Virtual Gallery Tours Feature in Online Art Lessons

17th September 2021


Girton Grammar Junior School students have been visiting art galleries and speaking to notable artists during lockdown, helping to hone their art skills and draw inspiration from real-life artists who have spoken to students live from their studios.

Junior School Art teacher at Girton Grammar School, Mrs Nic James, said that students were relishing the opportunity to do some artwork from their homes during remote learning.

“While we would all prefer to be doing Art classes face-to-face with the usual resources at our fingertips, our students have been doing some wonderful work from kitchen tables, bedroom desks, back decks and front veranda’s.

“Art classes allow students to work away from their screens after some initial instruction, which is valuable when students are reliant on digital learning in their homes.

“There is nothing quite like seeing the professionals at work and hearing about their journey into making a living out of painting or drawing. So far, we have had visits with three notable artists, and the children have been hugely inspired.

“Our Year Four students had a session with artist Sarah Gabriel, who showed them around her Kyneton studio “Lauriston Press” in Piper Street. Sarah talked about what inspires her and how she commences an artwork. Students asked questions via a chat function which I facilitated, which worked very well.

“Sarah even gave four lucky students a small piece of her artwork, which they received in the mail.

“Year Five and Six students have done a virtual tour of the Brett Whitely exhibition at the Bendigo Gallery, hosted by Education Officer Margot Feast, and completed a drawing activity based on the display, using their non-dominant hand.

“These same students also virtually visited contemporary landscape painter, James Lai, who is based in Sydney. Students completed a work based on a landscape after his art lesson on representational artwork featuring figurative abstract style.

“The students loved James’ colourful Australian landscapes. Well known landscapes are rendered by James in a playful way that appeals to young children.

Audrey Sheng, 3 Jones, Inspired by Corina Hazlett 
Campbell Bowen, 5 Jenkin, inspired by Julian Twigg

“Year Three students enjoyed chatting with Corina Hazlett in New Zealand who has written a book of children’s illustrations called When the World Stayed Home, documenting our bubble worlds through the eyes of young New Zealand school students,” Mrs James said.

Artist Julian Twigg visited a Year Five class to look at the work of fellow artist Jasper Knight and his work on cars and boats, as well as his own works which depict the sea, which he describes as on obsession. Julian’s paintings are bold, vivid and observational and he uses paint that is thick, chunky and textured.

“The students loved Julian Twigg’s art. Many of them said they wanted to reach out and touch it because of its knobbly texture.

“Other artists like Rona Green have generously provided artworks for student reference in a range of our art classes, again, giving students a connection to the art world beyond their homes and an understanding of the connectedness of the art community.

“There is lots of inspiration in and around Bendigo where most of our students live, with natural and man-made features. All of the visiting artists taught our students how to appreciate their surroundings and capture a moment, while evoking a feeling and telling a story.

“I hope that in some small way these virtual gallery visits and discussions with professional artists support the natural love of creation that most young people have, especially at a time when they are spending a lot of time on screens,” Mrs James said.


Sophie Mahony, 5 Frew, inspired by Julian Twigg