« Kids Making Apps and Inspiration | Main | Feeling Chipper with GarageBand for iPad »

Beautiful iPad Art from Teacher Jenny Oakley

School of Excellence

If you have been reading this blog for a while you may remember us mentioning that Cedars School of Excellence was the first school in the UK (and pretty much everywhere else) to roll out a 1:1 iPad program to their pupils.

We have been following their challenges / successes via Frasier Spiers blog for a while now and we have been enchanted by what the pupils and staff have been creating and sharing via their Flickr feed (and more recently in our iPad Creative Art and Design Flickr Group).

Jenny Oakley - iPad Art

Dawn by Jenny Oakley

Leading by example Cedars' Art Teacher (and Head of Guidance) Jenny Oakley has been prolific, using her iPad to create some beautiful pieces that we really love.

Jenny's use of colour and texture is inspiring and really shows what can be created on the iPad with a very healthy dose of artistic talent. Using iPad painting apps such as ArtRage and Brushes, Jenny achieves results which are sometimes light and playful, often stronger, darker and emotive.

What's the Story?

We are always fascinated by the creative process and the story behind an image. Jenny has been kind enough to provide us with some of her thoughts and comments about her artwork below and using the iPad with her students. Over to you Jenny...

Tree of Knowledge

I painted the 'Tree of Knowledge' just after we had implemented our 1:1 iPad programme. There was a lot of debate at the time about allowing pupils such a high level of access to the internet for fear of all the dangers and negative content they might access.

I was trying to explore this theme by suggesting that the internet is like a digital version of the tree of knowledge in the garden of Eden and, for our pupils, their access is through the iPads. There is all the knowledge of all that is good as well as all that is bad out there on the internet.

Education should not be about hiding this from pupils but about educating them to make right choices in what they access and guiding them as they learn to navigate this environment. It should not be prohibitive but should prepare them for choices they will face as adults.

Box of Delights

"Box of Delights" was also painted on this theme. It shows a girl opening a box with the streaming light of many delights pouring out.

The box is decorated with computer circuitry as, in a similar way to the Tree of Knowledge, it represents the vast potential and opportunity open to us in the digital environment.

The box is a direct reference to Pandora's box but I didn't want to call it that as only dark, negative things came out of her box.

What comes out of the 'digital' box can be used for good or ill depending on the user.

Is it a box of delights or is it a Pandora's box? We need to educate pupils about these issues.

Gone Swimming

"Gone Swimming" was my first ArtRage painting. I wanted to experiment with a wider range of art apps, especially those which simulated real materials - ArtRage was the most realistic I found.

I really loved using ArtRage, especially with all the textures that I could create, the vibrancy of the colours and realism of the interaction of the simulated materials.

I have been using it ever since.


Instrument was one of my first experiments with the app 'TypeDrawing'.

I was fascinated with the possibilities presented by using text (or in this case musical notes) as a brush - it seemed so expressive.

I wanted to see how far I could develop this and used TypeDrawing and the musical notes again to paint "Cello" whilst in a Vivaldi concert in St Martin's in the Field Church, Trafalgar Square, London.

About Painting with the iPad

I love using the iPad to paint as i feel it has opened up a whole new world of creativity for me. I hadn't really done much of my own artwork over the years until I got the iPad in May 2010.

All of a sudden all the barriers of time, materials, space and possible failure were taken away and I was enabled. I could paint anywhere and at any time - I didn't need a large area in which to work or have to spend a lot of money to set myself up and find my 'niche'.

Neither did I have to set aside large blocks of time which, to be honest,  I didn't have - I could paint on the bus, before I went to sleep, in my classroom whilst pupils were working or while waiting for a doctor's appointment.

There was also no price attached to failure - it was so easy to try things out and experiment with the undo and redo facility and of course there were endless canvases and materials available.

And due to the size and portability of the device, and the immediacy of the medium, no one had to see any artwork until I was happy with it.

My favourite painting apps are ArtRage, Brushes, Typedrawing as well as Moodboard for my sketchbook. 

Painting on the canvas of the iPad with digital media is just another branch of art - it is neither more nor less important than traditional methods, it is just different. It requires the same creativity, imagination and level of skill to manipulate the media and develop work as does more traditional materials. It is a different media with different nuances, techniques, possibilities and limitations.

On using iPads with Students 

I have found creating artwork on the iPad very successful with pupils. It provides a safe, structured environment in which to experiment and develop their skills, confidence and creativity and takes away the fear of the 'blank page'.

The 'undo' feature is very significant as it allows endless experimentation and thus improvement. I have found that the skills and creativity developed on the iPad do transfer over to traditional materials - pupils have more confidence and are more willing to try.

The increased expectation of success enables them to create a more skilful piece of work. This further boosts their confidence and encourages them to try harder again and so their artwork continues to improve.

Thank you Jenny, for sharing your thoughts and experiences and also for letting us include your images in this post.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend

References (2)

References allow you to track sources for this article, as well as articles that were written in response to this article.
  • Response
    Response: new year 2016
  • Response
    Response: brad pilon
    iPad Creative - iPad Creative - Beautiful iPad Art from Teacher Jenny Oakley

Reader Comments (2)

Cool artworks! The "Cello" painting is my personal favorite. I can't believe it was actually done with the use of paint in iPad.

November 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterSybil Wieners

Sybil - that Cello painting is amazing, especially when you consider it is actually made up from text, view the large version of the picture to see what we mean, can you see the individual notes?

November 15, 2011 | Registered CommenteriPad Creative

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
All HTML will be escaped. Hyperlinks will be created for URLs automatically.