Welcome to Art Term 2, 2021

There was much outdoor creative activity with the commencement of Term 2, 2021. The Prep and Year 1/2 students all thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to be outside and actively participate in an art class in the fresh air during our Autumn season.

The Prep students hunted for Autumn leaves that they could use to create leaf rubbings. Autumn is a wonderful season to look at the changing colours of the leaves and collect a variety of different patterned and shaped leaves that may fall on the ground.

The leaves were then used to create an array of colourful leaf rubbings using pastels. They were fascinated by with the patterns and lines that were revealed when the pastel was rubbed over the paper which was positioned on top of a selection of 1 to 5 leaves. The leaf rubbings will be used later as part of their mixed media artwork.

The Year 1/2 classes’ creativity also flourished outside when they got to express their ideas using chalk on the grounds around the school. Before they began their own street art throughout the Ripponlea playground we discussed the experience of seeing many hopeful messages and drawings on the sidewalks throughout Melbourne in 2020. The students then created their own hopeful messages and images. The playground was filled with chalk drawings of rainbows, trees, clouds, bunnies, people, extraordinary creatures and positive words such as happy and keep smiling. The students especially enjoyed being in the fresh air when there were blue skies and the sun was high in the sky.

Let’s keep continue to express our joy and positivity through art.


First week in isolation

Greetings from BALI! WHAT A WEEK! Managed to travel to Bali via my lounge room to soak up some sun. It’s warm and I’m feeling very relaxed…The resemblance to my living room is uncanny! 


Sadly, this doesn’t come to you from Bali – I managed to have a play with an app called DoInk. It’s super fun and very funny. I have an aqua coloured yoga mat I used to create my “green screen.” I’m just a beginner but the possibilities of this app are endless. I wonder where I will travel to tomorrow???

Anyway…Talk about Groundhog Day. One week done in isolation and how many to go. On the positive side, I have been trying to involved myself with lots of creative projects, many I’m posting on Instagram @misskeystoneartroom

Below are some images of what I got up to last week in my art room, (AKA- my kitchen table).









On a walk to Edinburgh Gardens, I collect some interesting leaves. I created shadows of using the spotlight/torch on my iPhone and traced the shadows onto white paper which gave me some beautiful organic shapes. Using my newly purchased Posca Pens – I coloured in these shapes.










I think I will continue playing with this technique. You don’t need any fancy equipment just a way to create shadows. Windows work really well. Use sticky tape to attach the leaves etc, then shine a light through the glass and off you go!

Other things I have done this week are some mono printing again just with black acrylic paint. Mono prints are a great surface to draw on or the paper can be used for collaging. I drew on mine with oil pastels but I’m should colour pencil or crayons would work.

If you have poster paint or acrylic paint at home smear it onto a flat washable surface (or even stick some plastic contact to a piece of cardboard or a flat surface or a laminated piece of paper that you can wash). Use anything to mark the surface – forks, bamboo skewers, a blunt pencil, then place a piece of paper on the back and rub it all over to transfer the print to the paper and VOLA!













And finally, my favourite on-going activity so far is Data Drawing in Isolation. Last week I collected some data about my daily routines and activities and then from this data on Sunday night I made a drawing! I’m doing it again this week so stay tuned to see what I get up to this week. Notice how each activity has a symbol associated with it. Unintentionally, my drawing looks a bit like a Miro inspired painting!









I’ve received so much joy on my email from families and students doing creative things at home. I love this idea of drawing with nature. It’s  created with things collected in the garden! I’m going to try that this week.

Better go and order myself a fresh coconut and head back to the pool in Bali (AKA as my lounge room). Until next time remember: A Smile Can Be Felt From 1.5 metres Away.



Things are a bit weird right now


Indeed we are currently facing a very strange time. Research suggests that art and creativity are essential during times of stress and uncertainty. They have the power to bring us back to the present moment as well as offer certainty at times of uncertainty. Art and creativity have the power to make us feel good. Exercising our creativity can give us an outlet from our daily routines, helping us express emotions and boost our happiness levels.

Frida Kahlo is a wonderful example of the healing qualities of art: “I am not sick. I am broken. But I am happy as long as I can paint.” Throughout her life it was her artistic practice that allowed her to continue living. She healed through her art.

