I’ve known Renita for a while now. Originally from America, Renita now lives in Wigtown, which the book town in Scotland, with the most stunning views across the estuary. When I’ve performed at the festival, the children have all been whipped up to a frenzy by Renita, who welcomes them in and “settles them down” [...]
You probably decided water colour painting wasn’t worth the effort because the paper crinkled. Well well, now you can go back and try again and have wonderful professional results. and it is amazing how much better a simple picture looks when it is neat and flat!
Dampen the back of the paper and lay it on a board, damp side down.
Then glue it to the table with wetted, gummed paper tape. let it all dry so the paper stretches nice and tight and start painting. When you are finished, let it dry out slowly then carefully cut it off the board with a craft knife. And … Voila! A lovely, flat masterpiece!
The paper I use in this video is really cheap, thin photocopy paper. You can do this with bristol or cartridge paper or watercolour paper. The higher the quality of the paper, the better the finished result will be.
Watch the video and see what I drew in my sketchbook as we wandered around East and West Berlin last weekend, taking in the sights and history.
I went with my wife and best friends to have a good look round and came away inspired and confused! I had to confront several prejudices, or should I say cultural attitudes, that I was unaware of having before. I realised that, even at my great age, I come with the ideas inculcated my upbringing in the social class and country I happen to have been born into.
I didn’t have much time to sketch so grabbed moments in cafes and while waiting for planes and trains.
There is so much history I don’t know and haven’t been taught, because it in not “our” history. The Pergamon Museum is similar to the British Museum. It has undergone war damage and rebuilding, but I was surprised that I knew so little about it and even more surprised by the contents.
The Gates of Babylon were stupendous! Then I realised they had been plundered and brought back to the museum to aggrandise the German Empire, to add the sparkle of previous, mighty empires to the the German Empire as was. But then, that is exactly what the British Museum is all about, and the Louvre. Each museum is filled with the booty hauled from each country’s colonial sphere of influence, to say, “Look how wonderful we are!”
Of course now we say that we are saving, conserving and displaying these cultural artefacts for the World, but that is a revisionist point of view!
I lived in Germany as a child, around the time the Berlin Wall was built. I don’t remember that event particularly, but the East Berlin we visited was in such a time warp, that I sometimes felt I was back there in the sixties, like a time machine. So much of Berlin is a facade. Bombed buildings are rebuilt in an old or ancient style with modern materials, bits of infrastructure from the 1950′ and 60s survive with a lick of 21st century paint on top. You are not quite sure if anything is real or original.
After visiting the Stasi museum, I kept imagining hidden cameras every time I saw a camera-sized circular shape in a light fitting or poster, for instance.
The pace of development is amazing. Building going on everywhere. Eventually the split history of the place will be built over and it will become a single city again, but I certainly felt it was still a place of two halves. We kept asking ourselves, “Are we East or West?” You didn’t really need to look for the line on the map. The East still has a generation or two’s worth of development to catch up with the West, But they are getting there.
For a capital city, it does seem quite parochial though. It’s been left out of the internationalisation of other World Capitals for so long, it has a lot to do to catch up, in attitudes as well as facilities and infrastructure. We felt the general levels of service fell short of what you come to expect in major capital cities, these days.
We came home quite exhausted, both from physically doing so much and fitting in so much culture!
My dear daughter is studying furniture restoration and needs a sofa or something similar to work on for her third year, next year. I’ve been looking around for a while but not found anything until yesterday when I saw this wonderful, dropside chesterfield in an auction.
I asked the auctioneer what he thought it might make and he said anything from £10 to £100 – depending on whether two people wanted it badly.
I got there too early today and stood around (after my sausage sandwich and coffee) waiting for my lot to turn up, looking at the other punters, wondering who I would be bidding against.
It was the last lot in the room. The Auctioneer started at £100. No one starts bidding that high – he’s just letting us know what he thinks it should make. Then he worked his way down to see if anyone would bight, £80, £60, £40, £20. “Come on!” he implored, “someone start me of at £20!”
Then he stared straight at me, he knew I was going to bid. His eyes twinkled as we played the game of chicken – then he smiled and said – “Okay start me off at £10″ – I’ve been here before and got what I wanted for £10 when I could have chickened and gone in a £20. Always wait to see what the others will do and how serious they are. I knew I was prepared to go to £60 and if pushed, I’d probably have gone to £100. In the end, someone else joined in and up it went.
As you can see, I got it. Several people asked what I was going to do with it as it was going to cost so much to fix up and reupholster. I told them I had that sorted with my daughter.
In the end the bidder who I beat, helped me get it into the car, which was very sporting of him, I thought.
