Talking Pictures Week 52: Horse

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This is a painting by Samuel John Murphy, who was born 170 years ago in county Cork. The painting shows a horse in a neat stable with a cobbled stone floor. The horse has some hay to munch on and looks very healthy, shiny and sleek. The horse has a neatly chopped tail, short and straight across.

The title of this painting is Bay Horse. Why do you think it is called that? The horse isn’t sitting by the bay of the sea chowing down on chowder.

All manner of horses

A bay horse is a reddish-brown or brown horse with a black mane, tail, socks and snout. Bay is one of the most common colours for a horse. But did you know there are many more? Can you name any other horse coat colours?

Here are six more horse colourings - all scrambled up. See if you can solve them!

Horse colouring

Did you know…?

Horses can sleep lying down and standing up

They have lived on earth for more than 50 million years, evolving from much smaller creatures…

….and have lived with people (domesticated) for over 5,000 years

A female horse is called a mare

A male horse is called a stallion

A young female horse is a filly

And a young male horse is a colt

They have huge eyes - some of the biggest of any land mammal!

Horsing around

Let’s draw some horses of our own. This is Serena - an emerald roan with piebald patches.

Follow the steps below to get the outline of your horse.

Click on the image above to view a larger version.

If your horse looks lonesome - add a companion! This is Chippy with their horse Bronntanas!

Chippy

Talking Pictures: 'Horse' was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 51: Eggcellent Salt Cellar!

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

What do you think this is? Long green tendrils on top of a platform - some kind of octopus on a stage?

Officially it is a salt cellar - something you would have on your table filled with salt ready to be added to your mashed potatoes. It was made in the 17th century.

Perhaps it could also be an egg cup for your boiled eggs. Could you see an egg sitting on top the salt cellar with runny yellow yolk oozing down the side?

dragon

A brief history of the Easter egg

Eggs are a common symbol for spring, hatching out all sorts of little winged creatures during the season. The new babies are signs of new beginnings as the trees begin to bud and nature comes out of a sleepy winter hibernation.

One of spring’s most common festivals is Easter. For centuries people have been giving painted eggs for Easter presents as they are in plentiful supply at this time of year. Then in the 19th century France and Germany began producing eggs from chocolate, quickly followed in the 1870’s by JS Fry & Sons as well as John Cadbury in England. And thus the chocolate easter egg was born!

Eggs

Egg painting

Whether you celebrate Easter or not - this is a very fun way to add some springtime decorations to your home!

Egg Painting

Here’s a video of the process which might make it easier:

Once you are finished painting and your egg is dry - you have the option of gluing a string to your egg so you can hang up your new decoration. For this use PVA glue and a piece of string or thread.

Or you could design an egg cup for your egg friend!

Talking Pictures: 'Eggcellent Salt Cellar' was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 50: Family

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This painting is by Pauline Bewick and it shows a family in County Wicklow. The family are standing in their yard with trees framing their small cottage. Can you see the mountains in the background? These mountains make the painting seem very deep, like the land goes on for a long time behind this family’s home. Can you find the animals in the yard?

The artist Pauline Bewick spent a lot of her childhood moving around between Ireland, Wales and England with her mother and her sister. Her family lived in caravans, a houseboat, a railway carriage and a workman's hut while she was growing up.

A party of people

What do you call a group of people? It could be your family, your class at school or the GAA team you play for. These are all ‘collective nouns’ - different names for groups of more than one human. Your squad, your tribe, your band.

And what if you are talking about more than one cow? A farmer has a herd of cattle or a gaggle of geese. Every animal has a collective noun for its group - and there are some strange ones out there! See if you can match up these animals to their collective nouns.

Terms

Put your finger down on one of the pieces and draw around the tip.

Drawing our family troupes

Who do you have in your family bunch?

Berwick

Pick up some paper and pencils and we will follow Pauline Bewick’s example and draw our own clan.

This is a charming of Chopras.

Chopras

We will use a selection of small rectangles of paper - I cut these from scraps.

Then add a long rectangle for the body and rectangles for the arms and legs.

You can download an Irish language pdf version of this article here.

Talking Pictures: 'Family' was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 49: Walking to the Sea

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

What do you see in this painting? Does anything stand out to you? Do any of the colours remind you of something?

This painting is called Walking to the Sea. It was painted by William Crozier in 1989.

Now that you know the title of the painting - do the shapes and colours make more sense to you? Can you see the line where the sea meets the sky? There is a large yellow area that connects the person looking at the painting with the sea - could this be the sand?

The sky is made up of dark blues on the left of the painting and light pinks and blues on the right. Why do you think the artist did this? Could it be the morning time when the sun is rising, eating up the darkness? Or perhaps a storm is coming and the gloomy clouds will swallow up the light…

Sandcastles

In our island of Ireland, we are very lucky to have so many beautiful beaches and soon we will be able to take trips to the coast again.

What is your favourite part of going to the beach? Is it burying your brother? Building a pit and watching unaware beach goers fall into it? Finding crabs and anemones in rock pools? Throwing lumps of seaweed into the water for your dog to catch?

Here are some beach facts which you can wow your friends with when we are all able to enjoy them again:

How important are sand dunes?

Sand dunes are created when the wind pulls sand into a hill-like shape. We need these dunes to protect our coast from wind and waves. They are important for coastal grasses and plants, as well as providing a safe haven for animals.

How old is sand?

Sand is, indeed, just a bunch of tiny rocks. It is also one phase of the endlessly churning rock cycle that has been shaping the surface of our earth for the last 4.5 billion years.

Got sand?

You probably do, in your kitchen pantry. Sand is defined as any material made up of grains within a specific size range. Sugar and salt typically qualify.

Got gravel?

The next size up from sand grain is gravel.

Kite

Let’s fly a kite

Another thing beaches are great for is kite-flying. Here we will learn how to make a kite that you can fly anywhere with the help of a little breeze.

Kite 1

You will need:

Kite yellow
Kite colour

Once all the glue is dry you can try out your kite!

Flying kite

Talking Pictures: 'Walking to the Sea' was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 48: Tree House

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This huge drawing is by an artist called Stephen Brandes.

There is a whole strange city within the tree trunk shown in this drawing. There are factories pumping out smoke, what do you think they could be making? Would you like to live in a city in a tree trunk? It might be dark but it sounds quite cosy.

Tree time

What kind of tree do you think this is? It looks tall and has no leaves, so it must lose them in winter time. Here are some Irish trees that have been grown here for thousands of years:

Do you recognise any of these trees? Can you see any from your window or around your area?

