Art at Brooklands gives pupils a good foundation in year 5 to be able to truly reach their full potential as artists in the following years.
Mastery of the important basics such as colour theory, mark making to create texture, form and shape is vital to give students the confidence to express themselves artistically. Through exploring the basics they will improve their understanding of how to use a variety of different media and they will explore a wide selection of both classical and modern artists.
To keep the subject interesting and challenging for all abilities, there are opportunities to work with 3D modelling, textiles, clay and printing within every project. This gives students a broader understanding of where Art can take them in the future.
During year 6 we are working on self-portraits, learning about proportions and increasing the ability to use shading to create shape and form. We also work on a project called Shadow and Light, where skills such as using scalpels and using silhouettes are being explored. This year, due to Covid 19 and lock down we will also revisit the Colour Theory project in year 6 as some students missed out on that last year.
As cultural learning is of huge importance to us, we look at other areas of the Arts within our curriculum, film, theatre, music and dance are areas we explore and we aim to organise trips to visit establishments where our pupils can experience the performing arts. Last year we attended the Royal Ballet and saw Coppelia and we also went to the Primary Proms at Royal Albert Hall.
In year 7 we develop the observational drawing techniques in our Still Life Project; we also look at Mexican Arts and learn about Mexico’s fascinating history and culture. In Year 7 we also work on our Beautiful Bug project where we explore texture and ways of working with 3D modelling.
In all of our projects there will be cross curricular links which will embed and enhance the learning. There are also plenty of opportunities to revisit skills previously learnt to make sure pupils will get a deeper understanding of the tools and techniques we use. We in-cooperate literacy and numeracy opportunities throughout our projects and it is vital that our pupils develop a subject specific vocabulary.
In the final year we work on three different projects, Perspective Drawing, Buildings and Architecture and Identity. These projects are more demanding but also have more scope for pupils own interpretation and creative ideas. We aim to improve technical drawing skills and to develop critical thinking and creative problem solving.
We also offer an Art Option for Year 8 pupils. In this option we explore Arts and Craft techniques in depth.
What Art Mastery looks like
We have very high expectations of our students in Art at Brooklands. We have a clear objective for how students are to develop, grow and gain skills and confidence using a wide variety of techniques and materials.
No one can become a master without knowing the basics so for the first 2 years we are making sure that we cover all the basics and giving students a chance to revisit them on a regular basis to embed and enhance their skill and knowledge.
What are the basics?
Here is what we have identified as the building blocks of Art. These are the fundamental basics that underpin and strengthen creativity.
- Media: We teach pupils explicitly in the use of pencil, charcoal, chalk, pen, paint, oil pastel and printing. We show them exactly how to hold the media, when and how to apply pressure, and how to achieve various effects.
- Shape: Pupils learn exactly how to draw different shapes. I model this on the visualiser and pupils copy before recreating their own shapes.
- Shading: At the very beginning of year 5, pupils learn how to shade using pencil. They are drilled in the ‘tonal ladder’, regularly practising shading to varying degrees.
- Colour: Pupils need to understand how colours relate to each other and how they are created from the primary colours up. We spend time securing this knowledge at the start of year 5.
How to embed the basics
- Revisiting: Pupils constantly re-visit each media, every half term, every year, so skills and techniques are practised over and over again.
- Interleaving: Media and techniques are carefully sequenced and interleaved to ensure pupils are able to use them both in a variety of contexts. Basic skills such as shading are used continually throughout the majority of units to secure them.
- Speed: We don’t rush through units. Mastery takes time. It’s better to spend a long time embedding the fundamentals before racing on to more complex skills.
Mindset: We truly believe that everybody can be good at and enjoy Art. We have a very skilled team of teachers with specialist knowledge and experience from a wide creative and cultural background who constantly improve and develop new strategies for keeping Art current and interesting for all students.
Whilst it is the case that some are more naturally attuned to the artistic world than others, all pupils can learn how to draw and paint if they are taught. We do not believe that asking pupils who struggle to ‘have a go’ or ‘just try’ is a good strategy. Instead, we plan for purposeful, motivating art lessons that build incrementally on each other until pupils have internalised the fundamentals. From there, pupils are able to develop their skills and produce fantastic pieces of work.