A LEADING sculptor has helped mould the next generation of artists at Gourock's two high schools.

Pupils at Clydeview Academy and St Columba's High were paid a visit by the acclaimed Shona Kinloch, who specialises in animal and human sculptures, primarily in bronze, and has created many public sculptures across Scotland and the UK, as well as on five Royal Caribbean cruise liners.

It was part of the 'Masterpieces in Schools' project by educational charity, Art UK, which also saw a piece from Greenock's McLean Museum brought into the classrooms by curator Val Boa.

Pupils took inspiration from the artwork - 'Loving Birds (Doves)', created in 1932 by Gourock-born sculptor Ivy Gardner Proudfoot - and Shona's creations to then craft a bird of their own from clay.

Shona was on hand to provide expert help and advice but she was impressed with the imagination, technique and attention to detail shown by pupils at both schools.

The East Kilbride-based artist said: "The kids have come up with some really fantastic birds, some imaginary and some based on other things.

"There's been some great works. "I've had a lovely time."

The sculptor led a bespoke workshop and presentation for S3 pupils at St Columba's and then visited Clydeview.

A key aim of the initiative is to engage more local children with art.

Workshops will be delivered to 125 schools across the UK by May 2020.

Claire Wooler, principal teacher of art and design at Clydeview, said: "Having Proudfoot's sculpture displayed in class was a unique opportunity for our pupils to engage with work from our local museum. "Shona Kinloch inspired the pupils to roll up their sleeves and get to grips with clay.

"They were really focused and thoroughly enjoyed the day."

Clydeview pupil Kristin Delussey, 15, says it was a unique learning experience.

She said: "We've not had an experience like this before and it's good that we got it."

Curator Val was also got stuck in making a sculpture of her own.

She said: "Art UK has provided a fabulous opportunity for the students to be inspired by the museum's historical sculpture and Shona's wonderful works. "The young people have relished the challenge and really enjoyed learning to create their own unique pieces."

The 'Masterpieces in Schools' programme is the largest ever sculpture project undertaken in the UK and is funded by grants from the Stavros Niarchos Foundation and the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

For more information visit www.artuk.org