This week in our holiday clubs we have been focusing on still life drawing, using both pencil and chalk pastel. We have quite an age range in these clubs (from 5 – 11) and so the challenge is always to come up with something accessible for the younger ones while also offering challenge to the older children. As a bit of an experiment, I decided to let them build their own still life composition rather than restricting them to one I had already set out for them. I took in a range of pumpkins and squashes of different shapes, sizes and colours, along with a selection of autumn leaves and conkers. I set them all out on a separate table and told the children that they could pick one out, take it to the table and draw it and then return it and select another. In this way they would gradually build up their own composition.
There are some downsides to this approach. For example, it is hard for them to compare the sizes of the objects if they only have one in front of them at a time. It is also a little tricky for them to think of the composition as whole as they are gradually adding to it. However, despite these issues, I found that working in this way really freed most of the children up and seemed to minimise the stress that some children can feel when presented with a complicated selection of objects. This method broke it down into much easier to handle chunks. Some children actually went to to create quite complex compositions. thinking about layering and creating depth. It seemed that, because they were selecting the objects themselves, they felt much more empowered to give it their best go.
The children were all very pleased with their results at the end of the two hours.