1. Creativity is good for children's mental health
2. Creativity can be taught
3. Creativity, and builds self belief, and resilience
For many years I have been visiting primary schools and working on projects with classes, year groups and sometime even whole school.
My hat is off to teachers! I don't know how they do it. In my experience of spending time at schools it has been the most rewarding and the most exhausting time.
Over the last 12 months I have developed a format that transposes my teaching with primary age children into an accessible, inclusive online format.
Taught over the course of a day or week, my Creativity Classes for Children take the following format.
1. An introductory session for the whole year where I introduce the paints, my process, who I am, and what I paint. An opportunity to discuss ‘art' and ask questions. This session is live, via my zoom account (or the school's own hosting site) and takes about 45 minutes.
2. Following on from that, a pre-recorded session sent to you, of me painting using simple shapes and techniques and explaining my process and encouraging the children can copy my process, and learn from how I’m working to make their own pictures and paintings.
The subject of these paintings is flexible -subjects such as 'my friends' or 'my house' or 'my school' or 'the countryside' or even - my favourite 'the dog show’. I’m happy to include your ideas.
This section is a recorded session that downloadable and shareable with the children, so that they can watch it and pause the film when needed to enable them to work at their own pace. The film is about 45 minutes in total.
3. This is followed by another live session in groups of about 10 children at a time, so that I can see their work, engage with questions and encourage them with their creativity, painting and drawing. Each of the sessions would be about 30 minutes.
Sessions are live from my own studio - itself an interesting and vibrant place to see.
I have many years of experience teaching creativity to both adults and children and have worked online with children and in schools. I found that the key to helping children develop their artistic practice is to give them the skills to increase their confidence. Their confidence to try new things, and to realise that there is no possibility of getting it wrong in art.
I encourage students to take creative chances and to enjoy what feels good in the creative process. It’s a great way of children being able to start to understand that sometimes we have a voice inside of us that tells us that what we’re producing is not good enough. It’s a great way to examine that and to start to question it and to look for the positive voice that tells us ‘wow, look that’s good, I did that and I like it’.
I help students (in my adult classes as well as children’s) to focus on the things that they actually like in their paintings and build on those. This is possible because of the acrylic paints that I encourage students to use. Painting using acrylic paints on cheap cardboard boxes enables a process of 'painting over ‘, of layering, of reiteration and of gradual refining and improving on technique. The way I teach children art and creativity means there is no possibility of getting it ‘wrong’ - because unlike maths or English, in art there is no ‘incorrect'. There’s only ever reiteration, adjustment, and focusing on what’s enjoyable in the process.
My teaching experience reaches back over 25 years into my career with the Home Office, where I taught change behaviour with offenders! I understand the psychology of behaviour and I also understand that for children especially, it is very important to encourage positivity and the skills of wanting to keep trying that help build psychological resilience.
The acrylic paint that I recommend using is the most forgiving and easy to use type of paint. When it’s dry it forms a complete plastic layer - a barrier - this means that it can be painted over time and time again. It’s great to see children are encouraged to experiment in this way; leaning into their inate and unique creativity and learning that they will not get everything right the first time, but that they can keep trying, and improve and enjoy with each experiment. The materials that I use for teaching are chosen as they will produce the maximum results early on, and getting good results then encourages further trial, further trial leads to more success and thus ‘creative confidence’ is developed. That’s my focus, with adults and children alike. I had a book published on this subject titled
in 2015, and I have taught this process in schools and to adult groups for over 10 years. My teaching process has also been featured in art magazines, as well as in ‘Psychologies' magazine.
Contact me if this appeals to you and together we really can make a difference to young minds.
Art makes an ideal gift
(or would you like to receive it? You can share this page and drop a hint!)
Gifting art shows that you have thought about the recipients tastes and preferences, taken time to think about their home and style. In short it says that you know what excites, interests and moves them. It's also something very nice to un wrap on the day.
Here are some options and suggestions that will make giving the gift of art easier.
GIVE AN ORIGINAL PAINTING
Art can be a fabulous and long lasting gift to receive and to treasure, but sometimes tricky to choose for someone else.
If you would like to give an original painting, but are unsure about choosing the right one, I have a solution.
Give the gift of an original painting or commissioned art work, and leave the choice of painting in the hands of the person receiving it.
How it works: Buy this gift and I will create a beautiful hand made mini painting/ gift certificate for you, so the recipient has something to unwrap on the day. The price of the voucher is £200 - the price that original art from me starts at. It can also be used as a deposit for larger pieces of art or a commissioned painting. These hand painted gift vouchers/mini paintings can be exchanged by phone, online or in my gallery in person.
This voucher will be created personally for you and sent, beautifully wrapped by Royal Mail.
Ideal for a couple who may be choosing together at a later time.
Ideal if you'd like to gift original art.
Ideal if you'd like to gift a commissioned painting.
