Come closer

Make a picture based on a very close-up view of something. It might be simple and abstract or very detailed and decorative.  

Use any materials, techniques or processes (for example drawing, painting, printmaking, textiles, photography, computer-aided design, collage, montage).

Below you will find three key artworks to look at and discuss as a class.

There are then 10 examples of artworks made by children in response to this theme.

Addison Crescent Study

It looks like the artists have removed part of the roadside and stuck it onto a wall. The work is in fact made from fibreglass and other materials. It is a large piece which draws our attention to the shapes, textures and patterns we pass by daily without really noticing.

The four members of the Boyle family work together. This is an exact copy of part of a street in London. The family throw a dart onto a map in order to decide which piece of the land they are going to reproduce. 

Addison Crescent Study (London Series), Boyle Family (Mark Boyle, Joan Hills, Sebastian Boyle, Georgina Boyle), 1969 − © Boyle Family

Back of Hand

We carry our hands with us every day but how often do we look at them really closely? Would we recognise them, if we saw them on someone else?

This is the photographer’s own hand, full of wrinkles and creases. The way the light is falling has helped to exaggerate the texture. This was taken before the invention of colour photography.

James Nasmyth was very enthusiastic about astronomy. He studied the moon for over thirty years, making careful drawings of what he saw and then using them to make a model of the surface of the moon.

In this photograph he was trying to compare the human skin with the surface of the moon. 

Back of Hand, James Nasmyth, 1874

The Spider

This art work is made from thin metal. It is a mobile, designed to be seen hanging. The artist was an engineer so had the knowledge to make the piece work mechanically and to make it balance and move freely.

It is a very abstract version of a spider. Calder admired the work of another artist Jean Arp who made paintings using very simple shapes.

Some people think The Spider is like planets moving in space around each other. Making a complicated thing extremely simple can work very well.

Calder sometimes put motors into his sculptures to make them move. This is known as kinetic art. He was the first sculptor to experiment like this. 

The Spider, Alexander Calder, 1935 − © 2015 Calder Foundation, New York / DACS London

Further considerations

  • Make a paper viewfinder – to select and separate
  • Take a photograph – to record and abstract
  • Use a magnifying glass – to see tiny details
  • Mix colours and textures – to try out ideas


Artworks created for this theme

Cody Fairgrieve
Gordon Irvine
Jamie Kamal
Kyle Tilley
Machaela Donnelly
Michael Carmichael
Rei Komiya
Sarah McLean
Anthony Knights
William Dickson