Archive | March, 2016

A Quick and Simple way to Unlock your Creativity

OK – You can start with a £1 sketch book and a 4b pencil.

Yes that’s it, starting on the path to learn a new and valuable skill, can be Quick and Simple!

Sketching with a pen

Sketching with a pen

Unlike other skills such as music, you don’t need to start with a one to one tutor, or even an art class. You can start like I did, with a cheap sketchbook and a pencil. You will need to get into the habit of carrying it with you always, so you can sketch anything you like, in all those brief moments between meetings, while waiting for a bus, waiting for people, just sitting at home in your lounge, there are a thousand items to sketch, without leaving your sofa. A small A6 sized sketchbook will fit in your pocket and will hardly be noticed in a cafe or on the train. Do you get what I’m saying.

Of course, once you do acquire the sketching habit, you will naturally want to learn more techniques and get some useful tips. You will also notice quite quickly that by really looking at things properly, like an artist does, your friends will start to admire your work, and wonder “where that skill came from”. No longer will you have to hide your sketchbooks for fear of ridicule. I’m deadly serious here – your life will improve through the unlocking of your own creativity. This is exactly how I learnt to Draw and went on to Sell my Paintings.  So what if I said you can have my Ten Top Tips – Learning to Draw for FREE – does that sound good! OK! Click Here  or in the box below to get the Pdf file link, so you can save or print it.

News from the Studio

I have become an art teacher!  Did I hear you gasp? Well I recently planned and delivered my first Six Session Course on How to Draw – from the beginning! I received thirty five applications for twelve places.

I was never a ‘teacher’ in my earlier ‘pre artist’ life, but of course I have always enjoyed helping and encouraging people to achieve what they thought impossible and so I suppose the planning and presentation were not new to me.

I am delighted that my students wanted to be shown where to start on the path of learning to draw, and that they listened carefully and responded well to my suggestions and tips, so that when the six sessions ended and we looked back through our sketchbooks, everyone had made real improvements and they could clearly see their own progress.

I think I learned as much as they did and I now know how to structure my next course which will be designed to take them to the next level. Watch this space.

Al Fresco – En Plein Air – Urban Sketching – What is this all about?

Regular readers will know that I am never happier than when sitting in the corner of a muddy field or boatyard and sketching or painting from nature, especially if the weather is warm and dry. Some call it Al Fresco, others En Plein Air, and Urban sketching is the newest and latest trend, with groups forming up in big cities and smaller towns all over the world. I recently joined in with the Urban Sketchers Canterbury having found them on Facebook, and even a bitterly cold wind didn’t stop about 40 people turning up and sketching in and around Dane John Park for 2 hours, ending in a local pub to exchange banter and sketchbooks with an occasional drink to keep out the cold. Most enjoyable, and a lovely way to improve your sketching skills. If you put ‘Urban Sketchers’ into Google, you’ll get the idea.

I'm happy when painting

I’m happy when painting

This leads me on to my next challenge. I have been asked to plan a series of Al Fresco painting days for our local Art Society. I decided to go one step further and open it up to anyone who would like to try painting or drawing out of doors on warm and dry days. It starts on 19th May and continues on most Thursday’s until early September.  I prefer to start about 9.30 – 10 am and to reward my ‘hard work’ with coffee or food afterwards, usually about lunchtime. I can’t attend all venues, but others will. Remember this is a self-help group, with no formal leadership or tuition, just a group of friendly people who prefer to work out doors from nature, in good company. You are also invited to visit and join in the conversation in our Facebook Group:  KENT PLEIN AIR PAINTERS.  where all the dates and venues are to be found.

If you live in East Kent and want to improve your sketching or painting – you know what to do!

How to get creative – for less than £5 – I can show you the way!

Every time I go out doors to draw or paint I meet passers by who take a quick furtive look at my work and say “I can’t Draw”  or “I wish I could Draw” or “I can’t draw but I do like Painting”,

my outdoor set up

my outdoor set up

and then they say “It must be so relaxing”! I wouldn’t mind a £1 for every time I’ve heard that. Drawing and Painting can indeed be very theraputic, and can relieve stress and be very relaxing.

What onlookers don’t see is the brain working rapidly to try to decide how to deal with the problems before me, especially when using watercolour, when I need to know how many washes I’ll use, where to place them and which colours I’ll choose, to give a pleasing result, and how I’ll capture the light which is so essential for a successful painting.

Many people don’t realise that being able to draw with confidence is such a useful and valuable skill.

After all, how can a craft that requires only a couple of pencils and a sketchbook or two, costing less than £5 be valuable?

It certainly doesn’t require expensive one to one tuition, or regular lessons, unlike learning to play the piano, or violin, and you don’t even need a piano. So it is hard to understand why more people don’t take up sketching and drawing.

Being able to draw will change your life in unimagined ways – It will teach you to ‘see like an artist’, which is very different from the way most people see things, it will also help you re-appraise the art all around you, and give you the ability to discuss and debate art in a clearer manner. You will be a better communicator, and perhaps more valuable to an employer, as you will notice things others miss. You may choose to go on and learn how to paint, and if you do, your paintings will be more successful than someone who doesn’t draw well.

If you’ve always wanted to draw, but don’t know where to start, let me offer some FREE help. Send for my

Ten Top Tips – Learning to Draw It’ll get you started and will help unlock your hidden creativity.

You can fill in the form on this page,  or read my story here.

Up the creek 1/2 Imp watercolour

Up the creek 1/2 Imp watercolour

I’ve hardly mentioned all the health benefits from improved creativity, such as:

enhanced brain development, being more observant, people with Alzheimers often notice improved memory and recall, benefits from being able to express ones inner thoughts and feelings, it also helps with shyness, autism and self-esteem.  For an excellent discussion of the many health benefits, click here.

News from the Studio

Since Christmas, I have been very busy with several projects which I wish to develop. The first is to paint watercolour landscapes in a more exciting way, on larger paper (1/2 Imperial size) 22″ x 15″ approx. I’m really enjoying this, having put it off for several years, but now I’m hooked. This started when I managed to buy an original Edward Wesson watercolour, and learned that he always worked at this size. Another benefit is that it helps you ‘loosen up’, and become less interested in minute detail, having to use larger brushes and more water.

Another project was to teach my first Drawing class – twelve students in six sessions, and I am really enjoying this, particularly the planning, and preparations, and finding out which ideas work well in class. Later this year I will make this course available on line, so anyone can have a go.

Another project for this summer is to switch from Acrylics to Oils when painting ‘en plein air’ I’ll let you know how this goes next time. Don’t miss it! Meanwhile here are some of my recent works: