Definitive proof that there is magic happening in my classroom this year. 

I started my Grade 10 and 11 students on a series of traditional drawing exercises this year culminating in bigger chalkboard drawings. They were allowed to choose what ever image they wanted to draw on to the boards. I am not too strict on content this early on in their development as artists because I want them to focus on technique rather than ideas at this stage. The girls worked on these drawings partly at school in our first term & then finished them off over the easter holidays at home. It was with great delight that I received these beautiful pieces. The following pieces are by Emma D, Emma C, Chia Chi, Georgina, Jessica, Khevna and Rebecca. 


Art at Durban Girls' College Derby Day 

St Mary's Waverly and Durban Girls' College decided to create a day where our two schools would compete and collaborate in sports, cultural and academic activities. My art committee & I decided to work on a combined collage with the St Mary's girls. We chose to do the yin and yang sign because it represents that "apparently opposite or contrary forces are actually complementary" (,. We started out by masking out the yin & yang design on to a portable pinboard in the art studios. 

We then looked for various shades of green & red values (our respective school colours) in magazines & arranged them in sequence on tables in the room.

The girls from both schools then started cutting out images from templates. These images were symbols associated with the two schools: lilies, panama hats, a galleon, violins & hockey sticks. Some of the images were quite intricate & time-consuming, so we switched to cutting out hearts. Which represents the relationship & collegiality between the two schools. 

We then started attaching these cut out motifs to the pinboard using pins and a hammer. 

The following pics were taken in sequence of the collage developing.  We put the pin board on the floor to make the hammering of the pins into the surface easier. 


Below: Pics of the final artworK


Key first steps to successful charcoal drawing 

This term with my Grade 10 students started with us focussing on charcoal during class time & drawing in graphite pencil for homework.I normally get my students to draw almost straight away on Emtini Liner – a tobacco coloured card & they then tackle quite a big drawing (about A2 in size). This year I tried to give the students a more comprehensive introduction to charcoal. First doing a series of contour and gesture drawing using willow charcoal & observing human faces (each other) & animal skulls.

We then did copies of David Hockney’s landscape studies in charcoal to learn about mark making in charcoal.  

They were then introduced to planar analysis by observing the planes and surfaces on a face selected out of a magazine & then practicing this using the mannequin & skeleton for reference.  

They were also shown the following images dealing with planar analysis from the blog of Adriana Burgos:

My Grade 10 students showed an interest in the blackboard drawing that I did on my office door this year, so I decided to order mounted boards covered in blackboard paint, that they could use as a surface for their own charcoal/chalk drawings.


One of my students, Anne, found the lesson on planar analysis really useful & applied what she had learnt to a drawing of an ocelot. The following images document her progress:


Amnion - Grade 12 Artwork 2015 

Sam in my Grade 12 class made a 'sack' out of a net material on which she glued bits of broken technology. 

She then asked a classmate to pose inside the net in a variety of positions and took a series of photographic stills representing an embryonic human trapped inside. She said 'the poses used were chosen because they conveyed either a feeling of raw humanity or the opposite - a somewhat morphed loss thereof.

This artwork is aimed to show how the devices and technology around us today cage the traits that define us as human. Sam feels that 'human and emotional and interpersonal growth is stunted by the evolution of technology.'  

Beautiful drawings from my youngest students

As I said in a previous blog that I decided to stick to a more traditional style of teaching before experimenting this year & I think it is working... 

The following two images were produced by my Grade 9 students this term: 

and the following images have been produced by my Grade 10 students: 

The last two images have their reference attached (I borrowed a few skulls from our biology department at school)