Art comes naturally for students

Analysing established art a challenge

LUCY TOWNEND
Last updated 07:46 08/08/2014
art
DAVID UNWIN/FAIRFAX NZ
Au naturel: Carncot School students, from left, Emily MacKay, 12, Julia Hopkins, 11, and Emma Bedford, 10, spent two terms reproducing a range of artists’ work, including a masterclass with Manawatu landscape painter Vonnie Sterritt.

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A Palmerston North primary school's pupils have taken an au naturel approach in channelling professional artists' creativity.

Carncot School is showcasing students' carefully crafted artworks in its Nature's Masterpiece exhibition this month.

The senior students spent two terms studying four artists' work - Andy Goldsworthy, Elizabeth Thomson Karl Maughan, and Vonnie Sterritt.

The artists are known for their nature-inspired pieces.

Students pored over the artists' work to get a sense of their styles and then set about creating similar pieces themselves.

Manawatu landscape painter Sterritt gave them a helping hand by running masterclasses with students. Sterritt helped students draw and paint individual flowers to recreate a mural-styled version of work done by Maughan, a New Zealand artist known for his hyper-real paintings of native flora and fauna.

Students also produced sculptures akin to Goldsworthy's work - a Scottish sculptor who uses materials like sticks, stones and leaves - and pieces modelled on Thomson's work - a Kiwi artist who creates oil-painted bronze leaves and arranges them in intricate patterns.

Sterritt also let students in on the secrets to creating her own paintings. "It was really good to see some of the techniques that she used to make them look good," said year 8 student Emily MacKay, 12. "She made it look so easy."

Carncot's art specialist Vicki Sinclair said analysing established artists' work challenged students.

"[It's] pushing them through to the secondary school side of things, doing artist studies, it's a taste of what they need for when they get to high school and they've been able to do that at an earlier age, which has been great."

Students tried designing, drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking and photography. "It's giving them a chance to play around with different materials and art styles," she said.

The exhibition was designed to highlight students' efforts. "It's about putting the artwork out there, saying, ‘hey, they've done a really lovely job' and it's nice for people to see that."

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- Manawatu Standard

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