Life Drawing 16th June – SCAG

Great day of Life drawing yesterday at Southampton City Art Gallery.  The downside was that our usual tutor, Brian Reynolds, was poorly so couldn’t teach us.  On the plus side the lovely Mel Rose stepped in to keep us all in check, and as usual her infectious enthusiasm for her subject filtered through to the participants and a productive day followed.  We had the beautiful Elise modelling for us who is a joy to draw and I came away with lots of preparatory sketches for a knitted art project which I have planned for the rest of this month.

"seated nude"

charcoal on paper

New Ideas for Sketchbooks at West Dean College

Wow, I have just finished a full week of fabulous food, wonderful surroundings and excellent teaching at West Dean College.  The super talented Maxine Relton had the task of taking seven students on a voyage of sketchbook discovery through a mix of theory and themed exercises.  I have got to admit that I was a little daunted on arrival as Maxine had generously set out about ten of her own beautiful sketchbooks for us to peruse at our leisure.  Each one was worthy of sale, featuring brightly coloured watercolours depicting her foreign travels (mostly India), along with thought provoking text.  However, once we got started, there was so much to inspire and explore that I soon forgot my apprehension, and spent an amazing week with some great people, and have brought back the beginnings of several bodies of work.  If only there were more hours in the day………

One of my favourite exercises of the week was taking two contrasting words, in my case geometric and organic, and creating three separate sketches from our immediate surroundings, onto acetate.  These were overlaid to create a new abstract design which was then used to experiment first with tone, and then a colour scheme.

"abstract line drawing"

pen on paper


"tonal abstract picture in black, mid grey and white"

pen and ink on paper


"abstract in an analogous colour scheme"

gouache on paper

This proved to be a great way of creating an abstract design for me, and I am looking forward to experimenting further…..








Surrealism at West Dean College with London Drawing Theatre

OK, so I had a vague idea of what to expect today at West Dean College’s London Drawing Theatre workshop as I accidentally walked through it last year.  However, it still proved to be an unusual, and (intentionally to go with the college’s atmosphere/decor) surreal drawing experience, with the two hardworking life models (mostly wearing masks, headdresses, and painted blue!) blending into the fabulous and weird surroundings of the college.

The day was divided into three scenes/poses.  During the first we were encouraged to use collage to depict a mostly stationery scene.

"life drawing collage"

paper collage and felt tip pen on cartridge paper

During the second we moved between two corridor scenes (one shown below):

"seated nude wearing zebra mask"

felt pen on cartridge paper

and during the last, the models were moving around the college’s Oak Lounge and we mostly stayed still:

"pen life drawing of theatrical scene"

felt pen on cartridge paper

Scaling Up a Cone

Another drawing day at West Dean College today with Frances Hatch setting the task.  This was a follow up to Going Large a few weeks back, the aim being more scaling up, this time of natural debris picked up during one of Frances’ dog walks.  It’s amazing what a magnifying glass and considered drawing shows up in terms of structure of plants.  Hairy buttercups for a start!  I picked a cone as my study and spent a fascinating day drawing various views.

"scaled up pictures of a cone"

Cone structure and sketches

"charcoal drawing of a cone"

charcoal on paper


Vintage Textures

I have been having great fun recently working through “Practical Family Knitting Illustrated”, a wonderful book of knitting patterns from 1947, experimenting with the different textures featured therein.  It has proved to be somewhat challenging attempting to interpret the patterns using my modern day knitting language.  A certain amount of knowledge and knitting sense is assumed by the authors, but that is part of the fun, not quite knowing how things will turn out.  I particularly like the fitted nature of the garments, and the use of stitch patterns and needle size to create shaping.  Below is an example of some of my favourite stitch patterns so far, sampled in modern day yarns.  As the brighter weather has arrived perhaps now is the time to look at the knitted swimsuit section!

"knitted vintage stitch patterns"

Pods, boxes and holes