Wednesday, 18 July 2012


Now that my teaching term has ended for the summer, I have the time and energy to attend Posers life drawing club in Cambridge again.
Following on from my experimentation at recording form, purely from drawing, and implementing abstraction, ( Fitz and browns drawing trip ) I decided to get out of my comfort zone in the life drawing class, and detach myself from representing the literal, which is the omnipresent illustrator in me!

A fellow artists prescribed that I should get a big brush and set myself a time limit in order to keep a painting fresh, and, as this approach is something I greatly admire, and the results of which I love, I decided to have a go.
In order to do this I had to let go of the outcome, especially as I have have never tried this before.

I used my biggest flat chisel end brush, and took my glasses off, leaving my vision impaired to the point that no detail can be seen what so ever, this was a huge advantage, and the combination of eyes and brush forced me to make each brush stroke matter enormously, as it was required to describe a larger portion of the form.
I found this process fascinating, and a little frustrating, as I only had a quarter of an hour to get down all the information needed.

It also helped that I did a loose sketch first, as I'm not going to post the ones I attempted without this structural aid!  ; )

The 2 drawings below, are what I normally do in life drawing, very satisfying to do, but very literal, not that I think there's anything wrong with this, it's just that the time I have to do my own thing is more precious to me these  days than they used to be, so apart from the obvious need to practice, I want to try to do things that I haven't done before.

below are a couple of 5 minute drawings from the begining of last night's sessions

Finished painting resulting from Fitzwilliam drawing trip.

Following my drawing trip to Brown's and the Fitzwilliam art museum, Cambridge, I decided t to try and arrange the elements into an abstract composition, as I had been very exited about the concept of abstraction following the 'What lies beneath' painting workshop at Felixtowe fort.
My thumbnails above were my workings out for tone, colour and shape.

I absolutely marvel at other artists who just get stuck in to the final painting without any such workings out, to the most beautiful effect, I'm afraid that either this is not instinctive in me, or I have never attempted it......Hmmmmmmmmm.........

I decided to inject a little humour into it, I'm going to call it, love and loss at the Fitzwilliam ; )

These were the original drawings I worked from.

Friday, 6 July 2012

Thursday watercolour group work

This week was about establishing the major values to the wonderfully accurate drawings we made previously on location at the big house near Comberton church.
I would have loved to have taken learners back on location, but the weather said heavy thunder and lightening! So sadly I had my learners paint from photocopies, from photo's taken on site, and either emailed by me to learners, so they could print their own out, or copies I brought in from my own printer.

Copies are always second best to being there, and as it turned out, we could have gone there after all, as it was wonderfully warm and still, and not a spot of rain in sight! Haaarrruuummmppphhh!!

Any how, we proceeded to start blocking in our major values as a base to build on, and added colour inventively to enhance the painting, this involves adding in colour that we can't necessarily see, for example, knowing that greens, purples and burnt sienna look good together, and skies look good with variations of blues added, the aim of this was to add unmixed colour from the pallet, and try not to mix it up too much on the paper, just allowing a fluid consistency of pigment to water to travel into each each other on it's own.
I did a quick demonstration to illustrate application, and pigment choice.

Learners work below

Part of establishing our major values was to consider the composition, which in this case meant framing the house, and making sure that the overall balance wasn't placed in one area alone, for example, making the tree on the right, the focal point, by it being the darkest element in the picture, and the point of highest contrast. 
We had a lively group discussion exploring how to spot in-balance by  turning the picture upside down, and, or squinting.

Learners are encouraged to move around the room to discuss each other work and explain what went well, and compare notes, this is done in a spirit of encouragement and mutual support, and is of benefit to all, and a joy for me to witness : )

Monday, 2 July 2012

My day out drawing

On friday I had planned to visit Tessa Shedley Jordan, a fellow artist in the Society of East Anglian watercolor artists, who's work I massively admire, see pic above.

 Tessa was also present on the felixtowe abstraction workshop, and I was delighted to be invited to Tessa's to further explore the subject together, sadly, however she was ill and it had to be postponed, so I decided to use the day as it had meant to be, and so I set off to Cambridge in search of interesting shapes, and to liberate myself from the literal, as far as I am capable at this particular juncture!
I decided to start at Browns as I know it to be visually very stimulating, and they do good cakes! Yum!

I really liked the verticals going on here
and there were so many more I can add
to, or mix about with
I exaggerated the elliptical in this one and played with tone
to clarify each figure 

Then I took myself off to the Fitzwilliam Gallery and thought it would be fun to do spot sketches of visitors walking about along with sculptures and portraits.
I'm not sure what I'm going to do with them yet, but I have heard of artists who never use photography, just do sketches, then go home and work them up into something else, my mind has always boggled at the genius of this, especially when what they produce looks like they had all there reference in the studio with them, I don't think I will be able to do that, but it would be fun and interesting to play around with it

 Altogether I had a really very enjoyable day, once I had gulped down any feelings of self consciousness.