• Sarah Moncrieff

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 discipline that’s important however you want to work”.

In my teaching practice I tell my students to “look, look and look again”. This helps to train the eye to observe what is there and not what you think is there. By drawing you learn the shapes of things, the spaces between, the light areas, the dark areas and the composition as a whole.


Recording in pencil on paper what is in front of you informs your work and pays off when you come to creating your painting.

I found this when I embarked on a painting of the iconic bridge in Saint Louis, Senegal. Not only did I draw the bridge itself but significant parts of it to enable me to complete the painting.





I know the final painting benefited from this. It made the painting of it more enjoyable and as a result I felt I achieved what I had set out to do, which was to capture this impressive structure in the heat and surroundings of West Africa.


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