happy new year

Once again the holidays have swept by in a rush of preparation and celebration; shopping, decorating, wrapping, cooking, visiting... all the things which make this such a beautiful, happy time of year. These past seven years have been especially wonderful because nothing quite puts the magic in the holidays like having grandchildren!!  ..and I am one of the lucky ones for whom this is my reality! Once again there has been an added layer of joy (although now this holds on merely by a thread!) and that is their vivid belief in the magic of it all! This year questions were being asked as they moved onto the shifting edge between mystery and reality... but for now at least, anything was possible!

I decided to take several weeks off from teaching classes and instead worked on a few pieces for myself in the studio. I decided that this year I will look into a few possible ways to show my work publicly although right now I have no idea what that will entail or mean... I am pretty sure however that it will take a deal of thought in finding a match for both nude art, and the fact that these are drawings.... accommodating both aspects will take time and dedication; I will need to get the word out and that is certainly not my strength, but I believe in my work and am passionate about the figure, and in the end that might be enough...

I am excited at the prospect of 2018 spreading it's wings before me ready for take off! I feel it could be a year of accomplishment and growth and in so many aspects of my life there are seeds ready planted to grow, and pathways lightly marked waiting to be taken... I'm ready; watch this space!!!

artwork update

I seem to have many new ideas to execute lately and have been extra busy at my studio!

Originally I felt very desirous for using my pastels again; they have been neglected for some time now and quite simply I MISS them!! For me colour always seems the easy option. Vast areas of the piece are covered with ease, and somehow, breaking down 'tones' is so much easier with a range to work with than shades of grey only.

A friend introduced me to three new models and that was the final inspiration! In this blog, I am going to use the unique platform to show a couple of pieces developing in stages as several people have expressed how much they enjoy it; to see the process seems to inspire in a completely different way to simply seeing a finished piece.

So I hope you enjoy! Christmas is around the corner so this might well be the last post for the year! See you in 2018...

 original sketch

original sketch

feet early.jpg

preliminary drawing and first palette decisions

feet early on.jpg

colours layed down for blending

feet 4.jpeg

finished piece

 new drawing... deciding whether to colour or not!!

new drawing... deciding whether to colour or not!!

 ready for colour!!! can't wait!

ready for colour!!! can't wait!

...suddenly it's winter

Every year I am caught by surprise when the evenings turn so cold after the balmy summer nights we get used to! The days are warm and comfortable now and come sun down it is time to snuggle up in a cardigan or under a blanket and drink hot tea!! I love it!

This week I started back to my private classes and realise all over again how much I enjoy teaching; the many moments when a student really understands something new. It is such a connection, such a privilege. I am about to take a new young student under my wing and that brings a special kind of joy... there is so much to learn, so many years ahead to employ and expand upon it.

Tomorrow I start a new painting! It is always a complication of feelings; excitement, apprehension, enthusiasm, nervousness... but I cannot wait to begin. I am also going to buy pumpkins with my grand-daughter ready for carving in time for Halloween. Life is filled with so much joy and each day with new adventure! I will soon post steps along the way as I begin the process of my new project....

studio

I wanted to post a few pictures of 'the studio', my studio, that I often refer to. It is a lovely space and I spend a great deal of time there drawing, painting, teaching, or just to sit surrounded by art, books and the special energy of creativity that lives in such a place. I have pretty much always had a studio space either in my home or outside of it, and it has, over time, become almost essential. There is a part of me that 'belongs' to my art, it is difficult to describe any other way; a core self that is fed and feeds me through drawing and immersing.

How fortunate to be born an artist, because that is how it feels; that I was born to be this artist! Even as a young child I would answer the question 'what do you want to be', with 'but I am an artist!'...I guess I was never GOING to be, I always knew I WAS, and throughout my life I have lived true to that knowledge and followed that path. At many times it was very confusing and hard to stay focused as I struggled to raise my children, provide for us all and stay true to myself.. but I adapted and experimented and bluffed my way through, learning and pushing myself to try new things and always, ALWAYS, believing in my ability and my art. The remarkable thing though, having said that, is most often it does not feel like 'me' who necessarily creates the images but rather that I am merely a part of a process larger and outside of myself who ultimately produces them. Very often I look at something I have drawn, usually during rather than at the end of the process, and wonder where it came from! It is a very humbling experience and the element I hunger for; that feeling of belonging to something much greater than myself, the tapping into a universal energy/ source, where all creativity connects. It is blissful and emotional and I simply cannot imagine a life without it. Whenever I hear that arts programs are being cut, or that children do not have art in their lives, or when a new student tells me that they loved art as a child but were discouraged or never found the time to do it, and now in retirement they are giving themselves that gift, I feel the sense of loss so profoundly. For many students it becomes a passion fairly early on, like finding a missing part of themselves, and they feel the hunger too!!! I am so so fortunate to be able to communicate some of what I have learned from my amazing teachers on to them...

studio.jpg
studio bench2.jpg
studio couch.jpg

My wonderful students

 

Today I taught my three hour figure drawing workshop and was once again delighted and grateful for the enthusiasm and support this class continues to engender even after a year of offering it. Initially the intention was simply to provide an affordable opportunity for ongoing students to practice their skills in a long study, not always possible in a short class. So many beautiful drawings result from their dedication and focus and the atmosphere is supportive and welcoming.

