Many artists would agree that there is something of the process of alchemy about making art - turning base materials into precious substance. I have found by that adding children and animals into the mixture as I have been doing this week during the Summer Art School 'Young Zoo Artist's!' an extraordinary magic has been taking place. Today we climbed the hill in the blazing sunshine in search of the zebra enclosure. We got a bit lost and then suddenly over the horizon, through the trees we could see those beautiful, exotic, striped horses grazing in the distance. We climbed onto the viewing platform to get a closer look and the herd evaporated. Quietly the children assembled their art materials; charcoal, chalk, grey sugar paper and the zebras reappeared. Then a silence descended on the place as children and animals concentrated on their respective activities - with an unspoken mutual respect.
Damian Callan is a practising figurative artist and tutor based in Edinburgh.