Saturday Art Club – Relaxing Finger Painting

Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival (4th-24th May), now in its 14th year, is one of Scotland’s most diverse cultural events, aiming to promote understanding of mental health through the arts.  To adapt to the global pandemic, this year the festival will be hosted through a special programme of online activities. More details can be found here:

Covid-19 and the impact it has had globally is unprecedentedly challenging in terms of mental health. Here at GoMA, we acknowledge the importance of looking after our mental wellbeing during this time and so we have tailored our Saturday Art Clubs to coincide with the Scottish Mental Health Arts Festival.

Glasgow Museums has some very interesting examples of Aboriginal art in the collections. The work of Paddy Japaljarri Sims is a wonderful example. This distinctive style of what might be considered at first glance a simplistic technique of ‘dot’ painting is in fact far more sophisticated than you would think. Originally, this style of painting was either drawn into the ground soil or used as body paint during sacred rituals. In Aboriginal art there are lots of hidden symbols and meanings. Why not try out this very interesting technique and create your own painting inspired by Aboriginal art by painting with your fingertips?

Any colour of paper will work for this. It could be nice on darker paper or brown paper envelopes, but white paper will work as well. If you have them, watercolour paints (in a palette) work best for this as they are easy to clean and do not stain the fingers that much. If you do not have paint then have a go at making your own.

Have a close look at the paintings of the Aboriginal artist Paddy-Japaljarri-Sims and notice how the painting is made up of lots of tiny dots. The artist would have made these using the end of a stick.

Carefully choose 3 or 4 colours that you like to create a painted pattern on the paper. Take your time with your picture as it is a very focused and calming process. You can let your mind wander as you start to add the dots to the page one colour at a time. Don’t try to actually ‘draw’ anything as such, just see how the patterns take shape and develop.

You can be as intricate as you like and cover the whole page in dot patterns or be more sparing with your dot designs.

Remember to share your creations with us in the comments section or on social media! #SaturdayArtClub


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