Week One

It’s Week One of our #ArtyBeginnings journey, a collaboration with Leeds Art Gallery’s Amanda Phillips to take our Dragonflies and Grasshoppers children on a journey of exploration, discovery and interaction whilst developing language related to art, creative and critical thinking skills, dexterity and confidence!

This week is all about introducing our painting – the colourful ‘Helios’ (1990) by Turner Prize nominated artist Gillian Ayres – to the Grasshoppers and Dragonflies children and inviting them to familiarise themselves with it. We displayed copies of the painting throughout the rooms, and the Grasshoppers children were particularly enthusiastic for it to be displayed in the window so the light would shine through it.

When asked “what can you see?”, we had lots of varied responses. They saw rainbows, waterfalls, clouds, bridges, sunshine, lots of bright colours, and even a lion!

After being introduced to the painting, the children were invited to produce their own versions using a variety of different materials. Grasshoppers were given pieces of A3 paper and wax crayons, but they were asked what colours they thought they might like to use rather than being given a broad selection. Dragonflies were also given A3 pieces of paper, but were given the choice of coloured pencils, pens, crayons and chalk. Inspired by ‘Helios’, their final pieces depicted bright, colourful lines and abstract shapes and have been proudly displayed underneath the original artwork in the rooms!

We will continue to familiarise ourselves with ‘Helios’ throughout the week, but we would also love to hear from our parents.

How can you help?

Take a look at ‘Helios’ for yourselves and consider the following: what does the picture evoke for you? What can you see, feel etc.? Encourage your child to share their own thoughts about the picture. Your child might be more confident in speaking at home with you. Whilst looking at the picture allow your child time to think and ask open ended questions, for example: ‘what can you see in the picture?’, ‘what do you like / dislike about the picture?’

We would love for you to share your child’s comments as well as your own thoughts on the piece! You can email [email protected] under the subject ‘Arty Beginnings’.

Photo credit: Leeds Museums and Galleries © the artist’s estate.