I go to a lovely group near St Helens called Paint Pots (great name for a group!!) and they invited me recently to do a charcoal workshop. They really want to do a charcoal portrait class but thought the group could be introduced to the medium with a landscape lesson first.
I told Doris, the organiser, that I had never run a charcoal class before but that I would love to run one for them as I do enjoy charcoal and in the very early days of my art journey was the medium I had most success with as it suits my sketchy way of drawing. I do know Joanne does a lot of charcoal sketching en plein air as preparation for watercolour and Brusho paintings and then works from the sketch rather than the photo for her paintings and I need to take a leaf out of her book for the future.
So I went armed with a variety of papers, my blending tools (got lots of them but in the main use my fingers), putty rubber and some images for us to attempt and I think we all thoroughly enjoyed the session.
The first drawing was of an image taken by my brother in law John Robinson and is a fantastic atmospheric image of a sunset at Glen Coe and the second from one of my own photos of the Pigeon Tower Rivington. I have painted both images but never drawn them so a challenge for us all!!
As usual I forgot to take photos, but the group did so well (you'll have to take my word for that!!) and I have to say they were all really pleased with their efforts as I had been all those years ago when I first tried charcoal. It is a very forgiving medium and I would advise anyone to have a go. A charcoal sketch is a great tool for a later painting, but a lovely medium to use just for its own sake. Would love to hear and see the results if any of you decide to try it.....