Sunday, 21 April 2013

National Drawing Day of Ireland, Saturday 18th May 2013

Saturday 18th May is the National Drawing Day of Ireland and I am delighted to be hosting an event in Northern Ireland. The aim of National Drawing Day is to give everyone the opportunity to draw for the sake of drawing, under the guidance of an experienced tutor.

Student drawing on location - Ulster Museum

Whether you'd like to draw for pleasure or to improve existing skills, this is a positive, fact filled fun experience for eveyone to participate in.
If you love drawing but haven't done it for years, or if you draw all the time and simply can't get enough, then why not take this opportunity to connect with the power of drawing in a hands-on workshop with me in Belfast School of Art. The event is completely free.

No matter what level you are at this workshop will help you see things in new ways and help you create drawings that serve you in design, or self expression. Numbers are limited and booking is essential.

Students drawing on location - Belfast City Hall
Sessions will be for all levels of experience, with a variety of subjects and media, learning to observe in new ways and understanding space, shape and form. Numbers are limited and booking is essential. There will be several sessions throughout the day, and students need to bring their own materials.

Students drawing at the museum

Student drawing - out the window at the Art College

If you've always fancied going to art college, this is your chance!

For full information and booking please call 07730 560 517 or email

(please note this is not a childrens class).

Sunday, 14 April 2013

All About Green. Apples in Water Colour.

I've always loved green, and while I wouldn't say it's my favourite colour, I know I feel better when I'm in the woods or looking out at the garden. I work in a sun room at the back of my house and all around me is green. Fantastic. 

Recently I set a restricted colour exercise for my students - this is a great thing to do, to reinforce student understanding of how colours mix, by reducing the options. To make it harder, I added a glass bowl.

Students were only allowed to use one yellow. If they used Lemon Yellow, the greens were cooler, if they chose Cadmium Yellow, the greens were more on the side of Olive Green. There was no wrong choice, it was all to see what mixed with what. They used Payne's Grey to intensify the dark tones. 

Above: Shirley having a really good look at her work. I'm impressed with the number of sample colour dots she did on her page - excellent! 

By Nuala T, student

Linda A, student

J. Mc, student

By Helena S, student, who has been accepted to study Illustration at Bournemouth college of Art! 

I am holding an Open Day soon to display my work and the work in progress of my students. Keep an eye here for details. 
I am delighted to also be hosting a free drawing event in Belfast as part of Ireland's National Drawing Day on 18th May 2013. I will post details on venue and the plan for the day as soon as all is confirmed.

Tip toe through the Tulips, Water Colour, Moleskine Sketch book

I love tulips, and I love spots. And I really love pears.

Tulips are a lovely subject - a complicated mass of leaves, which are nicely explained in swathes of greens (try mixing Cerulean Blue with Lemon Yellow for a lovely range of 'spring' greens), and deceptively simple petals. And what colour ARE they anyway..? Permanent Rose gives a lovely clean purple, with the added bonus that it's on the bright side as well.

I started with a clear accurate line drawing, which included surface information of shadows and the pattern on the cloth etc. 

Tulips in spotty jug,  by Julie Douglas
I've had this spotty jug for ages, and only painted it once before, in oils. It was lovely to paint in water colour. 
I set this as the subject for my weekly classes, who asked for it to be carried on for a second week. Lets hope the flowers last - just in case they don't, I asked all the students to complete the flowers first, and work on the jug and cloth next time. They have made an excellent start - below are some examples of student work in progress. 

Jayne got a bit carried away and has made early progress on the fabric. Delicious. 

Patterned fabrics are less difficult to paint (who knew?!) as they make the folds and creases clearer in the way the pattern breaks up. Ikea do great, strong patterns for painting. 

Next Up - weekend water colour workshop, portrait workshop, oils and weekly drawing and painting classes. For info email