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Ruswarp Church of England Primary School Think for Yourself and Act for Others



The European Space Agency is running a space art competition. The subject of the competition is open to your imagination - which is great! Space/space exploration is an enormous subject. It covers rockets, astronauts, satellites, the ISS, galaxies, stars, the Apollo missions, comets... the list goes on and on!



Space exploration involves trying new things and this means that your art project can be ambitious too - use your imagination! Your work might be a picture, a collage, a model, painted stones, biscuits... You could use a mixture of styles. Your art could even be Surrealist!  



There are space-related items on our website which may help you with ideas, such as this Survival In Space text and the stories of the Helen Sharman and the Apollo 13 mission (see the History page and this Literacy page). 


This European Space Agency page is an excellent place to start while these NASA images from the Hubble telescope show just how beautiful space can be. 



Your parents will find details of how to enter the competition here. Don't forget to share your work for the Home Gallery too. 



Knowing about creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design

Knowing about great artists

At the moment our school work and daily life is rather unusual. One word that is often used to describe this is "surreal". Surreal means very strange or like a dream (and dreams can be very strange indeed!).


In France, about 100 years ago, there were a group of artists who were very interested in the ideas of imagination, what we think we see and the subconscious (the part of your brain which creates dreams). Their art tried to show dreams or random thoughts. These artists are known as Surrealists.



The picture above is a famous example of Surrealist art.  It's called The Son of Man and was painted in 1964 by a Belgian artist called René Magritte. How would you know that this is a Surrealist picture (remember, Surreal means strange or dreamlike)?

The Son of Man is a very popular example of Surrealism, inspiring many people to try their own versions of the painting...



René Magritte also painted the picture below - Man with a Newspaper (1928) - which later appeared on book covers. Why do you think Magritte's painting was chosen for the book cover next to it?



Surrealist art is not just limited to painting. It covers photography, sculpture, collage, film... Here are just a few examples:



              The Future of Statues (René Magritte, 1937)                                            The Conductor (Joan Miro, 1976)



                      Star Dancer (Marcel Marien, 1991)                               Lobster Telephone (Salvador Dali, 1936)


The artist who created Lobster Telephone is especially famous and you can find out more about him and Surrealism thanks to this excellent Tate Museum video.



Although nearly a century old, Surrealism is still very much alive today. It can be seen everywhere, including comic books, on TV and in films. Putting things together that would be seen as strange or dreamlike (even nightmarish) can be surreal. A man being followed by an enormous golf ball perhaps?  A Lego figure watering a giant dandelion?  A group of robots wandering out of St. Paul's Cathedral after a bit of a sing song? Surrealism can take many forms!



Why not give Surrealism a try? The Tate Museum have an excellent suggestion for Surrealist art which you can find below:  

Joan MirĂ³


Joan Miró was a Spanish artist whose name you may recognise (look back up the page at the famous examples of Surrealist art). Miró was keen to experiment with many different styles of art. He also worked with a variety of materials including paint, sculpture and collage:



                  Woman and Bird (1982)                                                                     Signs and Meteors (1958)



                               Dog Barking at the Moon (1926)                                                             Portrait of a Dancer (1928)


Miró encountered Surrealist art when he visited Paris and its ideas began to have an influence on his work. Here is one of his best known pictures, The Harlequin's Carnival (1924-25):



Some people were confused by this picture. The Harlequin is a type of clown who wears a chequered suit and a carnival is a celebration.  This isn't quite what people were expecting when they read the title The Harlequin's Carnival...!  What can you see in the picture? 

Look to the left of the painting. Could the figure with the long neck and round head be the Harlequin? There is some evidence of a chequered pattern, although the figure itself seems to be very similar to a guitar... Look to the window at the right: is that the sun or a particularly large spider?

One of the joys of Surrealist art is that, as well as being enormously creative, it encourages people to think.