At the moment, my artistic practice is keeping me sane. I am practicing in some form everyday – see photos below. It’s helping to focus my attention on what is important right now and moves me away from news, social media and a feeling of isolation. I recommend dedicating half an hour to a whole hour of creative practice.



Not sure where to start with your art and creative practice? See the resources below. Be sure to share your creative adventures.




Young artists at work

The last few weeks in art have been focused on establishing routines and creative practices, in addition to studying some new artists. In line with the year 1&2s inquiry, students are completing a study on local artist Howard Arkley, investigating his iconic interpretation of suburban life in Melbourne. His vibrantly coloured ‘cartoon-ish’ style air brushed artworks are proving to be very inspiring to student’s own art making. Below is Jamie in 1/2D working on his Howard Arkley inspired Flinders Street Station painting as well as Jasmine’s plan for her masterpiece.



You may have noticed some ants have appeared on the door of the art room and an unusual looking clock. Well, the Year 3&4s are delving into the intricate mind of Spanish surrealist Salvador Dali. We have had some incredible discussions so far about Dali’s work and will use The Elephants (1948) to begin creating our own surrealist style water colour artwork. I was fortunate to travel to Dali’s museum and house when I was in Barcelona a few years ago. It took my understanding and appreciation of Dali to a whole new level. I’m loving the surreal drawings that are developing in the art classes this week!

The year 5&6s never cease to amaze me with their remarkable approach to artistic and creative practice. We have looked to Mysterious Al as inspiration for a ceramic mask making project, investigating his approach to the subject matter. I was so impressed with this work that I reached out to Mysterious Al via social media and he wrote to the year 5&6 students and reposted some of the works on his Instagram stating:

“BIG UP to the year 5&6 at Ripponlea Primary School for these banging artworks! One of my absolute favourite things about making art is when it inspires others to make it too…”

Thanks Mysterious Al for the wonderful feedback to the students! It’s nice to be recognised by the community in support for art and creativity. Keep up the great work student artists!

Finally, during the holidays I saw some incredible exhibitions including of course the Jean-Michel Basquiat and Keith Haring at NGV (actually I’ve now seen it twice), a fantastic exhibition from contemporary sculptor, Cornelia Parker, I visited the White Rabbit Gallery in Sydney, the Japan Super Natural at AGNSW and an had my first VR experience at Heide Museum of Modern Art. I’m feeling incredibly inspired to share my love for art in 2020.



Van Gogh’s Sunflowers and Monet’s Garden


Foundation students have completely wowed me with the epic Van Gogh inspired masterpieces. We have been looking at Van Gogh’s famous Sunflowers and various other pieces of his work including Starry Night and the Irises. The concept of warm and cool colours was introduced to the students – warm like a fire, cool like the ocean (or rainforest) helps us remember which colours are which, the colours then applied to students Sunflower inspired compositions. Warm colours for the sunflowers, cool colours in the background. These masterpieces are students first real exposure to painting, I love their final results.    

Our next study is looking at another pivotal artist and their work – Claude Monet and the Water Lilies. This week foundation students started to look at some of his key art works and developing their own ideas and responses to this work. In 2014, I travelled to Monet’s Garden in Giverny (see pictures below). This has to be one of the most moving and memorable moments of my life. I look forward to sharing this experience with students in the coming weeks.




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Jean-Michel Basquiat

Jean-Michel Basquiat is one of my top 10 favourite artists of all time. The year 1&2’s have been exploring the iconic ‘Pez Dispenser’ (1984) as inspiration for their projects this term. Using the picture books ‘Radiant Child’ and ‘Life Doesn’t Frighten Me‘ we have been learning about the life and artwork of Basquiat and his career in New York City in the late 1970s-1980s, rubbing shoulders with the likes of Andy Warhol and David Bowie on the Lower East Side of Manhattan.

My aim was to give students a choice as to the materials and techniques they wanted to use for their drawing project – recreating the ‘Pez Dispenser.’ So we did a series of experiments. The experiments gave students the chance to trial different materials and evaluate which materials were most suitable for their individual masterpiece. The other challenge was to push students to draw BIG so that the ‘Pez Dispenser’ was the subject matter and focal point of their artwork…this proved to be difficult!

