Monday, 12 January 2015


René Magritte was a mid-century Surrealist painter. I love him for his floating skies, his windows onto the beyond. His implausible, impossible possibilities.

Last week, I showed my Grade Ones a very small selection of Magritte paintings. We also looked at pictures of skies, noting the colour variations in the blues and in the whites of the clouds. I demonstrated blending multiple tones of blue paint down a vertical piece of paper, shading from dark to light. Then I demonstrated painting white clouds with swirly brush strokes, wet-into-wet on the blue background.

The kids painted their own Magritte-inspired skies.

Then we dipped our creative paddles into Japanese Notan techniques: cutting shapes out of one paper and flipping them over a mid-line to create the reverse, symmetrical image. Kids traced and cut out their hands from a white piece of drawing paper, then glued both positive and negative on their sky paintings.

The process:
1. Paint a sky with clouds.
2. Trace and cut a hand out of a white piece of paper. Place both pieces
on top of the sky painting. Glue down the larger piece of paper.
3. Flip hand over the mid-line and glue it down.

My thought was that they would look like trees with blue shadows on snow, or even trees with roots; and in a large grouping, they kind of do suggest that. But it's hard to not see the hands.

So they became, instead, images of reaching; of growth defined by both upward striving and downward digging. And I'm okay with that.

Reaching up to our highest divinity, and down to our deepest humanity.

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