GTG Workshop: Birds and symbolism, inspired by Thomas Brezing

For the mid-term break we have a brand new GTG Workshop for you! Learn about symbolism in visual art with this look at how artist Thomas Brezing uses birds in his beautiful paintings, part of our current (but sadly closed) exhibition ‘Perhaps Our Awakening Is Our Deeper Dream’.

Katharine Paisley and Esther Andare explore his work and show you how to create your own bird artworks.


Birds have been used as symbols in art since the earliest cave paintings, with deeper meanings such as freedom, flight and spirituality. Think of how the robin is a symbol of Christmas, for example.

They are also incredibly beautiful and varied, so artists can enjoy using a riot of colours. How much fun would it be to paint a peacock!

What is your favourite bird? We’d love to see your avian artworks!

By Jatin Sindhu – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49736189

GTG Workshop: Monochrome inspired by Joy Gerrard


Start collecting your paper scraps and junk mail! For today’s GTG virtual Workshop, we are taking inspiration from our current exhibition by artist Joy Gerrard, ‘Put It to the People’.



In this online workshop our Gallery Assistant Katharine Paisley shows you how to recycle scraps and paper from around the house to create your very own monochrome cityscape collage. 

What you will need:

  • Card or paper (black, grey or white)
  • Glue
  • Scissors
  • Black marker
  • Old newspapers, magazines,  posters,  flyers, leaflets, junk mail (any card/paper/packaging that is going to recycling)

You’ll find this activity and lots more in our new GTG Junior Newsletter! Sign up to our mailing list (at the bottom of this page) to be the first to receive it every month!

GTG Workshop: Create Cute Creatures with Sophie Daly


In today’s workshop, artist Sophie Daly shows you how to make adorable little creatures out of egg cartons. You have probably have been baking lots of treats with family recently. Put those egg cartons to good use by creating a turtle, ladybird or bee to play with!

Turtles, ladybirds and bees are so important to our planet. We can show them our appreciation through art and by protecting them.



You will need:

  • Egg carton(s)
  • A soft ball of some sort, out of clay or plastic etc
  • Cotton buds
  • Cocktail sticks
  • Paint brushes
  • Water for brushes
  • Paint

You can download a worksheet for each creature too! Which is your favourite?

You can learn more about ladybirds here

Learn about why we need to protect turtles here

And here are some top tips on how to help our bees!

Other ways to help the planet:

Let’s try and stamp out single use plastics. Try walking if you can, or go by bike! A better planet means a better future for all creatures great and small.

And of course, instead of throwing things away once they’re empty, use them to make art!

Supported by Community Foundation NI

GTG Workshop: Create an artist’s notebook!


In today’s virtual workshop, artist Sophie Daly will show you how to create your own beautiful and unique artist’s notebook – every artist needs one!

The emphasis today is on recycled materials. Be creative with what you have around you, and don’t let anything go to waste, nothing is ever useless! Finding creative ways to reduce what we throw away is a brilliant habit to help our planet.



You will need:

  • Cardboard
  • Scrap paper
  • Old books/newspapers/leaflets etc
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • Needle and thread
  • Something pokey, like a screwdriver
  • A ruler and pencil

Many artists are now working with recycled or more sustainable materials, and using their art to draw attention to climate change and the need to look after our planet.

What else do you have that instead of being thrown away, could be re-used to make art? Send us your ideas!

GTG Workshop: Create a sun collage with Chloe Morrison


Today’s GTG Workshop is a colourful and fun activity for a cold and grey day – making a beautiful abstract sun collage, inspired by legendary African-American artist and teacher Alma Thomas. Chloe Morrison guides you through step-by-step, and you can download the worksheet too!

You will need:

  • A sheet of white paper or card
  • A pencil
  • A ruler
  • Glue or Pritt Stick
  • A pair of suitable scissors
  • Coloured paper (alternatively, you can use paint sample cards, scraps of fabric, or magazine clippings)
  • A circular or cylindrical object to trace around, e.g., a tin, jar, glass, bottle or vase

About the artist

Alma Woodsey Thomas (1891 – 1978) was an African American abstract painter. Her works are renowned for their distinctive brushstrokes and exuberant use of colour. Alma Thomas applied vivid shades of paint to her canvases in short, precise patches, creating irregular, striking patterns. She would often arrange these marks in vertical stripes or concentric circles. 

