We envision an art studio where all colours and tools can be grown and harvested from our own backyard. We aim to train artists (creative individuals) who are not just competent in technique, but also practise Artmaking as a way of engaging with Nature. These are the desired outcomes for our classes:
1. Developing Observation Skills through Direct Interactions
Through our sessions, our kids learn to make observations, reflect, draw visual connections, and build a broad visual library that will come in handy as artists and as individuals who value Nature. Our kids also engage other senses, such as touch and smell, which we believe serve as sources of inspiration for artmaking.Classes will not only be about drawing. We might involve the kids in growing and maintaining the colour plants, and working with plant material to produce their own pigments. Coaches will give space for kids to explore materials on their own curiosities, while intervening at certain points to guide them in applying what they observe to their making process.
2. Resourcefulness with Natural Materials found around Us
We encourage our kids to find unexpected purposes for materials that are available to them. Through repurposing an object to fulfill different functions, they learn to “do-more-with-less”. An example of this would be to make differently-textured brushes with fallen branches. Nature is the best teacher for this because she provides a range of materials which are highly manipulable and open-ended in form and function. She holds an abundance of imaginative space for our kids to make something new out of something ordinary.
3. Boldness to Experiment, Fail, and Try it Differently
We hold a space where there is no-right-nor-wrong, good-or-bad in the outcome of one’s artworks, thereby encouraging experimentation, playful creation while learning new art techniques. Every artwork is meaningful as long as it invokes a sense of well-being and pride for the artist. Over time, we hope our kids will find more confidence in their artmaking process, and for those who are ready, begin the journey of developing their artistic styles.We limit the amount of commercial paints and tools in our sessions. As much as possible (while taking care to limit the impact of our sessions on the environment), we get our kids to source their own colour palettes and tools in the nature around them. The process of finding and utilizing new artmaking materials pushes our kids to be experimental, while also encouraging them to develop new techniques to work with new materials.
4. Growing Awareness of our Dependence on Nature’s Gifts
This has to be given time. To deepen our connection with Nature, we have to provide opportunities and spaces for direct interactions. We do not play the roles of observers looking behind a fence; we want to interact (sustainably) and work with our environment to create tools and materials needed (very much like how people who live close to Nature work with plants found in their spaces for basic sustenance). We are very much a part of this whole living ecosystem, and we are very much dependent on the resources that she provides for life.