Trees

Every tree has a unique leaf shape that helps us to identify them. Can you match these leaves to the trees above?

Leaves

Where there’s a tree there’s a home

Let’s take another look at Stephen Brandes’ tree. There are lots of little houses in it, so it looks like many people or creatures are living there. Trees offer shelter for all sorts of beings - insects, birds, squirrels, rabbits, badgers.

Tree Drawing

Let’s make some tree houses. You can download and print the template below or just draw your own.

Blank Tree

My tree is home to Wilma the Woodpecker who loves reading books about science. Underneath, in the basement, there are lots of rooms for local worms and burrowers. Wullo the worm is an outdoorsy fella and watches lots of travel shows to help him choose his next destination. Rebecca the rabbit enjoys a hot cocoa after her evening lettuce.

Talking Pictures: 'Trees' was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 47: Island People

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This painting is by an artist called Gerard Dillon. This painting, Island People, was created when Dillon spent a year on Inishlacken Island off the coast of Connemara in the west of Ireland.

What can we see in the painting? There is a man walking away towards the sea with his head bowed. What is he carrying? Could he be the artist? There are two people on the right watching.

There are lots of animals in the painting too. Can you spot them? How many can you find?

What do you think of the colours Dillon has used in this painting? They are very natural, aren’t they? Browns, greys, dark blues and dark greens. These are colours you often see on a walk in Ireland.

There are a lot of stones in the painting. There are stone walls separating the fields and the buildings have stone walls too.

Island people

Have you been to any Irish islands? We have quite a few of them! Can you imagine what it is like living on a small island? All your food would be brought in by boat and your trip to school might involve a sea crossing too! Can you imagine that boat trip on a dark winter morning?

Boat

Scrambled islands

Let’s see if we can work out the names of the following Irish islands. If you are stuck, maybe an adult would know a few! There are clues to help you with each of them.

NIIS óMR - Big Island as Gaeilge. Co. Galway

ECAP ECLAR - You’d see it on a clear day in County Cork

SIEHNKR - An island to rival the above, where the waters roar. Co. Cork

HILCLA - The Achilles heel of surfers in Mayo

SSLEIKLG LMIEAHC - a Star Wars was filmed here. Co. Kerry

HGNARSI - A tropical paradise with seals galore. You might put this on your dinner too. Co. Cork

NIHSIIOBFN - Comes from the Irish Inis Bó Finne, Co. Galway

BKALTSES - Peig Sayers lived here, Co. Kerry

AVATELNI - An island you can drive on to. Co. Kerry

Painting stones

Stone features a lot in Gerard Dillon’s paintings. As well as being a very useful building material and looking nice on the beach, stones can make a great canvas!

Find a suitably smooth stone on your next walk, in your garden or outside in your park. You will need acrylic paints and paintbrushes to paint your stone.

You can paint your stone however you want. It can be a face, an animal or a whole picture. I took some inspiration from Island People for my seaside scene:

stone

And hey presto! Little stone paintings to add to your collection, to put in your pocket or to give to someone you love!

You can download an Irish language pdf version of this article here.

Talking Pictures: 'Island People' was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 46: Ship in Stormy Seas

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

What can you see in this painting - do you see a ship with tall sails? The water is rough and there are waves crashing against the ship. The moon peeks out from behind the clouds, it’s a night storm. The painting was created by Richard Peterson Atkinson in 1876. It’s called Ship in Stormy Seas.

What can you not see in this painting?

In the hull of the ship is a crew of sailors - do you think they are scared and trying their best to cling to the sides? Or do you think this is just another sea crossing for them and they are enjoying a game of cards by moonlight?

Under the rough waves is another world full of millions of sea creatures. As the storm rages above, the underwater animals are getting on with their nighttime routine. There are sharks and whales and octopus. Tuna, sea trout and mackerel. Seaweed, seals and anemones. Maybe some merpeople too?

I started early, took my dog,
And visited the sea;
The mermaids in the basement
Came out to look at me.

Ocean creatures yoga

Here are some yoga moves - each related to a sea creature. See if the other people at home can guess what creature you are.

yoga
See me under the sea




If you were a sea creature what would you look like? Would you have tentacles, fins, tails? Would you breathe through your gills or have a blowhole? Would you be scaly or slimy? 


Would you move like a crab or swordfish? Would you float or swim?


Pick up a pen and piece of paper to draw yourself as an underwater animal.

Talking Pictures: 'Ship in Stormy Seas' was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 45: Winged Things

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This work is by Cork based artist Paul La Rocque. It is titled ‘In her Own Garden’.

What do you think is happening in this painting? Who is the person with two small white wings?

There is a green strip at the bottom of the piece filled with flowers and the girl seems to be looking at something in the greenery. What could she be looking at? Do you think there are some interesting creatures lurking in the grass?

Garden critters

Do you have a garden? Or is there a park or field that you like to go to? You probably see all sorts of interesting things when you’re in the park - do you look closely at the bark on the trees and the strands of grass? There you will find lots of tiny creatures.

These insects and bugs are very important for our environment. They make very tasty meals for birds and bats. They pollinate flowers and trees. Some insects are also predators to pest insects, minimising the damage they do to their homes and ours by eating them up.

Can you name the following insects?

bugs

How many of these insects have you seen in your garden or in your local park? There is a fun activity you can do to help researchers monitor the amount of insects in Ireland. An adult can help you with this. It is called the FIT Count (Flower-Insect Timed Count)

Choose a plant and closely monitor it for ten minutes, taking notes of all the insects you find. Then submit it to the National Biodiversity Data Centre.

For more information take a look at this link: https://pollinators.ie/record-pollinators/fit-count/

Winged things

Now let’s do some drawing! We are going to try on lots of different wings in this activity, just like the little girl in Paul La Rocque’s painting.

First we will divide a piece of paper into 8 sections. Take a piece of A4 paper and fold it in half lengthways. Unfold it and then fold it in half the other way. Bring the outer edges to meet the middle line and press down on the crease. Unfold the page - now you have 8 equal sections!

Folds

Now draw yourself as the following winged things in each section:

Have a look at some winged things here:

Have a look at some winged things here:

Winged things

Talking Pictures: Winged Things was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 44: Chinese New Year

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This is a porcelain Chinese vase probably made around 1735. Porcelain originated in China over 2,000 years ago. Do you have any porcelain in your home? Maybe your Granny and Granda have a few special pieces. Porcelain has an almost translucent look to it.

This vase was once owned by the Penrose family, merchant princes who lived at Woodhill in the Cork suburb of Tivoli.

