Category Archives: Teaching

Drawing Dinosaurs!

Docent drawing of displayed ammonite (graphite and pencil on paper)

Docent drawing of displayed ammonite (graphite and pencil on paper)

Sculpted ammonite (Docent artwork)

Sculpted ammonite (Docent artwork)

I am happy to announce that I will be running Drawing Workshops at the ArtScience Museum for their Dinosaurs: Dawn to Extinction exhibition which opens later this month!

If you are interested, you can get your ticket early to visit the exhibition and make sure to choose one of the dates where I will be running the workshops:

Dates: Sunday 2, 9  & 23 February, 9 & 23 March, 6 & 20 April

– Sketch-a-Fossil:

Bring fossils to life by drawing them in detail. Observation drawing . Make your piece stand out by placing it in a pre-historical landscape (optional collage). Ammonite or Fossilized wood will be our inspiration.

Timing: 45 minute workshops at 12.30pm and 1.15pm

– Sculpting Fun: Shells and Bones:

What better way to understand a fossil than to feel it in 3D? Carve your own sculpted shell or bone out of soap, and bring your replica home. Children under the age of 8 require adult supervision. Ammonite or T-rex claw will be our inspiration.

Timing: 45 minute workshops at 2.30pm and 3.15pm


Drawing Houses

With the drawing classes winding down and the drawing year coming to an end, I have decided it was time to revive this blog by posting regularly about the various themes we have been exploring throughout the last few months. Students at the Observatoire studio range from 5 year olds to teenagers (and the occasional adult), and in most weeks, there is a theme, that will be interpreted in various ways by the different drawing groups. The results are as varied as you can imagine and sometimes throw great insights into how students of different personalities, different age, and in different environments (peers) produce different drawings.

A "Hpuse" built by 5-year-olds Henry and Breit.

A house.  Built by 5-year-olds Henry and Breit.

In each lesson, there would have been a goal, something to explore. Sometimes, it’s a medium, sometimes it’s an aspect of drawing (such as contour drawing, perspective, shading, negative space, composition…), and sometimes it’s about letting the participants take ownership of their drawing (vs. creating a “perfect” drawing). Sometimes the constraints are strong, sometimes there are none. Most of the time, the instructions are only a beginning and the participants are invited to finish their drawing in their own way (or start a second one, on their own)

The themes explored in the last term have been:

  • How to draw an apple accurately enough that you might be able to pick it from a bowl?
  • Many different cacti.
  • Drawing water bottles. Is it boring?
  • How hard is it to draw a ping-pong ball? (Challenge)
  • Build your own house and draw it.
  • Observing insects close-up. Drawing them accurately.
  • Understanding Master’s paintings through their mark-making.

I will update the list above with links as the posts come in… stay tuned and do link-up on Facebook where I do post rather informally drawings of various students or comments on classes as they have just happened.

Drawing and Art Classes

I have had so many requests for individual art classes for 6 – 7 year olds that it is time to open a new class!

We’ll be drawing on Saturdays, from 11.30am to 12.30pm, just after the Open Studio for the older, more independent ones (it means you could always sneak in early to see what these guys are up to).

What do we draw? Animals (lots of them), and then objects around us. We draw from pictures and we draw from real life. We go out to the woods to draw, and we get inspired by each other’s drawing. More information here.

To sign up, fill the form at the bottom or give me a call (9273 4991).

This will be the last drawing session before the relocation above the Blue House School in August. The classes there will take full advantage of the outdoor conditions and will take a twist, since we are becoming l’Observatoire, where science and art are given equal place for discovering our environment.


Open Studio

A place to explore and create art for teenagers.

In this studio, you’ll have a space to create your own art, be inspired by peers, and get advice and guidance when needed. Over 10 sessions, explore different media and find your voice.

Drawing: pencil, charcoal, and alternative mark-making

Painting: watercolour and acrylics

Printmaking: relief printing (woodcut, lino, collographs), etching, silk-screen

Object-making: basic clay work; working with found objects; papier mâché.

Saturday, 9.30 – 11.30 am. Fees:  $ 50 per class or  $ 450 for 10 class session.

Why do I enjoy teaching again? Oh yeah, it’s the box.

It’s the same every term. By the end of it,  I am exhausted, running out of time, feeling I am not teaching all I wanted to. And then the first day of the next term starts, and I find my usual students eager to start again, afresh.

Today was no different as four eager, laughing, fresh-faced urchins tumbled down to the basement. No, they didn’t rush for the crayons, sit at the table, ask where the paper was. They did ask: “what are we doing today?” but didn’t wait for the answer, went to greet the bunny, and then the guinea pig. I let them settle as I tried to figure the best way to introduce them to Cezanne‘s notion that “everything in nature can be represented in terms of the cylinder, the sphere  and the cone”… or rather how you can draw fun stuff from your imagination once you know how to represent a cube in space (leaving the “see the real world in an easier way to draw” for another time).

There were squeals of joy as I told them to dig in the box of cardboard, choose a piece and reconstitute the box. Of course, these were 5-8 year old, and sticky tape and cardboard boxes were involved. How could there not be joy? As we waited for all to be finished, I told them that the box that was really well sealed had a cat in it (Not quite Shroedinger’s cat, but his cousin). However, the cat was really sensitive to light, and it would disintegrate if it was exposed the smallest bit of light, which means that we can’t open the box to check if the cat is there. Curiously none of them argued that such a cat couldn’t exist. But when I asked if they believed me, they said “no”. So I gave them the box to check. They stopped and laughed, getting the paradox immediatly (I am using “they” because they really reacted as a group). And then they started looking for solutions. “Maybe we can just take a peak”, or “maybe we can place a camera before the cat goes in, with a mechanism connecting it to the outside so we can take pictures”, “Open the box at night”… as I pointed that in all cases the amount of light required to see or take a picture would be enough to destroy the cat, they fell silent.

And then,

one of them said “We can touch it in total darkness” and the one who’s been most silent all along said “we can ezray it”…I had to ask again. “X-ray“. Oh! I decided there and then that the cat was not sensitive to that range of the spectrum, offered her the box and suggested she passes it to her mom to check (Mom’s a doctor).

After that, everyone settled, and it was box-drawing, constructing from boxes, more box drawing and then drawing 3-D animals from imagination. Pictures next time… get the 3-D glasses ready!