Driving to Hereford yesterday in the sunshine, with a sandwich lunch by the side of a green, green field of barley. Why does the most ordinary food taste so much better in the fresh air?
It was also my WI meeting last night and possibly the one evening of the year when we don’t need to put on the village hall heating! We’d invited the head of art from our local comprehensive school to come and talk about his work and looked forward to getting an inside view of what goes on there behind the fence.
He spoke with genuine passion for his subject and it was clear that this young man had a real talent for bringing out the best in his pupils. He’d brought sketchbooks and other examples of work done by youngsters at different stages of their learning and passed them round for us to see the widely differing interpretations of the challenges he’d set. Then, having brought his talk to a close, he produced some large sheets of paper, some graphite sticks and a few inspirational images before inviting us to take up the Year 6 challenge to draw.
Were we up for it? You bet!
The inspiration was the work of Joan Miro and in particular, the drawings which represented birds. The particular features were pointed out to us, including the interconnected shapes, the checkerboard patterns and the smooth curves. We were encouraged to work large, to be confident and to have fun.
We needed no encouragement. Even the most reluctant artist amongst us was happy to get her hands dirty and add her “bird” to the collective work in progress.
I’m sure it was no coincidence that we all lingered longer than usual afterwards, chatting over a glass of wine, discussing our own art education and rather wishing we’d had similarly enlightened teaching during our schooldays. One thing was sure – spending ten or fifteen minutes with a chunky graphite stick and a large sheet of paper brought a smile to everyone’s face.
All the more reason to support this, then.