Dragons Today Winter 2013-14 - page 4

i S S U e N O . 8
Artistic Dragons
Art at prep school is as diverse as it is colourful. At the Dragon, pupils
encounter a wealth of media and techniques through a programme which
inspires their creative development. Head of Art Luke Osmond explains the
range and rationale of Dragon Art.
What does art at the Dragon prep
school cover?
A vast amount! From weaving to watercolour,
papier mache to painting, cardboard sculpture
to clay work. We want children to encounter as
many different skills and materials as possible,
and make links with historic or contemporary
artistic practices. For example, Year 7’s ‘Books’
theme introduced them to artist Daniel Lai
who uses old reading books and clay figures to
make his art; children made their own work
inspired by his pieces. In a recent Year
5 portrait project pupils studied and
talked about Julian Opie and David
Hockney. In the Art Department
we think the experience of creating
work in response to an artist
enables the children to learn
about their work.
What has changed since
parents were at school?
At the core, not a huge amount: we
seek inspiration from art and craft, we
use traditional processes and techniques.
A big difference is the freedom to explore,
and the vast range of artistic work that pupils
see. We use printouts and books, show video
on the whiteboard and can introduce a new
image at the click of a mouse. We adapt,
adopt and embrace new technologies - digital
photography, laser cutting, photocopying,
computers – but the pencil is still fundamental
to every art lesson. The department has yet to
get an iPad, and its exact use in our context
is still being debated; nothing can replace
the sheer delight in discovery and sense of
achievement which comes from physically
mixing paint or carefully forming a shape out
of clay or cardboard.
How does the art curriculum grow
with the child?
Through their prep years at the Dragon the
children’s work builds on the wonderfully
diverse work at the Pre-prep,
Lynams. Gradually increasing in
complexity and sophistication,
the projects and tasks set by
the art teachers are designed to
stimulate children of varying
ability. The staff feel incredibly
lucky to have the freedom to teach
the subject they love and impart a
passion for art to the pupils.
We aim to give each class an
opportunity to work with clay,
sculpture and printmaking at some
point in the year, as well as to use
more everyday materials like pencils, paints
and collage. Year 4 art starts with Colour and
Texture before moving on to The Rainforest
or The Greeks (topics linked to the wider
curriculum). Portraiture, Water and Animals
are themes for Year 5 and by Year 6 we are
considering Landscape, Still Life or The Figure.
Art in the Upper School is project-based; the
children cover four different eight-week units
with different teachers including one extended
Design Technology workshop. The themes by
Year 7 are Architecture, Culture, Books and
Graphics; by Year 8 Dragon artists are ready for
Natural Form, The Figure, Mechanical Form
and Issue Based Art.
Where does art happen at the Dragon?
We are incredibly fortunate to have wonderfully
resourced facilities - a specialist clay room with
three pottery wheels and a large electric kiln
to fire the children’s creations. The other two
spacious, light filled and well-equipped painting
studios help to nurture the children’s interests.
We also have some lovely areas in the
grounds for working ‘en plein air’ when the
weather permits.
Inspirational art trips range from sculpture
parks and galleries for the younger children, to
the annual Upper School Artists visit to St Ives.
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