Saturday, 30 April 2016

Art Gallery of NSW

Hi everybody! How ya goin’?

Two weeks ago we joined the Art Gallery of NSW (AGNSW) as members. So today I’m going to let you know what it’s like. Even if you’ve been there before, there’s lots more to discover all the time.
I’m writing this today from the Gallery itself.
To get here we got on a train to Sydney and walked over from St James station.  It’s worth the trip when we walk because when we get to the members’ lounge we get free hot chocolate! We go for the art but hot chocolate is a bonus!
I really like the lounge because there are activities for kids like books and colouring-in pages. There’s also a library of books on art that you can read. I also like it because there’s a lot of people around and a little cafe (I had a scone this morning and it was really good)
Near the main desk at the entrance there’s usually craft making, it takes about 20 to 25 minutes.  This is probably best for younger kids like 3 to 6 year olds. I liked making a dragon out of a paper plate last week but it was a bit too young for me. Today we made a mask.
Then we joined a tour guide who took us around part of the Biennale of Sydney called The Embassy of Spirits.  Our tour guide was very good and very funny. But he was also very respectful of the artworks and he explained them very well. My favourite was a mechanical shark which was inspired by headpieces that people wear in the Torres Strait Islands. It was modern and original and between two different times. 

And I also liked a work with two layers of mud covering the walls of a big room, one which sticks and one which falls off and it will change each time you back to see it as the bits fall off. I felt it was like being in a big empty space with no one else around. The tour guide suggested that was what it was like in the north of Australia or in the outback.
Well, I’m just going to get another hot chocolate now and then go in to see the Art Express exhibition. Art Express is artworks by high school students. 

If you’re an art lover like me I think you would like this gallery. I suggest you come therefor a visit, S

Tuesday, 19 April 2016

Stylin' with manga

Hello artists of the world, I hope everyone in Australia is having a great school holidays!

Last Monday I went to a manga class taught by Matt Lin. I was really nervous at first because I’d never drawn manga before.
Manga is a style of Japanese comics. Manga actually means 'comic sketches' in Japanese.
You would know the style if you have seen Astro Boy or Kimba the White Lion. One of my favourite animated series is Avatar: the Last Airbender and I also watch K-On!

Before I went to Matt’s class I had a go at drawing manga from a book. It was ok but I like Matt’s way of drawing characters because he uses shapes. For example, in the book they say to draw a line skeleton to show where the hips, shoulders, head, arms and legs go and then draw the body around it. Then, draw the clothes over that and rub out the in-between lines of the body. It was a bit too complicated for me but I can see why it would be a good way to draw action figures because the angles of the hips and shoulders always change as we move. 
My first go at drawing manga (from a book)
But with Matt’s type you start with a shape (like a circle) and then put other shapes behind and in front (like triangles for the legs) and then rub out the lines in between. 
Before we got onto the human characters we started with some cool and wacky monsters. Have a look at my very first character from the class. See how I drew the circle for the start and added triangles for the legs? Then I added details like facial expression, a spiky tail, and stripy horns.
My first manga monster

A page of manga monsters
Then we moved to human faces and positions. First we learned how to draw a child’s head. We started with a shape which looks like this
We added ears with details
Then we did the face. First we drew the eyes and the eyebrows. It depends on the emotion where you draw the eyes.  If your character is bored then the eyes are in line with the ears but for happy then the eyes are just above the ears. 
Next is the nose and the mouth. Draw a curvy smile shape then draw a semi circle hanging down from the smile shape and finally a little semi circle inside to show the tongue and colour inside.
Add hair or a headband.

Add colour if you want to.

Above is a ninja that Matt taught to us. I’m not going to show you how to do it because you should all book into one of Matt’s workshops. He’s a really good teacher. Or have a go at following a book on how-to-draw. 

Catch ya next week, S.

Monday, 11 April 2016

Interview with Britta Stenmanns

I’m excited today to bring you an interview with the winner of the Wingecarribee Landscape Prize 2016 Britta Stenmanns. Here is a picture of her winning work called Plein air paint & camp.
Plain air paint & camp by Britta Stenmanns

Britta kindly agreed to answer some questions I sent her via email. If you are a kid then you might need some help from someone older with some of the words if they are new to you.

I like these answers because they come from an artist’s heart. Britta says to be strong and independent and to do what you think in art is the best. But also try to learn other techniques.

I hope you enjoy my interview with Britta Stenmanns.

Siobhan: What advice would you give a 9 year old who wants to be an artist?

Britta: Observe and learn to look properly at everything- really look- your perception (how you look and how you see things) is entirely your own and unique. And the way you use this observation as well , the way you draw a line is entirely unique and your own , like your signature of your name will be. When you want to draw paint or do anything creative you should just enjoy the process (the doing so) . Don’t ever listen to people if they say: but this isn’t how you draw an eye or figure, if you want to draw it your own way, do so!

Except if you want to learn how the other artists over the centuries have been doing things and to learn from their technique and build on this knowledge and your little discoveries you will make . Never because someone says so. Its always good to look at other artists’ work and try to imagine how they felt in certain situations and why they did what they did in certain conditions. How they expressed themselves.

S: How do you motivate yourself to keep working at your projects?

B: I don’t have to motivate myself too much, of course everybody has bad days, but in general there is a drive there of getting going or wanting to finish a  project or artwork and to want to get to the bottom of an idea. Without really knowing it, it fills me with something worthwhile.

S: What does it mean to be an artist to you?

B: It means a lot to me ! It has been and is my life and got me through everything, as it extends into everything I do, my daily life, my children, my garden, my traveling, my caring for others...It means I have an incredible freedom, but where I am sometimes my worst self’s enemy as well.

S: Do you send messages through your art?

B: It often seems that it is important to me even if it might be not that obvious at first sight.

S: Are you proud of your work?

B: Well , I never asked myself this, all I know is this, I try to be as honest and authentic in my work practise as I can be. Being proud might be a good thing, but I never learned to be proud, it would feel weird...

I hope you enjoyed my interview with Britta Stenmanns. Next time I'll be showing you and teaching you some Manga drawings I learned yesterday from Matthew Lin.

See ya next time, S.

Thursday, 7 April 2016

Review of Wingecarribee Landscape Prize 2016

Greetings fellow art folk, today I’m going to do a review of the WINGECARRIBEE LANDSCAPE PRIZE. 
I went there last Friday because my mum entered this painting below. She worked really hard on it and I’m really proud of her.
Mum's painting
The painting I like the best is Farming Country by Helen Cameron. I like it because of the shading and it looks 3D.
Farming Country, Helen Cameron (detail)
I also like Giverney in Autumn by Margaret Debenham. I like the reflections and how plants and things are growing in the lake.
Giverney in Autumn, Margaret Debanham (detail)
Finally, I really like Urban Landscape - Bo Kaap by Sue Meredith. I didn’t know that the top of buildings could be a landscape. It made me think differently about landscape. At the opening of the exhibition I said to mum that I would buy this painting if I could.
Urban Landscape - Bo Kaap, Sue Meredith (detail)
Even though none of these works won first prize they still inspired me to do more art. And I hope they inspire you too.
Next week I'll post an interview with the winner of the Landscape Prize, Britta Stenmanns. I asked her about being an artist and she's given me some great answers.

See you next time, S.