Look closely

Can you recognise any of the flowers or creatures on the vase? The birds look like pheasants or peacocks. What would you keep in such a fancy vessel? I can’t imagine it was filled with gravy on the dinner table!

This vase is highly decorated with very delicate paintings of flowers and birds and there is a little lion figure on the lid. This ornament is known as a finial, a decorative knob on the top of an object or structure.

Chinese new year

Chinese New Year

In Ireland and across a lot of the globe we use the Gregorian calendar. The Gregorian calendar has about 365 days in a year and every January 1st marks the beginning of a new one.

But did you know there are many other types of calendar and some people measure time differently? The Chinese calendar is one very popular alternative. They consider a new year to be the end of winter and beginning of spring. This changes each year depending on the first new moon of the season.

The new moon is the first lunar phase of our moon sequence and a brilliant time to start something new. This year the first new moon of spring falls on Friday the 12th February, which makes this date the first day of the Chinese New Year.

One of the best things about the Chinese calendar is that each year relates to an animal of the Chinese zodiac. This year will be the year of the ox!

Year of the ox

Can you find your animal from this wheel?

Are you happy with that animal or would your prefer a different one?

How do you relate to your animal?

What animals would you include in your zodiac?

Box

Oxes on boxes

Now we can make a little ox box to keep our treasures in. This box is made from an origami paper folding technique. There are a lot of photos to help you, but do not be intimidated it is a very easy method!

This video is very clear if you need any additional help with the folding:

https://youtu.be/qiLhYdFPFws

1

Starting with an A4 page, fold one side down to meet the other and cut off the excess. This gives you a perfect square.

2

Fold the square in half and then half again, leaving you with a smaller square. Unfold the paper and it should now be divided into 4 equal squares. Fold the outside corners in to the middle so you have four triangular flaps.

Fold one third of your square over the flaps and then fold the final third down over the other two. This gives you three lines lengthways across your square when you unfold. Then do the same going the other direction.

4

Unfold your page completely and then fold two corners to meet in the middle, making a kind of diamond shape. Follow the pictures for the next few steps. If you need some more clues to this part you can watch the video above.

Unfold your page completely and then fold two corners to meet in the middle, making a kind of diamond shape. Follow the pictures for the next few steps. If you need some more clues to this part you can watch the video above.

5

Glue inside the flaps of your box to make sure it’s sturdy.

6

Now let’s add a finial like our Chinese vase above.

Cut a strip from the piece of paper we discarded at the start. Glue both ends to your lid like a handle. Flatten the curve at the top of the handle.

7

This box is for stashing memories, wishes and secrets from the year ahead so I have chosen an ox for my finial. Draw out your animal and cut the shape from the paper. Then glue it to the strip of paper on the lid of your box.

Box

Now comes the fun part - decorate your box however you want and fill it with joy and abundance going into this new year.

Talking Pictures: Chinese New Year was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 43: Morte D’Arthur

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

Here we have a print from a wood engraving by Robert Gibbings. This is an illustration for the book called Le Morte D’Arthur by Thomas Malory which translates as The Death of Arthur.

Do the knight theme and the name Arthur ring any bells for you?

This drawing is from the fables of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. The Knights of the Round Table were the best knights in Arthur's kingdom, and lived in Arthur’s castle, Camelot.

The table was round so that everyone sitting at it could see the others, making it a trusting circle of friends.

Arthur

The Legend of King Arthur

When Arthur was born, he was taken to be raised by a wizard named Merlin. This wizard designed a round table for Arthur where over 100 knights could be seated. Arthur's father was meant to sit at the head of the table, but when he died no one knew who should take his place.

Merlin declared that there was a sword called Excalibur stuck inside a stone. Whoever was strong enough to get the sword out of the stone would be the one to sit at the head of the table. Take a guess at who managed this feat? Yes, that’s right - Arthur!

Lady of the Lake

Lady of the Lake

In the myth of King Arthur, there was a mysterious lady who appeared. Her role changes in different versions of the story, but she was believed to have control of the sword. When Arthur saw Excalibur, he asked the lady if he could have the sword. She granted him permission, and Arthur was set to become king. He built a giant castle, called Camelot, and he gained control over a large part of Europe.

Cuchúlainn and his teacher, Scathach

Perhaps you are more familiar with the Irish champion Cúchulainn? The Irish hero was taught in Scotland by a very skilful warrior called Scathach.

Shadowy Scathach was the greatest trainer of warriors. She lived on the Island of Skye, later named for her, and was a renowned fighter of fearsome skill. 

Just like the sword Excalibur given to Arthur by the Lady of the Lake, Scathach presented Cúchalainn with a mighty spear called the Gae Bolga. This was a very treacherous spear which separated into barbs when it entered human flesh and its first strike was always fatal.

Sword

A warrior is born

Now to make an Excalibur of our own. You will need:

A big piece of cardboard
Tinfoil
Scissors
Tape
Toilet roll inner
Paint

Tutorial1
Tutorial2
Tutorial3

Talking Pictures: Morte D'Arthur was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 42: Sabots

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

Here we have a pair of wooden shoes called sabots, carved with geometric patterns. Look at the smoothness of the wood and the narrow openings for the wearer’s feet - do you think these shoes would be comfortable?

Sabotage

Sabot clogs were worn by the working class of the 16th -19th centuries. Can you see the little wooden wedges underneath the sole? These elevated the feet, keeping them out of the wet messes at ground level.

The word sabotage means to damage something on purpose and this comes from the sabot shoe. During the years of the Industrial Revolution, workers would destroy machinery with their sabots to protest the cruel and harsh working conditions.

The sharpest sabots in the shed

Can you see the detailed carving in the Spanish school wooden sabots? If you could design your own sabots what would you carve into the surface?

Wild West Sabots

This pair of sabots is inspired by the Wild West. They have throwing stars on the heel that are as sharp as a blade and can slice through anything when expertly tossed. They are decorated with a desert landscape, featuring Mount Sabotage on the toe.

Pick up some pens and paper to imagine your own tailor-made sabot clog.

Would you have them made from wood or fabric? Would they glow in the dark or have wheels on the bottom for a speedy exit?

Whose shoes?

Can you imagine the worker who wore the Spanish school wooden sabots? What do you think their craft was?

Who do you think would wear the Wild West sabots above? A glamorous grandpa? A hairy hound?

Take a look at the following pairs of shoes and think about the wearer. Who can you see in these daycent designs? Grab your pen and paper and dream up an owner for each pair.

Shoes

Here’s a flip-flop wearing croc! See you next week!

