Posted by: devonteacherblog | April 15, 2012

Coastal inspiration (part 1)


On a recent trip to Cornwall I was looking for some inspiration for an art project. I have a seven year old child in my class who is gifted and talented in art. Her family regularly visit Cornwall and so this is a real passion for her.

At school I had already given her a special art book where she can do drawings and try out various techniques but she is always aiming higher. She wants to create something on a larger scale. So I needed inspiration…

So I took to the streets of Padstow (combining it with some much needed relaxation time over Easter) and visited art galleries and exhibitions. I found a lot of beautiful paintings which did inspire me but it was still hard to relate them to a Year 2 child.

I took down the names of my favourite artists and googled them, which also led me to find more cornish artists. I decided to email them explaining what I wanted to do and out of the few who did reply I found some true words of wisdom:

Painting is easy … have in your mind that there are NO mistakes. Be instinctive about where you put colour and what colours you use and the results can be great. Don’t judge your painting or let anyone else make a judgement… I/We should have done this or that. If it looks wrong, it just needs more work. Keep going with it. As adults we feel constrained by what we think it should be like or by convention, but there are no rules. Try spraying, dripping water into acrylic paint on canvas. Leave to dry, or rub some out before it dries to create waves. Scratch it out with a knife and then spatter paint over.

Sue Read (

These words made me realise that it is freedom that is the vital component when painting or creating art. As this child is so young it is obviously important to inspire them and to expose them to different types of art but the main thing is just to let her have a go. I am a big believer in self directed learning so I am excited to see where she will take this project. I am not naturally talented when it comes to art (to say the least!) but I do enjoy being creative and exploring different mediums so I hope it will be a time of exploration for us both. Together we can explore the mediums and techniques. No real teaching required, just pure learning, together.

At school we have collected coastal books and images together and I have now printed the emails for her to see along with images of the artists work. I have also printed photographs of my time in Padstow, of the beautiful coastlines and landscape. She will no doubt want to bring in her own collection of photographs and keepsakes from Cornwall.

It will now be up to her to create her art.

“The work will wait while you show the child the rainbow. But the rainbow won’t wait while you do the work.”




  1. What a wonderful teacher you must be! Your student is lucky to have you.

  2. Wow! So glad you took it on board, and that maybe it will make you feel braver about having a go. Everyone has a creative mind. School poster paints are also a great starting point because they cover well. You can make no mistakes and you can keep putting the paint on, but at least with these they will cover well. If she is keen to do something bigger, try poster paints using a variety of brush sizes, maybe even decorator brushes and might I suggest you even play some sea inspired music. If I can help in any other way, please get in touch and I am keen to watch the progress.
    Best wishes. x

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