Grade 7 – Keith Haring

I discovered Keith Haring a number of years ago and have been looking forward to doing a project on him ever since! He was a rebelious artist who stood for many important but controversial topics in ways that sometimes made the authorities a little unhappy.

His style is simple to do but also has great scope for creative interpretation. The learners were first introduced to Haring as well as the use of rhythm as a principle of design. They were then given a white piece of paper on which they were asked to make a silhouette of themselves…this soon changed to a silhouette of something that is meaningful to them. 06The filled this with different small, living and moving characters. They did this first in pencil before adding colour. It was up to the learners to use their own creativity to add whatever they wanted to finish off these artworks!



Grade 7 – Poster design

It was that time of year again…play time for the grade 7s.

By ‘play time’ I obviously mean the well worked out and very impressive dramatic productions that the grade 7s do each year. This year they were going to be covering a number of well known musicals such as Greece, West side story, Annie and Mary Poppins through the eyes of a wandering pair that get lost during a dance to the ‘time warp’.

The grade 7s put a lot of work into these plays and they are always worth watching! Last year I had a little bit of difficulty fitting the grade 7s artwork in with their rehearsals so this year I decided: “If you can’t beat em’, join em’.” I introduced the learners to a bit of poster design, more particularly, movie poster design. They were also introduced to the concepts of Emphasis, Contrast, Balance and Scale/proportion. These are a few of the principles of design that help to make art effective. They then had to make a poster for one of their plays!

The lesson began with a bit of a brain storm and thumbnail sketching as the learners tried to come up with a unique idea. I was very impressed with what came out of the learners! They then chose their favorite idea and got down to making.

A few of the ideas were very clever and allowed a successful poster to be made very quickly. Others had to have more time spent on them but still resulted in beautiful work! We then stuck the posters up around the school to advertise the plays.

Grade 7 – Ed Hardy Tshirt


This is a project I have been quite keen on doing for a while now! When I was growing up, Ed Hardy was a big name in our world. Ed Hardy clothes were all the rage! I thought that the grade 7s would like the look of his designs.

The project began with a PowerPoint that briefly looked at designer Ed Hardy, his biography and some of what he made. Ed Hardy studied fine arts before going to Japan and learning more about tattooing. This Eastern influence gave him the edge when he returned to America and began life as a tattoo artist. He later went into fashion, using some of the same designs he had made for tattoos but not placing them on clothing.

We discussed some of his works, looking at his use of the elements of art and some of the principles of design. The grade 7s were asked to imagine that Ed Hardy had come to them and come up with a new South African design for a Tshirt. This design should be authentically South African while still linking in with the Ed Hardy brand. The designs had to have a clear focal point as well as making use of pattern.

After brainstorming and drawing a few thumbnail sketches, the learners were given a Tshirt template, on which they drew their design. This is what was marked. The final lesson saw learners who were finished getting a square piece of fabric and, using fabric paint, painting their design on fabric.

The project was a success and it being on a Tshirt template printed on A4 paper, fairly simple to mark. It was interesting to see what the learners saw as representing our country. A number of the learners were obviously influenced by the news and it must be said that the views expressed are not those of Camps Bay Primary School! Next time I do something similar however I will give a bit more time for the fabric part!


Grade 7 – Architecture project

20160223_081438Last term was a fairly short one for us in the Grade 7 art department. Various events saw us having to miss a few art periods. We focused the whole term on just one project, and it was a big one!

The learners were first introduced to architecture as well as Spanish architect Antoni Gaudi. Gaudi was an amazing architect whose work almost merged fantasy with reality. I thought the learners would like him to.

The idea for the project came from a page . For a while it had an online 3D ‘game’ where you were guided through the process of choosing a client and designing a house to meet that clients needs.

Our project began with three of the learners introducing three made up clients: A hippy mom with lots of children, a celebrity chef and a Oxford scholar. They had to choose one of these clients and start designing a house for them.

The practical outcomes of the project were a floor plan of the building done on Sketchbook (A program made by Autodesk); a visualization drawing of what the final building might look like from the outside; and a 3D model of the final building.

