Saturday, 29 August 2020

Working remotely during Lockdown

A week before we went into Lockdown in March 2020, some of my students decided they would work from home, a 'just in case' mechanism. So that they didn't miss out on their class, I did my first, very rough, demonstration video, by attaching my phone (camera) to a little chair placed on the table above my work.
The challenge for me was to choose a subject that was accessible to everyone (so I couldn't simply delve into my boxes of props and suggest something whacky or unusual, sigh...) So I nipped down to Lidl, and got a few bunches of irises, in the hope that the few absent students could do the same.
It is really important to think beyond the subject itself, and consider the set-up. This means the environment around the subject. In the next photo, the iris is in a jar simply placed on a table. It is all clutter, the visual lines of the iris being distrupted by the background of the room. Not good to work from - too much going on!
A very simple solution is to put a piece of card (or a cardboard corner/shadow box behind it to give a clean background, allowing you to see the iris nicely. Below - a buff coloured card behind the flowers...
And below, white card behind the flowers. There isn't a 'right' or 'wrong' colour, it is up to you what colour and what tonal value you prefer.
In this exercise, I asked that students concentrate on the flowers, but I did love the patterns and reflections within the vase. The results were wonderful, both in-studio and from those working remotely. I particularly value colour 'tiles' on the page, as well as little trial studies - this is the correct way to approach any and every subject, rather than jumping in expecting to creat something 'finished' in one sitting. The first sitting (even if you only intend to DO one sitting) will always be the trial run, the study, the play and the what-if. If you regard it as such, you will learn, and enjoy it. Photo below - a lovely study page by a student, who worked from home using the demo video for help.
And below, a sketch book page from a student working in-studio.
For info on upcoming classes and workshops both in-studio and online, please email

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