Mel (again!)....the quines are busy. One is skiing (that'll be the lucky one), one is weaving her nimble fingers round a giant fish (and thats not to something you hear every day. One is drowning in curtains, but luckily can sew herself out of anything. One is cooking up a storm filling freezers throughout the shire, and one has got married (again - not something you do every day!) So that leaves me - idly twiddling my thumbs (I promise you I'm not!) although I have been slightly distracted by trying to book a cottage to whisk the gamekeeper away to...I digress......
This week I got my teaching shoes back on and spent a lovely afternoon and evening with a tremendously enthusiastic bunch - nearly all of whom did as they were told. I had two rebels. One who simply found the rigours of the long day of being told exactly what to do....a little too much - so after a short time freestyled and proved that conforming is over rated anyway. My second rebel is a friend for over 30 years who had swept in from the west of scotland for a couple of nights and came along from the ride. As is her way she insisted her drawing was "rubbish" (even though she has a degree in fine art that says otherwise!) but whilst she blethered away and by her own admission produced a fairly mediocre drawing - ( which she then proceeded to try and hide under a bunch of papers)....she began again, and this time found that by following the instructions her second effort knocked her own prophecy into a cocked hat and she grudgingly had to admit that it was rather better than a bit good!
We started off drawing a fish from the imagination....exactly what does the fish in your minds eye look like? This is a good exercise as there is no right or wrong!
Secondly on a rough piece of paper we drew a smolt (a junior salmon) from reference photographs. Some artists can be a bit sniffy about using photo's....but the point is - if you don't know what a fish REALLY looks like -and its unlikely you will have one available in the flesh! - so photos it was. Thirdly, and having practiced twice, we changed surface and using a lovely shiny paper and watercolour pens, a variety of shading, spots, dots and floods to produce finished drawings. The three photos I've used to illustrate my point show a lovely progression - and in particular there's no slavish devotion to photorealism here - well done Niamh!
So the lessons learned are this. Listen to your teacher and do your own thing or listen to instructions and follow them to the letter - either way its the practice that counts. I'm going to suggest that all clay classes start with a 15 minute drawing session as its amazing what you see once your eyes are opened. This is all part of the preparation for making our clay shoal.
Second smolt (a junior salmon) from reference photographs.