Friday, 28 November 2008


Hello all. Last post from Michelle. I could hardly believe it was all coming to an end as I arrived on Luing for my last day big drawing. How wonderful to spend time at the school I was told I couldn't miss, though getting stopped by boisterous cattle along the road, I made slow progress. This beautiful lighthouse is Fladda, the young artists told me.

Lauren created a marvellous textured land and sea scape, complete with gulls, so atmospheric.
And how could I not mention Stewart. To my utter delight, Stewart and I realised that we had met before. On my first visit to Luing in April I had been walking through a field of cattle and got a bit terrified by all the stomping as I could see they were nervous of us around their young. Up drove a friendly young farmer on his quad bike, nonchalantly telling us not to worry and just to keep on walking. That 8 year old farmer was Stewart. And that's his dad's smashing tractor below.

What a wonderful end to an extraordinary, indescribable journey. Thank you to everyone I met along the way, you made it what it was. This is Michelle Letowska, signing out.


Good morning, Michelle here. Rockfield Primary P6 were a pure joy to work with for the whole day. They just laughed and laughed and laughed at the results of their left handed and closed eyed drawings....its always such a suprise what ends up happening on the page when your eyes are closed.
Everyone had put some serious effort into their preparatory drawings so we had lots and lots of material to work with.

These inspiring cards show some of the things the children thought were important. Friends, of course, and below, the school itself, both drawn absolutely beautifully.

Easdale and Kilninver

Hello hello, Michelle again. Easdale Primary is a lovely wee school on the island of Seil, just across the water from Easdale island. All 34 children took part in lots of drawing fun, including this young chap drawing himself using his left hand. Not a bad likeness at all!

After the break the older children made a whole range of beautiful postcard to send to Lochgoilhead primary. The one above show a fantastically sunny day of fishing aboard a trawler.

After forgetting my box of treats (materials) and getting horrendously lost, I eventually made it to Kilninver Primary, who threw themselves (including the teacher!) into creating some fantastic renditions of each other. The class told me all about the recent mapping work and pointed out lots of marvellous things that would inspire their card.

This lovely night scene of the bay was carefully rendered using soft pastels on dark card.

Achaleven and Dunbeg

Good Monday morning its me, Michelle. What better place to start the week than Achaleven Primary? Down through the old school and out in the yard is a little cabin for the older children. Their view over Loch Etive is a well kept secret that, through their stunning observational drawings, they are about to share with the world.

After a fabulous morning of drawing exercises and lots of fun drawing classmates using the wrong hand, the group produced a superb array of postcards. I just adore this picture of Connel bridge with a pheasant in the foreground.

Only a few minutes down the road from Achaleven is the lovely school at Dunbeg. The afternoon had erupted into rays of sunshine, so our lovely warm classroom became a hive of activity.
The postcards from Dunbeg were inspired by not only the surroundings but by the people, as the postcard above testifies. And isn't this a marvellous dappled horse, complete with tartened and bearded rider?

Kilchrenan and Dalmally

Kilchrenan is a delightful little school along another single track road that seems endless. Their newly landscaped garden is coming along very nicely and the P4s to 7s were a lovely group who didn't miss a chance to draw their teacher Mr Dickie in one continuous line (not a bad likeness at all).

After lots and lots and lots of quick drawings, maps and planning, a brilliantly diverse range of postcards began to materialise. I loved this one of all the older pupils and staff at the school, every single one with a big grin on their face.
On to Dalmally in the afternoon, once again further than I thought (must be something to do with not driving often, this losing all sense of distance versus time!). The school had undertaken an unbelievable amount of preparation and their sketches of the area hung on a washing line all around the classroom as postcard inspiration.

This psychedelic electricity pylon is just beautiful (yes, a pylon)...

as was this rather more sombre but stunning landscape.

Lochnell and Ardchattan

Hello people. Michelle again. Lochnell Primary has over 20 P6 pupils so our large group spent the morning looking over their wonderful preparatory work. The whole class had made beautiful studies of the school building and drawn four pictures of things they saw on the way to school. After lots of the old favourite warm up exercises, we spent some time creating collaborative maps, discussing and drawing pictures which would help to navigate the area and mark out special features.

Everyone then chose an image to draw for their postcard so that we ended up over twenty beautiful, individual drawings to send on to their link school. I loved the pencil work on this postcard, its so carefully done.

After a fantastic homemade lunch at the school, I packed up and headed up to Ardchattan which was further than I thought....the road just seemed to go on and on and on. The tiny school of only eight pupils were quietly drawing when I arrived, so everyone was ready to try some eyes closed and wrong handed drawing to liven things up a bit.

As the afternoon drew on, beautifullly confident and colourful postcards emerged - these two are different takes on the same groups of houses. Smoke billows gently from wood fires in one and another wonderfully and carefully documents every single house in the round.

