ABOUT OUR PROJECT                                                       Arts Council England

See You Outside was originally conceived by visual artists Angie Rogers and Viv Owen as a response to their passion for creating art outdoors.

Realising the importance of first-hand experience of nature and immersion in the green environment for vitality and immediacy in their own artwork, they wanted to share this experience with others and in particular with young people.

Working Collaboratively and forming a not-for-profit organisation called Colour Out Of Space, Angie and Viv obtained Arts Council funding to carry out action research leading to a pilot project aimed at exploring the feasibility and desirability of Art field-trips with children and young people.

Three Bradford schools participated, Brackenhill Primary in Great Horton, Idle Primary in Thackley and Titus Salt Secondary in Baildon.


Two different habitats were chosen as a focus for the creative activities, both easily accessible from Bradford – Ogden Water, a reservoir near Halifax and Buck Wood in Thackley. Ogden Water appealed for its open aspect and friendly ambience, as well as being a a great example of a man-made structure co-existing with a natural environment.

Buck Wood was chosen for its natural beauty and for its interesting history, especially the 2008 centenary of the founding of an innovative open air school there, the ruins of which still remain. The old school’s ethos of education in a healthy and green setting, using the outdoors for lessons as far as possible, being fully in keeping with the aims of See You Outside.


Children from Brackenhill school visited Ogden Water a number of times, braving the April showers and experimenting with unusual pens, feather quills and mud paint made from local earth, working in the delightful manila sketchbooks they made themselves.

Young people from Titus Salt school went to Buck Wood in May sunshine and created paintings, ink drawings,Haiku poem books and dry point prints using a portable etching press in a mobile studio set up on the site of the old school.

Two classes from Idle school visited Buck Wood in June and participated in making drawing, reportage writing, bookmaking and cyanotype photograms.


The highly successful project culminated in an exhibition and celebration event in the studio at Impressions Gallery, Centenary Square, Bradford.

The See You Outside project provided opportunities for the young people who participated to directly experience and be inspired by the natural world.

The artwork that resulted was highly varied and exciting, as  you can see from the pictures below:

haiku-book-drawingHaiku poem book, pen and wash on archival manila cover paper, Titus Salt school.


Haiku poem book, digital photography, Titus Salt School.


On-site painting, Buck Wood, Titus Salt school.


On-site painting and collage, Buck Wood, Titus Salt school.


Drypoint print by a student from Titus Salt school,  made outdoors in Colour Out Of Space’s mobile, open air studio, with a portable etching press.


Giant concertina book of leaf drawings by children from Idle primary school.


Tiny Conker books by year 1 children from Idle primary school.


Sketchbooks made in the classroom and used for on-site drawing and painting at Ogden Water Reservoir by children from Brackenhill primary school.


Blue and white pattern paper plates by children from Idle primary school, based on a fragment of an alphabet plate found in the ruins of Buck Wood Open Air School.


Cyanotype photogram made with foliage and flowers collected in Buck Wood.


Reportage writing by Year 2 children from Idle primary school, describing their site-visit to Buck Wood.

The See You Outside blog has moved from the original location at Typepad to its new home here on WordPress, where it will remain as a permanent archive documenting and celebrating the successful achievements of the spirited children and young people who participated in the outdoor activities with tenacity, imagination and good humour.

In an earlier post we mentioned that we found a special fragment of pottery on the site of the old Open Air School in Buck Wood, Thackley, Bradford. The piece was from an old blue and white plate with the sign-language (finger spelling) alphabet running around the edge.

The children from class 2 at Idle Primary School learned about the finger spelling alphabet and each child signed a letter. The letters spelled out a message – “Greetings from Buck Wood Children!” Angie photographed each child’s hand sign and put them together to make a special concertina book.

Here’s a close-up view of two pages, showing letters ‘n’ and ‘g’ from the word ‘greetings’.

Finger Spelling
You can see how carefully the year 2 children formed the finger spelling shapes with their hands and how we decided to make the photographs blue and white to match the plate fragment we found.

Book At Impressions Gallery

And here’s a picture of our friend Jill Kelly helping Kellan to work out what the message says.


These are some of the lovely comments left in our visitors book for our exhibition at Impressions Gallery:



Its great to know that all our hard work is appreciated.