As you can see, the cats love it already. It has a nice sunny position for them. The sides have a pull cord that lets them fall down in stages so it can become a day bed. It’s going to look lovely.
Oh yes! How much did I get it for in the end? £35, which I think is a bit of a bargain!
Hey! If you read this blog often, you may well be into drawing, so why not have a go at entering the inaugural Derwent Drawing Prize?
The Prize is open to all living British and international artists over the age of 18 years old on 1 July 2013 and there’s a total of £8750 in prize money. Closing date is 11:59PM ON 1 JULY 2013.
You can use any pencil including water-soluble, pastel, graphite, charcoal or colouring pencils on any 2 or 3 dimensional support.
1 July 2013: Deadline for entry
15 July 2013: All artists notified of first stage selection process
w/c 9 September 2013: Delivery of work
16-21 September 2013: Exhibition opens to public
18 September 2013: Private View and Prize Winners announced
October – December 2013: Exhibition tour
The work selected for exhibition must be available from September to 31 December 2013.
Let me know if you win!
As English children prepare for their new spelling and punctuation tests, It makes me wonder about the outcome of all this testing.
The testing of children is one-sided and far too academic. Where are the art exams for eleven year olds? The music exams? The interpersonal skills exams, the cooking, the athletic, the talking and the reading for pleasure exams? These are all real skills in life that are ignored by those academics and politicians who run education and wish everyone to be like them and damn them if they aren’t.
Those who excel in real life skills are taught by the education system that they are failures, that spelling and punctuation is all that matters, followed closely by maths and the cold analysis of text. Fail in those and you are a failure.
If those who excel in tests – those who go on to become politicians, set the tests and run education – were made to sit tests in art, drawing, gymnastics, football, astronomy, fashion, music and any number of relevant subjects, they would also know what it is like to be deemed a failure at the age of eleven.
I am all for good spelling and punctuation, but this comes with culture. If correct spelling and punctuation are expected and rewarded, then the achievement levels will rise. If it is made the subject of do or die testing – for the school as much as for the pupil – then for every happy smiling face on results day, there will be a crying, shame-faced failure, stigmatised for the rest of their lives.
“I’m no good at spelling,” they’ll say in their defence. “Look I’ve got a certificate to prove it!” And so the path of their lives is set for them by those to claim to have their best interests at heart.
Neuroscience is showing us daily how different we all are, how some just see the world in a different way to others. The internet is changing the way everything is done. New, previously unheard of skills are demanded daily, and yet academics are obsessed with preserving tests relevant to the age of coal and steam.
Let us have a level playing field. If you are not wired up for perfect spelling or number-crunching, let it be possible to show how amazingly you are wired up for the things in which you excel – the very skills that the world needs now.
YouTube Follower, JSWHISS asked me to draw feet this week. I think hands are the hardest, but now I’m not so sure. I think I’ve been in denial about feet. If I can, I draw feet off the page or hide them behind something in the foreground, as that’s a lot simpler.
I generally find that if in doubt, I go to see what the Ancient Greeks did as they really knew how to draw and make it simple. That’s what I did when I was drawing my Olympia books that I show in the video.
If you were thinking of getting one or two copies, it really helps support this website and my drawing videos if you use the Amazon Links below. Thanks.
My legacy is that I learned to draw feet a little better than before. While researching for my Olympia books, I looked at a lot of drawings on ancient Greek pots. The drawings were a revelation. I’d never really looked at them closely before. The style and often the drawings themselves were drawn again and again and passed down from father to son or master to apprentice. All the time the style was refined so that graceful athletes could be portrayed in a very few stokes of the pen or inscribed with a stylus.
I find I often go to the Old Greek Masters for inspiration and understanding of how to draw simply as well as how to understand the world in general. The old philosophers had it pretty well sorted!
If you were thinking of getting one or two, It really helps support this website and my drawing videos if you use the Amazon Links below. Thanks.
I went to Brussels in Belgium on the Eurostar Train this week and I took my sketchbook with me. I thought it was a great way to share the experience with you as it is a record of my thoughts and things that catch my eye as I go along.
I was visiting the British International School in Brussels, which is in a wonderful old house full of Art Nouveau and Art Deco details. I had a great time there meeting the children, who come from all over the world, telling them stories and showing them how to draw stuff!
Thanks to everyone at the school for arranging the trip and making it both possible and memorable.
Requested by @TheWarden43 from YouTube, this video shows you how to draw a pizza from above and from the side with a little extra painting at the end. Enjoy with pepperoni, mushrooms, tomatoes, anchovies and olives!
What’s your favourite Pizza?