The art of Joan Miró could be big and bold. It has been described by some people as "child-like" - which is excellent for us! One of the techniques that Miro used was collage. Why not give it a try?  First, you will need to cut out a variety of pieces from magazines, newspapers, etc... (make sure you ask first; people can get a bit irritated if you cut their Corn Flakes box to pieces without warning!). As you can see below, the pieces don't have to be the whole picture.



Once you’ve got a collection of items try arranging them in different ways. You don't need to glue them down; that way you can use the same pieces to create a variety of Surrealist art...



Of course, no matter how nicely you ask, people might object to your cutting up of magazines, but don’t worry because you don’t have to!  Look back at Portrait of a Dancer. Here Miró created his work using only three items: a feather, a hat pin and a cork! That's it! You can use anything to create a Surrealist collage too (except dangerous objects, obviously!): a hat, pencils, folded paper, a potato, Lego, shoes… Anything is possible with Surrealism!

Salvador Dali


Salvador Domingo Felipe Jacinto Dalí i Domènech, Marquis of Dalí de Púbol was born in Spain in 1904. Fortunately for us he is more commonly known as Salvador Dali. Dali is probably the most famous of all Surrealist artists. He is the most easily recognised. Can you think of the reason why? 



As a boy, Dali enjoyed drawing and playing football. Later, he went to art college but, although Dali was an excellent painter, he was expelled (told to leave) because of his behaviour! Dali travelled to Paris where he met (and joined) the Surrealists. He was interested in trying to show his dreams in his art. Dali would stare at an object long and hard until he began to see something else. His work included melting clocks, floating eyes, clouds that look like faces and rocks that look like bodies.



      Naissance d'une                             Mountain Lake (1938)                                      The Persistence of Memory (1931)

        divinité (1960)


(The Persistence of Memory is the most famous Surrealist picture and one we will be returning to)


In 1940 Salvador Dali moved to America where he worked with Walt Disney (you may have heard of him!) on a movie that was never finished. Dali continued to try new ideas with his art, using photography, sculpture, wires and even a glass floor. One of the best known of these is Lobster Telephone (1936). 



Lobster Telephone is so famous other artists have tried their own versions of Dali's work:



Dali’s Surrealist art and eccentric (unusual) behaviour became well-known – as did his moustache! Look again at the Tate Gallery's video. Can you guess why it is presented by a lobster with a curious moustache?  



TASK: Why not try your own Surrealist sculpture? Remember: Surreal means strange or dreamlike. Putting two things together in a way that is unexpected is surreal. A Lego figure eating a biscuit perhaps? Or a shoe wearing a hat? The photographs below may help to give you an idea. (Just remember that you don't need to glue the items together - people won't be happy to discover that their shoes are going to be part of a piece of art forever!)  



                                           Spoon Boots                                                              On the Teddy Phone

The Persistence of Memory (1931) is Salvador Dali's best-known painting. It is probably the most famous Surrealist picture of all. Take a look at it. What can you see in the picture?  



The Persistence of Memory started as a painting of the landscape of Port Lligat (in Spain). However, after eating some strong cheese one evening, Dali began to think about what he called "the super soft". Two hours later the watches had been added and the painting was finished. It was a huge success. The idea of melting watches/clocks is now world famous. It has been copied many, many times.   



Dali's work has inspired sand sculpture, jewellery, animation and digital art amongst many others. Today it is even possible to buy clocks and watches in the style of The Persistence of Memory - and they work too!


Look again at Dali's painting. What do you think the melting watches mean? It has caused many arguments. Some people think that the watches show that things get old, damaged and rotten as time goes on. Would you agree? Maybe the real reason is they're just soft because the cheese that Dali had been eating was soft?   


The watches aren't the only part of the painting, of course. Somewhere in there you should be able to spot an eye (another popular Surrealist subject), an olive tree and some insects (they're gathered in the bottom left of the picture). 


TASK: Log in to your Purplemash account --> Tools --> Art and Design --> 2Paint A Picture --> Wet paint. You can use this excellent program to create your own version of Dali's work.