We have had a very busy two weeks preparing for our Project Celebration Event, which took place on Friday 11th July at Impressions Gallery Studio in central Bradford. This is what our invitation looked like:


And this is a photo taken in the Gallery on the day:


The celebration exhibition was a great success with children and young people from Brackenhill and Salt schools meeting up for the very first time. Sadly, no one from Idle school came to the gallery, perhaps they were put off by the dreadful rain and chilly weather conditions.
All the artwork looked fantastic in the big white spaces of the gallery studio, although it was a challenge not being allowed to fix work to the walls. Its amazing what you can achieve with foamboard and concertina books!
We were very pleased that some parents, friends and relatives were able to attend as well as people from Friends of Buck Wood. Everyone was impressed by what the children had achieved during the project.


During our last morning at Idle Primary School we made some special prints with Class 2. We called them ‘Magic Sunshine Prints’ but their real name is Cyanotypes. Cyan is another name for blue. Cyanotypes are a kind of photography. We placed leaves, grasses and flowers on the special paper outside in the sunshine, with a sheet of plastic over the top to hold things down in the wind which was quite blustery. Here is a picture of Viv and some boys creating their cyanotype.

The sunshine makes the paper go dark blue except where the leaves have been, which stays pale blue or white. Its like capturing the shadow of your object. After a couple of minutes in the sun, you put the paper in a bath of water to fix the image.

The children from class 2 made lots of wonderful patterns with their leaves and petals. Angie and Viv had collected all the green things from Buck Wood in the morning and brought them into school. This was the opposite of last week when all the children were collected at school and brought to Buck Wood!

Here is a picture showing just three of the 14 amazing cyantoypes that the children made.


The ferns and the Wild Rose petals are especially beautiful, but you can spot Holly and Oak leaves too.


Here is another set of six beautiful leaves, this time they are ones made by children from Year 2 Idle Primary School
. You can see how the colours from the salvaged envelope paper make the pictures look different depending on whether they are blue or manila.

Well done Rebecca, Nathan, George, William, Harry and Lucy!

Can you see that an insect has chewed a hole in George’s Ivy leaf?

Lovely Leaves

Here are six lovely leaves made on-site at Buck Wood by children from Year 1 Idle Primary School.  You can see how carefully the children have looked at the different leaf shapes and you can tell which tree they belong to.


Well done William, David, Ellie, Olivia, Courtney and Nathan!

Today we had a brilliant morning and afternoon at Idle Primary School, making lots of artwork with the children from Years 1 and 2. There’ll be lots about that soon, and we’ll show you our pictures. But in the meantime, on the way home Angie and Viv called in to Haworth to get a cup of tea in a café and they saw this Rabbit money-bank in a shop window.


Rabbits remind us of the children from Brackenhill Primary school who were painting pictures of the rabbits at Ogden Reservoir in April, using our fantastic mud paint. But what’s amazing is that this rabbit is made from blue and white china just like the plates the children from Idle Primary school were drawing last week!

On Tuesday The Mayfly (our mobile studio) returned to Buck Wood, dressed in her brightest colours. The fabulous bunting the children from Idle School made last week looks spectacular under the leafy green canopy.


Children from Year 1 and Year 2 were on the site of the old Open Air School all day long, with artists Angie and Viv and lots of helpers. We looked all around where the school used to be, and found more pieces of old plates, medicine bottles and inkwells! Next we went on a tour through the wood, looking at all the wonderful trees, and how their leaves are so many different shapes.

The children very carefully collected a few samples of leaves from each kind of tree to take back to our base. We found Oak, Beech, Holly, Horse Chestnut, Sweet Chestnut, Silver Birch, Ash, Rowan and Sycamore, plus the shiny green ivy that grows all around.

The children know that paper is made from trees, and so if we recycle paper we are helping to save trees from being used up too quickly. The paper that Viv and Angie gave the children to use for their artwork was all collected from old envelopes.

We used the paper from the inside of the envelopes – there are Manila ones and dark blue ones and most of all, pale blue ones with loads of different small patterns. All the children enjoyed looking carefully at the leaf shapes and then drawing them using Oil Pastels. Angie and Viv think the leaf artworks are excellent and they are going to make them into a big book.

Very Good Work


Here’s another couple of our very good blue and white plates with their proud makers.