I didn’t know what to expect from the learners but what I got blew me away! They really enjoyed the project and their work showed it! A few made smaller but very well made buildings from clay while others incorporated recycled materials and made much larger models. The houses that were produced were of a very high quality as well as being creative and tailored for the clients needs!

Grade 7 – Past & Future

It was the last term of the final year of Primary School and our Grade 7’s were on their future. They were thinking about the High School they were going to, whether they would still see their friends and other things their future might bring. At the same time thinking about and reminiscing on their time at Camps Bay Primary School.

For their last art project of 2015, I decided to bring in these interests. The project began with a teacher led brainstorm about, first, their past in Primary School and then second, their plans and hopes for their future.

Metaphorically, these brainstorms were used as ‘juicers’ to get the ‘creative juices’ of the learners flowing and ensure that the process of art making was kept ‘well lubricated’. The project was split into several steps:

Step 1: Design and fill an A4 page with drawings that link in with the learner’s past in Primary School or past in general. This was to be done in fine liner (though I was not averse to learners trying different things if they wanted to).

Step 2: Cut out pictures that link in with your goals for the future, both in High School and life, from magazines. Create an A4 collage with these.

Step 3: Turn the collage page over and draw a symbol that represents yourself on the back. (Learners drew everything from hearts to suns to surfboards!) Cut this out.

Step 4: Stick the colorful, more abstract symbol onto the black and white background (The thought was that the learners were placing their colorful and glossy future over their black and white past).

Many of the learners enjoyed this project though I would have liked to do it a bit earlier in the year as to interest grade 7s in any work in the last term is a challenge! I’ve put up a few of the images I got in (I let a number of the learners take their projects home with them last year if they wanted to).


Grade 7 – Expressivist Still life

001Everyone knows Van Gogh. When I speak to the grade 3s, even they know of him! This artwork asked the grade 7 learners to draw and paint a still life in the style of Van Gogh. What is the style of Van Gogh? The expressive style and bright colours of his later life are most well known as being indicative of a Van Gogh painting. Van Gogh combined a drawing of real life (e.g. a bowl of sunflowers) with his internal emotional state. Thus a field of wheat becomes a tumultuous sea and a few cyprus trees become black pyre burning into the night.

The grade 7s were presented with a still life. Their immediate reaction to this was dismay. They had done a number of still life pictures in the previous year and had not enjoyed them. When taken on a basic level, a still life picture is a boring things to draw. When looked at through the lens of Van Gogh’s style of expressing emotions through art, the still life becomes a vehicle for the learners to express themselves.

003The learners were given a lot of freedom in this task. They began with an elementary sketch in pencil so that they could place the objects and then filled it out with pencil. Though some of the learners found this task quite tough, many produced beautiful pieces that broke away from the simple arrangement that was placed before them.


Grade 7 – Self portrait Scraper board


This art was made by my beautiful grade 7s! The project began by an introduction to Dutch artist, Rembrandt Van Rijn, focusing on his Etchings. A small gallery here in Cape Town was hosting an exhibition of Rembrandt’s work earlier this year. Frank Joubert, an art school in Newland’s, Cape Town, was hosting a teacher workshop. In this focused on Rembrandt’s techniques in the drawing of a self portrait.

scraperboard_06The techniques we used were hatching and cross hatching that Rembrandt would often use for shading. I also mentioned the way that Rembrandt drew. the hairs so that they seemed to flow and move individually.


All of this preamble now done with, the learners could get down to the serious business. One lesson was spent on making the scraper boards themselves. Learners would fill a hard sheet of paper with white oil pastel. They would then use a roller, sponge or brush to cover this with ink (Acrylic paint works to I believe). The next lesson, mirrors were handed out allong with toothpicks and the learners began their artwork. The actual art making took far quicker then I had expected. Most of the learners were done before the end of one lesson.


They could do what they wanted in the background as long as it looked nice! This project was very successful, the only difficulty I had was the actual making of the scraper boards (a process which is a bit difficult to suitably control).  scraperboard_01  scraperboard_03 scraperboard_04