Wednesday, 21 March 2012

He's still alive!

For the first time in our Artist Study we learned about someone who is still alive and well -- David Hockney.  To me, Hockney is a very interesting artist, in the sense that people either love his work or hate them; there is no in-between.  I went to see his current exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts, which sparked my interest to introduce him to Tiger.

With Hockney being hailed as "Britain's Greatest Living Artist", I have been surprised that I could not find any book in the library with a generic introduction and/or biography about him that is made accessible to young children.  Hence, I used the information found on BBC-Your Paintings as an introduction, as well as the clips found here.

Since I had bought a few postcards and materials from my own visit to the exhibition, I used these as well, just to give Tiger a sense of the variety of genres that Hockney has worked in and to prepare him for the visit to the Royal Academy where he would see the scale of the actual work for himself.

Field Trip
We are fond of the Royal Academy of Arts.  All the staff here whom we have come into contact with so far have been very helpful and friendly, so it is not hard for us to be persuaded to attend another one of their family workshop tied specifically to the Hockney exhibition.

The format is the same as the previous Degas workshop that we attended.  It started with a 45-minute slide presentation about Hockney's life and work, the significant influences to his work, and his methodology.

Hockney in the Swinging 60s, when he was best known for his Pop Art.
Showing the scale of his latest work.
Looking at the 9 screens that show 9 different perspectives captured on 9 cameras.
The second part of the workshop was a 40-minute visit to the exhibition, guided by a friendly volunteer who shared with us her enthusiasm and knowledge of the major pieces of work on display.  I think it is important for Tiger to see actual pieces of art work, whenever possible, to see for himself the actual size of the work and how they are being done.  So far, the scale of Hockney's work in this particular exhibition is the largest that Tiger has actually seen in person.  There were also a few large-scale photocollage on display, which gave Tiger yet further ideas on the possibilities of manipulating visual images.

The final part of the workshop was another 45-minutes of hands-on activities, guided by instructions from the workshop leader.

The first activity was to work in charcoal to make landscape sketches in the style of Hockney.

The next activity was to use a combination of marker pens and chalk pastels to draw a landscape.  The twist to this simple exercise was that the workshop leader gave verbal 'instructions' in the form of a short poetry for the participants to follow and interpret in their own ways, using a variety of different marks.

The final exercise at the workshop was to create our own iPad paintings, as seen in the exhibition, by layering sheets of tracing paper on top of one another to create a multi-layered drawing.

Hockney is obviously a fan of iPad art, but I am not so sure about using the technology for anything more than quick sketches.  Then again, I tend to hold a more conservative view when it comes to art so make your own minds up about this.

Hands-on Project
After we got home, I asked Tiger what he found most interesting in the exhibition and he replied that he was fascinated by the photocollage he saw, specifically the Pearblossom Highway.  An image of this piece of work has been printed on the exhibition guide that I have, so we looked at it more closely to examine how it was done.

Once Tiger has understood the technique, I let him choose an image from the back issues of the National Geographic magazine we have.

Once he has decided on the image, he proceeded to cutting, arranging and gluing the various pieces.  This project took careful planning and execution so as not to mix the pieces up.

Tiger enjoyed putting the photocollage together.  It gave him a new way of looking at things.  He said looking at the collage made him feel dizzy:

This post is linked up to several blog hops, where you can visit to see what other homeschoolers have been busy with.  It is also linked to the Charlotte Mason Blog Carnival.


  1. The little one looks to be hard at it, concentrating and creating. Awesome.

  2. It is so wonderful how you are including so much art in his lessons. Thank you for sharing at Sharing Saturday! I hope you will share again this week with us!

  3. What a cool lesson! You always come up with the neatest ideas!! Thanks for linking up to TGIF!!See you tomorrow!
    Beth =-)

  4. A very thorough art lesson. Love it when those happen!


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