activity you can look around your home or local area for patterns and use them to inspire you to make your own geometric art.
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Spring Term 2021 - Activity 22 - Embossed Foil
Sturdy foil can be a brilliant material to work on to make wonderful embossed patterns. You can use something like a pie dish or a foil roasting tin (washed first if used, of course). You can make lots of different things using this technique but as the Easter weekend is coming up why not make embossed Easter shapes to hang on an Easter tree.
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Summer Term 2021 - No 23 Optical Mixing no 1
Optical mixing is a type of paint mixing used by many artists including Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh. Rather than mixing wet paints together on a palette to make a new colour to be painted on and allowed to dry, dabs of paint of different colours are placed next to each other on the canvas and our eyes do the mixing instead hence the term ‘optical mixing’.
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Summer Term 2021 No 24 - Optical mixing No 2
Optical mixing is a type of paint mixing used by many artists including Georges Seurat and Vincent Van Gogh. Van Gogh used this method and his self portraits show some brilliant examples of how to use warm and cool colours to show the contours of the face and the shadows that are formed around and under them.
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Summer term 2021 No 25 - Mixing colour with tissue
Coloured tissue paper is a great way to mix colours in a completely new way. By layering colours on top of each other you can make new and interesting colours. In this session you can try out your ideas first and them make an abstract piece from your experiments.
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Summer Term 2021 No 26 - Designing a graffiti tag
This session isn't about getting out there with spray paint but instead thinking about how good graffiti is about good design. All letters were drawn before they were made into fonts on a computer. Draw and design your own tag with this session but do it all on paper! Next time you see good graffiti you will understand the artistry of it more :)
Summer Term 2021 - No 27 - Connect with Nature
This week (week commencing 10 May 2021) is Mental Health Awareness Week and this year the theme for the week is Connect with Nature, with a focus on how being in touch with nature is good for our mental health. This week use your arts skills to connect with nature and by default give yourself a mental health boost.
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Summer Term - No 28 - Close up on Fruit - inside and out
Often when we draw we try to fit the whole of the subject (whatever we are drawing) on our paper. The object of today is to do two drawings of a piece of fruit and that at least one of them will be close up, like you have zoomed in, with a focus on realism and will contrast the inside and outside of whichever fruit you choose.
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Summer Term - No 29 - Make your own sketchbook
Here’s a way to make a sketchbook that will cost nothing, uses up some materials that would normally end up in recycling and be useful as a means to improve and strengthen your drawings. You can make a small pocket sized one to carry around and/or a bigger version for more involved drawings.
Summer Term - No 30 - Drawing People in Proportion
Looking at and drawing people makes us ask ourselves: how do we feel about drawing people? Why might it be a good idea? It can be a good way of connecting us to our bodies and making us feel positive about them. Drawing people can be tricky though. When we draw people there are some approximate rules we can follow to check we are getting our proportions right, which is what this exercise will help you with.
Summer Term - No 31 - Be an architect!
This exercise is a fun way to think about structure and form. Architects sometimes make small models of buildings to show people what they have planned. You will make a model of a building from paper/card and tape/glue stick and then draw it and add detail to the drawing to give your building design a sense of place. Don’t play safe with a rectangular box, think about the possible shapes that might work!
Summer Term - No 32 - Playing with Scale
Scale is so important in art. This exercise will challenge you to maximise a tiny object and minimise a huge one. When you have had a go at doing these scaling up and scaling down exercises you can use what you have learned to play with perspective in a new composition.
Summer Term - No 33 - Changing a Portrait with Collage
We are surrounded by photographic images of people, not only celebrities but also people we know well who are not famous. How do we ‘read’ the image of a person in the media? Do we believe all that we see? Even though they are photographs, sometimes we are seeing a somewhat filtered version of a portrait. It can be fun to mix up parts of images and add drawn additions too to make them ‘read’ in very different ways.
Summer Term No 34 - Drawing Ellipses
An ellipse is a shape we end up drawing regularly. It is a stretched circle and we need to do them when drawing bowls, cups, bottles and so on. If we get better skills at drawing ellipses it can really make a massive improvement to our still life and other work. This exercise will help you to practice and improve.
Summer Term No 35 - Drawn from Memory
This exercise will help you to practice and improve how you remember what you see so that you can draw it more accurately. We look at what we draw then we have to look away from it to draw it (as we look down at our paper), so even if that looking away is very short and a matter of a second or two, we still need to retain visual information and retain it. These drawing from memory activities are fun and will help.