In 2015, as part of the Arts Council England funded project ‘Putting the Wunder back into the Wunderkammer,’ Islington Museum worked with Samuel Rhodes Secondary School, artist Charlotte Young From Cubitt Education and the Estorick Collection of Modern Italian Art. Pupil explored Futurist drawings and paintings from the Estorick’s collection, focusing on the depiction of sound and movement. The pupils then created large scale collaborative paintings using a range of materials and tools that encouraged different movement and mark making.
- A very large roll of high quality, thick paper
- A variety of drawing and painting materials, including pencils, charcoal, pens, pastels etc
- Sound clips
- Wheeled objects, such as toy cars and bike wheels
- Masking and/or duct tape
- Rulers/ garden cane
The activity: mark making
Clear a big space. Cut a long piece of paper from the roll of paper. The paper should be as big as can fit in your workshop space, but allow enough space for pupils to move freely around the paper and the room. Tape the paper to the floor using masking or duct tape. Ensure all drawing materials are also prepared ahead of time and easy for the pupils to access.
This activity is made up of a range of mark making activities. You should spend around 5-10 minutes on each bullet point. You can choose a few of your favourites to fill the lesson, or work over a number of lessons on the same piece of paper, adding a new mark making technique each time.
- In pairs: draw around your partner’s hands, feet, heads and bodies. Now swap.
- Individually: lie on the paper with a pen or pencil in each hand and make ‘snow angels’
- Using ‘push-me-pull-me’ pens (2 pens tied together with a length of string) and working in pairs, take it in turns to ‘pull’ the pens in different directions
- Draw as fast as you can
- Draw as slowly as you can
- Draw ‘spiky’
- Draw ‘soft’
- Draw ‘wavy’
- Use different emotional gestures to draw: draw ‘angry’, ‘happy’, ‘laughing’, ‘frowning’, etc
- Flick and dribble paint onto the paper
- Draw to different kinds of music, what does the music look like
Play music for participants to paint or draw to. Exercises could include drawing:
- in time to different kinds of music. Hip hop will make you draw differently to opera
- shapes and lines according to the mood of the different types of music. Is the music jagged, smooth, pointy, etc.
- only when the music is playing
Using objects as drawing tools
Use a variety of objects dipped in paint to draw with such as:
- toy cars
- measuring wheel
- roller skates (to be used with hands, not worn!)
- bicycle wheel/ scooter
- hand and finger prints
- wearing wellies dipped in paint
- make extra-long paint brushes by tying brushes to rulers/ garden canes with tape or string
Creating a sound piece in response
Once your class have created their artwork, gather the pupils around the painting. Ask them to find sections that they liked, enjoyed painting, or found inspiring. As a class/ or in groups, discuss that section (‘it has wavy lines’ ‘it is blue.’) Then think about what it might sound like. For example, ‘wavy and blue’ might sound like the sea.
In groups, compose a sound effect for your piece. In turns record the sound effects.
Then listen to your class sound piece while looking at the picture.
Mark making extensions
- If working with a group who might find it difficult to use the floor, get participants to work individually or in pairs at tables.
- Try mounting large sheets of paper on a wall instead of the floor. This might work well for teenage participants or if there is not much floor space available. This would also allow participant to create multiple ‘extensions’ of their drawing tools in order to be able to reach the top of the paper. Extensions can also be made for floor drawings, for example, tying or taping pens and pencils to garden canes.
- Some individuals with SEN have particular sensitivities to sound and touch. Be mindful to check with participants if, for example, any audio is too loud for them. Some pupils may also be worried about getting dirty so have some aprons and rubber gloves ready if you think this may be the case.
- This activity could work well outside during the summer and you could try using more messy ways of mark making such as paint-filled water bombs, ice paints or pots of paint with holes punched in the bottom.
- Any paint splattered coveralls or gloves can be cut up and used to add collage to the large paintings.