Big Art Little Art class for kids

Little Art Big Art

Little Art Big Art’s motto “Imagine, create and celebrate” is perfectly expressed in their workshops and classes.  Make sure there’s some spare wall space at home because after one of these holiday workshops there will be at least three masterpieces coming home!

When:  Various times in term and during holidays, go to the Little Art Big Art website for more information.

Where:  CLASSES Woods Street Art Space, 44 Woods Street, Laverton and HOLIDAY PROGRAMS New Leaf Cafe 107 Woods Street, Newport – check the website first.

Cost:  weekly classes start at $90 / term, school holiday programs $25 for 2 hours  {prices accurate at time of publishing June 2015}

Thank you to our guest contributor Thuy On for this fabulous review and photos.

Do you have little ones who are forever dabbling, drawing and painting? Who need guidance in developing technique or encouragement to translate their own vision of the world onto paper or canvas? Little Art Big Art is a one-stop creativity hub. They run classes all year round but they also have a special school holiday program targeted towards primary-aged mini-artists (age 5-12) and also one for the preschoolers (age 1-5 years).

Instructor Rachael Morris is a qualified art teacher who believes art is a “key ingredient in developing creative thinking, problem solving skills and fine motor development”.  Her role is a gentle facilitator of artistic ability rather than as a rigid enforcer of particular styles.  The classes are kept at a maximum of eight participants so there is enough time for individual help.  With this primary-age group, it’s also perfectly acceptable to leave them under Rachel’s expert supervision for the allocated time.

Miss seven was enrolled in one of six workshops for the Studio Artist — the class for the day happened to focus on “Degas Artist Study”.  (Upcoming workshops for the July 2015 holidays also include Klee, Still Life and Abstract).

Rachael notes how her choice of Degas as an inspirational figure was driven by many young girls’ interest in dance and indeed the class began with prints of Degas’ famous ballerinas in mid-action poses being distributed. The girls (there were alas, no boys in this class) were asked to practice sketching the dancers by first outlining the figures in grey lead and breaking the body down to long lines and shapes. Chalk pastels were then applied to create colour and vibrancy; the children shown how smudging the pastels enabled them to depict the softness of the ballerinas’ tulle tutus.

Understanding how to use and apply different styles and tools is very much a part of Little Art Big Art’s objective, whose motto “Imagine, create and celebrate” is perfectly expressed in this workshop. Experimentation with another medium, the smoother texture of oil pastels, was the next progression. Once again the girls were shown how to layer their work: from the skeletal lines and shapes before moving onto to a more detailed and colourful finish. The mini-artists also experimented with white chalk pastel on black cardboard for a scale-down effect before their finale: a large picture using the medium of their choice.

The class – of two-hour duration – is a good length for middle-primary students and above but younger children (preppies) may find that their concentration starts to pall towards the end.

Little Art Big Art is a fantastic and affordable holiday activity for all kids. As a bonus, there’s no need to scrub up afterwards and no messy aftermath of art materials. The classes are also positioned conveniently right next door to New Leaf Café should you need a coffee break.

Make sure there’s some spare wall space at home because there will be at least three masterpieces coming home.

If the desire to roll up your sleeves and and grab a chalky pastel is overwhelming, please note adults can also do the classes at children’s prices. Otherwise there are adult-only classes planned for later in the year.

Thuy On is a freelance arts journalist who has written on theatre, comedy, film and books. Currently she is the Books Editor of The Big Issue and has a regular books column in the Fairfax papers on Sunday.