Friday, 14 November 2014

Figure Drawing Workshop with Colleen Barry in Belfast 2014

Figure drawing is one of my favourite things. To have a whole week of it is wonderful.
I was deligheted to welcome Colleen  Barry to teach in Belfast, fresh from a two week course at the Angel Academy in Florence.

Students were from a mixture of past exprience and from many backgrounds - Fine Art, Animation and Beginners. To accomodate this variety, Colleen started each day with 20 minute poses, allowing plenty of practice in the all-important starting point of figure drawing. Robert was our model and he had an impressive (or depressing, depending on how you're feeling at the time!) portfolio of outrageously difficult-to-draw poses for the short drawings, and how we all scurried around the room trying to find the least-horrendous views. (Discovering of course that all views are equally difficult, but just in different ways!) 

But the main focus of the week was one pose, studying form and learning about anatomy. Robert was a fantastic model - I can't begin to imagine how painful it is to stand in one position for several days and I am very grateful for his professionalism.

Colleen doing a demo on form shadow verses cast shadow

We enjoyed watching Colleen demonstrating, not only about the figure but explaining about light, shadow, tone and form in general. Colleen is a gentle teacher, an incredibly knowledgable artist who is willing and able to spend time explaining so that everyone understands. She is a lovely combination of inspiring, and modest.  

One of the daily anatmony talks. 

Alice, Jeremy (aka Leonardo), Caroline (showing Peter how to sharpen his pencils), Peter, Sarah, Pat, Colleen Barry and jacinta) 

Julie, Jacinta and Alice, suffering on the wooden horses.

To make it even more perfect I'd have to suggest a shoulder and back massage at the end of each day - sitting on a hard wooden 'horse' for a week is not comfy.. ! I had a great tip froma  student I worked with in GCA, who recommended support socks for days when standing to draw. 
Colleen was joined in Belfast by her husband Will St John, who is a wonderful painter and sculptor - he spent time seeking out his family roots, in Comber, County Down! 

Ciara, who was kindly practicing the pose just in case Robert needed a break..!

The whole group, skeleton and all (giving Robert an affectionate hug). 
A fantastic week - I hope to display some of the drawings during the Belfast Festival of Art and Design in March. 

Upcoming courses - Oil workshop, Colour Pencil workshop, Belfast. For info email