"Every child is an Artist"
Subject Leader: Mrs K Robinson
Art is one of the key modes of communication. On the simplest level, it allows children to make their mark and create representations of the world around them. As they continue through their studies they will see the way that great artists have challenged the way we see the world and learn how to develop their own style and viewpoint.
Art enriches the experience of studying while at school by encouraging self-expression and creativity. It builds confidence and can build as well as a sense of individual identity, helping pupils become creative, ambitious, and skilled.
Children will learn to think critically about how images and representations present the world. They will develop their ideas, evaluating and improving as they become more skilled and confident.
Children are inspired to aim higher in art through the careful use of model work. This includes work of the great artists, showing children some of the finest pieces of artwork produced throughout history, but also includes work by their peers.
Examples are shared across a range of abilities - including work of the very highest standard - so that all children can identify areas to develop in their work, regardless of their starting point and to build an appreciation of what makes an artwork successful.
To be creative is to be original and innovative –do this well, children need to build a body of knowledge and skills to help them understand the conventions and approaches of drawing and painting. Developing these skills builds confidence and helps them to understand the mechanics and rules of art – such as colour theory – so that they can stretch and challenge them creatively.
Our art projects are placed alongside other subject projects where there are opportunities for making meaningful connections. For example, our unit on botanical art is placed in the same teaching sequence as the science project Plant Nutrition and Reproduction.
We teach on a two-year cycle that sees two complementary units being delivered in each of Key Stage 1, Lower Key Stage 2, and Upper Key Stage 2. These can be experienced in either order. Each autumn term in Art from Year 1 up to Year 6 begins with a unit that combines a topic with explicit teaching of essential skills.
Key Stage 1 has a particular thematic focus on the self and the world around us.
Our essential skills focus in autumn in each cycle enables children to be introduced to and then revisit colour mixing and the colour wheel with plentiful opportunities for the children to explore primary and secondary colours and hues.
Cycle A begins with a unit on portrait painting in which children explore facial features while practicing key skills around colour mixing. They then progress to a project on light and landscape to complement their work in science on seasonal changes. The year ends with a move into cityscapes as we explore modern art and representations of cities.
Cycle B revisits these topic areas in different ways across the year. It starts with a project on still life that allows them to revisit colour theory. They will then progress into a topic around botanical art, developing on their learning in still life to include different media. They will then conclude the year with a focus on portraits and composition, complementing the work they will be doing in history that explores paintings and representations of monarchs.
In Lower Key Stage 2 children will broaden their understanding of different media and explore a wider range of art forms, artists and genres.
The skills unit in these years enables children to build on their previous understanding of colour and further develop their expertise by studying tertiary, analogous and complementary colours with many opportunities to explore warm and cool colours.
Cycle A begins with a skills focus on colour before introducing ceramics as they explore pottery making, including making references to their work on the stone age. In spring they will revisit the theme of cityscapes from Key Stage 1 but deepen this by looking at the relationship between people and place in the work of Lowry. Finally, they will end with a focus on botanical art through various media – including working in mosaic to support their learning in history about Roman culture.
Cycle B begins with a similar focus on colour theory, again developing from work in Key Stage 1, but does so through the medium of weaving. As they move into a focus on formation of landscape in geography, they will explore landscape painting. Finally, in the final term, they will support their work in RE by exploring the origins and traditions of Islamic art.
In Upper Key Stage 2 our projects become much more conceptual with deeper links to concepts such as the abstract, identity, and environmentalism.
Our skills focus moves to develop further expertise with colour by studying tints, shades and tones and more complex colour palettes.
Cycle A explores the use of colour in landscape, developing from the work on landscapes in Lower Key Stage 2. In spring they move onto a unit on sketching skills in which they will master more complex ways to show shading and texture but doing so with figurative and abstract stimuli. Finally, in the summer term, they will explore expressionism and mixed media to create art that explores portrait painting beyond the level introduced in previous years.
Cycle B begins with a recap of more complex colour theory but using modern art from BAME artists as a stimulus. They then move to a conceptual and environmental art unit that will ask them to create a mixed media piece that explores the concept of the environment and sustainability. They will end with a unit on abstract art.
Why do we sequence the curriculum in this way?
Pupils develop flair across six formal elements of art – line, tone, shape and form, colour, texture, and pattern – and apply these across projects in lower school that are designed to introduce the technical skills required as well as introduce them to the work of influential artists from across time and place.
Our projects also become more complex – not just through the techniques they learn but also through the depth of ideas and emotion they are asked to look for in their own art and the art of others. We also aim to showcase a wide range of art from across a wide variety of time periods.
Our teaching aims:
To improve the capability of all children in creating objects of art through the development of fine motor skills and experience with a range of materials. By developing skills in mark making - including line drawing, shading, and painting – pupils learn to become increasingly confident visual communicators. In addition to skills, there is a body of knowledge of techniques for children to recognise and apply, including types of perspective, cross-hatching, washes, colour theory as well as the use of proportion. We aim to provide all children with the knowledge and skills to experiment, invent and create their own works of art, craft and design.
