East Kilbride Art Centre

I work as a new media art tutor in East Kilbride Art Centre working with P4-S3 pupils. I’ve just finished up a 12 week block of teaching Camera Action and Stop Motion classes on Saturdays. Now Summer holidays can officially begin!

Reference images

I’ve been working on some reference photos making an overlay in Premiere of scenery timelapses and video footage. I want to use these as a rough reference for painting and drawing so that when I mix and overlay different visual representations and media, they will match up.

The angles and focal lengths are slightly out when overlaying, but that’s part of the process of how visual representation can be distorted whether by technology, media or through creative choice. How we perceive, see and then represent visually is subjective and subject to change or choice.

One of the evenings that we were at the little beach at Port Charlotte there was a lady there playing the flute on the rocks (on the other side of the pier) as the sun went down. It was very ethereal and I felt she must be surely playing along to the sound of the tide. It reminds me that expression through mixed media is about more than just the visual sense.

Summer decompression

We finished up the year at school on the 29th, with 30c temperatures and a 3 hour commute home for me as the train lines were so hot (cancellations and speed restrictions due to bucking rails).

The last few days have been about creative decompressing and planning. I’ve updated the website, though the backend changes come across as fairly superficial. It’s been somewhat cathartic, to the point of archiving my email inbox totally so I can begin to unsubscribe from any unnecessary email noise.

I’ve organised my workspace, which got to the point previously where I had to give my daughter my desktop computer just to get her off my table. The good thing with that is I’m able to teach her about video editing and help her become more digitally creative literate. I would class digital creative literacy as both different from digital literacy and visual literacy. (though think of that as a Venn diagram).

I have posts here to backdate as well, based on what has been happening in school and updates I might not have made at the time.

I was looking at planning for my own creative outcomes based on location based artwork in a variety of media:

    • location video & timelapse edits / overlays
    • small / quick studies 10-20cm
    • line drawings of location A3+
    • oil painting of location A3+
    • light & mood studies
    • using different materials (oil, pastel, acrylic, pen)
    • digital drawing & animation
      (ipad & procreate, etc or computer & painter / photoshop)
    • editing mixed media together
    • storage of hardcopy outcomes
    • development of creative assets

I am very much a creative who works from lists, but often have less time and headspace than I would like.

  • artwork
    • drawing practice
    • painting
    • traditional media
    • storage!
    • process led
    • digital
      • drawing
      • video
      • mixed media
  • artist teacher
    • reading
    • writing
    • creating

Face Painting

I spent the past weekend working as an art tutor at the East Kilbride Art Festival at the art centre. It was a fairly heavy couple of working weeks as was working Monday – Friday in school, though my timetable there is lighter since the last timetable change. Steven was working in London so my own kids came along booked into classes and activities.

The council run a lot of elective arts and craft classes, which are limited to around 9-10 children. The Saturday class I run for Camera Action is very popular, but the festival is more relaxed arts and crafts, particularly for younger kids. The second day I was face painting. I took this into school with me the following week and it was interesting seeing new S2 pupils asking for requests and one commenting that it made her nostalgic for when she was a younger child.

It’s a nice way of modelling artwork pre-teens. They are easily impressed for one and it gives them the confidence to try out on themselves and each other. It’s a form of painting that’s quite accessible for them in a way working on paper can cause stumbling blocks. There is also strong feelings and associations of leisure and enjoyment with face painting. There’s also simple learning, like blocking in lines in white, then using that as part of the tint in the painting. There’s transition also between drawing to painting as they are drawing with the paintbrush and updated your outcome as you go along, to refine it. These were my exemplars, but the kids were painting on each other as well.


Longest Day

Midsummer’s day when the sun rises at 04:32 and sets at 22:07. I sometimes use suncalc to get this sort of information, as it can be useful for photography or location based work. If I wanted to do a timelapse of the sunset, it’s useful for that sort of thing or knowing in advance which direction to point a camera over a longer span of time.

