I am going to put a suggestion to you.

Are there a handful of us who blog our art who might join together for a couple of days and jointly pay for some tuition?

I have not organised such a thing before but it wouldn’t be that hard.  I have discussed this with a talented and versatile professional artist who might lead it.  I was thinking that we might focus on some more technical aspects of drawing to give it a theme, but it might be that mentorship and discussion result in the more illuminating outcomes.  What I imagine is that this might appeal to people who are not dedicated professional artists, who have other jobs perhaps and maybe are not formally trained as artists, but who have been making art for some time and regard themselves as being on some kind of artistic journey.  Of course, if anything comes of this, it may turn out differently.

I should mention, this would be somewhere in the UK (unless, of course, someone offers us use of a more exotic venue.  Do feel free to do so …).

If anyone thinks this is a good idea, please leave a comment and we can see where it goes.  If it doesn’t appeal, that’s ok too.

2015-07-27 Barston Fields

My own artistic journey goes in short infrequent steps at the moment.  I have been playing around with simple landscapes, blocks of colour for sky and fields, painting a first layer in watercolour and drawing into it with conte crayon.  I am trying to build texture and depth of colour more than detail, because I am working with a small field kit.  My Stillman and Birn beta sketchpad is small enough for me to hold it by hand as I work, with my materials littered on the ground.

None of this was possible yesterday because it rained steadily.  In the early evening, the rain stopped long enough to lure me out of the house then pounced once I was walking up the path to the fields.  Even when I drew sheltered by foliage, my paper was quickly soaked.  Watercolours were out of the question and I began to worry my crayons would dissolve in my fingers.  I walked back, each separate stooping grass head placing its payload of water on my trousers.  I finished the sketch directly I returned, and you can see I scoured up the damp surface as I worked into it.

Here is the sketch for what it is worth.  Rain.

32 responses to “Rain

    • Hi
      Thanks for your kind comment.
      A tutor on a course told me he started drawing in Canada as the only way he could make sense of the flocks of wild fowl on the vast Arctic wastes. Ever since that comment, I have wanted to come to Canada (and so many other places) to draw. So some day …

  1. Likewise, I’m in Australia. However having just finished the 3 days of the Urban Sketchers Symposium in Singapore I would urge anyone who can join up with you to do so. Both my partner and I can’t believe how our work has developed over this short period. It’s so helpful to work with people who share your interests and more experienced artists.
    It’s a great idea and I hope it work out for you. PS do you belong to one of the UK Urban Sketchers groups? Next year’s symposium is being held in Manchester.

    • Hi Leonie
      I’ll google the urban sketcher group in a sec. Actually I follow a blog by an excellent urban sketcher called Marc Tarosan and had bought his book. So I was aware of the movement.
      Truthfully, I am not that much of a social animal. I draw quietly and alone and the idea of being in a club that meets regularly to draw involves more small talk, or indeed just talk, than I think I can manage. But two days in a group focussed mainly on the art seems like a great idea to me.
      Strangely I’m in Singapore just before Christmas, flying across the world to give a twenty minute talk. I am hoping to have some spare time and get out to do some drawing there.

      • Singapore is very easy to get around and there are some interesting places to sketch. I can highly recommend Gardens by the Sea with its massive conservatories and Supertrees. Also Arab St and the Masjid Sultan Mosque. I am still traveling so I haven’t posted much but I will put some more images up over the coming weeks so you can see something in advance.

      • Hi
        Thanks for the tips and I’ll look forward to your drawings.
        The guy I’ve been following is called Marc Taro Holmes and he is on the faculty for that symposium in Singapore. I got his name wrong on my reply above.

      • Really?
        Amazing. Was it good?
        I first admired his people and life drawing sketches and later found his urban sketching. Exciting and expressive lines.

    • Thanks Ray for leading me back to your nature blog. Nice stuff. Also I read your bio – sounds a fun life, especially the Antarctica insect hardiness survey bit.
      To be honest I think most of us gain from tuition, but you’ve put your finger on an important point here. I think I imagine this more as a collaborative workshop with an experienced artist as facilitator than as a class.

  2. …it is full of life and energy–it truly has the feel of rain, which a studio piece wouldn’t so easily ‘breathe’ to the viewer. I send you Canadian wishes for a possible painter-participation-parley.

