Sculptor Erin Dickson and painter George Shaw both make work about ordinary landscapes that have meaning for them. These ordinary places are views normally overlooked or taken for granted such as back lanes, derelict buildings, old garages. Why should we be bothered about views that are unremarkable? Should artists just make work about beautiful sunsets or pretty countryside? Find out more about these artists and make work inspired by ordinary views that you see everyday.
Key Stage:KS2,3&4 Art and Design
Overview:A lesson plan inspired by the work of sculptor Erin Dickson and painter George Shaw
This lesson can be used:
-to develop drawing skills and use of sketchbooks to develop ideas
-to produce creative work, exploring their ideas
-evaluate and analyse creative works
Erin Dickson makes work in glass. The window series of sculptures depict houses in which the artist has lived in Sunderland and South Shields. The views are all very similar of ordinary back lanes or urban streets. You can find out more about her and her work by watching this film.
George Shaw is a painter perhaps most famous for his depictions of the area of Coventry where he grew up. Unusually these paintings are made not with oil paint but with the type of paint used for painting model aeroplanes.
You can find out more about him and his work by watching this film made in 2011 when he was nominated for the Turner prize.
Both artists take a realistic approach to depicting the landscapes they live or grew up in. Dickson uses digital images to make her sculptures and painter George Shaw works from photographs. Both artists choose views that are unremarkable, back alleys, bus stops, garages the kind of views we take for granted. They choose to show the views without any people.
The approach both artists take is very personal to them. Try applying the same rules to yourself. Firstly take a look at the views around you, out your window, on the journey to school and back or very close to where you live. Look for unremarkable views that you know well and mean something to you but maybe very few other people. Photograph these views.
Classroom Activity cont
Now choose the best image to develop into a piece of work. The best image maybe the one that means most to you or just stands out as your favourite. You are certainly not looking for the prettiest image or any colourful sunsets. You could try applying some filters to your image using a photo editing tool to help you choose and then print. Working from the photograph now quickly sketch the view in your sketchbook and write notes about how you might develop the image into a drawing, painting, sculpture, collage or print.
Classroom Activity cont
Finally develop your image into whatever medium you feels most comfortable with. This could be a coloured pencil drawing, an acrylic or oil painting, a clay sculpture, a collage of old magazines or a simple print like we have done. The choice of the view and the choice of the way of depicting it are up to you. When it is finished go back to your sketchbook and write notes as to how it could have been better.