Aboriginal art is very popular in Australia and many other parts of the world. By following this project students will learn and benefit from Australian Aboriginal culture and their unique art.
What you need to do:
Collect natural ochres in your local area.
Ochre usually comes in soft rock, or dried clay form and will need to be crushed into a fine, workable powder.
Crushing ochre may need to be done under supervision or by an adult as this requires the use of a heavy crushing tool. Ochre dust and small airborne particles could pose a health (injury) risk to eyes and lungs. It is recommended to wear a dust mask and eye safety glasses.
Shop bought tempera can be substituted instead of natural ochres and is available from art suppliers and hardware stores who supply the colouring used in concrete. If possible, use only earthy colours.
Explore Aboriginal art with your students; use books, the Internet, visit an art gallery displaying this type of art, or check out a local shop that may specialise in selling Australian Aboriginal art.
Choose paper, bark, wood, cardboard or canvas to paint on.
Encourage Aboriginal patterns and designs.
With the availability of acrylic paints, aboriginal art now has many bright colours as displayed in the example pictures below. These paintings would look completely different if painted with natural ochres. It is best to use natural ochres on canvas that has not been primed (white-washed) unless you are going to experiment with different mediums to work out which medium works best with natural ochres and which will help the ochre to bond (stick to) with the primed canvas.
Ochres used on wood bonds quite well and didgeridoos are a favourite item to paint with natural ochres. Plain water can be used as a natural solvent medium to work with natural ochres.
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