A couple of weeks ago, I was involved in Julie Douglas’ Draw-In in Belfast, a symposium celebrating drawing.
Getting together with artists is always really rewarding, but this was special.
Special because Julie, drawing tutor and the organiser of the event is special; special because all the artists that gave workshops and presentations were special; special to me personally because it was the first time I’ve given a live workshop.
There was such a range of approaches represented by the artists involved, and complete acceptance and respect for each other’s ideas and differences. That, also, was special.
Julie put the whole thing together, her organisational skills are incredible. She is one of the warmest and most dynamic people you could hope to meet, and a wonderful teacher. She and I think so alike it’s scary. If you’re anywhere near Belfast and are looking for traditional drawing and painting tuition, I strongly recommend you get in touch with Julie.
Matt trained at the Grand Central Atelier in New York and paints beautiful still life and landscapes. His figurative work is also wonderful. As if that wasn’t enough, he is an extremely nice person, both gentle and thoughtful.
Matt taught a week long still life painting workshop. The people who attended produced some really wonderful stuff with his guidance.
PJ Lynch is an award winning Children’s book illustrator from Ireland. His dry humour, warmth and ready smile made the weekend infinitely more enjoyable.
Pj gave a one hour portrait painting demo during which he painted a portrait whilst simultaneously fielding questions from the audience.
Colleen is an incredibly accomplished figurative artist. Her work draws its inspiration from the emotionally driven and expressive tradition in classical art, particularly from Michelangelo, who she’s studied extensively. It shows in her beautiful drawings particularly.
Colleen taught a week-long figure drawing workshop after the weekend I was there which I was very sad to miss. Colleen also teaches at the Grand Central Atelier.
Peter is a character animator primarily, and a very accomplished artist with a great knowledge of anatomy which comes out in his fantastic drawings. Before sculpting, he thinks through his ideas in drawings and the strength of form they show reflects his sculpting experience. I’ve long thought the best way to learn to produce convincing form in drawing is to sculpt it first.
I was only peripherally aware of botanical art before I met Shevaun. She gave a talk on her art and botanical art in general in which her deep love of, and fascination with the natural world came shining through. This quote from her blog is a good example:
“This week, I’ve been busy with a commission, and whilst painting a non-botanical subject has been a pleasant change, I must confess to feeling a pang of longing every time I step outside. The beautiful russets and golds of fallen leaves lie everywhere, and every hedgerow seems festooned with an abundance of berries and fruit – scarlet, jade, crimson and purple.”
What I got up to
Me discussing drawing whilst looking at a blank page of a sketch pad. Attendees look on askance.
For my part of the weekend, I gave a demonstration and workshop of three of the exercises we do at my Creative Triggers Art Practice Community.
- The first is Breathing Lines. This is a meditative drawing exercise designed to get you relaxed and ready for a drawing practice session, whilst at the same time building your attention and focus and encouraging you to become absorbed in the present moment as you draw. You could say it’s a mindfulness exercise. Because it is one.Here’s a video demo of it. This version is with a Chinese brush and ink, but you can also do it with charcoal or pencil.
- Value matching. This exercise is designed to stretch the core skill you need to create good values in drawing and painting, in the simplest, lowest pressure way possible.
Click here to download a PDF.
- Negative space composition. This exercise is all about developing your sensitivity to spacing and proportion so that you can, with practice, make better compositions.By reducing a simple drawing to a negative space design, you will see it more as abstract design and be better able to sense the balance of positive and negative space in the composition.
Drawing and Painting Workshops
Giving a live workshop was one of the most positive experiences I’ve had with art. So much so, that I’ve decided to start offering drawing courses and workshops.
They will be based on the exercises we do at Creative Triggers and will also draw on everything I’ve learned from the last 9 years or so of teaching myself to draw and paint realistically.
If you’re in London, Epsom or Surrey and think a workshop with me might be useful to you, please register your interest
As soon as there’s sufficient interest to justify getting a workshop or a course organised, I’ll let you know.
Posted: 17th September 2014
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