Friday, 24 May 2019

Why small is the new big. Mini landscapes in water colour, student work.

 I have asked weekly my students what they'd most like to tackle in class, and their requests are varied, with a few surprises... The less expected answers include 'hands', 'sheep', 'cows' and 'birds' (does anyone know of a taxi dermist?!) (for birds, not cows or sheep..!). I am trying to work through as many suggestions as I can - last week we drew hands and this week it has been landscapes, in miniature.

Catherine M
 Why miniature, I hear you wonder...? There are many good reasons for starting small. One is COMPOSITION: Staring small allows you to focus on composition, identifying key points of interest rather than trying to put everything in. Landscapes can be daunting because of the scale of them in reality, so we must be selective about what we include, and what we leave out. Paring down information by working small really helps this.
Christine W.
Another good reason for 'small' is CONTROL: With water colour, one of the biggest challenges is controlling the behaviour of water over large areas. Working small allows you to observe the behaviour of water over small areas at a time, without the stress of trying to cope with large scale. 

Another benefit is to be gained from QUANTITY - working on several, not just one little artwork, take the pressure off 'the one'. Think of each painting as a draft, preparation for the next one and the next. 
PLAY: it is so important to be grown-up about the notion of playing, and let go of the actual outcome in favour of messing about! Lets call it 'playing, with intent', or 'deliberate playing'. Remembering that the aim was to learn about simplifying, I think they have done tremendously well. 
Sara C.
 The artworks here are by several students, who bravely played, and won! All images are no taller than 4 inches (10 cm) and were from photographs I had taken of the local area. Sara, above, moved on to using coloured pencil (bottom right of image) to tackle the lovely patterns in water.
Pat F
Carolyn G

Liz C

Hilary J - this artwork is in coloured pencil, on water colour paper. 

Ciara C

Ciara C - a closer view
Ciara's artworks, above and below, are beautifully executed and have a gentle illustrative quality about them.
Ciara C
Upcoming workshops include Friday night Life Drawing (7th June), and the summer programme is available  below. To be added to Julie's mailing list to hear automatically about extra workshops, please email

NEW** Portrait drawing and painting: Mon 22 - Fri 26th July 10 - 4.15pm, from photos, and with a model. Fully tutored, cost £600. 

August 22 - 26th: Drawing and oils workshop with Julie Douglas. This workshop will improve your drawing skills using pencil, charcoal and chalks, teach you how to create beautiful still life set-ups and you will produce an oil painting based on one of your own  arrangements. This workshop is perfect for all levels of ability, and is an excellent preparation for the oils workshop which directly follows, with Maestro John Angel. (see below). Cost £600 (materials list provided)

August 28th - September 5th: Oil Painting like the Masters. A workshop delivered by the Maestro Michael John Angel, from the Angel Academy of Art, Florence. Details of this can be found here:

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