Throw back Thursday. This was a little pastel drawing created for my Grandad when I was 12. I believed then I needed to be an artist but art in everyone's eyes was a hobby not a career, so I got my first job as a shop assistant in a Pharmacy.
The pharmacist had a son, I drew him , I saw the pharmacist a couple of years ago, he still has the portrait on his wall nearly 30 years later.
Nostalgia can be bitter sweet , I often wonder where I could be now if I'd have followed my dream 30 years ago but I'm here now, doing it.
Don't dream it, do it ❤️
You may have read my blog about #drawingaugust, a month long daily draw, at the end of that entry I promised to tell you about 'The Virtual Art Studio'.
The Virtual Art Studio is the brainchild of artists, Michelle Lloyd and Sharon Griffin. It is an online closed group that you can join via the Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/UnitedArtSpace/
I found out about it recently through a friend who shared a Facebook post about a 14 day drawing challenge. I was nosy so I had a look but initially thought, I'm too busy for this but I signed up anyway! To sign up all I needed to do was send a request to join The Virtual Art Studio closed group.
As soon as I joined I knew this was a different type of challenge! Michelle posted a video of herself explaining how the challenge works. She made it sound worthwhile and accessible to every one. Each day we were given a theme, for example 'tone' and then provided with 2 images to choose from as a starting point. The themes were explained so we knew exactly what we were meant to be exploring, we could either copy the photos or choose our own source material to explore the theme.
The themes I can remember were, line,tone,texture,colour,shadow and pattern, there were more but those are the ones that spring to mind.
My quick scribble of a bike was used to explore shadow.
The tasks were given a 10 minute limit (although this didn't have to be adhered to). I think having a time limit meant I was far more likely to attempt the challenge as most people can find 10 minutes to spare!
The bear was to explore texture and I completed this one on the train in about 5 minutes!
I was encouraged to share the drawings on the Facebook page, this is why it's a closed group so that only the people who are doing the challenge can see and comment on the work. Because of the fact it was a closed group, it was very supportive and welcoming. There is no fear of people who are unsupportive seeing your work, so no need to feel shy embarrassed.
The challenge is a challenge for anyone, experienced or novice, I found that I could find my strengths and weaknesses in the tasks, so it made me think about what areas of my art needed more time invested in.
I felt the challenge was very worthwhile ( not to mention it didn't cost a penny) and I missed it when it ended. Sharon and Michelle do other supportive work and lessons online, so it's worth popping over to https://www.facebook.com/UnitedArtSpace/
to see what they are doing!
I did cheat sometimes by incorporating the theme into work that I was already doing but I'm sure that's allowed really 😉
August is fast approaching and with it brings the excitement of the online art community. Why? Because Twitter will be full of inspirational posts in response to #drawingaugust.
For this challenge you don't need to be an artist or even class yourself as someone who draws, just commit to posting a drawing each day online during August , via Social media using the #drawingaugust. I've done it for the past 3 years !
I don't always get chance to post something everyday but find myself doodling on napkins, cups, tissues, envelopes and more, just so I can try to make sure I've got something to show. I've even drawn into sand when I found myself without a pen or pencil. Anything goes, really anything at all.
Why you should try it? Motivation to draw can be hard if you lack time, confidence or ideas. With #drawingaugust it is the repetition of daily drawing that creates the desire to draw more often , kind of 'Pringles' effect! (Once you pop you can't stop). So if you are scared, lacking in imagination or creative drive, this is a great way to start playing. Start simple by drawing what is under your nose first, then branch out as the ideas start emerging.
With it being August ,there are usually quite a few holiday sketches. They can be something that takes just 2 minutes or more ambitious pieces, it really doesn't matter. It doesn't have to be representational either, exploring marks, patterns,textures can be very freeing and exciting.
You can set rules for yourself ,for example just draw yellow things or just draw your dinner everyday!
By following the hashtag #drawingaugust you'll be able to see work by other people that you can be inspired by and I'd definitely encourage retweeting,liking and commenting on other people's work , it helps make the whole event feel friendly.
If you would like to be added to the Twitter list of #drawingaugust participants then contact cofounders of the event @jeanstevens4 and @olderThanEvil
Send either of them a tweet saying you're joining #drawingaugust then your tweets will be seen easier by the community. Go on, what have you got to lose?
Tomorrow I'll be blogging about the Virtual Art Studio and the 14 day challenge I've just completed.
Sometimes I feel a little bit crazy as an artist, the reason being I've always been fascinated by dead animals. There is a great history of artists learning from carcasses, bones and cadavers. You may feel it's morbid ,however, I feel that there is so much to be gained from studying from life.
When I create pet portraits, I use photography to capture the animal, often using less than perfect images. As a vet nurse I have had the opportunity to see animals lying still during anaesthesia , and anatomy from the inside during surgery. For me, combining the knowledge is essential to creating a portrait.
Last week I attended a drawing class at the Royal Vet College, it was in their museum. I was totally blown away! Inside the museum there were the most amazing specimens, ranging from an elephant skeleton to a baby snake emerging from an egg. Most surprisingly there were a variety skulls from different dog breeds and a full skeleton of a chihuahua,which had been donated to the museum by the dogs owner.
I chose to draw a tawny owl. As I drew it, I was amazed by the delicacy of the bones of the skull, yet the legs bones seemed a lot more substantial. I spent about 45 minutes looking and drawing and the more I looked the more I saw. It made me respect this bird much more for it's amazing structure and how it is so perfect for catching small animals. When I see a tawny owl in future I'll be more aware of the whole bird rather than just its eyes and feathers!
A while ago I visited the Childwickbury Art Fair. I met an amazing artist called Camilla Clutterbuck. What attracted me to her stall was the fact that she was drawing a real birds nest and had a collection of tiny skulls that she encouraged people to examine. Camilla practises the art of scrimshaw, which is engraving into bone, I believe the practice was first started by whalers in the 1700's, alongside her other work of exquisite natural history paintings.
She gave me some good advice about my love of natural history, bones and bodies ' Be true to yourself ' she said when I said I was concerned that people visiting my studio may be put off by any bones or taxidermy I might have on display.
I feel natural history is the most natural thing to be interested in and there has always been a link between science and art. So when it comes time for my Open Studio, don't be surprised when you see skulls next to my paint brushes!
You can find Camilla's work here http://camillaclutterbuck.co.uk/
In between St Albans and Harpenden is the Childwickbury Estate. I understand it's owned by the Kubrick's (The family of the late Stanley Kubrick).
It is a magical place with many little cobbled paths, lawns and a variety of buildings, barns and archways, that transform into the location for a beautiful art fair.
It isn't a huge affair, like Art in Action or Patchings, however this means that it has a charming, friendly atmosphere.
The food stalls were varied and high quality and the standard of the art on show was fabulous, with artists demonstrating and available to talk about their work. There was also live music throughout the day.
There were a few areas where you could buy (Rosemary &Co.) brushes, handmade paper and easels, I picked up a Loxely easel at a great price and the seller delivered it to my car at the end of the day.
I'd definitely recommend this festival as it has a very homely feel and I can imagine if you attended regularly you'd make some great friends.
Daily Painter Penny German
Dogs are very welcome too!
Demonstrations where you can get your hands dirty!
Minnie Teckman, I'm a fine artist that loves oil painting, drawing, portraiture, animals and urban sketching.