Inspired by Banksy

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Banksy is the pseudonym of a “guerrilla” street artist known for his controversial, and often politically themed, stenciled pieces of art.

Banksy’s identity remains unknown. He is believed to have been born in Bristol, England, around 1974. He rose to prominence for his provocative stenciled pieces in the late 1990s.

He is the subject of a 2010 documentary, Exit Through the Gift Shop, which examines the relationship between commercial and street art. This documentary was nominated for an academy award.

Banksy’s artwork is characterized by images that are often combined with slogans. His work often has political themes, critiquing war, capitalism, hypocrisy and greed. Common subjects include rats, apes, policemen, members of the royal family, and children. In addition to his two-dimensional work, Banksy is also known for his installation artwork.

Students used chalk pastels to create their own wall to stencil their graffiti on to. We were inspired by the Banksy piece referred to as “There is Always Hope”. Using a stencil they applied the image of a young girl who has just let go of her balloon.

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Landscapes Inspired by Tom Thomson

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Tom Thomson was born August 5th, 1877 in Claremont Ontario.  He was the sixth of ten children. Although he was always interested in the arts, he did not devote his career to painting until he was 30.

In 1904, while working as a draftsman he met members of the Group of Seven.  Although Thomson was closely associated with the artists in the Group of Seven, the Group of Seven was not founded until after his death.

To offset his art career, Thomson worked as a firefighter, a ranger and a guide to Algonquin Park while living on his own in a shack on Canoe Lake.  Here he produced his most famous work: Jack pine, West Wind and Northern River.

Thomson died mysteriously on a canoe trip in 1917 at 39 years old.

Students used watercolours, acrylic paint and chalk pastels to create their own landscapes inspired by Tom Thomson.

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Birch Trees at the Swansea and Humbercrest Craft Sales

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This holiday season we participated at two of our schools craft fairs, Swansea Public School and Humbercrest Public School. We had many visitors to our booth and participants created some gorgeous birch tree winter landscapes. I love the colours!

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Nefertiti Inspired Silhouettes

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Nefertiti was an Egyptian queen and the Great Royal Wife of Akhenaten and Egyptian Pharaoh. With her husband she reigned at what was arguably the wealthiest period of Ancient Egyptian history.

We were inspired by the bust of Nefertiti, presently exhibited at the Neues Museum in Berlin, Germany.

Students used a combination of chalk and oil pastels to draw and decorate their Queens. A bit of gold paper was added at the end to add sparkle and a few hieroglyphs.

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Inukshuk’s Inspired by Ted Harrison

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“One curator said he didn’t want my work in his gallery because it was so simple even children understood it. I thought, what a wonderful tribute!”

-Ted Harrison

Before the Christmas holidays we were invited into the JK/SK classrooms at Runnymede Public School to do a special project inspired by the Canadian artist, Ted Harrison. The students were very enthusiastic and did a great job on their Northern Landscapes. They learned how to use chalk pastels and how to blend them for a brilliant sky. Next we sponged on snow to fill the bottom of our creations. And lastly we applied collage to build our Inukshuks.

Ted Harrison was born in England in 1926.  In 1950 he received his teaching certificate and began his 28 year career in education. He had a great interest in travel and taught in many different parts of the world, including Malaysia, India, East Africa and New Zealand before immigrating to Canada with his wife Nicky and their son Charles in 1968.

They settled in a small town called Carcross just outside Whitehorse in the Yukon. His love of the land and people of the Yukon has brought him national acclaim.   He makes simple landscapes even simpler.

Ted Harrison’s paintings are iconic, recognizable and distinctly unique.  His paintings are mostly in horizontal sections.  In the foreground there are people, animals and other objects.  In the background is the Canadian Northern landscape. His paintings are made up of brilliant colors, never shaded, and not always naturalistic – deep purple hills and lime green water.  His signature lines give contrast to the brilliant colours.

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Night Time Mountain Range Inspired by Doris McCarthy

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Doris McCarthy was born on July 7th, 1910 in Calgary and moved to Toronto in 1913. She is a landscape artist best known for her depictions of Arctic icebergs. McCarthy attended the Ontario College of Art from 1926 to 1930. Among her teachers were members of the Group of Seven: Arthur Lismer, A.Y. Jackson, J.E.H. MacDonald and Lawren Harris.  She was inspired by their approach to painting, to go out into nature and paint from real life or “en plein air.”

After she retired she travelled to every province in Canada, painting and camping.  From the Hoodoo’s in Alberta to friendly fishing towns in the east.  She travelled to the Arctic many times, even at 94.  To see icebergs, McCarthy would travel by dogsled and set up her easel and paints in the snow.

She bought a property dubbed “Fools Paradise” along the Scarborough Bluffs in 1939 which over time, she built into her dream home and art studio.

In 1989, at the age 79, she graduated from the University of Toronto at Scarborough with a BA in English. McCarthy died November 25th, 2010 when she was 100 years old.

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Abstract Exercise

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Abstract art is a form of modern and postmodern art that focuses on the power of each individual work to express compositions in a new way. Creative work in this style is usually non-representational, the artist’s forms may vary from a small degree of inaccurate representation of images to total abstraction.

Our classrooms were filled with paint and abstraction this past week as we were inspired to create our own non-representational art. Students started with an underpainting using different colours of red and orange to fill their page. Next we created texture by applying a scrap piece of paper over the wet paint and pressing down to remove and mix the colours. We then created a composition with white, yellow and black and a small pop of blue.

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