Form 4 Frank Bowling Art Project 2021

Form 4 have embarked on a new art project studying the abstract expressionist painter, Sir Frank Bowling OBE RA. The artist uses a variety of bright acrylic paint colours and embedded objects that create an unusual mesmerising composition. Some of his most famous paintings include 'Spreadout Ron Kitaj' and 'Sasha Jason Guyana Dreams'. The children have created their own artwork using the freedom of powder paints, combined with PVA glue and cut out materials to form maps in order to make their own splashes of bold colours and unique arrangement.

Bowling started painting in the 1960s in London, where he was friends with Pop artists like David Hockney. The more paintings Bowling made, the more they were about colours and smudges. After moving to New York City in 1966, he became increasingly interested in splashing, dripping, and spilling paint on a canvas to create all kinds of effects. As well as adding small object to his work, Bowling even added his own son's artwork which is hidden underneath one piece. He took all of these things, arranged them on a canvas, and then got to work smothering them in colourful paint, layer after layer and it was the artist's intention that these objects could not always be seen but lurk under the paint. Frank Bowling did this because he was friends with the Abstract Expressionists, who thought that paint, colours and patterns were just as important as people and other things we recognise in paintings. Bowling also included maps in his paintings as he thought maps aren’t just lines we put on the globe, they can be symbols of who we are, and where we come from.

Having studied Frank Bowling's style and technique of constructing his paintings, Form 4 used the beautiful Senior House garden for inspiration with the wisteria and the willow tree and then had the choice to create indoors or to work outside. The artist himself was inspired by the outdoors and he frequently created art in his bedroom by looking out the window for inspiration. One Form 4 commented, "We had almost limitless freedom with the powder paint and could create our own vibrant pieces which we scraped into with the sharp part of a paint spreader. We also got to smash up shells and rocks with hammers to arrange these as part of our artwork, as well as creating maps to add on with found materials. It was a great way to express our feelings through such free art."