In my years of teaching art, there are two things that stand out as vital to being a successful artist – learning to see – and loosening up. Everything else could be termed “technique”, but it is these two qualities that make your art stand out – a fresh, original vision, and a confident, relaxed approach.
Sketching is a vital part of my own artistic practise, keeping my senses alert and attentive to my environment. My sketches are an immediate, direct response in that moment, recording the strongest shapes as well as the subtle details, feeling the rhythm and direction of my subject through my pen or brush. When I step up to the canvas in my studio later, some of that energy still courses through me and finds it’s place in my painting. The colour, light and texture recorded in my sketch will emerge, and my painting is stronger and more authentic for the time spent there, sketchbook in hand, looking, drawing and absorbing the scene.
A sketchbook is no place for tight, hesitant work. Time is of the essence as we watch the sky for the next downpour or hurry to catch the scene before it all changes. This is the joy of sketching – the ease and simplicity – nothing to lose – just do it – it’s only a piece of paper! And in the process we can loosen some of our constraints and find a lighter touch and a new enjoyment of the process. Our seeing, our observation, our understanding of proportion, perspective, light and shade, colour and form – all are strengthened. We grow as artists.
Sketching Workshop Description
In my full day workshop we will cover some essential skills for sketching on location, at home or on your travels:
- Selecting the right materials for ease and convenience – what to choose and what to leave behind.
- Choosing your subject and your best viewpoint – where to start, what to fit in, how to proceed
- Composition – some basic considerations
- A simple approach to perspective and achieving a sense of space and depth in your sketch
- Pen and ink – making marks that dance on the page
- Watercolour – keeping it fresh, loose and spontaneous
- Colour mixing and tonal values
- Developing your personal style – your sketch is like your signature, a unique expression of you