I spent a day in a Junior School in Dalton in Furness last week. It was their Art Day and I and six other artists spent the day working with the children in different types of media. Mine was watercolour. The teacher organising it said that they are under constant pressure to ensure all children achieve high levels in English and Maths but they also believe that art is incredibly important. I was pleased to hear this and so, although I am not used to working with children, I agreed to take part.

In the morning I worked with 8 and 9 year olds and they were very enthusiastic. We took photos and made sketches of the lovely garden in the school grounds and then they painted from them. In the afternoon, it was very different. The children were 10 and 11 year olds and already self conscious and didn’t want to make mistakes.

I tried to get the children to enjoy themselves and just see what happened but I left the school feeling I had failed. The teacher has since told me that they have been talking about the work and have been painting again and this time trying not to be afraid! So, maybe it wasn’t so bad after all and if some of them were inspired to keep painting then that’s great!

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