Friday 22nd September
Liz Seward is President of Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts and also a very long standing member of the society. She is a vastly experienced art teacher who continues to share her expertise and knowledge at U3A Drawing classes in Camberley and at Dedham Hall residential art courses.
Liz began by asking everyone whether they kept sketch books. A pleasing number of people raised their hands. She cannot recommend keeping a sketchbook enough. She showed us her Lockdown sketch book which was full of carefully observed pieces of work. The drawing above was one she did during lockdown and it captures something of that extraordinary time.
Liz began by stressing how absolutely essential drawing skills are to an artist. Sketching out ideas before attempting a painting is definitely to be recommended. Even artists such as Picasso, who appear not to draw conventionally, were skilled at drawing. In order to develop drawing skills the artist needs to learn to handle tone. Most people are aware of the colour chart but there is also the grey scale which goes from white to black and helps to judge degrees of tone. It is often the mid tones that are the most difficult to see accurately.
Liz recommended people start with a drawing exercise before doing the still life objects that they may have brought. There was a black & white photo of a a group of block shapes. If choosing this one it was worth remembering that lines of perspective are always governed by the eye level. Tone and shading will be determined by the changes of plane and where the light falls on the objects. The second exercise was to draw a white Möbius strip. In mathematics, a Möbius strip, is a surface that can be formed by attaching the ends of a strip of paper together with a half-twist. Both these exercises will develop an ability to handle tone.
After the break some people began to draw the still life objects they had brought and as well as working in pencil some people began to use colour pencils. Liz had brought a copy of The Artist with her which included an article by her on the subject of drawing with colour pencils.
In the article she illustrates the wonderful results that can come from using colour pencils. People usually shade from left to right but Liz was told it could be more effective to shade up and down so she has trained herself to do this. She was able to show everyone the original picture that is featured in the article and is on the front cover. It clearly shows how effective this medium can be.
Liz took the opportunity at the end of the evening to talk about some of the different colour pencils she has. She stressed it is very important to be sure to use colour fast colour pencils such as Caran D’ache Luminance 6901® Permanent Coloured Pencils. Water soluble pencils that can be used dry or can be made to work like watercolour by wetting the shading with a paint brush. Liz had brought an example of this technique seen below.
Thank you to Liz Seward for bringing her enthusiasm and experience to a room full of grateful artists.
Write up by Carole Head who thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the challenge of drawing this Möbius strip in black & white pastel.