The After-Class Look

With four drawing classes in one week and piles of students, Judy and Carolyn can amass quite a lot of drawings!  Once the students have gone on Thursday night, this is how the work area looks.  It’s great to see all those art supplies used for creating art and a feeling of having produced something creative.  We usually leave it like this for the weekend, just in case someone wants to come back down to make art!IMG_1070.JPG


Art Class with 11 Boys… and One Girl

What to draw with a class of boys…  dinosaurs, of course!  Here is our deinonychus, sketched and shaded.  The students traced their drawing and had a go at watercolour pencils as well.  These kids are 5 to 9 years old.  We think they are excellent artists!DSCF4221.jpg

Wellington – The Sketch

Every detailed painting begins with a detailed sketch.  I’ve never painted a statue before.  Especially not a man in full uniform on a horse with all the reigns and… bits.  Let it not be daunting!

The blue lines are the from the first outline sketch, which I copied to my watercolour paper with blue transfer paper.  Here I’m partway through adding the detail, hoping most of it won’t be lost as I add layers of poured paint.  His hand looks too small.  Where’s his knee?


Brothers in Edinburgh

Brothers in Edinburgh

I’m still on the human figures kick and I jokingly boasted that I would take a photo of a busy street in Edinburgh off the fridge and draw every single person in the picture.  I didn’t promise buildings.  Two weeks later I sat down to do some simple silhouettes of people, using the photo as an example.  Somehow I started drawing the buildings, then filling in some of the people… finally I gave in and admitted I was aiming for a full painting.  I am happy with the loose background and anonymous people (I tell myself to let them be, not add detail, but that rarely happens), but I do like the brothers being more defined and actually recognizable.  After all, they are the only part of the painting that I know personally, and the difference between them and everything else makes them stand out as the important features they are.

This was also a fascinating lesson in perspective.  I tried it with the photo: the lines don’t just line up with a single vanishing point at the bottom of the road.  Is it because the road descends, so the buildings are all stacked at a different height?

Outdoor Art

‘Tis the season to pack up the knapsack and roam without a care, painting with ease all day while roaming the friendly outdoors, returning at end of day with charming sketches and, indeed, spontaneous masterpieces…

Reality check.  Ants.  Wind drying up your wash.  Sunlight glare.  Mosquitoes.  Falling debris.  Sitting on rocks.  Sunburn, stiffness, moving light source, spiders, curious onlookers.

“Outdoor painting is &%#@! hard!”

What a pleasure to hear someone else voice one’s frustration 🙂

Outdoor painting is not indoor painting.

After a couple of hours of annoying myself with a rose bush (I don’t paint flowers well at the best of times; why would I choose such a subject for outdoor painting?!), sketching with some wild, heavy lines was a restorative action.  Here’s my 30 second sketch of Pippie, who knows looking for gophers is a far better way to spend some time outside.


Sketching People

Sometimes I get a great urge to paint something in particular, a subject rather than a scene.  Horses, clouds, water, portraits; challenging subjects that can enhance a run of the mill landscape painting or a show full of scenery alone.

This time the drive is to be able to recreate the people I see.  I want to be able to capture the natural expressions of movement, the distinctive characteristics of people.  I really get annoyed with myself when my drawings are stiff and unnatural.  People look at people.  They can tell when they don’t look they way they are supposed to.

The only cure is hard work.  Practice makes… ease of line and confidence of shape.  I began with the pen, because that’s what I had in my hand, got frustrated and moved on to pencil and finally dug up an eraser too.  Drawing with the pencil will translate to drawing with the brush.  I used the work of Rien Poortvliet to practice with, since real people don’t stand still, nor do they hang around the neighbourhood on a weekday.  Poortvliet is a prime example of practice paying off.  He drew everything, and he was confident enough to leave in lines he didn’t like to show that he didn’t just pick up the pencil and create perfection.IMG_0615


Looking at these drawings from the perspective of the day after I can see some things that are obviously out of proportion, some limbs of unlikely lengths, some awkward poses: but I know that being able to see such things means that I have studied my subject and will be able to amend the imperfections to something that will pass inspection.  More practice coming soon!