Create at Home

Below is a selection of creative activities inspired by the Bundanon Trust collection for children to complete at home.

Create a mythical creature

Level K-7

Suggested materials

  • Wire of different thicknesses
  • Fabric remnants
  • Glue
  • String
  • Pipe cleaners
  • Sticks
  • Lids and cut outs from plastic containers
  • Old kitchen utensils

About the activity

In this activity children will explore symbolism and mythology inspired by Arthur Boyd's mythical creature, the Ramox. They will develop observational skills to imagine a unique composite creature of their own, and will then create a sculpture which represents their ideas.

Step 1: Observation

Look closely at the Angel and Ramox plate (below) by Arthur Boyd to see examples of the ramox in Boyd’s work. This hybrid creature was the combination of a ram and an ox. Look for the curly horns and you will find a ramox.

Step 2: Developing ideas

Write a list of interesting features of animals from different areas of the body. How many can you list? Here's some ideas to get you started:

Head – for example, eyes, nose, horns, mouth, ears, hair
Body – round, long, humped
Legs – four-legged or two-legged, hoofs, webbed feet or paws, claws, wings, Skin – smooth, hairy, furry, scaly

Attributes of the animals can also be explored. What do these animals do - climb, walk, fly, swim?

Step 3: Draw the creature

Now choose your favourite physical features and attributes from the list that you want your new hybrid creature to have. You might also create a specific personality, character or environment for this creature. Some questions to think about are, where would they live? What do they like to eat?

Draw your new creature, adding colour and texture. You can also imagine a special name for your creation. This can be a combination of letters from the different animals you have used. Just like how Arthur Boyd named his creature a Ramox - because it is half ram, half ox!

Step 4: Mixed media sculpture

Now your drawing is complete, it's time to make a three-dimensional sculpture of the creature from found materials. Old kitchen utensils are great as a base!

Arthur Boyd, Plate, Angel and Ramox (1948). Bundanon Trust Collection.

Arthur Boyd, Plate, Angel and Ramox, 1948, buff earthenware, wheel-thrown, incised, coloured underglaze, clear glaze, Murrumbeena VIC, inscribed: Arthur Merric Boyd AMB 48.


Draw a fairy tale

Level K-7

Materials

  • Pencils or paints
  • Paper

About the activity

This activity refers to Arthur Boyd's painting The Magic Fish (below). It asks children to read the original tale and think about the moral of the story. After considering how Arthur Boyd depicted this in the painting, they will then choose another fairy tale and create a drawing or painting that captures the meaning and context.

Myths and fairy tales were as important as personal experience and emotions in Boyd’s art. Boyd also employed fairy tales and myths in a narrative extension of his concern for human actions.

In the example of The Magic Fish (1978) Boyd illustrated Alexander Pushkin’s tale of The Golden Fish, also known as The Fisherman and His Wife.

After a poor fisherman lands a golden fish, it offers to fulfil the man’s wishes if he returns the fish to the sea. The fisherman’s wife takes up the fish’s offer, and asks for a new wash trough, and then in succession: a new house, to rule the province, and finally to be the ruler of the sea over the fish. The fish responds to her greed by returning the wife to her old cottage and broken trough.

Step 1: Read the full story of The Magic Fish.

Search online for the full story of The Magic Fish. There are videos on YouTube to watch as well. Think about the moral of this story. Why did the fish return the wife to her old cottage? What went wrong?

Step 2: Observe Arthur Boyd's painting The Magic Fish

Look closely at The Magic Fish (below). What can you see? Why did Arthur Boyd choose to illustrate this part of the fairy tale? Write down your answers.

Step 3: Paint a different fairy tale

Find a different fairy tale and create a drawing or painting based on this story. Try to simplify the story to the most important ideas and characters, and make the setting of the fairy tale in contemporary Australia. Try to show the moral of the story.

Arthur Boyd, The Magic Fish, c1978, oil on canvas

Arthur Boyd, The Magic Fish, oil on canvas, c1978.


Photograph a still life

Level 7-10

Materials

  • Camera (you can use a phone camera)
  • Lamps or other light sources
  • Items around the home, to replicate still life painting

About the activity

This activity asks students to choose a still life painting from a particular time period, for example 17th Century Dutch still life, Post-Impressionists such as Cézanne or contemporary artists such as Hany Armanious or Ricky Swallow, and re-create this work using found items from around the home.

Step 1: Choose an artwork

Research a particular period of art online and find an example of a still life painting.

If you have trouble finding a period of art, try searching for "17th century still life" or you can use the still life Pineapple on Chopping Board (1941) by Yvonne Boyd below as inspiration.

Step 2: Find items

Looking closely at the colour, composition and subject matter of the work you have chosen, now find items around the home that are similar. Select items having a relationship to the items in the original artwork.

Step 3: Re-create the original

Set up lighting similar to the lighting in the original in terms of intensity, direction and source. Pay close attention to the composition and balance of the still life arrangement, the use of colour, tone and form. Photograph the still life from different angles and with lighting variations.

Pineapple on Chopping Board by Yvonne Boyd

Yvonne Lennie (later Boyd), Pineapple on Chopping Board, oil on canvas, 1941, inscription on back: 28/12/1941 Yvonne Lennie.