Portraiture at West Dean College

I am exhausted, enthused and inspired in equal measures following a great course at West Dean college this weekend.  I was really impressed with how our tutor, Andrew Fitchett, managed to cope with a class of 12 people, all with different experiences and objectives, ensuring that each of us got the maximum amount of help and direction.   On Andrew’s suggestion I used charcoal for the first day experimenting with different ways of creating form through tone.  My favourite was this drawing which attempted to divide the subject into dark and light.

"charcoal portrait"

charcoal on paper

On the second day I was persuaded to move into colour and after a quick practice run before coffee break, this was my first proper attempt at a pastel drawing.  It took about 90mins and I think I am encouraged enough by the end result to use colour again!

"pastel portrait"

pastels on paper

Life Drawing: developing a style

I am posting this feeling particularly challenged after another life drawing day at Southampton City Art Gallery with hardworking tutor, Brian Reynolds.  Not one for long spurts of concentration, today’s 3 hour pose was always going to be an endurance event for me but little did I realise that I would leave the session feeling both confused and inspired in equal measures.  My first attempt was my usual measured, graphite representation of a human body.

"graphite sketch of supine male nude"

Graphite on cartridge paper


While this looks like a supine male nude, pretty much in proportion, I wasn’t surprised that during the breaks and the usual tour of other delegates work, no one enthused or made comment on it.  On reflection I could see a lack of energy about it, but what to do?  Brian’s suggestion was to use a drawing as a journey, i.e. not just looking at the end result but thinking of it as a map of how I got there.  So, attempt number two:

"graphite sketch of supine male nude"

graphite on paper


I think it has more energy and is definitely a “looser”drawing but sadly, we ran out of time so I didn’t get any feedback on it.  I left with lots to think about…….




Going Large

I have just arrived back from a West Dean Foundation Diploma drawing day, set by tutor and super-talented artist, Frances Hatch.  The theme was scaling up, something I don’t find easy and wouldn’t do out of choice (being a big fan of A4 sketchbooks and scanners).   It took me all day to complete this graphite drawing and the concentration required quite wore me out.  Interestingly it was pointed out to me at the closing review how the end product resembles knitting!

"scaled up drawing of a chain"

graphite on paper drawing of a segment of a metal bracelet

Tudor Pots

In Southampton not only are we are lucky enough to have a fabulous Art Gallery but we also have a number of interesting museums.  This afternoon I spent an inspiring couple of hours in the company of artistic friends at the Tudor House on a workshop led by artist Kate Woodley-Smith drawing some wonderfully wonky pots.  The theme was creating form using graphite.

"tripod pipkin and bellarmine flask"

Wonky Pots

and my sketched interpretations

"sketch of a tripod pipkin"

graphite on paper

"sketch of a bellarmine flask"

graphite on paper

Dora has arrived!

Meet Dora, my new display dummy, who arrived this morning.  I am now able to take photographs of my knitwear designs without having to wait for the long suffering husband to wield the camera and you, dear viewer, will not be subjected to my cheesy grin and attempts at modelling on such a regular basis.  So here is Dora sporting my two latest creations, the Nicky Barfoot Leaf and Lace scarf (Summer version), and a top down lace bolero designed as part of a recent Craftsy course.  Both are in Debbie Bliss Prima.

"hand knitted textured scarf with lace edging and leaf motif"

knitted in Debbie Bliss Prima

"hand knitted lace bolero"

top down design knitted in Debbie Bliss Prima