HERE ARE MY QUICK TIPS TO GIVING ART AS A GIFT:
Ways to pay - PayPal credit
Did you know that I work with PayPal to offer interest free credit on any purchase over £99? the cost of a painting can be spread over 4 months with 0% interest. For details click the pop up on my Editions or Originals pages.
No worries about choosing the right painting
Art is very personal. To take to worry about whether you have chosen the right piece I offer a 30-day unconditional exchange or refund policy with all paintings, so you can buy with confidence.
For Christmas gifts, this extends to the end of January 2021.
Do they have a favorite place or colour scheme?
This may be clear from the pieces they have in their home, but if not, then turn detective. Subtly ask them some questions, or ask their partner or children.
Where are they going to hang it?
Buying art as a gift is great, however, for it to be really appreciated, it's going to have to hang or be displayed. So it's worth thinking about the recipent's walls. This will help you choose a piece that will not only fit with their décor but also the space they have to work with.
Art for someone who is far away?
No problem we can wrap and post nationally and internationally. If you select art from my website, you can have the artwork shipped directly to your friend or family member. If you’re unsure of someone’s design preferences, you can always send the art unframed and send them a gift card so they can make their own choice.
Gift vouchers can be immediately downloaded or sent as a beautiful card, details here.
Still stuck? Here's an idea....
If you can’t find that perfect gift of art, but still want to give art as your gift, consider a gift card.
As part of your present, you could offer to make a date with the recipient to shop together and possibly take time for lunch as well.
Buying art as a gift is incredibly fulfilling and expresses to the recipient that you have put genuine thought and care into picking something they will like.
Art could be your best gift idea yet!
All the gifts in this post can be found and purchased at Helenelliott.net
Blue skies breaking through.
Blue - one of my favorite colours.
Feeling blue for an artist is a joy. To feel blue and to paint blue.
The colour of heaven; colour of the sky; colour of my husband's eyes.
Colour of infinity, the colour of distance.
My top eight blues
1. Cobalt blue - a historical pigment, transparent, delicate cool.
2. Teal blue - a joyful summer sea-green biased blue
3. Ultramarine blue - the warm blue of summer skies
4. Anthraquinone blue -a cool and recessive blue,
5. Prussian blue - a. dark almost black, broody blue
6. Pthalo Blue - infinity in a tube, red shade is a warmer blue and makes fabulous rich violets. Green shade is the cooler twin - great for suggesting distance.
7. Cyan - the true primary blue, beautiful, bright, bubbly.
8. Blue Train (John Coltrane) https://youtu.be/HT_Zs5FKDZE
All these blues I use regularly and for different effects and mixes, but Prussian Blue and Pthalo Blue have remained my favorites for a decade.
Prussian blue is the one not to spill on the carpet - deep staining, dark, concentrated. The blue of Picasso's blue period. A modern pigment, allegorically discovered by accident in a lab by German paint maker, Diesbach, in the 1700's whist trying to make a red pigment using the shells of cochineal beetles. Contamination meant he ended up with
blue instead. Previously blue had mainly been derived from Lapis Lazuli, was very expensive. So the value of this accidental new pigment was obvious, especially as it was stable and relatively light fast.
It's chemical structure is such that it absorbs almost all orange light spectrum, releasing back only the deepest of blues.
Prussian blue is deep, dark, broody. Different manufacturers pigments vary in depth and hue, I use a particularly dark pigment of Prussian blue by Schminke.
Pthalo blue - I love you.
Phthalocyanine Blue. An organic pigment formed from complex carbon chemistry and synthetically derived in paint labs.
Pthalo blue, like most organic pigments, offers a high chroma, high tinting strength and exceptional transparency - like a small piece of stained glass-and allows light to pass through practically undisturbed. This characteristic allows mixtures with unusually high brilliance and clarity.
As with Prussian blue, different paint brands manufacture their own pigment mixes for Pthalo blue, and they do different quite significantly in hue and application. My favorite brand in this colour is hands down Golden Paints. Juicy, opaque when applied liberally, it thins out to the most delicious transparent glaze.
Shades of blue:
Air Force blue Air superiority blue Alice blue Azure Azure white Baby blue Bice blue Bleu de France BlueBlue-gray Bondi blueBrandeis blueByzantine blueCapriCarolina blueCelesteCeruleanCobalt blueColumbia BlueCornflower blue CyanDark blueDenimDodger blueDuke blueEgyptian blueElectric blueFederal blueGlaucousElectric indigo Ice blueIndigoIndigo dyeInternational Klein BlueIrisLight blueMajorelle BlueMarian blueMaya blueMedium blue Medium slate blue Midnight blue Navy blueNeon blueNon-photo blue Oxford BluePacific blue Palatinate bluePenn BluePeriwinkle Persian blue Phthalo blue Powder bluePrussian blueRobin egg blueRoyal blueSapphireSavoy blueSky blueSlate blue Steel blueTeal blueTiffany BlueTrue BlueTufts BlueTurquoiseUCLA BlueUltramarineViolet-blueVivid sky blue