Croc

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Sabots was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 41: St. Agnes

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About this artwork

This illustration is by Harry Clarke. It is a preparatory sketch for a collection of stained glass windows telling the story of St. Agnes Eve, a poem by John Keats.

This sketch is done in watercolour and gouache. Look at the vibrant washes of blue - how delicate and dramatic they can be depending on the amount of water used. Look at the dazzling whites, illuminating the buttons and threads of the fabrics.

The Eve of St. Agnes

This poem takes place on the 20th January, the eve of St. Agnes. St. Agnes is the patron saint of girls and is often depicted with a lamb. Can you guess why? The name ‘Agnes’ comes from the Latin word agnus, which means lamb.

St. Agnes

Traditionally on the Eve of St Agnes, you would perform certain rituals before bedtime if you want to dream of your future love. In the past these rituals included transferring pins one by one from a pincushion to a sleeve whilst reciting the Lord’s Prayer, walking backwards upstairs to bed or fasting all day. Another tradition was to eat a portion of dumb cake (a salty treat prepared with friends in total silence) before retiring to bed, hoping to dream of a future love.

Agnes

In Scotland, girls would meet in a field of crops at midnight, throw grain on to the soil and pray:

‘Agnes sweet and Agnes fair,
Hither, hither, now repair;
Bonny Agnes, let me see
The lad who is to marry me.’

The Feast of St. Brigid

St. Brigid is the patron saint of babies, midwives, travellers, poultry farmers, dairy farmers, printing presses, scholars, sailors and poets (to name but a few)

St. Brigid’s Cross

Just like the rituals for St. Agnes Eve above, there are rituals for the feast of St. Brigid.  The most well-known is making a St. Brigid’s Cross on February 1st, St. Brigid’s Day and the first day of spring. These crosses are hung by a door in the house to protect from fire and evil. Every year on St Brigid’s Day the household make a new cross and the old one is burned.

The crosses are traditionally made from rushes but today we will use paper. You will need:

An A4 sheet of coloured paper
Scissors
Pritt stick

  1. Cut your page into long thin strips. Make sure they are all of a similar length. You can use two or three different colours if you want.

2. Fold all your strips in half, keeping one straight.

Brigid's Cross

3. Fold one of your strips around this long bit of paper, halfway across.

4. Glue the flaps to each other so that the paper doesn’t slip.

Crosses

5. Turn your cross 1/4 anti clockwise and add another strip to the next pole.

6. Continue turning your cross by 1/4, adding a new strand to each pole and using pritt stick to keep it in place.

7. When you are happy with the shape you can finish - trust your eye!

Crosses 2

Don’t eat too much salty dumb cake this evening!

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: St. Agnes was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 40: Gods & Goddesses

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This is a sculpture from the Canova cast room, by artist Antonio Canova around the year 1816. The woman seated is the Goddess Concordia. Concordia is the Goddess of agreement or harmony.

Roman deities

Ancient Romans worshipped a wide variety of gods and goddesses. They had many deities (gods) for different things. For example, Mars was the god of war and the Roman military. He was the son of Juno, the goddess of woman and fertility.

The Ancient Romans had gods for just about everything. They believed that different powers were watching over different areas of their lives and they wanted to keep them happy. Their religion borrowed a lot from the Ancient Greek religion and so many of their gods have a Greek twin.

Let’s see if you know any of these Roman gods. Many cartoons and films have characters and storylines from Ancient Rome, which might help you if you’re stuck. Hercules and The Little Mermaid are two examples. Maybe someone at home will know a few too!           

Gods

Roman creatures

As well as gods and goddesses, many mythical creatures appeared in Ancient Greek and Roman fables. Here are some common beasts found in mosaics, pottery, statues and frescoes around Rome:

Pegasus- a pure white winged horse

pegasus

Ketos - monsters lurking in the deep sea waters

Griffins - creatures with the body, tail and legs of a lion and the head and wings of a eagle

Minotaurs - have the head and tail of a bull with the body of a human

Cerebrus - three-headed dog that guards the underworld

Cereberus

Make your own

The Greeks and Romans had many deities, but they probably didn’t have one for noodles or hover boards. If you could create a god or goddess for something, what would that be?

Canova’s statue of Concordia is holding things that helps us identify her. She has a staff, a dish and a tiara.

When making your deity you need to consider their most remarkable traits. How will you help people recognise your god or goddess? Think of clothing they could be wearing or objects they could have in their hands and on their heads.

GodofChips

Can you guess what this guy is the god of? Hint: He’d be good friends with the God of Fish.

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Gods & Goddesses was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 39: Sail to Samoa

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This is a painting by Mary Swanzy. It is called Samoan Scene and was painted on her travels to Samoa in 1924. Today it would take you days to get to Samoa by plane. Back in the 1920’s it was an enormously long voyage by boat. Swanzy travelled to Canada, then reached Hawaii where she stayed with a relative for a few months before sailing the 2,600 miles to Samoa.

Map of Samoa

Swanzy has captured the island’s tropical environment and soft, warm light in her paintings of Samoa. In this artwork we see Samoan people enjoying time in crystalline blue waters, framed by tall leafy plants.

Samoa facts

Mālō! ‘O ā mai ‘oe?

Can you guess what this Samoan phrase means in English? If you guessed “Hello! How are you?” then you are correct! This is an informal way of greeting someone in Samoan.

Samoa Greetings

Samoa gained independence from New Zealand in 1962 and as Samoa’s nearest neighbour, New Zealand is home to a lot of Samoan people too. In fact, Samoan is the third most spoken language in New Zealand behind English and Māori.

About 194,320 people live in Samoa, which is just over the population of Cork!

Samoa wildlife

Samoa is surrounded by spectacular coral reefs, which are home to a wide variety of colourful creatures. See if you can unscramble the letters below to find out some of the local wildlife:

lyfnig xfo

urtlte

ogldishf

orpoispe

anld nalis

jupmnig disper

Egg animals

Have you unscrambled all the animals? Did you get goldfish as one of your answers? That’s absolutely right! There are wild goldfish in Samoa. Can you imagine going to a lake and seeing lots of little goldfish swimming around?

We can make some wild goldfish of our own to keep us company around the house.

Goldfish

You will need:

An egg box

Scissors

Paper

Paint

Loo roll or orange tissue paper

Firstly we need to break apart the egg box so you have 6 little goldfish bodies. Then we will get some orange paint and paint however many goldfish you want. If you don’t have orange paint you can mix your own using yellow and red:

Paint

You can leave these aside to dry. While they are drying, get your toilet roll or tissue paper. If you are using toilet roll, you will need two sheets per fish. If you are using tissue paper you can cut two squares about the same size as a sheet of toilet roll per fish.