Mastering practical skills. In order to accomplish this, the knowledge and skills needed to create art is mapped against projects that show these techniques in context. Consequently, children follow a carefully sequenced project pathway that starts with still life before developing work in sketching transparent objects and playing with light and perspective to create composition through landscape. They then move through to exploring surface texture (to live subjects in motion), colour theory and design, typography and portrait painting. They also look at the way figurative art is developed into abstract art, craft and design. In doing so they will learn to think critically and develop a more rigorous understanding of art and design.
To build an appreciation of great art. Children will explore art from different parts of the world and through time. This aspect enriches and develops the other two aspects of knowledge. In the first case, learning about key movements in art helps children to see how techniques in art have evolved and can be put to their best use – pointillist brushstrokes, for example, developing from impressionism. In the second case, projects are linked to both a modern and historic painter across a range of movements to show that an art of work can be created in a number of different ways to develop their creativity and unlock for them a lifelong appreciation of art. Children will understand how art and design both reflect and shape our history, and contribute to the culture, creativity and wealth of our nation.
All three aspects ultimately aim to help children develop their own style – standing “on the shoulders of giants” and becoming increasingly skilled– and encourage them to continue painting, drawing, and making as adults.
How families can support:
You may wish to take your child to one of the fabulous art galleries in the local area:
- York Art Gallery - A display of paintings and ceramics and a thriving events and exhibitions programme.
- Beningbrough Hall - Features over 100 paintings from the collection of the National Portrait Gallery.
- Yorkshire Sculpture Park - YSP is an international centre for modern and contemporary art. Explore 500 acres of 18th century landscape with over 60 sculptures in the open air by some of the world's finest artists, including Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, Andy Goldsworthy and Antony Gormley.
- The Henry Moore Institute - Located in Leeds, this institute is dedicated to the study of sculpture and displays a wide range of sculptural works, including pieces by the famous artist Henry Moore.
- The Hepworth Wakefield - Named after the renowned sculptor Barbara Hepworth, this gallery showcases contemporary and modern art. It also offers stunning views of the River Calder and Wakefield.
- Harewood House - This historic stately home near Leeds features an impressive art collection and hosts various art exhibitions and events throughout the year. The grounds and gardens are also worth exploring.
- The Stanley & Audrey Burton Gallery - Situated within the University of Leeds, this gallery houses an extensive collection of art, including works from Old Masters to contemporary pieces.
- Dean Clough Galleries - Located in Halifax, Dean Clough is a vibrant arts and business complex that houses several galleries showcasing contemporary art, photography, and more.
- The Tetley - Situated in the heart of Leeds, this contemporary art space hosts a rotating program of exhibitions, events, and workshops, as well as a pleasant café and bar area.
- The Cooper Gallery - Located in Barnsley, this gallery offers a diverse range of contemporary art exhibitions and also houses a collection of historic works.
- Leeds Art Gallery - Home to a remarkable collection of 19th and 20th-century art, including works by celebrated artists like Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, and J.M.W. Turner.
- Scarborough Art Gallery - Situated in a beautiful historic building, this gallery features an impressive collection of fine art, including paintings, drawings, and ceramics.
- Mercer Art Gallery, Harrogate - Along with its extensive 19th and 20th-century art collection, the Mercer Art Gallery also hosts temporary exhibitions and art-related events.
In addition, the following books are helpful for inspiring young artists:
"Katie and the Starry Night" by James Mayhew
Age Guide: 4-7
This book takes young readers on a magical journey into the world of Vincent van Gogh's "Starry Night" through the adventures of a young girl named Katie.
"The Noisy Paint Box: The Colors and Sounds of Kandinsky's Abstract Art" by Barb Rosenstock, illustrated by Mary GrandPré
Age Guide: 6-9
This book tells the story of the famous abstract artist Wassily Kandinsky and how he used music to inspire his colorful, abstract paintings.
"The Dot" by Peter H. Reynolds
Age Guide: 5-8
A story about a young girl who discovers the joy of art through a simple dot, encouraging creativity and self-expression.
"Seen Art?" by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
Age Guide: 6-9
Follow a young boy's humorous and imaginative journey through an art museum as he interacts with famous works of art in unexpected ways.
"Henri's Scissors" by Jeanette Winter
Age Guide: 7-10
This book explores the life of artist Henri Matisse and how he continued to create beautiful art even when he could no longer paint by using scissors and colored paper.
"A Splash of Red: The Life and Art of Horace Pippin" by Jen Bryant, illustrated by Melissa Sweet
Age Guide: 7-10
This book tells the inspiring story of African American artist Horace Pippin, who overcame adversity to create vibrant and unique artwork.
"Camille and the Sunflowers" by Laurence Anholt
Age Guide: 5-8
Join young Camille as she meets the famous artist Vincent van Gogh and learns about his life and the sunflower paintings.
"Sandy's Circus: A Story About Alexander Calder" by Tanya Lee Stone, illustrated by Boris Kulikov
Age Guide: 7-10
Explore the fascinating world of Alexander Calder, the artist who invented the mobile, in this engaging biography.
"The Iridescence of Birds: A Book About Henri Matisse" by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper
Age Guide: 6-9
A beautifully illustrated book that introduces young readers to the early life of Henri Matisse and the inspiration behind his art.
"Sister Wendy's 1000 Masterpieces" by Sister Wendy Beckett
Age Guide: 8 and up
For older primary school children, this book offers a curated collection of classic artworks along with insightful commentary from art historian Sister Wendy Beckett.