I have been giving a good deal of thought to the subject matter for my videos. So far the categories are...  preparation and basics from sharpening a pencil to use of and options in materials, relative measurement and foreshortening, perspective and negative space, gestural lines, arcs and angles, shading and form, etc.... so many ongoing areas to explore as we get going! I think maybe the way to get the blog out into the world would be to link it to my Art Page on FB and hope people who see it and find it useful will spread the word to other potentially interested parties!!! Feedback would be much appreciated!!

My personal life has been extremely full and magical these past summer months. I have a third grandchild who is beyond beautiful, my daughter celebrated her wedding and I welcomed a new son into my life, my dear sister came to visit and shed her loveliness on to my world... and my heart is so brimming over with love, gratitude and joy for every good and extraordinary thing in my life; there are so very many...

February already!

I am sitting at my desk listening to the rain outside and feeling immense gratitude for the gift of art in my life. It is by no means the aspect that I am most grateful for as my little family and especially my amazing grandchildren have that permanently captured, but it is the other great love of my life and my reason for wanting to teach and share the joy it brings me. I am often asked to demonstrate technique and process and hope this year to make a couple of short videos available here to provide easy reference for things that I take for granted but which may be insightful to others still discovering their own pathways... I will ask my students for input and then find a willing friend to handle the details!!

I am always surprised at the popularity of my classes and the lack of other venues offering anything similar... I heard a rumour that UCSC was changing it's curriculum to accommodate more computer graphics and reduce the amount of life drawing available to it's students. It made me sad because while I absolutely understand the limited use nowadays in commerce of hand drawn art, the way that skill underpins all other learned ability is recognised widely. I hope it does not come to pass any time soon... I will continue to believe, as is evident in the big movie production houses, that there will ALWAYS be a supreme place for regular drawing practice from a live model and nothing else will replace it!

I hope next time I get on here that I will have a photo to add of my new studio, and at least a token update on my video plans! Meanwhile stay dry and keep practicing!!!!!

Happy New Year!!!

It seems like a while since my first blog and so many changes have taken place... I am sad to say that I had to let my lovely studio space go and relocate closer to home. But change can be good and it often forces us to re-evaluate and downsize our lives which was the case for me!

Another wonderful progression has been the re-formatting of parts of my web site which initially seemed daunting but ended up being a fun project thanks to the patient expertise of my son Daniel! He provided a straightforward way in which I can become more involved with maintaining and updating the images and content so I feel much more that the site is 'mine'!! Looking forward to adding the work I have been doing over the holidays!!

After quite a lengthy break from teaching, classes have resumed at the Art League and private sessions happening again at the new studio space in the 17th Avenue complex. It was quite touching how much my students had missed drawing on a regular basis and it is a testament to their dedication how hard they are working again.

This is just a quick little catch up post to let you know we are busy and creating despite the down time and I will be taking and publishing photos really soon!!

 

 

August 2016 - Welcome to my site...

Welcome to my web site and of course to the blog! This is a new concept to me but one I welcome. Ultimately I hope to post short, frequently asked for, inputs on common problems that beginning artists confront when embracing the journey into drawing for the first time, or resuming after a prolonged period of abstinence!!!!! For now I will simply tell you all the things I have been accomplishing (or trying to!!) in this month of August 2016.

My Studio Space - Garden/Deck Facing Shot

When I first mentioned the need and desire to build a web site, to my friend Mike Barnes, it was casually over a cup of tea in Aptos. We had actually met to talk about a house we had shared with friends, many moons previously, and which was now becoming available again!! We both had our individual interest in this happening at precisely this moment, and for very different reasons!! The house itself is beautiful and Mike simply wanted to live there again. I had been looking for a studio space to begin teaching my now growing student body, on an individual basis as well as to provide a private place to work. We decided to take a chance and at least mutually support one another while working out exactly how to do it!

Studio - Facing the modeling couch

Several months later we are so happy we did. Mike lives in his home and I have a spectacular sunroom to inspire me to work! … and inspire me it did! Apart from producing over twenty drawings, we have collaborated on this beautiful web site, organized printing and framing a few pieces of art, and I have started to teach classes each week!! 

It is a very exciting time!