Visual Response

Workshop with children aged 4-11 at Emerson Private Academy

Exploring visual response to music and various textures and ways of ‘conversing‘ with each other through art.

  • Drawing to music with eyes closed.
  • Word association games out loud and on long strips of paper
  • Making up symbols for different emotions
  • Drawing ‘unknown objects’ – moving away from visual reference.
  • Working in pairs responding to each others mark making
  • Painting to music (very messy!)
  • Working on and responding to photocopies of textures and images

Beginning with drawing to music with eyes closed, focusing on the feeling rather than the outcome. Then a raft of association games visual, spoken and gestural.

I ask them to make marks and symbols for different ideas and emotions, to get them to develop their visual expression past direct representation or reference of visual objects.

Then working in pairs they respond to each others mark making. After trying this several times we draw to music again… or paint, though this can get very messy!

Then we work with responding to textures – initially photocopied ones and then sometimes coliograph and other prints that I make in various colours.

A lot to cover in one day (I think this works best as a series of workshops to slowly develop expression and freedom from the ‘right answer’ ‘wrong answer’ thinking kids often internalise at school)

The kids have fun with this workshop and even in one session I begin to see some developments, they begin finding images within the textures and developing them, some also moving away from the area of recognizable references (houses, people, cars etc…) and enthusiastic scribbles, to considered and ambiguous shapes that suggestive and interesting without being defined. This suggests a move towards a subtler and more considered expressiveness, and the fascination with shape and colour that underpin much compelling creative work whether abstract or figurative.

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