The photo was taken on the train at 07:33 when it pauses on the tracks each morning and it makes me consider time and space in the same spot each day and how the scene and light outside changes.

Teaching Photography

I’ve been teaching photography as S3 elective for the past year, but also now some of those pupils have picked NPA in Photography at S4. It’s equivalent to N4/5 level and can lead into Higher or college based learning.

The theme for the NPA is People and Places, with 4 units broadly covering understanding photography, taking photos of people, place and post production. I’ve been encouraging pupils to take photographs out of school and use class time to edit and organise. The photos they can take out and about are far better than what they are limited to in the school building. Some are using DSLRs of their own, some bridge cameras and some mobile phones. I’m working from the basis that ‘the best camera is the one that’s with you’ (Chase Jarvis) and I’ve been encouraging pupils to learn to consistently take good photos. Some are using mobile phones or may be using them in a sketchbook type of way and I’ve encouraged them to use google photo to automate organisation and storage.

What’s been interesting is I’ve used some of my own photography as examples to critique. I seem to consistently take photos of landscapes and things, rather than people, which my husband is better at focusing on with our kids. There’s a heavy basis for me in using or relying on digital photography as a part of my creative process.

I’ve also upgraded to a google pixel 2 phone, which is probably the best mobile phone camera and I’ve been explaining the difference to pupils between phones being mainly software based (e.g. HDR and software approach to digital photography) and DSLRs or point and shoot cameras being hardware based.

There are also various phone apps that let you play with the ISO and shutter speed, so it’s a good transitions at S3-S4 level. Higher photography would need be done with DSLRs or at a push a bridge cameras as there is much more hardware based theory such as understanding the exposure relationship between ISO, shutter speed and aperture, etc then showing that through practice. For my own purposes, I switch between DSLR and mobile camera.



I really like this web based application for generating panoramas. It’s a nice thing to use as a visual reference. This is from Applecross, looking towards Skye over Raasay and Scalpay. There are slightly different viewpoints depending on the point (and height) on the mainline that a photograph or reference image is taken from.



Timetable changes

I’ve had a few timetable changes over this term due to covering classes for a colleague on paternity leave, exams in April and then change of timetable for pupils moving up a year and S1 transitions. I particularly enjoyed the P7 transition where they were pencil drawing buildings from reference photos on A5.




Professional Development

Part of the process of becoming registered with GTCS is your Professional Development Action Plan (PDAP). This is a way for your to target your professional development in areas you wish to progress. Mine are the following:

  • Professional Values & Personal Commitment

    • Develop professional skills and experience in pastoral care.
    • Development of IDL with health and well-being, literacy and numeracy.
    • Develop greater clarity for pupils of the relevance of their learning.
  • Professional Knowledge & Understanding

    • Formalise lesson structure further with obvious starter, main body, plenary, emphasis of main end goal with clear learning pathway. Lesson activities and subject should train pupils for subject expectancies at senior level.
    • Build on practitioner enquiry through a process-led and modelled approach, where possible working alongside pupils on their projects. Consider how this could be embedded in a socially constructive art & design classroom.
  • Professional Skills & Abilities

    • Build on experience of senior phase portfolio development and critical studies. Consider how to build on work done so far in the transition from level 3 to 4.
    • Develop a socially constructive art classroom and lessons as and where appropriate.
    • Build on classroom behaviour management strategies and implementation of school policies / procedures for code of conduct and promotion of positive behaviour.
    • More focus in lessons and lesson sequence on Art & Design core skills and curricular relevant content in BGE that transitions into senior level. (subject based feedback from Faculty Head)


Fully registered

I’m on the GTCS register now as a fully registered teacher, which is great as the probation / NQT year has been quite intense. It’s a good thing knowing where I’m at after almost two years since starting a PGDE in secondary Art & Design.

Area cover

I’m really happy to have been offered a permanent area cover contract with my current school, Carluke High School as my base school. I’m in a really amazing expressive arts department with supportive colleagues. The kids are brilliant and the most exciting part is the young personalities I get to meet and know better.