Yippee I am back at life drawing classes . . . .
One of the most challenging aspects of being an artist is really observing what you see, and a good way of keeping this awareness up to scratch is by regularly sketching. It doesn’t matter what you sketch as long as you observe well. For instance, if you were sketching a person sitting opposite you, imagine taking a snapshot of them. By looking at this imaginary image, it is possible to learn where their hands join their wrists and where these hands rest on their lap, where their head sits – is it leaning to one side or bent forward? And their ear that is poking out of their hair, how big is this ear in proportion to their head? All these observations go towards making the drawing and they help to train the eye to draw in proportion. Nothing beats life drawing for training the eye. I am, and always will be, working on this, and it is a place of growth for me. Our eyes don’t lie but what happens is that our brain makes assumptions, so we believe that we are drawing the right angle or shape but actually the best thing to do is to truly look at what is in front of you. I spend much on my time while sketching telling myself to draw what is actually there, not necessarily what I want or think to be there. I continue to train myself in this way.
. . . via Zoom
Sadly I am not back at drawing class in person yet, it is on zoom. Thank goodness for technology.
Give Such a Feel Good Factor
It is with great delight that I can share these photos sent from Kazakhstan. If you remember, I ran a competition for subscribers to my newsletter to win one of my paintings. I really value my subscribers and wanted to say thank you for being alongside me as part of my journey as an artist. I am grateful to you all, whether your support is by purchasing my work, visiting my exhibitions, celebrating my competition wins, commiserating with me when I am not acknowledged, telling your friends about my work or just being there to have creative conversations, thank you.
Please take a moment to see the amazing place my painting prize has ended up. The winner is a very cultured and interesting lady, and she is going to put my painting next to a few masters of Kazak art. I feel am deeply honoured and privileged.
E X C I T I N G N E W S
If you haven't heard of the #artistsupportpledge, I hope this introduction encourages you to explore and use it.
ARTIST SUPPORT PLEDGE is a movement set up last year, in response to artists losing venues due to lockdown. The idea is to encourage artists to sell their work on-line – they post images and descriptions of their work under one umbrella on Instagram (#artistsupportpledge), the work cannot be priced over £200, and when an artist has sold work to the value of £1,000, that artist supports their art community by purchasing other artists’ work from #artistsupportpledge.
I tried this during its early stages and did not sell the piece I put up. I was discouraged by the failure but I now want to try again – so follow the link and you will see a small selection of one-off pieces.
I have set up a page on my website to give you a preview, and you can follow me on Instagram to find out when they will be available.
Do visit the #artistsupportpledge on instagram and see a wonderful range of artwork for sale – and hopefully you will feel inspired to start buying art – trust your instincts and buy what you love.
April's Moments involves Chocolate, Prize winner announcement, the potential of a new house and studio,
England is opening up and I am empowering myself to open up with it.
(If interested in the rest remember to sign up for the whole newsletter which will find your way into your e-mail box once a month.)
In December I committed to writing 12 newsletters, one a month. The newsletters are written and designed by me with information about the art/creative world that I inhabit.
As feedback/responses to these newsletters, I began to receive messages from you, I really like these interactions, they remind me that there are other people getting my vibe.
As a thank you, I set up a small competition to give away an original painting to one of my newsletter subscribers. I send these newsletters out via a service called MailChimp, and now have 424 readers.
On Saturday 10th April the competition ended and I asked Tony Roberts to pick a number between 1 and 424, the choose number would be the winner. Tony choose number 64.
drum roll please..........................
Number 64 is Zamshat Zhoraeva
Congratulations Kamshat, this painting will be wrapped well and sent to you.
Taking Advantage of an in-house model during lockdown
A friend of mine asked me if I had ever thought of using my artists skills to paint portraits. I nearly died, didn't she know that portraiture work is a tricky tricky subject. One that could leave me having sleepless nights worrying about how the painting would turn out, and compared to the Old Masters, it seemed like an overwhelming challenge. But as my artist skills improve with the hours at the easel, I find myself coming back to portrait work time and time again.
I am currently painting my daughter, a willing model, stuck at home during lockdown. I started by sketching using pencil for an hour once a week and after a month of sketches, I felt comfortable to explore painting her. I felt I knew her face inside out. I knew where the skin changed colour and the shadows fell across her neck, I thought I knew where the light reflected light back off her skin but nothing prepared me for actually painting this portrait. When painting there is always a stage in the process when the painting looks ugly, and this is where I am currently in my portrait of my daughter, I keep reminding myself this is the journey of the painting and not what my daughter looks like.
In the age of over-documentation, when every wedding features a full film crew and couples give screenings of their honeymoon pictures; when no mantelpiece is safe from the triptych photo card, be it for Christmas, birth or engagement; when instant self-reflective gratification is all that we know, why are we not indulging ourselves in portraiture?
Here are things that make me smile related to portraiture.
Royal Society of Portrait Painters
How much does it costs to commission a portrait?
Prices are based on size and complexity, but as a rough guide, a 40x50cm portrait painting is between between £1,500 - 3,500. It take time to paint a really good process and really should not be rushed.
A head portrait take around 4 weeks and a full figure portrait up to 6 weeks.