21 Sep 2014

More Workshops

This weekend I wheeled my mobile studio/suitcase off to Timespan to spend a day with ink and lovely ladies from the East Sutherland Art Society. The workshop was based around my technique for working with Indian Ink pen and wash which is probably greatly influenced by the disciplines I have learnt as a landscape architect. As a tonalist with an eye for detail, I am most comfortable working without colour and building up an image from the basis of an initial drawing. So we started off with a drawing exercise to demonstrate each step of my approach:
  1. a pencil sketch
  2. a simplified line drawing with no shading
  3. a two-tone image to represent areas of light and dark with no line
  4. a drawing in marks and hatches to represent form and tone

However, most of my students were happiest working with colour, rarely did any drawing and were wondering why we weren’t working in ink straight away. I think all became clear when we started to combine all these steps. Sometimes it seems there is too much to cover in a day’s workshop – it can be bit like teaching someone synchronised swimming before they have learnt how to float. But I really enjoy holding workshops – it’s good to see people grasp what they initially thought daunting and there are always lots of smiling faces and heart felt “thank you’s” at the end. So I am delighted to announce that I have recently secured some grant funding to hold a series of 10 subsidised workshops between November and May – more details coming soon!

Joyce the sheep - in steps 1,2,3 & 4

lots of inspiration to choose from....
A demo of Joyce in Indian Ink wash and pen
Despite a variety of inspirational images - sheep ruled the day!

16 Sep 2014

Lino and luggage

I am still putting things away after the Sheep Dog Trials and the lino workshop – or rather trying to find somewhere to put them. I shall be so glad to have a studio and an organised space, or even some space would be nice! Running an art workshop in venues away from home requires quite a bit of planning and carting stuff about. So I have invested in a neat travel case for all my workshop materials. The case is made by ArtBin and designed to carry a sewing machine in the bottom part (so nice and strong), and all your bits & bobs in the detachable shoulder bag. I bought a selection of “Really Useful Boxes” to fit neatly inside the compartments and am gradually filling them with materials for various different workshops. There’s no sewing machine in there of course and so far no paint brushes, but you will find a hair dryer, bathroom tiles and a set of spoons! These materials were put to use last weekend at my lino workshop. The hairdryer to soften the lino, the tiles to roll ink ,and the spoons to create the prints.........

drawing an image on to the lino
cutting the softened lino (first aid kit also in ArtBin)

Rolling on the ink before rubbing the paper over the
inked lino with the back of a spoon

Lots of lovely prints

9 Sep 2014

World Sheep Dog Trials

This week I was at the World Sheep Dog Trials in Tain followed straight after by a lino printing workshop. The house looks like a bomb’s hit it and my eyes look a bit like lino prints, so I think perhaps I may have over done it  – but I have had fun. The craft tent was a great success and I completely sold out of cards and prints and gave away all my business cards. Between sales I was working on a pastel portrait of a sheepdog. I become so engrossed when painting that I can be totally oblivious to what’s going on around me. On a couple of occasions the lady on the stall beside me had to tell me that someone was trying to buy something! When I turned round, there was not only a patient customer but another dozen eyes watching me paint. On the second day Henry and Titus arrived and succeeded in drawing a large crowd of giant schnauzer admirers. Consequently, neither of us had a chance to see any of the sheepdogs in action and I am now completely out of stock. Having just looked at the Creative Moray Firth  facebook page I realise what I missed - including Princess Anne who I hope wasn't trying to talk to me whilst I was engrossed in my portrait!

On Sunday I tutored a cabin full of creative souls in the first steps of lino cutting. Despite my dwindling energy levels, a roaring log fire, homemade cake (thanks to Louise) and the aroma of linseed and seaweed seemed enough to keep everyone happy all day. 

" What sort of dog is that ? Isn't he lovely "

Can you smell the lino warming by the fire?

Can you hear a pin drop? Or was that a dollop of seaweed?