The orange tissue paper will be fine as it is. If you are using toilet roll sheets, we will need to paint them with the same paint we used for the bodies. Be gentle when doing this as it can tear easily.

Leave to dry.

Tissue and paint

Once your fish are dry we can paint on the eyes and mouth. Paint a white circle on each side of the body for the eyes. Then a pink ‘o’ shape for the mouth. If you don’t have pink paint, mix red and white. Once the paint is dry you can put the black pulse of the fish in. You can use a pen if you don’t have black paint.

Eyes

Now we need to fold our paper for the fins and tail of the goldfish. For the fins we use one of our sheets cut in half, so we have two small lengths of paper. Then fold like an accordion. Use one whole sheet for the tail and fold over in the same way.

Paint tail

Now our fish eyes should be dry, so we can make a cut in each side for the fins and one in the back for the tail.

Cut

Slide your fins and tail through the slits. Make sure they are nice and tight. If you want to you can glue them here to make sure they are extra secure. Then make the finishing touches on your fish’s face.

Fishface

Et voila! IF you want to keep an eye on them you can thread through the top of your goldfish and hang them in your room.

Now we have some goldfish just like the ones you’d find in a Samoan lake. I wonder did Mary Swanzy see goldfish on her travels?

Tōfā soifua!

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Talking Pictures: Sail to Samoa was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 38: Tulips

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This pencil sketch is by an Irish artist called Mainie Jellett from Dublin. Jellett received painting lessons from the age of 11. She is mostly known for her ‘non-representational’ art as she uses shapes of block colour in her paintings. Many of her abstract compositions can be found in the Crawford Gallery.

Tulips

This sketch is a very simple drawing of some tulips. Can you see any tulips in your garden? If not, your local park might have some. They can be found in red, pink, yellow or white. They are quite common in Ireland now, but can you think of a country where they are extremely popular?

The tulip craze started in the Netherlands with Tulip Mania. In the 1600s the Dutch fell head over heels for tulips, which had been recently introduced to Europe. In the Netherlands, some single tulip bulbs could be sold for 10 times the annual salary of a skilled craftsperson. Huge areas of land were given to growing these brightly coloured flowers. By 1636, the tulip was the fourth biggest Dutch export after gin, herrings and cheese. The market shortly collapsed and the value of tulips decreased but they are now the national flower of the Netherlands.

Tulip

Native flowers

Each country has its own native plants and animals. These are the things that grow and thrive on the natural environment of that country.

Tulips originate from the Tian Shan mountains, a range bordering China and Kyrgyzstan. Tian Shan translates as Mountains of Heaven. Can you imagine the tulip flowers spread across the mountainside? I bet their vivid colour stands out against the snowy tops.

Tulips are popular in Ireland, but they do not grow here in the wild. Can you think of any flowers that you see on your way to school in the hedgerows or the grass? The most common of these are likely native to Ireland.

Have a guess at the names of these native Irish flowers. If you are having difficulty, ask someone who likes to garden and they might help you out!

Native Flowers
Holding tulips

Making flowers

Now that we are a bit more informed about tulips, let’s make some of our own. These are very easy to make! You will need an old egg carton, paints and a wooden chopstick or wooden skewer.

First, take the egg carton apart so you have six possible tulips. Next, paint the tulips in whatever vibrant colours you want.

Painting Tulips

Once the paint is dry, skewer the cardboard so your tulip has a stalk. Then you're finished! You have a dazzling tulip of your own.

Tulip with stick

These tulips make great companions for other plants, in your home or in the garden!

Tulips by the window

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Talking Pictures: Tulips was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 37: Wonky Christmas

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This piece of pottery was created by Irish artist John ffrench. It is a ceramic piece, which means it is made from clay and permanently hardened with heat. Ffrench is popular for using colour and playful shapes in his ceramics.

Yellow stripes and blobs

This shape is unusual - what type of object do you think this is? Is it a vessel, used to carry liquid or flowers? Or do you think it is a candlestick holder? Is it a pair of upside-down trousers with plodding feet raised into the air?

Something about this shape makes it feel very alive, a snail-like creature with vibrant markings.

Or maybe it’s a custard covered Santa Claus stuck in the chimney?

SantaChimney

Christmas critters

Ffrench’s objects all seem to have a life of their own, they are little creatures sitting on their shelves. Taking inspiration from Ffrench’s designs we will be making some Christmas creatures and having fun with pens and paper.

Not everyone celebrates Christmas, as it is traditionally a Christian festivity. Some Christians don’t celebrate it either, such as Jehovah’s Witnesses. But we can all appreciate Christmas Critters.

What you will need is: paper, pens/pencils/crayons/markers in lots of colours.

First we will start with a drawing of a humble reindeer. Simple and straightforward, right? Not so fast. We will be using two hands to draw this reindeer. Your right hand will be drawing the right half and your left hand will be drawing the left side. Use a different colour in each hand and make sure both hands are moving the whole time.

Reindeerdraw1

Let’s get started! Here is a reindeer for you to reference:

ChristmasFfrench
Reindeerdraw
Reindeerdraw2

And an example of a finished rein-do-dah:

Now that we’re comfortable with it, let’s draw the following critters in the same way.

Christmas jumbles

A wonky wonderful time

Now you have a wide selection of Christmas critters in the spirit of Ffrench’s gloriously wonky creations. Let’s take it a step further and make some bonkers bockety cards to give to your friends and family.

Get a piece of card and fold it in half. On the front we will be redrawing one of our earlier critters. Redrawing or copying previous drawings gives your work a new personality each time. Have a look:

Catsmas

Once you have your critter redrawn we can start filling them in. We can do this with pens, markers, pencils…whatever you have handy!

Here’s a finished critter card:

CatmasCard1
CatmasCard

Now comes the hard part - who will you gift your critter card to?

Santa

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Talking Pictures: ffrench was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 36: Winter

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This work is by an Irish artist called Colin Middleton who was born in Belfast in 1910. He was interested in surrealism, which means his art fused the psychological world of his mind and the real world he lived in.

In 1928 Middleton took a trip to London where he saw a Vincent van Gogh exhibition which hugely inspired him. Do you know van Gogh’s work? He famously painted sunflowers and starry skies.

This painting by Colin Middleton is called Winter: Camden Street. The sky is textured and it looks like there is more than one moon. Underneath it is separated into grids with speckled yellows and reds looking like lights in a darkened city. Does this painting feel like winter? The blues certainly communicate a chilly air.

