Emotional Expression of Self-Portraiture

Students listen to pieces of classical or contemporary instrumental music and in a response, create a self-portrait using a range of media from drawing, ink, paint and textiles. They  use photography to create a primary source from which they will work from. They study the work of Irving Penn, Francis Beacon and Maurizio Anzeri from which they gain an insight into the possibilities of expressive portraiture through a range of mediums. They  look broadly at self- portraiture and abstract expressionism from which they will learn new skills and techniques that they can apply to their own work. Students work on large A3 preliminary sheets alongside their work as a means of study, experimentation and practice. 

Pinhole Photos (Niamh)0001

The Action of light

Students investigated the science and history of lens based media. The results are a series of black and white digital photographs depicting figures in the school garden. These images were captured on phones and created using simple analogue pinhole filters to create an eerie aesthetic reminiscent of early photography. During the scheme they also constructed their own pinhole cameras, learned how to capture light and develop images. They gained an insight into the fundamental process linking all photography by learning about and experiencing a camera obscure.  The camera obscura was constructed, with the help of Conor O’Toole, from a black water container, which was light proofed. The bottom side was removed, a lens with a focal length of one meter was attached to the front and a white screen was painted on the opposite inside wall, in order to capture the image transmitted through this lens. Students recorded a video from inside, to capture their own choreographed performance in the school garden. This work ties in with other pinhole and digital photography made by the students, which explored the science and history of lens based media.

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Real Stories on Sceen

This short course focused on storytelling through the art of documentary film-making by the composition of audial, textual and visual elements and the creative process of film production, which in composes idea generation, researching, storyboarding, filming, editing and screening. It was developed in order to use the documentary method as a means of investigating a subject matter and engaging with people, in this case contemporary social issues relevant to teenage girl's and local female figures of interest. It is designed to empower and encourage positive mental and emotional health in the students who participate, and nurture their skills in creativity, communication and socialisation. The result is a four part film examining the theme of self-expression and identity.

Chapter One: Lunch Ladies
Chapter Two: SuperFan
Chapter Three: A Sprinkle of Spices
Chapter Four: Identifimakeup

Stranger Things 6

Creating Narrative through Acrylic Painting

This scheme of work focused on developing the students ability to interpret, imagine and create simple narratives by constructing their own composition involving a their own and their classmates poses. The students were introduced to this by examining and describing still images of scenes from a variety of movies and TV shows as well as cave, medieval and modern paintings. Throughout the eight week project they developed colour mixing and painting skills. By examining a variety of styles in painting, including those explicit in the pop art movement, and in film (such as the rotoscoped films of Richard Linklater), the students learned how to create bold and striking compositions that would inspire a string of narratives.


Patterns in my Daily Life

Using the linocut technique, students printed a series of collages. They used a mixture of  photographs or drawings created with the subject ‘patterns in my daily life’ in mind. Students drew from observation a series of patterns that they throughout their school day and at home. Students considered a mixture of natural and man made patterns. These images were then combined into a composition which was used as a bases for their lino and mono prints.


3D Figurines

Students will work collaboratively in pairs to create each others figures through bricolage
using found objects.

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​© 2018 by NIAMH O'TOOLE

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