This is a year six project, mainly interesting because it went wrong. My MFL colleague who also teaches some art wanted to do a cross-curricular link in her art lessons and wanted to do a French artist. I directed her away from the post-impressionists towards someone a bit more recent and we settled on Saint Phalle. The work is a bit wobbly which can be a boon or a curse but should work well with the younger children, ten year olds in this case. And there is a nice generative sense to the work which is something I use a lot really. I tend to avoid the two years on one painting type of artist, the worriers and fretters, and go for the fecund sort. After all I am trying to get people to generate work rather than worry about it.

Anyway, long story but I end up doing the first part of the project and go for the graphics so that my colleague can do the 3D papier mache bit later when she comes back. With the first group I go for the black outline and get them to paint a black outline to be filled in later. This does not work very well and I rethink for the next group I work with.

It doesn’t work well because the children find it difficult to do the detail and pattern with a brush straight away, because I do an example based on one of the slides with one eye on the head and this means they copy this rather than the other ideas. And Halloween casts a baleful influence. So I end up with a whole load of Saint Phalle monsters rather than dancing ladies and it all goes rather wrong.

With the next group I pencil the lines and get them to paint the primary colours and simple mixes in first with a view to putting a thin black line on later. These all work much better. My example I base more on this image and this means I get more like this but no monsters. All more or less humanoid.

I have three examples on the go. One is a self-portrait (ish), one I do for my wife and finish it during a lunchtime for her (the original is called The Couple) and the one I did with the first group I radically remodel this morning by cutting out the head and putting a proper female face instead. So I remodel the lesson and redirect the children by remodelling my model. This makes a difference and though I have now got a group with black paint outlines, new starts and various types of colouring in the results are much better.