Thursday, 7 May 2015

All Feathered Out!!

As many of you will know I tutor to art groups in the area and am more than happy to travel further afield if invited. At the moment the furthest I have travelled is to Leicester but am looking at one or two new places which will involve overnight stays ... exciting!!

In the meantime, I work at a lovely community centre in Wigan called Sunshine House where I run blocks of 4 week lessons and all day workshops and the next all day workshop is on Sunday the 7th June. This has booked up very quickly and I do have a few people on a waiting list... the subject is "Fur and Feathers" where I will be showing people how to paint different types of fur and feathers and we will also look at noses, eyes etc and how to make them look part of the animal's face.

I usually do a bit of preparation for my workshops and this is no exception so I have been working on a few chickens,cockerels and owls. I don't always draw them but often that approach isn't helpful in workshops as not all the students can paint without drawing and I also need to understand how difficult the drawing is in the first place.

Those who have followed me for a while will know I have an opinion about drawing and painting (well actually I have an opinion about most things!!)... I believe them to be separate skills and often students complain they are no good at drawing and it often stops them painting. I identify with this to an extent as my drawing skills have always been reasonable but when I started my painting skills were hopeless so I cannot count the number of times I ruined a lovely drawing the minute I touched with my brush!! It used to stop me painting because I hated spending all that time on a drawing to have it ruined within minutes...likewise for those who feel their drawing skills are lacking even if they can paint they feel there is no point as the drawing spoils their efforts, so what's the solution? I encourage my students to learn to draw, but not when they want to paint. Learn to draw for the sake of learning to draw and paint for the sake of painting. So I have no difficulty with students tracing, using a light box or grid to get the image down on paper as in fact a lot of the masters did. I still practice drawing skills and this is one I did of Una Stubbs during the Big Painting challenge

 This took about 20 minutes with no grid or tracing etc but not always that easy to get a likeness, some seem to come quickly and others take ages and still not very successful but one thing I do  know is that practice makes perfect and drawing skills can be improved dramatically with perseverance!!

On to the feathers!!

So I have drawn these but worked on them in different ways. The chicken was painted mainly positively with a few edges lost and a few found negatively.

Used indigo, Winsor Red, Burnt Sienna (really can't do without that colour!!) and touch of Raw Sienna
In my classes I am often asked what colours I am using and I am really mean and rarely tell people... why? Because the colours are not so important and I don't want people to have to go out and buy the paint I am using in the hope it will make all the difference. I invite people to use their own colours, try them out first and see what combination they might like then at least they can choose from their own palettes and not be influenced by what I'm using because next time my palette would be different too!!
 The cockerel was done with the background first so all the edges were broken to start with and my job was to go back in and create them again so although the subject was drawn first I haven't slavishly followed the lines,  rather used them as a guide. Colours in this, Winsor Blue, indigo, Winsor Purple, Burnt Sienna, Translucent Orange, Windsor Red.
Different again, used a bit of both methods on this and a touch of masking fluid to the head and eye. Not something I use a lot of but have got one of those ruling pens from the SAA and find I can get some really thin lines with it so I now do use it occasionally. This one is obviously more subtle but I rather like his face and may have another try using a more colourful palette. Colours used, Alizarin Crimson, Winsor Blue, Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna, Tranlucent Orange

Watch out for the next furry sketches.....

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