Wednesday, 11 March 2015

A Brush With Colours

Recently we went to The Wallace Collection to take part in a Rubens-inspired, All Things Light and Beautiful: Colour and Painting Workshop.

The workshop started with a gallery session where the guide introduced the children to two of Rubens' paintings while discussing the artist's use of primary and secondary colours to depict light and darkness in the paintings.

The children were then asked to make a sketch of the Rubens paintings for ideas that they might want to use back in the art studio to create their own landscape paintings based on the principles they have learnt in the morning, of:
  • primary and secondary colours;
  • complementary colours; and
  • warm and cool colours.

The afternoon session of the workshop started with the a discussion of how artists in the 17th century would have had to find ways to create the colours they wanted either by grinding up natural materials such as earth and beetles, or through mixing primary colours to create secondary colours.

The children then had a chance to apply what they have learnt to create their very own Rubens-inspired, colourful landscape masterpiece.

We came home and learnt a little bit more about Peter Paul Rubens by ourselves by looking at a few prints.

I then looked around and found that the Royal Academy of Arts is currently holding an exhibition  that showcases Rubens' works alongside those of other famous artists (such as van Dyck, Cezanne, Turner) whose works and styles were influenced by him.

So off we went to see the Rubens and His Legacy exhibition.

After going round the exhibition, we took part in a workshop where we first looked at how Rubens positioned his subjects in The Lion Hunt, then we were to use pastels to quickly sketch the positions in two minutes.  The exercise was to give us a taste of the thoughts that an artist would have gone into in the compositional phase.

Following that, we were given copies of contemporary photographs as well as Rubens' paintings to make our own collage.  We were given time to position the photographs on a black sheet of paper before using pastels to enhance our composition.  Once we were happy with our collages, we were to use charcoal to draw our compositions out.

Here are our results.  Tiger drew his composition based on his collage.

I was happy enough with my collage to stop there and then.

**Update on June 27th, 2016:
I was contacted by Artsy, a website that collates artists' bio, high quality pictures of of the artists' works, exclusive articles, and up-to-date exhibition listings around the world.  As this is a Rubens blog post, I am linking to the Rubens page where you can learn more about the artist. The page even includes related artist & category tags, plus suggested contemporary artists.  Well worth a visit!

This post is linked up to:
  1. Hip Homeschool Hop - 3/10/15
  2. Finishing Strong - Homeschooling the Middle & High School Years Week 46
  3. The Virtual Refrigerator
  4. Collage Friday: Faces of American History
  5. Weekly Wrap-Up: The one with the learner's permit!
  6. My Week in Review #28


  1. Oh, what a wonderful study Hwee! This just includes everything wonderful which could be included! I would just love to be able to do all the trips you and Tiger do together. They must bring the learning to life for him. I love your collages and Tiger's end drawing. A really, really good study. LOVE IT!!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouraging comment, Claire. :-) I think we've been very lucky to have access to all these wonderful exhibitions in London and having homeschooling groups that are very active in organising various workshops. We did not plan on studying Rubens but the opportunities presented themselves so we took it. I love the flexibility that homeschooling provides!

  2. I love how much art you two are doing recently. It is a real credit to you how you're showing Tiger art in its real world context, so bringing art to life and into his.

    1. Thanks, Lucinda. We are indeed doing a lot of drawing and art-related things lately. It helps that I enjoy art and find it very relaxing, compared to the other more intellectual/academic aspects of homeschooling. I do wonder whether we have been a little *too* relaxed lately though.... :-)

    2. I like to take a long term view - there's a season for everything :-)

    3. So true! We are certainly enjoying this season of being relaxed so that's got to be a positive thing. I'm sure there'll come a time when I shall start to panic about exams and qualifications, but meanwhile we are very happy to just learn as we go. :-)

  3. Love how you made art come alive with the field trip and project. I'm dropping in from Weekly Wrap Up.

  4. How bizarre we were at the RA yesterday and did the free tour. It was after a trip to the RI so we didn't have enough time to do the Rubens exhibition but would have loved to, I bet it was great.

    1. What a coincidence! :-) The exhibition is very good (as it is usual for the RA), and since it is coming to an end, it not overly crowded when we were there so we had a good look at all the paintings.

      I read your post about your visit to the RI. It sounds like a very interesting lecture!

  5. What a wonderful art lesson. I love going to art museums and giving the children the chance to see the real thing.
    blessings Dawn

    1. Thanks, Dawn. :-) You're right. There's nothing like seeing the actual pieces for ourselves since seeing the actual scale of the paintings really do make a difference in our ability to appreciate the art.

  6. I'm just dropping by from Weekly Wrap up. The way you are teaching art is amazing.

    1. Thank you very much for your kind comment! :-) I'm very lucky to have access to museums and art galleries that have helped to support my son's learning. :-)


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