Exhibition, May 7th !
You are cordially invited to attend the opening of the exhibition
Paintings by Jeni Caruana
Inaugurated by Marquis Nicholas De Piro
at 7.30pm on Wednesday 7th May 2014
at the ‘La Vittoria Band Club’
(in front of the Mellieħa Parish Church)
23, Misrah il-Parroċċa, Mellieħa
Please click here to see the collection of paintings I will be exhibiting
First of all - Happy Easter everyone! I hope that it has been a peaceful holiday surrounded by good company and plenty of chocolate!!
At the moment Malta is in full bursting bloom, with spring flowers seeming to grow as quickly and abundantly as they possibly can in every nook and cranny. The fields are green and overflowing with produce, tall with wheat and corn, clover and wild grasses, all dotted with bright red poppies and yellow 'Ingliza' (sorrel).
This year has inspired me just the same, and so - you have heard this here first! - I will be having an exhibition of recent paintings at the 'La Vittoria' Band Club (opposite the parish church) in Mellieha in May. It will open officially on May 7th at 7.30pm and I would love it if you could be there. I will be saving trees this year and not sending printed invitations at all, so please, just come if you can.
My classes continue, Friday mornings in the delightful (and flourishing) gardens of Villa Bologna in Attard, and the Saturday Morning Drawing Club in my studio in Manikata. Come and join in the fun!
I really love teaching drawing, as it involves helping people to see and connect to the world around them in a completely new and experiential, almost magical, way. I can get quite evangelical about it sometimes, as my students soon find out!
Both complete beginners and people who have been drawing for years find learning to draw in a right-brained way quite a revelation.
When I was at art college many (many!) years ago we were tutored by practising artists. Their fields of expertise differed and we covered various subjects with them, from typography to architecture, printing to photography, anatomy to creative writing. And all the time we DREW. We were sent out to locations all over London – I remember freezing in the sleet in Bankside, getting damp and miserable drawing canal boats, drawing in the V&A and the Natural History Museum...... and one piece of invaluable advice in particular still echoes in my mind.
Negative spaces are the spaces in between and around subjects, the ‘air’ spaces, the spaces that we don’t even notice, let alone try to look at. In our left-brained way, we focus so hard on battling with the subject itself, trying to make the shapes look right, that we don’t realise there is a much simpler way of drawing them; if you are having a problem drawing something, draw the shape NEXT to it instead. By not focusing on the ‘thing’ we are trying to draw and shifting our attention to the shapes and ‘nothingness’ around, inside and outside it, we are sharpening our perception of reality and seeing much more deeply and intensely. Really seeing the patterns that shapes make in space shifts your focus away from what you think something should look like and onto what it actually looks like. This really makes drawing easier.
We have so much mental information stored about chairs, for example, that our helpful left brains tell us that we don’t need to look at them very carefully to draw them. We know that they have four legs of the same length, don’t we? Well, really look at one and notice that the closest legs actually appear longer than the others!
Practice this idea by making some drawings of only the negative shapes around your subject instead of the subject itself.....
I have two classes running at the moment – one is the Saturday Morning Drawing Club, from 10am – 12.30pm in my Manikata studio, and the other in the fab gardens of Villa Bologna in Attard on Friday mornings, where we draw, sketch and paint. Both classes are suitable for adults of all levels. For more information and to contact me please click HERE.
Drawing on Good Measure
There is yet another use for your pencil that I haven’t mentioned yet; measuring. That’s the OTHER thing that artists are doing when they hold a pencil out and squint past it. It’s yet another useful and simple skill that makes all the difference to your drawings and also helps to override your left brain.......
Find two identical things – cups perhaps. Put them on a table in front of you with one about 20 cms further away from you than the other. It’s easier if they are directly on your eyeline, so maybe sit down to do this exercise. Hold up your pencil at arm’s length in front of you and close one eye. Hold the top of the pencil so that, in space, it is in line with the top of the nearest cup. Slide your thumb so that it is in line with the bottom of the cup. You now have a measurement of the cup. Move your pencil and compare this with the second cup. It is probably half the size!
This is quite a revelation to your left brain, which knows that the cups are the same size, and will refuse to ‘see’ that one now appears smaller. Unless you prove it wrong, you will tend to draw the cups the same size.
You can either stick to the exact same size, making marks on your paper and joining them dot-to-dot, ( called ‘sight-size’) or you can reduce or increase the first mark you make on your paper and then keep everything to the same ratio. So a cup may be half as wide as its height, no matter how big or small you draw it.
The more you practise measuring the less you actually have to do it; in time you will begin to make accurate calculations, and your left brain will leave you alone to go and do what it does best - writing lists and planning what to have for dinner!
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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