On Friday 19th May, Form 4 went to the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art Two in Edinburgh, to see the wonderful Joan Eardley exhibition, ‘A Sense of Place’. It’s been a very popular exhibition with visitors and was only on for another couple of days, so it was quite busy on the day we went, as people took this last opportunity to view it.
We arrived at the gallery and were taken up to the Education room first and to our guides. We then split into two smaller groups, one going with Miss Jones, Miss Whitelaw and a guide and the other with me and a guide. Gallery etiquette was explained and off we went. At school, the children had made up their own sketchbooks for the trip, but they were also provided with resources from the gallery. As part of the tour, the children had to complete a couple of exercises as they went around the exhibition. Focusing on one of the figurative pieces of Eardley’s work initially, the children produced their own lovely little studies of some of the children that Joan Eardley would sketch and paint in her Glasgow studios. They were interested to learn that Eardley would often ‘reward’ her child models with a cheese and treacle sandwich! The next couple of exercises with my group were to have a go at recreating the very expressive lines of the drying salmon nets up at Catterline – looking at the shapes and patterns they formed and then, secondly, to gradually build up their own composition for the painting ‘Catterline in Winter’, debating along the way whether it was the moon or sun in her painting. Joan Eardley was very forward thinking for her time, using a variety of textures such as daisies, grasses, mud and sand in her work. Embedding these textures, was a practise Gerhard Richter was carrying out some 20 years later.
After the tour, we had a picnic lunch in the grounds and a stretch of the legs, being lucky with the weather! We then went back inside to have a last look around and view a couple of film clips and finally, the children then chose two of their favourite pieces of Joan Eardley’s work, to sketch, before heading home. Back at school, Form 4 pupils will be looking a little closer at Joan Eardley’s work and creating their own work, inspired by what they’ve seen and trying out some of the techniques used by Eardley – watch this space! (Mrs Winsome Hardy)