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I am a Shadow Artist

I was absolutely delighted to be greeted by some very keen Mini Nature Artists this morning, ready to get started on today’s artistic adventure. We started the session sat outside in the beautiful sunshine looking up at blue skies and the array of interestingly shaped shadows cast across the garden. Reading the book ‘Anywhere Artist’ by Nikki Slade Robinson, we reflected on our previous sessions and introduced today’s concept of becoming Shadow Artists. It was heart warming to hear the children relate the story to their own experiences and ideas, where they have now started noticing things around them in a different way. One child shared his experience of going to the beach, describing the different colours and shapes of the shells he had found, and others joined in reflecting on and connecting with our previous sessions and the book showing a deepening understanding of what Mini Nature Artists is all about!

Suspended from a length of twine were a variety of plant and flower cuttings which cast beautiful shadows along a roll of paper. The paper was scattered with a variety of natural art materials including beeswax crayons, graphite sticks and charcoal for the Mini Nature Artists to use. The challenge today was to use the art materials to trace over the shadows creating a collaborative abstract piece of art, children were also encouraged to use their imaginations, transforming the shadows into pictures.

All the children engaged in a slightly different way with this activity, it was wonderful to see their own perceptions and ideas coming through as they explored the concept. One Mini Nature Artist carefully traced the outline of the shadows, whist another freely coloured the shadow creating a bolder impression and others explored the negative space on the page to create their own shapes. As they became more comfortable in the process, observations were made about the shapes they could see in the shadows, from a bunny rabbit to a campervan! A couple of children then progressed to some observational drawings of the suspended flowers and the sunshine itself that was casting the shadows. Once the Mini Nature Artists were happy with what they had produced, we moved about the suspended plants adding a new depth to their pictures and sparking even more conversations about their next steps.

New observations were made about the shadows that were cast naturally across the space and so we finished the session by taking clipboards with paper and art materials of choice to create new individual pieces as they moved around the garden. This was great fun, especially when they began noticing more and more around them from the leaves of the trees to the plants in the planter and even their friends and teachers!

Back to observations.

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