Tuesday, 26 August 2014

From a room to a studio...Oils Workshop Belfast

What does it take to transform an empty room into a studio??

... Lots of easels, stools, lights and shadow boxes, helpful porters to move them all... and, fresh from New York, Matt Weigle, to arrange them, just so!

Matt arrived a few days ahead of time to help prepare for his Oils Workshop this week. It was great watching him work so carefully to make each workspace as good as it could be, and to take him to St George's Market to choose fruit for painting. This took rather a long time, and as usual, I bought far too much because for every lovely plum I found, there was another and another...

Day 1 was the setting up of our individual objects, then blocking in the drawing. 

Matt Weigle doing the drawing demo
The view from my desk

My set up
I'll keep you posted on the progress... This week is the run up to the Draw In Symposium, and its a great way to get warmed up!


Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Easle-y done..!

With the Draw In Symposium coming up soon, I decided to assemble all the easles, to make sure they were in good working order.  It's one thing walking into an empty Life Room, with easles neatly stacked against the wall, but quite another to put ALL the easels up at the same time. 


Getting stuck in... 

Pretty soon, the room was gettting crowded, 

till it began to feel like a jungle.. or a sea of tall ships.. And it was apparent that there was no hope of this many people actually working in the life room at the same time - it is just so small. 

And of course, once they'd all been erected, they had to all go away again..!! I was happy to have my son to help me. 

He didn't think much of this guys muscle mass...

Peter Cooper, testing out the AV equipment. 

Judith helping with camera work. 

And chief Volunteer Lisa, attempting to make a quick getaway on my bike... 
These people have made such a difference to me in the past few weeks. My cheerleaders, my rocks, my captains. Thank you so much. 

Upcoming courses: 
Big Drawing Day at The Drawing Office, Titanic Quarter Belfast 
Drawing Trail around The Titanic Quarter for European Heritage Open Days. 
Oil Painting workshop with Matt Weigle, Figure Drawing with Colleen Barry
Draw In Symposium, 30th & 31st August www.draw-in.co.uk 
For info email julie@juliedouglas.co.uk

Friday, 8 August 2014

Preparation is everything...! Clay models, and In-Between spaces.

Time is getting nearer, it's only a couple of weeks till the Draw In Symposium & workshops get underway. Much preparation has been going on behind the scenes, including regular meetings with Peter Cooper, while he perfects his clay modeling techniques, for demonstration.

The start of Frankenstein's head - lots and lots of tin foil - 10 metres, in fact! 

It's one thing to paint or draw or sculpt, but it's quite another thing to do it in public, within a tight time frame... It has been a very interesting experience for me to watch, and to help work out ways to make it all....FASTER! 
For the first meeting, Peter decided to make a Frankenstein head, and he set to work with photos and drawings next to him for guidance. The time factor hit home straight away - it took a full 25 mintues to wrap the foil around the armature, for the base of the head.. Too slow! It was also too LOUD to talk at the same time - tin foil makes a lot of noise! 

 Peter worked on, and watching the head slowly appear from the clay was fascinating.

 It took two and a half hours to reach this stage (above) - and since then, Peter has tweaked and altered, extended the head and generally fiddled about with it, and he will be showing it at the Draw In Symposium.
During the process, he decided he'd like to have a try at recreating one of PJ Lynch's illustration characters. He is very fond of PJ's young dragon, called Ignis.

An illustration from 'Ignis' by PJ Lynch

I contacted PJ, and got his permission to go ahead.. So, another night, and out with the tin foil again...

This was tricky, and much more difficult than Frankenstein (who knew..?).  By the end of the first session, he decided that there wasn't enough  neck, so he gave it not one, but two neck extensions till it looked like this... 

Coming along nicely! Seeing the careful stages involved here really shows how much work there is between the drawing and the end result. Most of the time is spent in-between. During that time it is important not to 'judge' the progress, but to evaluate and assess it. Patience, and an eye on the end goal, is paramount to creating anything.

Peter is demonstrating his techniques during the Draw In Symposium in Belfast at the end of August and is joined by PJ Lynch, Paul Foxton and many other contemporary artists, demostrating and providing hands-on workshops. For information please check out www.draw-in.co.uk