Got the blues?

Our lives are surrounded by colours and most of the time we don’t even notice them. Let’s see if you can find four blue objects in the room you’re in now. Here are four that I found:

Blue images

Shades of blue

Once you start looking you can see how many different hues of the same colour exist. There are many shades of every colour and often our mind merges them all into one.

Blue boxes

Here we can see all the different blues that make up Winter: Camden Street.

Blues

And here is a palette using just 14 of the blues from the painting. You can see that some have a greenish tint and some are a lot darker. Some are the colour of space and some are the colour of the sea. What would you associate these blues with?

Creating a bluescape

Now let’s create a masterpiece of our own. The one rule? You guessed it! We’ll be using only blues. You can use any media you like, and even better if you have a variety of different tools. Collage is also an option if you want to cut blues from magazines, newspapers or flyers.

Blue 2

We will start with a black page here. Middleton and Van Gogh looked at the sky and we will be going one step beyond with a blue space scene. Bring your martians, your venutians and your planet earths.

Blue 3

Then get stuck in! Remember to stick to blues. If you have paint this is very easy as you can create a wide range of hues just be adding a darker colour (black, green) or a lighter colour like white to your blue paint. You can also experiment with layering your pencils, pens or chalk to see the hues you can get.

Blue 4

If the background is too dark for some of your pens, try drawing on a lighter page and cutting it out. Then you can stick down with pritt stick.

Once you are satisfied with your bluescape then take a step back and look at all the blues you have created in your picture.

Blue

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

You can download an Irish language pdf version of this article here.

Talking Pictures: Winter was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 35: Acrobats

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

Stunts

This work is by an artist called Gerard Dillon. It’s called Stunts and it shows two people doing acrobatics with a little white dog. There is a big red shape in the centre of the work - what do you think this is? Could it be a fingerprint? Could it be a heart?

What is the mood of this artwork? Do you think the artist was feeling happy when he made it? It looks like these two are friends, perhaps showing off their moves to each other.

Pierrot

The two figures are based on the character of Pierrot the sad clown. Pierrot is a major character in pantomime theatre. He expresses meaning and his emotions through facial gestures and movements of his body, like mime. His face is painted completely in white and he often wears a white outfit.

Charades

Mime has been a popular type of theatre for hundreds of years. It involves acting out a feeling or meaning without using words. Have you played the game Charades? If so, then you have a good idea of what mime is. Let’s have a game so everyone can let out their inner Pierrot.

If you haven’t played Charades before, it is easy to pick up. You will need another person to play with, but if you are on your own you can still practice your performance (try looking in a mirror while you do it).

Use your body, hands and face to act out the following words. The most important rule is you cannot make a sound while you are miming. The other person then has to guess what the word is. If you want to make it competitive then separate out into teams.

Tip: act out the action of the word. If you want to mime an orange, try peeling an imaginary orange.

Mime

Acrobatics

Look closely at the people in Gerard Dillon’s painting. They are doing acrobatics. Can you do these moves? The figure on the right is doing the Crab. Not everyone can do the Crab and as our bodies grow older we find these moves harder and harder.

Acrobats are very flexible and can make all sorts of shapes with their bodies. They can throw each other in the air and spin and twist as they fly. Many acrobats use a trapeze, which is a bit like a swing suspended very high above the ground.

Today we will be making little paper acrobats.

You will need paper, markers/pencils/pens, scissors, a piece of string, a straw and some blue tack or masking tape.

Step 1.
Draw a body shape like this on a piece of paper:

Cutout

Step 2.
Colour in your figure. Acrobats like to put on a show so maybe they need a jazzy leotard or glittery leggings?

Step 3.
Cut out your figure as close as you can to their body. If you need help ask your closest adult or older sibling!

Cutout acrobats

Step 4.
Thread your string through the straw.

Straw and string

Step 5.
Now you have a trapeze! You can tie this to a door handle, hang it from your wall or stick it to a window.

Trapeze

Step 6.
Now comes the splendour! Use the blue tack to stick your acrobat (or acrobats) to the trapeze. I would highly recommend searching trapeze artists videos for some dazzling inspiration.

Happy clowning!

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Trapeze was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 34: Early Morning Bahamas

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the work

This piece was created by Tony O’Malley who was an artist from Kilkenny. Tony O’Malley spent some time with the artistic community in Cornwall, England in the 1960’s where he learned about abstract painting.

This painting is titled Early Morning, Bahamas and was painted in 1986.

What comes into your mind when you think of The Bahamas? It is a country in the West Indies, north of Cuba. The Bahamas has white sandy beaches, palm trees and crystal blue water. A tropical paradise! Can you see this in O’Malley’s painting? The cracks in the paint make it look hot, like the canvas has been baked.

Bahamas

Abstraction

This painting is abstract, which means it tells a story through colour, lines and loose shapes. The picture is not instantly clear so instead we use our intuition and our gut feelings to make sense of it.

The artist Tony O’Malley said “Abstraction does enable you to get under the surface, to get beyond appearance, and to express the mind.” So let’s get under the surface of Early Morning, Bahamas.

What do you think the blue in the painting represents? It is a bright turquoise colour, almost shimmering.

What do you think the yellow is? And the lilacs, blues and pinks in the centre?

What shapes can you see in the painting? There is a deep red, earthy block on the right of the painting which has a textured look. Next to that in the corner there are smaller pieces of blue with grey blobs. These look like objects - maybe they are buildings?

Colour bingo

Let’s see if we can find objects, plants or flowers to match each colour below. You can draw the squares of colour on a piece of paper and explore your home for the objects. Safe hunting!

Colour Hunt
Colour hunt

Colour feelings

Colour is very important in abstract art. Colours can conjure feelings from just looking at them and they often have strong ideas attached to them too.

Imagine you are in a blue room, how does this feel for you? Sadness is normally associated with the colour blue, but it can also represent the mind and clarity. The sea and sky are often painted blue. These are two places that we often think of as peaceful and deep.

Colour means different things across different cultures. In Ireland when Catholic children make their Holy Communion they wear white, as this symbolises light and purity. In India, white is associated with death because it is seen as the absence of colour. In West African countries like gbbGhana, red symbolises death and the colour blue is associated with love. What colour do you associate with love?

Blue Love

Colour block

Now let’s try and make an abstract composition like Tony O’Malley’s picture of The Bahamas. You can use your earlier objects from the colour hunt and arrange them on the table in front of you.

