Last Friday’s Take One Picture exhibition was a huge success. A steady stream of visitors were shown round the school, by our Year 6 tour guides, who talked to them about the work on show and how it had been inspired by George Bellow’s painting, ‘The Men of the Docks’.
Different classes took their learning in different directions, depending on what stood out of the painting for the children. Year 6 were fascinated by the ocean liner and who might have been travelling in it during that period. They researched ocean travel for the era and how different the rooms were depending on whether you could afford First Class, or could only afford Steerage. The children used shoe boxes to design cabins at each level and researched the lives of those who might have stayed in them. In art they used pastels to draw portraits of the person who they imagined would have booked the room they designed and Mrs Breakwell displayed them inside portholes, so the faces were looking out of their cabin at us.
In Year 5, they were also intrigued by the boat, but from a more mechanical point of view and drew blueprints for how to build their own design of ocean liner. They also built a model combustion engine, which they showed off to the visitors, explaining how it worked. Year 5 were also interested in the men of the docks. They found out that the men were stevedores and most likely unpaid immigrants who the captains exploited to load and unload the ship, paying them very little and sometimes not even paying them at all. They learnt a stevedore song from the period, ‘Pay Me My Money Down’ that the men would have sung while working, in the hopes of pricking the captain’s conscience.
Year 4 looked at the mood of the painting and how the colour palette contributed to it. The chose their own colour palettes, to portray different moods, and painted their own version of the painting using their chosen palette. They were also interested in the skyline and did some learning on the work of James Rizzi and his bright, jazzy rows of buildings with smiley faces. They drew their own rows of skyscrapers but added sad or angry features to match the cold, dark, wintery mood of George Bellow’s painting.
In Year 3 the children were drawn to the horses and the vehicle they were pulling, and to the winter scene. In Dt they designed and made drawn vehicles and in art they investigated the work of Canadian weaver, Lucy Poskitt, and how she reflects her local landscape through the colour choices and shapes that she weaves into her work. Year 3 then designed their own winter themed weave and made it.
The children in Year 2 took their inspiration from the buildings and the people in George Bellow’s painting. They worked on developing an understanding of how to draw 3D objects and perspective. They also looked at the similarities between Bellow’s work and Laurie’s (muted colour palette, industrial landscapes, working class, simplistic figures). They then applied they understanding of this style to painting aspects of Pershore.
In Year 1 the children noticed the buildings. They researched famous New York landmarks and extended this to other landmarks around the world. Working in groups they designed and made, models of these landmarks.
Reception Class wanted to know more about the ship and the journey it might have been on. They designed and made mad, modern-day suitcases and planned what they would pack in them if they were taking the long ocean voyage from London to New York, and made these items to put in their cases.
Thank you to all the teachers and support staff who helped the children to decide what direction to take their learning in, and then provided them with the necessary art and design skills and materials.