Welcome to my February blog post. We are well and truly into 2020 and Spring is definitely in the air. As well as my children's art programme, I love collaborating with different people. As a freelancer, it's really motivating and positive and it's brilliant seeing ideas come to life and fruition. From children's cookery school ( Chef de Party) to plant shops and wellbeing festivals.
With the half term approaching, I have lots of workshops for all ages to get you feeling creative and enjoy switching off and seeing the possibilities of your ideas. The first 'I Can't Draw’ at Emma's Wild Garden shop in Ormskirk was a brilliant evening. It was so inspiring using the flowers from the shop to draw from and it’s such a lovely venue. It was great seeing ideas develop from initial observational drawings to experiments and a feeling of testing things out. For all my sessions, I combine practical skills with creative approaches to develop creative confidence. It will never be step by step instructions to all create the same piece. It's more about showing you techniques and ways to experiment with ideas and materials.
First up is my half term festivities for all ages ( 3+).
17th Spring Art School (Age 7-14) £18 pp per workshop
AM 9.30-12 Portrait drawing and illustration
PM 12.30-3 3D Illustration of Liverpool
18th Spring Art School (Age 7-14)
AM 9.30-12 Intro to Screen Printing
PM 12.30-3 Mixed Media
19th Family Drawing in the woods with the National Trust
1.30-2.30 For ages 7+ and adults, we’ll be taking a walk through the woods, drawing as we go.
20th Art Session at Formby Pool
10.30-12 Free Art Session for ages 3+. Drop in, no need to book
1-3pm Art School Minis
For ages 4-6, 3 mini workshops in one for young creatives. £16 per person.
7-8.30 Adult workshop - Botanical Illustrations. Emma's Wild Garden shop, Ormskirk. £12 pp.
12.45-1.45 Art Club Juniors ( 6 week block, Age 7-10) £45 pp
2-3 Art Club (6 week block, age 11-14) £45 pp
1st Eudaemonia Liverpool's Health and Wellbeing Festival
10am -4pm Celebrating health and wellbeing in Location and beyond. I'll be running children’s make and take sessions (10-12 noon, 2-4pm) as well as screen printing tote bags for ages 7+ and adults.
8th Monthly workshop - Female Hero Plant pot and quote. Age 7-14, £12 pp.
Celebrate an inspirational female hero for International Women's Day.
How to... Compose an image / drawing / illustration
With my courses, I plan sessions to experiment with techniques and materials and build up confidence so by the end, my students (all ages) start making individual creative decisions and developing ideas themselves. Composition is the arrangement of elements in a piece of artwork and can affect the mood and story of the piece. It also helps you to decide on what to select and reject in your artwork and how they are communicated to the viewer.
Paper viewfinders are pieces of paper with a rectangular or square shape cut out. By looking through the shape you can zoom in on your subject ( still life, portrait, landscape) and select what you would like to draw / illustrate / paint / photograph. Hold it with your arm outstretched so it's at the same length every time you use it. Another way to use them is to put two L shape pieces of paper (one upside down so it forms a rectangle / square. It can be made bigger or smaller and works well on a printed image to select an area draw / illustrate / paint.
Activity – Fine an image you would like to draw. Use the L shape viewfinder to select a section of the image. Draw that image with broken lines or a thin black fine liner. Concentrate on the lines of the drawing and how things are arranged in the viewfinder. It allows you to see how images are composed and practice line drawings and shapes.
Rules of thirds
The rule of thirds is a "rule of thumb" or guideline which applies to the process of composing visual images such as designs, films, paintings, and photographs. The rule of thirds is a type of composition in which an image is divided evenly into thirds – two horizontal and two vertical lines resulting in 9 areas and the subject of the image is placed at the intersection of those dividing lines, or along one of the lines itself.
Activity – Using your phone or camera, take 5 photographs using the rule of thirds. Try different subject matter, angles and play around with the focus on different lines / intersection.
Leading lines refers to a technique of composition where the viewers attention is drawn to lines that lead to the main subject of the image. A leading line paves an easy path for the eye to follow through different elements of an image.
Activity – Use a viewfinder to select an area of a printed image with leading lines. Select an image ( from magazine, own photograph) with stairs, footpaths, trees, buildings.
Guest Blog – James Connolly. Letter to my younger, creative, self.
If we look over the shoulder of eight-year-old James, he’s keeping his pencil safely within the lines as expected. However, what if James jarred his, let’s say red, pencil quickly through the line? His humble, half coloured in, lioness now has a gaping wound and suddenly this 2D beast has a story to tell. That is much more interesting. This is how my mind now ticks, and with every observation my conscious brain scrapes away to reveal the process, evolution, or story behind the given thought, much like a scratch card. This is an amazing curiosity to have, but I haven’t managed it too well just yet. First lesson to my younger self; it’s absolutely fine for the grass to be green and you not know why (for today at least), so get your work done. And as for your colouring book, don’t sneeze when you’re close to the line, it looks messy.
This is where my journey begins as a storyteller. My work now reflects the chatty, outgoing, and gregarious child that I was, even at that early age, unforgivingly chatting away to everyone. For that I’d thank my younger self, and encourage him to keep listening to what people have to say, because it’s really paying off, but do your own research and remain open minded.
I’ve studied at art school, and post secondary school have always been amongst creatives. Fine art students, graphic designers, printmakers, photographers, the lot! And for a while I felt like a fraud because I didn’t have a ‘trade’ within the studio. I’d battle between fully engaging with my work, and working as a social thread stitching everyone together for a drink, for lunch, or even a conversation. Then one day it occurred to me that my ‘specialism’ (if we need one) was people, and depending on the given brief at each stage of my education, my obsession for storytelling, people, and all those other curiosities, would materialise in all sorts of forms such as children’s stories, poems, performances and comedy.
I recently gifted my nephew, Jacob, a sketchbook, and insisted that he refrain from crossing or tearing out pages even if he felt he’d ‘made a mistake’, because it’s important to enjoy the process and play with your ideas, techniques and ways or working, materials, and your own curiosity.
Ideas can only be perfected when they are no longer ideas. Start making, James.