  3. And I’m in Seattle, and eternally jealous when you post about exhibitions you’re seeing in London! There might be a way of finding kindred spirits more locally, though. For instance, I am taking a watercolor and mixed media course right now at my local community college. (My goal is to create luminous landscapes like the ones you posted in “Summertime.” And the “scoured” surface of Rain is very expressive, actually.) The class is all levels, pitched towards beginners, but a Seattle art school teaches summer workshops for intermediate and advanced students, and I know there are artists’ retreats, for serious amateurs, on some of the islands in Puget Sound. And one of my neighbors, Juliette Aristides, who teaches traditional academic art techniques, gives workshops all over the world — in fact, I think she’s doing one in Liverpool this week. So I think it likely that you can muster similar resources in your part of the world. Good luck! Your posts are a real source of inspiration to me.

    • Thanks for your kind comments on my own work.
      So the idea here is to see if our own interests create the class rather than the other way round. But I don’t know how this will work out. I’ll google your neighbour anyway and see what she’s doing in the UK.
      Best wishes

  4. I’d suggest joining a life drawing group. See what’s in your area. There are at least four in my area which are untutored. Not only will you improve your drawing skills, you can use it to play around with different media.

    • Hi Graham
      Thanks for the comment and suggestion. I have done various local courses and classes over the years and gained a lot from this too (they are shown on my pages). I was thinking of trying something different in this case – seeing whether a group might crystallise round the blogging that we do.
      I don’t know whether this would work.

  5. Your drawing captures that ‘wet’ rain/mizzle that seems to get everywhere! The wet conte looks misty. I hope your drawing workshop comes off. It sounds like an interesting idea. Not a formal class but an exploration of drawing… Have I understood correctly? Seeing the response so far, from Canada, US, Australia and Singapore (and now Leicestershire!) I keep wondering if there is a way to pull something together online? A worldwide drawing session! I don’t know how though, Skyping perhaps? Another avenue to explore might be via The Campaign for Drawing website http://www.campaignfordrawing.org/ which is packed with great ideas and events. I’ll keep following your posts to see developments, best wishes, Maxine

    • That’s a really interesting idea – the skyping idea I mean.
      As for the online vehicle, I have toyed with the idea of using WordPress tags to group themed drawing. For example, we share a unique tag, discuss a theme through our blogs, then all draw together feeding off our ideas and ousting on our own blogs using that same tag. Do searching the Reader on that tag brings together our online exhibition.
      This would be different to the workshop. I really fancy getting away from family and work (much though I love the one and enjoy both) so I can immerse myself in making art for a couple of days. However we can link to the online exhibition and do follow up work by jointly also.
      Best wishes

  6. Hi KA, I would be interested time willing. A friend and fellow blogger have been talking about doing something around colour. Would be intetesting to see just what happens when bloggers get together!

    • Hi OA
      Truth to tell, I think this idea partly came from you in the first place. Colour is a great theme. I’d been wondering about lines and highlights. I suppose I mean tone.
      If there are three of us we are half way there. It’s been suggested a workshop like this should be up to about six people.
      Let me know if you want to discuss further and we can put some flesh on the bones.

    • HI OA
      A few of us appear interested – some interest overseas and some useful suggestions as you probably saw. I think we have enough to work with to be honest because its been suggested to me that a workshop should perhaps be limited to six or so. Feel free to email me on greyheron2@gmail.com to discuss further. My name is Neil as you have probably seen on the blog – I sometimes put my name on comments. I would like to work through the ideas in a bit more detail. For now, its going to have to wait until September for more action though.
      If you find a good looking course please do let me know also by the way.

    • Hi
      Not really.
      I Skyped an artist whose work I admire and we discussed her perhaps leading a group. But I never had time to organise it. Since then, I have met up with outsideauthority and we’ve sketched together a couple of times.
      I’d still like to do this.
      I work in the underfunded NHS and it eats up my time keeping the service I offer afloat, not leaving much time for art.

      • I totally understand not having time for art! (Hence my 2017 project 🙂 That’s great that you two got together a few times anyway. I’m in USA or I’d try to join you sometime. Maybe you can figure out a virtual gathering sometime or something where everyone goes out the same day, captures a similar image (a tree, a building, a sky…) and shares their images? Not exactly the same learning experience but might be interesting.

      • Why not just do it? We’d see who joins us. I like that idea. We don’t work from a shared photo, as others do already, we take a theme you could find anywhere across the world and find it in the landscapes we each can access. I like the idea of this being international. We need to give it a unique tag so we can see the whole library easily.
        I’m up for it.

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