Start with filling in the colours of these objects on a page. Don’t outline the objects, just fill in the space with their loose shapes and colours.

Painting colours

Once you have this skeleton, fill up the sides and background. Take a second, close your eyes and try to imagine what colours you are feeling today. Is the sun coming through the window warming the room? Is it chilly and damp? How has your day been so far? Maybe it’s been awful and you just want to put down a big mess. Fill the page from your heart and you will connect to the heart of others.

Finished Colour Block

When you are finished, take a step back and look at your picture. Do those colours feel right for your mood? How do you feel looking at them now?

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Early Morning Bahamas was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 33: Coat of Arms

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

Coat of Arms

This work is by Robert Gibbings and it is called Coat of Arms. It is a wood engraving, which means that the artist carved into a block of wood, rolled a layer of black ink onto the wood and printed his design onto paper.

A coat of arms is like a family crest and a lot of historical families across Europe would have one. They allowed families and businesses to be instantly recognisable and were like a stamp of ownership on armies, castles and goods. Now they are commonly used on buildings, official documents and products. They include symbols, animals, colours and Latin references. They tell the history and ideals of the owner with just a few pictures and words.

Robert Gibbing’s coat of arms is for University College Cork. Can you work out the symbols in the crest? Does the top part with the two castles and boat look familiar? This is the symbol for Cork City. The Latin motto for Cork City is Statio Bene Fide Carinis which means ‘a safe harbour for ships’.

Fact: Did you know Cork has one of the biggest natural harbours in the world?

Symbols

A coat of arms is not very useful if people cannot understand the symbols on the crest. Symbols are very useful little pictures because people from all over the world can understand them, even if they don’t speak the same language.

Symbolism is the oldest form of written communication. Hundreds of thousands of years ago the very first humans wrote on their cave walls using drawings of animals and hunting. Thousands of years later the Ancient Egyptians used hieroglyphics (small symbols) to write on walls and pyramids.

Hieroglyphics, Ogham and emojis

Hieroglyphics

Can you find the symbols in the hieroglyphs below to write out your name? If there are any characters or symbols missing you can add your own!

Ogham is an alphabet used between 4 - 6 AD (1700 years ago) to write the early Irish language. The characters were carved into stones. We think that each character or letter relates to its own native Irish tree.

Here is the ogham alphabet:

Ogham

Can you figure out what tree each of these ogham stones relates to? The character is taken from the Irish word for the tree. For example ‘r’ is from ‘ruis’ which means ‘elder’ in Irish.

The Irish names are under the letter you need to figure out, so if you are good with your Gaeilge then you will have an advantage!

Tip: the stones are read from the bottom to the top.

We use symbols all the time in our modern lives too. One of the most popular ways we do this is through emojis. What are your favourite emojis?

Can you guess these Disney films from their emoji symbols?

Emojis

Making a coat of arms

Now that we know a lot more about symbols, we can create our own coat of arms. In your coat of arms you can include your favourite colours, emojis and maybe even your name in ogham?

You can use a traditional crest shape like this:

Crest shape

If you want to include a few different parts of your history, you can divide it into different sections. If you speak any other languages, you can include them here too. This is your very own crest so you are the captain!

Crest Colour

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Talking Pictures: Coat of Arms was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 32: Biscuit Plate

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

Biscuits and kilns

This plate was made in Spain in the 18th century, which means it is over 200 years old. It is made with red clay which has been baked in an extremely hot oven. This extreme heat hardens the clay and bakes it, much like a biscuit. In fact, most pottery is baked in the kiln two times and the first time is called the ‘biscuit firing’.

Unlike biscuits, not all plates are meant for eating. A lot of highly decorated plates and tableware are made for display on shelves and walls. It wouldn’t be wise to eat a cheesy toastie on this ancient plate, although it would make a very special meal.

Simple colours and silhouettes

One of the striking features of this plate is the simple colour scheme. There is a white base with blue decorative designs on top. The potter has used silhouettes of animals and plants to decorate their plate.

Do you know what animal is in the centre of the plate? Can you find the insects? Now let’s look at some more silhouettes. Can you guess these animals from their shapes?

Animals

Make your own!

Now that we have practiced some interesting silhouettes let’s make some of our own tableware.

You will need:

Make sure to hold on to any takeaway cups because they are perfect for redecorating and reusing as pen holders or containers for small treasures.

Cup

Now things get a little more complicated. Using a piece of paper and a pen or pencil, can you draw the silhouettes of these animals and objects?

Objects and animals

Let’s begin!

If your base object already has writing on it that you don’t want, cut out some new paper and stick it over the writing.

Cutout

Another way to cover this up is by cutting out some of the silhouettes we made earlier and sticking them directly on to the cup with your pritt stick.

You can continue pasting your silhouettes onto your new tableware. You can also add details with markers or paint or crayons. Here we have stuck with the same blue and white as the pottery above but bring in more colours if you want to!

Once you are finished you can fill with pencils, treasures or pennies!

Cups with treasures

Adios until next week!

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Dinner plate was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 31: Irish Dancer

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

About the artwork

This painting was made by an Irish artist called Alice Maher. Alice grew up in Tipperary and learned Irish dancing as a child.

The dress is very big for the little girl inside. Look at her eyes peeking out over the collar of her dress, she looks a bit like she is hiding. Maybe she is shy about performing in the céilís?

Irish dancing

The céilí is the most popular form of Irish dancing. These dances can be performed with 2-16 people. Cork holds the World Record for the biggest céilí ever in 2005. We had 8, 371 people dancing the Siege of Ennis all along the Grand Parade and the South Mall.

That means you probably know one person who was dancing that day - maybe your nan or your best friend’s dad was dancing up a storm on the streets of Cork?

Dancing words

Alice Maher has created a lot of art about dancing. Here is a poem she wrote about one of her projects for the Dublin Dance Festival 2020:

moving speaking

twisting seeking

backwards forwards

outwards inwards

together alone

our bodies our own

Alice thinks dancing is another form of expressing herself, like drawing or writing. Do you like to dance? 

Each of these animals is a term related to dancing, see if you can figure them out….

Fox
Chicken
Tarantula
Bunny

Move your body in the way you think these moves would look. If you are not sure, ask an older person to show you. Maybe nana and grandad know a few!

Dancing ribbons

People have been dancing with ribbons in China for hundreds of years. Dancers use the ribbons to create shapes in the air while moving their body. These shapes look like dragons or characters from the Chinese alphabet. The ribbons help the dancers communicate their emotions and they are a lot of fun too!