In Thomas’s circular works, rings of colours appear to radiate out from a central point, like rays of light emanating from the sun.

Alma Thomas, The Eclipse, 1970, acrylic on canvas, Smithsonian American Art Museum, Gift of the artist, 1978.40.3

You can see more of Alma Thomas’s paintings on the Smithsonian American Art Museum website.

Funded by Community Foundation NI.

GTG Workshop: Origami Bear with Paul Mulgrew!


In today’s bear-illiant new workshop, artist Paul Mulgrew shows you how to design, draw, create and colour your very own smiling Origami Bear!

WHAT YOU NEED:

  • One square sheet of white paper. (Plus one extra scrap sheet to protect the table.)
  • Crayons: Brown, Red, Black.
  • One black marker.

Origami is the traditional Japanese art of creating mini-sculptures by folding a flat, square sheet of paper – no scissors or glue required. The crane is one of the most famous designs, and one of the oldest known books about origami from 1797, called Hiden senbazuru origata (The Secret of Folding 1,000 Paper Cranes), contains instructions for making 49 different kinds of crane.

But origami is still being taken to new levels by contemporary artists – like this incredible life-size elephant created by artist Sipho Mabona from a single sheet of paper!


Or these elaborate paper sculptures designed using computational origami created by Professor Jun Mitani.


So, you can see that once you master the basics with our Origami Bear, the potential for new ideas from a historic tradition is vast and exciting.

Have fun folding, and please send us pictures of your creations!


Funded by Community Foundation NI

GTG Workshop: Open Processing with Robin Price


In part 2 of his workshops on using computer coding to get creative, Robin Price takes us through how open processing works.

Once you have the basics of this down, the potential for making all kids of new art is really boundless!



Robin uses technology to create music and soundscapes as well as visual art, and to push the boundaries of our ideas about what different technologies can do. What do you think our machines and devices could do that would be new and different? Send us your pictures and ideas!


GTG Workshops are funded by the Community Foundation NI

GTG Workshops: Make Your Own Nightlight with Sophie Daly


In this week’s online workshop, Sophie Daly has a fantastic project for young people aged 12 and up! Sophie was inspired by the the striking neon artwork Sign*Age (2019) by artist Liliane Puthod, which is part of our current exhibition Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence.



For a subtitled version of this tutorial, watch on our GTG YouTube channel.

The Dissolving Histories exhibition has been temporarily curtailed by lockdown, but while the gallery remains closed you can view the entire exhibition here, with stunning photos by Simon Mills.

GTG Workshops are funded by the Community Foundation NI.


GTG Workshops: Stop-motion Animation with Sophie Daly


Today’s workshop is for all the budding Bigelows, Andersons, Gerwigs and Harryhausens out there! GTG’s Sophie Daly has created a wonderful video tutorial taking you step-by-step through making your own stop-motion animated movie, using a smartphone.

Sophie was inspired by Bassam Al-Sabah’s work in Dissolving Histories: An Unreliable Presence which was our most recent exhibition.

Sophie’s top tip is “10 seconds is not much time for a movie, so keep it simple, and remember to have fun! Please submit your fabulous work to us by email so we can show it off to everyone info@gtgallery.co.uk. Enjoy!”.



GTG Online Workshops are funded by the Community Foundation NI

GTG Workshops: Matisse Video Tutorial with Katharine Paisley


This week we are delighted to present an online workshop presented by our own Katharine Paisley about one of her favourite artists, master of colour Henri Matisse.

Download and print the worksheet and templates, then watch the tutorial video to learn how to make your own colourful, bold Matisse style art!

Who was Henri Matisse?

Matisse was a French artist and one of the undisputed masters of 20th century art. Known for his use of colour and his fluid and original draughtsmanship. He was a draughtsman, printmaker, and sculptor, but is known primarily as a painter. Matisse is commonly regarded, along with Picasso and Marcel Duchamp, as one of the artists who helped to define the revolutionary developments in art in the early part of the 20th century, responsible for significant developments in painting and sculpture. Although he was initially labelled a Fauve (wild beast), by the 1920s he was increasingly hailed as an upholder of the classical tradition in French painting. His mastery of the expressive language of colour and drawing, displayed in a body of work spanning over a half-century, won him recognition as a leading figure in modern art. [From henrimatisse.org]

The image above is a detail from Matisse’s The Parakeet and the Mermaid (1952). Photograph: © Stedelijk /© Succession Henri Matisse/DACS 2014