A question that I am often asked is “how do you get ideas for your paintings? You must have a really good imagination!”. The answer is that yes, I DO have a pretty wild and boundless imagination, but I don’t work ‘from imagination’, I work from observation, from things I see around me.
I find it interesting that when I ‘make up’ figures for my rare forays into illustration, I do what everyone else does and I draw symbolic figures. Mine might be a little more sophisticated than those by people who haven’t spent the last few decades studying the human form, but they still come out ‘cartooney’. These pictures are from a book I illustrated some time ago “Discover Undersea Malta” * It was a great project, and it took a lot of research to get the details correct. My biggest problem was trying to draw people with snorkel masks on though. My poor daughter was roped in to pose for me wearing a mask while she watched TV so that I could sketch her from various angles! Thank you Bianca!
In my drawing courses the first exercise I give people is to draw three things before I tell them anything at all. This is so that they can compare their drawings at the beginning and end of the first class and see how different their lines, approach and feelings are. Their initial drawing of a figure is a symbolic one; all we can do is pull up our stored left-brain image of a person. It is often exactly the same as it was drawn as a teenager. We all remember writing our names over and over again in our teens, practising our signatures until we came up with an ‘image’ that felt right. In the same way, we build up a set of symbolic images to represent things we see around us. Unless we are artistically ‘gifted’, or shown how to see three dimensional space in an abstract sense, these symbols will pop up every time we are asked to draw anything. So people will automatically revert to lollipop trees and suns with stick-rays, and funny little figures....... and they usually say, wistfully, ‘I can’t draw’
I draw in waiting rooms, airports, buses, trains, lectures...... drawing the world around you connects you to Life in a completely different and dynamic way – and there is no need to ever be bored again!
I am starting classes on Wednesday and Sunday mornings mainly for those that have done my basic drawing course, but anyone is welcome to join in - click here to contact me!!
*“Discover Undersea Malta” published by Publishers Enterprise Group (PEG) Ltd. in 2000
Pop up and see me if you can, or make an appointment for a convenient time....
Meanwhile, Hoppy Easter!!
For directions - just send me a message through the contact form - click the 'button' above :-)
woooo hooooo!! Really excited about this - I will be showing people how to reach that beautiful, timeless state of just Being by using simple drawing techniques to connect to themselves and Nature at her finest. This will be part of an 8-day yoga retreat organised by the most amazing and inspirational yoga teacher ever, Michelle Bartolo. In the beautiful French Alps we will bring a RUSH of fresh air into our lives!June 1 - 8 FRANCE *MichelleBartoloYoga & Jeni Caruana
* MichelleBartoloYoga presents a Yoga & Drawing Retreat in zee French Alps @ Chalet Le Badney
Your investment & bookings: http://michellebartoloyoga.com/yoga-retreat/retreat-packages/
Classes at Sistina are starting again!!
It will be lovely to be back at Sistina Art Shop, 118 The Strand Sliema again!
Classes begin on Wednesday 13th February at 10am til 12.30pm
We'll be doing drawing exercises and explorations into different ways of approaching picture-making, covering everything from tone to perspective to colour mixing..... we'll work mainly in watercolours, but mixed media and Other Stuff usually appear too!
Places are limited, so please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and a booking form
Creativity Workshops in Manikata
Classes will resume on February 17th
in the usual format of an hour of focused drawing practice followed by creative exercises in different media.
120 e for 6 classes, 23 e for drop-in classes, 28 e including all materials.
Please email me on email@example.com for more info and a booking form
"Love" by Anne Hoshi Furuya
Japanese Calligraphy Workshop
Saturday 23rd February 2013 10am (sharp) - 4pm
Only 45 euro including all materials - and a vegetarian Japanese lunch!
A fun day with Anne Hoshi Furuya, the talented daughter of a professional Japanese calligraphy teacher in Japan.
Using authentic equipment, we will learn : -
*how to write our own names in Japanese characters
*make a lucky New Year card using traditional methods
* a little origami
Please wear suitable clothes (ink stains!) or bring an apron.
The workshop will take place in Jeni Caruana's studio in Manikata.
PLACES ARE LIMITED AND CAN ONLY BE RESERVED AGAINST PAYMENT IN FULL.
Please email me on firstname.lastname@example.org for more info and a booking form
So there I was, in the studio, fighting with a watercolour sketch that I had over-worked, and getting very frustrated with it. I had tried using soft pastels over it, which works sometimes.... but this time it was just getting worse. I liked the design and the idea of it, but it just wasn't coming together. I decided to abandon the watercolour altogether and start again on a dark-toned canvas using acrylics. To keep it simple I thought I'd try using only the three primary colours plus white...... and this is what happened!
I feel that the result really is splashy and happy - it's a direction I have been moving in for a while, but this painting is a real step into something new. I can't wait to try it again!
... so here I am, all fattened up after spending Christmas and New Year in the UK with my family. It's been great, doing nothing much but being with the Ones I Love.
I did spend a day wandering around London seeing as many exhibitions and galleries as I possibly could, trying to take mental snapshots and store all the images for future reference. I find that's better than taking actual photos sometimes (I had forgotten to pack my camera anyway!) - memories are often better to paint from, and you can't be accused of copying! Having said that, I am reading a brilliant little book called "Steal Like An Artist" which says that we should all be 'stealing' (i.e. keeping a record of) everything that appeals to us, so that we can feed it into our own work later. We should keep a 'Swipe File' in a scrapbook or on our pc's to refer to whenever we need a bit of inspiration.This isn't about copying images, but the ideas and thoughts behind them, so our own images are original creations based on whatever we have experienced along the way. I'll be bringing this idea to my students in future!
Which reminds me of all the things I have to do when I get home to Malta tomorrow - start organising my next First Friday Gallery (Feb 1st), advertise the Japanese Drawing workshop in my studio (Feb 3rd), think about having a Birthday Party (hoorah!), set up some new painting and drawing courses, confirm the dates of my landscape exhibition, which has been postponed because of the election in March, chase somebody that owes me some money :-), cuddle my cats until they squeak (yes I'll do that first!) and then see how my studio has fared without me..... oh, and try to lose some of this weight!
So tomorrow it will be farewell to the grey skies of London and HELLO!! to the blue skies of Malta.
From home to home.....
I love to paint - and draw - and help others to discover their creative side too.....
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