Stanford in the Vale Art Group

I enjoyed my evening at Stanford in the Vale Art Group last week. I had been invited by the group to do a workshop on portrait drawing. I'm keen on teaching this as portrait and life drawing can be extremely challenging. It therefore offers great potential for practice and development. We all think we know how a face looks, but if you don't pay attention to some basic proportional rules you might find when drawing that you place the eyes at the top of the head. However, even

Scale

One of the exercises I like to do with my students is to ask them to draw something that is very small on a much larger scale. This is often quite a challenge especially to students who haven't drawn for a long time. A large piece of paper is daunting and we feel quite exposed at the prospect of working so large. But if you continue to work really small you are not able to represent as much as you can see. Take an object such as the simple screw for example. If you draw that

Drawing has meaning

I am enjoying Andrew Marr’s “A short book about Drawing” documenting his love of drawing and how it helped him recover following his stroke. Like Marr I agree that “drawing has meaning, it immerses you freshly in the planet you were born on”. When I teach I feel real satisfaction when my students start returning after a few weeks of classes with me to say “I look at everything differently now”. It is only when we start to think about committing what we see to paper that we re

Outlets for expression

Another moving episode from the Radio 4 series, “The Art of Now, Guantanamo”. The programme focused on the lives of inmates at Guantanamo Bay and the artwork they have produced. Most of them have, or are serving, long periods of detention without having been charged, and with little prospect of that happening any time soon. Some have been subject to torture methods. Despite this, they have had access to making their own art, which has allowed them to both “hold on to somethin

Sharing experiences through art

I have just listened to “The Art of Now: Dangerous places” on Radio 4. An amazing programme about the bravery and work done by artists living and working in conflict zones. The presenter Errollyn Wallen asks why and what does it achieve. She ultimately concludes. “Every artist asks, 'what’s the point of this, what good can it do?'. Very important questions. They help us work out what artists can do that nobody else can. All your training as an artist only matters if you can s

Drawing means everything

When I’m beginning a new project, it’s often a challenge to know where to start. It’s one of the most difficult aspects of being a painter, but I know the best start is to pick up a pencil and get drawing. Reading an interview in The Guardian with Paula Rego, she holds this view and feels ”You learn so much drawing from life, you have to look so carefully. It’s very difficult to actually see what’s there, the more you do it, the better you get at looking and that’s a discipli