Once you've opened the program you'll find a blank work area. Before you begin you may wish to choose a background from here: 



The tool bar on the left of the screen now has everything you need, including different shades of paint.

You can change the thickness of your brush with this button: 

You can change the amount of paint drip with this button:  

Have a go. Don't worry if you make a mistake - you can undo your work or start a new piece of art. See what you can create. Here is a quick example:

Try to add greater detail to your picture(s). Don't forget to give your art a Surrealist title.


Dali's sudden inspiration of "super soft" clocks and watches made Surrealism famous across the world. It is the image that many people think of when they talk about Surrealist art. As you can see in the examples further up the page, melting clocks appear in many types of art. Luckily, melting objects are not too difficult to draw...


When drawing a melting object some people find that it's best to start with a "normal" (non-melted) picture first. Take a look at these two ice cubes:



The cube on the left looks fairly solid but the cube on the right is not so lucky. Can you see the differences between the two? How is the effect of melting created?

The cube on the right appears to be melting because its edges are softer and a little wobbly. Some of the cube seems to be dripping (like a liquid). The pool of water adds to the feeling that the cube is melting.


The same technique can be used to "melt" a clock:



The clock on the right seems to be melting because it looks softer. Drips and wobbly edges help to create the effect of melting. The drooping hour hand and the stretched VI add to the effect. It looks as though this clock's state of matter is changing from solid to liquid (Art and Science collide!). Bending the shape of an object can also help to create the impression of the "super soft":



TASK: Try sketching your own "super soft" images. Melting objects do not have to be limited to clocks, of course. Surrealism involves an artist trying to show unusual or dreamlike scenes so your "super soft" sketches could include anything (a pair of shoes... a bottle of milk... Big Ben...).   

If you're not sure where to start, this American YouTube video contains one or two ideas about drawing melting objects and may be of interest (remember: always check with an adult before you access YouTube).


Find out how to draw an Egyptian Pyramid and Ancient Egyptian figures by visiting the History page.


Knowing about creativity, experimentation and an increasing awareness of different kinds of art, craft and design

Knowing about great artists

Look at the picture above.   What do you notice?   What do you think it shows?  Here's a clue: it's called Portrait of Picasso and was created in 1912 (the same year that the Titanic sank*) by an artist called Juan Gris. It's an example of a style of art called Cubism.

Cubism was developed at the start of the Twentieth Century (we're in the Twenty First Century now) by Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. Here are examples of their work:

               Weeping Woman   (1937 by Picasso)                                                Glass On A Table   (1909-10 by Braque) 


Cubist artists were very interested in the way people see things around them. They tried to create pictures which showed things from different angles at the same time!   

Although he did not invent Cubism one the best Cubist artists was Juan Gris (the man who painted Picasso's portrait at the top of this section). Here are some examples of his work:

         Still Life With Guitar   (1924)                                                        Overlooking The Bay (1921)


If you look carefully at Overlooking The Bay you should be able to spot a boat outside in the bay. What else can you see?

You too can create pictures like a Cubist!  Choose an item to make a sketch of (a cup, a pencil, a piece of furniture) then look at your picture again. Can you see any 2D or 3D shapes in it?  If you can, make these stand out. Look at Glass On A Table for good examples of this. 

You might want to try your hand at art in the style of Picasso's Weeping Woman. Try to draw a human face as though you can see it from more than one angle. If you're feeling really ambitious, since Cubism is about shape and different faces, you could try something like this:

If you do want to give this a go here are some 3D shapes nets which you might like to print:

* The Titanic was a famous disaster. It was said to be "unsinkable" when it set off on it's maiden voyage (its first trip)...

Unfortunately, early on the morning of 15th April, the Titanic sank. It had struck an iceberg. Although it took hours for the Titanic to sink there were not enough lifeboats for all of those aboard and more than 1,500 people died in the tragedy.  As a result of this disaster today's ships carry enough lifesaving equipment for everybody.  If you're interested you can discover more about the Titanic here.