Auckland Youth Community Centre Workshop

Hello, we’re Sarah Elwen and Rachel McGivern. Over the past three weeks we’ve enjoyed working with the Auckland Youth Community Centre online to explore themes from The Bowes Museum’s painting St. Luke Drawing the Virgin and Child.

Throughout the workshops we’ve looked at different art making techniques, including:

Composition and line drawing

Week 1 – We thought about St. Luke depicted in the process of drawing a portrait of the Virgin Mary. The legend goes that St. Luke was the first person to create an image of the Virgin Mary. We traced figures from the painting and used transparent acetate to draw people and objects from our surroundings. Then we experimented with overlaying the drawings and shining light through them to create new compositions. 

Attributes or symbols 

Week 2 – We focused on St. Luke as the patron saint of artists. We looked at other examples of saints depicted in The Bowes Museum’s collection. We noticed that there is often a symbolic object or attribute to identify the saint, for example, St. Jerome is usually shown with a lion and St. Catherine might wear a crown or have a wheel beside her. We asked: “what attribute would represent you?”  The young people had some fantastic and unique ideas for their own symbols. 


Week 3 – We looked at narratives within painting and used the contemporary format of comic strips to re-imagine the characters’ thoughts and speech. There were some interesting ideas of what could be going through the mind of St Luke and the Virgin Mary…

The young people’s work will be on view in The Bowes Museum (when it reopens) but you can see more details on the online zine!

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