Let’s make our own dancing ribbons! 

You will need long scraps of fabric or ribbons, two elastic bands or hair ties. 

Step 1

If you are using scraps of fabric, tear into long strips. If the fabric is hard to tear you can cut it with a scissors.

Ribbon 1
Ribbon 2

Step 2

Fetch one elastic band or hair tie. Tie a length of material to it like so:  

Ribbon

Step 3

Keep tying ribbons until you have half of your materials attached to your band.

Ribbon 4

Step 4

Repeat these steps with your second band so you have two like this:

Now you can wear one on each wrist. Use them to twirl and swirl and show your audience how you’re feeling.



Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: Irish Dancer was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 30: The Beast

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

The Beast

This creature is a sculpture by John Behan. It is made out of bronze. There seem to be a lot of different objects in this beast. What objects can you see? Do you think this beast is scary or friendly?

This beast is a bit like Frankenstein’s monster, who was made from old body parts and strange chemicals. There is a song about monsters that could be about this beast. Do you know the Monster Mash song? You can find it on YouTube.

It begins like this:

            I was working in the lab, late one night

            When my eyes beheld an eerie sight

            For my monster from his slab, began to rise

            And suddenly to my surprise

            He did the mash, he did the monster mash

            The monster mash, it was a graveyard smash

            He did the mash, it caught on in a flash

            He did the mash, he did the monster mash

What do you think doing the ‘monster mash’ looks like? Do your own version of the ‘monster mash’ around your room.

How do you think John Behan’s beast moves? What kind of sounds come from the beast as it is moving? Is it creaking and groaning? Or is it silent?

Making monsters

Let’s make some monsters of our own. Here are some fun exercises to bring your own beasts to life. All you will need is something to draw with and a piece of paper.First we’ll start with a scribble monster. 

Begin with a scribble…

Scribble

Now embellish your monster with beastly features. Think of some of your favourite monsters for terrifying traits...

Do they have fangs?

Fur?

Tiny eyes?

Hundreds of eyes?

Empty eyes?

Horns?

Lots of legs?

Stumpy tails?    

This scribble monster is called Tessa. She loves wet, damp places so you will find her in the drains. Tessa is quite a gourmet; she feeds on blanched asparagus and salmon flakes. She stores the oil from the salmon flakes in her glands and shoots it out when under attack. This makes her almost impossible to catch.

Now you’ve given life to your first scribble monster! Take a look at your creature and get to know them...

 What’s their name?

 Where do they live?

 What do they eat?

 Do they have any special powers?

Exquisite corpses

Another fun way to make a beast is to play the game exquisite corpse. This is similar to the word game consequences. For this you will need at least one other person. If there is a group of you, each person should start with their own piece of paper and pass to their left when done.

To begin, fold your A4 page into three sections:   

Page

The first person draws a head in the top section. It can be any kind of head. Once you have finished you need to make sure there are two lines coming down over the fold, so the next person knows where to start the body. Fold the page so that you cannot see the head, only the two lines coming down from the fold. Pass to the person on your left. 

Three pages
Page instructions

The next person draws the monster’s body. Using the two guidelines, add a torso and any additional features you wish. Arms? Hooves? Wings? Draw lines over the fold to indicate where the next person needs to add the final body part(s) and fold over, so the rest of the creature is hidden.

Now it’s time to add the feet, or tail, or legs or claws. 

Once the last person is finished with the creature, they can unravel the sheet to reveal your collaborative beast.

Beast drawing

Now you can colour in and add flourishes to your beast. Let’s revisit the questions we had earlier for our scribble monsters:

What’s their name?

Where do they live?

What do they eat?

Do they have any special powers?

Martholemu

This creature is called Martholemew. Martholemew can live in most environments due to his scaly skin, fish tail and bat wings but he prefers warmer climates. His favourite foods are marshmallows and Mikado biscuits. Martholemew doesn’t have any special powers but being extremely adaptable to different terrains has huge advantages. 

Go forth and create some beastly companions! Please share your own exquisite monsters using our hashtag so we can see what Tessa and Martholemew are contending with.

We would love to hear your stories and artworks inspired by Talking Pictures! 

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

Talking Pictures: The Beast was devised by Annie Forrester

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Talking Pictures Week 29: Snake Charmer

Talking Pictures for Children 

Talking Pictures is an online resource for children and their adults based on artwork from the Crawford Art Gallery Collection. We will share creative prompts for happy talk and play every Wednesday.

When you arrive into the Crawford Gallery you will see a whole room full of sculptures on your left. This is where Laocoön lives. Most of the statues in this room were made in Rome under the guidance of a very talented sculptor called Antonio Canova. They are over 200 years old, but they are copies of sculptures that were created long before that. We can visit them in our local gallery instead of traveling all the way to Italy!

About the artwork:

This artwork tells a story. In Greek mythology, Laocoön was a priest who was attacked by giant serpents sent by the Gods. The two boys with him are his two sons. A very long snake is just about to bite Laocoön on his hip! The sculpture gives us many different views of this story. We can look from the side or from the back and see something new. 

Snakes

Snakes make some people uncomfortable. Is it their lack of arms and legs? Their scaly skin? Their glassy eyes? 

What do you think about snakes? 

This snake has a very silky fringe which she slathers in coconut oil every week.

Snake

Did you know snakes had legs for the first 70 million years of their existence? What kind of legs do you think a snake would have? Why don’t you have a go at drawing some snakes with human features to see how it changes their character. 

Try adding a hand, an eye, a moustache, legs...

arms, legs, eye, moustache

Sssslithery Sssslippery Ssssnake Facts

Only 6 countries in the world don’t have any snakes and Ireland is one of them!  

Snakes in captivity can live up to 170 years, while wild snakes can live to be 100.

Snakes lay eggs.

Snakes can digest everything but hair claws and feathers. 

Snake Charmer 

Now that we have found out more about our snake friends let’s make a 3D snake charm to hang in your home. 

You will need: paper, scissors, a piece of string and drawing materials of your choice.

First, draw a spiral in a snake shape like this...

Snake template

Colour your snake….

Next carefully cut out your snake with a scissors. 

Once this is done make a small hole in the very end of your snake and pull the string through. 

Tie the string in tight knots so it does not slip back through the hole. 

Now your snake is free to hang up in your home!

Have a sssssuper day!

Talking Pictures: Snake Charmer was devised by Annie Forrester 

We would love to hear your stories and artworks inspired by Talking Pictures! 

Share them with us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter using the #crawfordartgalleryhomelife.

You can download an Irish language pdf version of this article here.

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