Jean-Michel Basquiat’s style is reflective of the emergence of street art and graffiti art in New York during this time. The idea to use newspaper as the surface that students drew on was to represent billboards and paste ups found in the streets at the time. Basquiat was famous for drawing and painting on lots of different surfaces. His style is child like and characterised by his quick drawings which can be described as swift and expressive.

As always the student’s work is exceptional and plays homage to Jean-Michel Basquiat.




Ripper Art

In case you missed it or have forgotten the amazingness that was Ripper Art, let’s reminisce…

Foundation showcased their collage studies showing their development of fine motor skills and some knowledge of the art elements shape and pattern.

The year 1&2s blew everyone away with their beautiful interpretations of Australian landscape artist John Olsen‘s famous painting (see below) titled:  Sydney Sun (1965) 

Students learnt the basic fundamentals of colour mixing and developed skills in a variety of painting techniques. They experimented with a variety of brushes and different types of paint including acrylic and watercolour, ensuring careful layering of the materials. Finally, they used pastels on top of their paintings to create interest in their final masterpieces. Students added to their understanding of the importance of using warm and cool colours to create harmony and variety in their finished art works.

Many years ago I took a group of VCE Studio Art students to visit Metro Gallery in High Street Malvern and had the fortunate pleasure of bumping into John Olsen. He was delightful and lovely and passionately talked about his artwork.

Textiles was the focus of the year 3&4s work for Ripper Art. Students explored weaving as a technique and used yarn/wool as the primary material for their delightful wall hangings. The students used a loom to weave the wall hangings and all students were required to measure and construct their own looms. They showed precision and dedication to this project which required lots of concentration.










Finally, year 5&6s completed a study on Swiss artists Alberto Giacometti and constructed a sculpture in the style of Giacometti’s work. They learnt about the fundamentals of three dimensional art making and were required to use creative thinking and problem solving to ensure their sculptures where able to free stand while maintaining the integrity of Giacometti’s work. They showed an understanding of Giacometti’s style and recognisable elongated bronze sculptures that he is famous for. Many years ago while travelling in London I was fortunate to see the Giacometti retrospective at the TATE Modern. The exhibition made a lasting impression and I was very excited to share this with the students.


Finding our feet after a long break

After a massive trip across the Pacific Ocean I am somewhat landing back on two feet in the classroom….um…just. I spent two months over summer traveling Central America then finishing in one of my favourite cities of the USA, Austin. I’d travelled to Mexico and Austin previously but it was so lovely to find myself back there. The galleries in Austin offered much inspiration especially the Mexic-Arte and The Contemporary Austin.

It was a magnificent trip and I have enjoyed sharing the experience with many students. The wildlife in Costa Rica was truly captivating. The biodiversity museum designed by Frank Gehry in Panama City was a surprising highlight, the tacos in Mexico were delicious and the cobblestone streets of Antigua were among many of the highlights. In San Jose and Panama City I spotted some awesome street art.


So the last four weeks in art has been spent catching up, reconnecting and rewiring our creativity for 2019. Year 1&2s have had a short investigation into the work of one of the modern masters Henri Matisse with an emphasis on his famous paper cut outs. Their work is looking spectacular.

Year 3&4s have completed an introduction to weaving with paper…even made their own paper to cut up and use (see images below). This week have independently constructed a cardboard loom to explore weaving with yarn and wool.

There are some pretty crazy looking wire sculptures appearing in the art room as the year 5&6s prepare a frame for their Giacometti inspired sculpture study. I love Giacometti’s work and speaking of travel, I went all the way to London in 2017 to see his retrospective at the TATE Modern. It’s wonderful to be reliving the experience back in the art room at Ripponlea.  


Fantastic Frida

Year 1&2s have been busy constructing a Frida Kahlo inspired Day of the Dead skull. As one delightful young human suggested we could take some “Skull-fies” which is exactly what we did. The ‘skull-fies’ are a work in progress at the moment…see below


Also, playing around with the app ChatterPix I made one of the skulls come to life! What fun, maybe some of the year 1&2 artists can have a play with it themselves in the coming weeks! Can’t wait to see this project finished, even though I say this every project, I think this is their best work this year.

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