Task: To draw inspiration from the trees in the cemetery.
Classroom work pre-visit
Activity: Think about what you might see, depending on the time of year. Will ladybirds be hibernating in the beech nuts? Will there be birds and birdsong? Will you see squirrels and insects? You will be gathering information about trees.
Activity: Have a look at Van Gogh’s painting and drawings for inspiration.
At the cemetery
Activity: Walk around looking at the trees, their shapes, colour and form. Draw them in your sketchbook. Sit on the ground, look up and find the patterns. Try to draw the movement. Explore the textures. Makes notes of the colours.
Look at some of the different trees: in the north-west area of the cemetery there is a beautiful cherry tree and, close by, a fig tree with wonderfully shaped leaves. In summer for a short time, figs appear. There is a huge beech tree that spreads its canopy over some of the gravestones. Dense, solid shapes are created by the yew trees. Study the avenue of pollarded lime trees, laced together. (See Teachers’ Hints Trail, Stop 1.) Take a moment to observe the wildlife.
Classroom work after the visit
Activity: Make paper cuts. Choose your size and thickness of paper. Remember you will have to cut through multiple layers, so the thinner the paper the easier it will be. Fold your strip of paper into an accordion to create a neat series of folds, each page the same size and in line with the one before and after it. Use your sketches of the pollarded trees to draw a simple tree on the front page. Make sure some of the branches reach the folds (this will keep your string of trees together). Cut out and unfold.
Add detail to the cut outs, such as working with pastels or pen to create texture, or add separate cut-out leaves, birds etc.
Paint a background on which to stick the trees: try painting a plank of wood and make a long slim line of lacy trees to place on top.
Cut a tree shape and use as a stencil. Rub through charcoal or chalks. Try a monoprint. Black ink charcoal and white chalk will be more wintry than using colour.
Paper and pencil
Activity:Make a tree of life. Have a look at the Mexican tree of life. The cemetery is a reminder of families and people who have lived before us. Using your sketches of trees and wildlife (or check out photographs of wildlife in the cemetery), build a simple tree out of wood. Paint it white.
Make creatures and figures out of Modroc, first using newspaper or foil as a maquette. Decorate both trees and creatures with patterns. Use colours discovered in graveyard (ie a muted palette) or bright Mediterranean colours. Will you add people? Your family or ancestors? Or will you just use wildlife? With a glue gun, stick figures on to the tree.
Paint – white, acrylic, powdered or ready-mix