Appin and Barcaldine

Morning all, Michelle here. Heading north on a crisp and wintry morning I arrived at Appin Primary, with its cosey staffroom and REAL coffee (what a treat!) and wonderfully enthusiastic young artists.

After lots of thought and careful preparation, the class produced some incredibly imaginative postcards like this wonderful, colourful scene, including jet, cow and waterfall.

After a fabulous hot lunch at the school, including sticky caramel pudding I raced down to Barcaldine which with its incredible playground can't be missed.

With one open plan classroom, it seemed like a good idea to get the whole school invovled and the little ones seemed to have as much fun as everyone else, especially with the two handed drawing.

Young Connor's rather cheery postcard of his dad's boat that caught fire, showed us all that virtually anything could become an interesting subject for a postcard to another school.


After a day in tiny wee schools it was time to head for the bright lights of Oban and Park Primary for the whole day. Two big classes of P6s showed me the wonderful work they had prepared for the day and both classes created some very carefully produced collaborative drawings.

I loved this postcard of all the important landmarks Oban has to offer drawn most delicately in felt tip pen. Isn't it beautiful?

And after a long long long day, how lovely to find this little note in with all the felt tips, crayons and pencils. Thank you! from Michelle

Craignish and Glassary

Dear Doodlers of the Earth,
Michelle here. After two weeks of drawing myself (luxury!), I returned to the classrooms and staffrooms of Argyll and Bute for Big Draw part two and what a start we had. Craignish threw themselves into their drawings with no holds (or felt tips) barred.

What a beautiful collection of drawings and postcards they had created by the end of the morning. There was hardly time to pack up our crayons before rushing off to Glassary in the driving rain.

The whole school at Glassary joined in for tons of wrong handed drawing, continuous line drawing, drawing with their eyes closed, collaborative drawing, map drawing, drawing drawing and more drawing.

When we finally settled down to creat the postcards, the pastels on dark card proved very popular which resulted in wonderfully atmospheric images.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

The biggest doodle on earth!

Hello to everyone taking part in our 'Big Draw' project this year! When we (the artists and the creative arts in schools team) sat down in June and started putting ideas together for our artists tours, we had no idea that we would end up with such a dynamic project, one which everyone has fully embraced. Thanks go to the schools for giving the artists such a warm welcome and to the hard working artists themselves who make all our mad ideas a reality! Thanks also to the invaluable help of Marydollxxx who has dealt with all the accommodation, car hire and ferry bookings. Where would we be without her! I also have to thank the Scottish Arts Council who have funded the project through the Cultural Co-ordinators in Schools scheme. The biggest THANK YOU must go to the wonderful wee artists in Argyll & Bute for their drawings and vision.
More to come later on.......
Fiona Blakey
(cultural co-ordinator)

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Helensburgh to Kilcreggan to Loch Lomond and Back

Well, it started in the P6 classrooms of John Logie Baird, then the GP room of Rhu (General Purpose room filled with laptops, musical instruments and books - heaven!), then rushing round Garelochhead, Kilcreggan, Rosneath, Luss then last day but not least, the dining hall of Cardross! Big schools, wee schools, round about and over the hill schools, loch side schools, centre of town schools, hill-side schools, 'nearly in a wood' schools...It's been a very varied geographical journey so it has, and very exciting too.

I feel like an intrepid explorer myself as I gallavant from one school to the next - as artist Val put it from her Kintyre visit, it's wonderful being able to see the different journeys that each student experiences on their way to school, what they can see, hear, do and notice on the way, and how one student's route to school can be so different to someone else's!

This is a Memory Map from John Logie Baird Primary - The blue line is a bit faint on the actual town map, but can you see that the blue line on this memory map is a very good re-drawing (freehand!) of this student's route to school?

Here's another great 'memory map' from John Logie Baird - You can see the redrawn route better with purple!

Check out the drawings below for pictures of fantastic homework; maps of the route to school using memory, real maps and photos/drawings done for homework; great postcards and students being completely absorbed in the project - exciting stuff!

Using Homework and Classwork to develop into postcards and memory maps.

Terrific homework of 4 things seen on the way to school.

Some more terrific homework and the developing memory map and postcard.

Brilliant memory maps show how different every pupil's journey to school can be!

Rhu's postcards which will be sent to Ardrishaig or Lochnell primary schools.

The backs of the postcards in order - can you find the right stories to the right picture postcard?

This student took some great photos and as you can see from the drawing above, did a great drawn copy of the entrance to school! Great perspective!

This has to be my favourite drawing of a church! It looks so alive doesn't it?!

This student has drawn some great people they see on the way to school! Who do you think they are?

I'm learning so much about Argyll and Bute just be looking at everyone's drawings, maps and postcards. Not forgetting what a talented bunch all the pupils are who I've met so far!

Well done everyone! Let's see what the next week of drawing brings!
Best for now, Jenny Soep