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Thursday, 29 September 2011

The Big Draws Big Splash

On Sunday I was one of many artists that joined Quentin Blake and the Big Draw team to support and host an amazing catalogue of canal-side adventures.  The event started at 12 noon when Quentin Blake tugged along the canal from the London Canal Museum to launch the event, cutting the ribbon between the tug boat and the floating drawing island art studio! As soon as the ribbon was cut the adventures began. Children, young people and adults from all walks of life came along to the amazing Kings Place building in Islington to take part in a chocolate box of creative activities, with a flavour suitable for all. Nina Chakrabarti lead a workshop exploring emblazing a jacket with badges and designing a giant fashion fanzine. The House of Illustration brought their zoetrope along and invited participants to make their own short animations - filmed with the aim of being displayed online. Teenagers and adults created a comic in a day with graphic novelist Karrie Fransman and created cartoon characters with Joe Berger. Alongside the canal was the opportunity to make your own boat to float along the canal using recyclable materials, Linda Scott lead a bubble writing class and Sarah Bridgland inspired participants to create their own mini maritime sculpture using a matchbox as a starting point. And all this for free -Phew!!!
And that’s not all, alongside these amazing workshops the Big Draw volunteers also lead some Big Draw favourites including The Drawing Stall where you could exchange your drawing for another drawing, the opportunity to draw your own portrait for the online gallery and add to the ever growing Drawing Scroll at the front of the building.
Star artist’s Quentin Blake, Marf, Nadia Shireen , Stephanie von Reiswitz and Adam Dant took turns on the Big Picture Frame creating five incredible illustrations, whilst eager fans looked on and marvelled and in some cases even joined in,
Throughout the day there was an incredible atmosphere and excitement with many people trying activities for the first time. The Big Draw is a truly inspiration event from providing fresh ideas for artists, concepts for the classroom to the opportunity to explore your own hidden creativity. Below are my images from the day, for more information on Big Draw events visit their website
 Quentin Blake cutting the ribbon
 Let the drawing begin
 A pirate and mermaid modelling for the life drawing workshop in the main foyer
 An artists image from the life drawing workshop
The ever growing Drawing Scroll
Activities were suitable for all ages - the Big Draw truly is Art for ALL, in this workshop the entire floor was covered and participants could draw or paint on the paper whilst musician and sensory lights flickered in the background. How happy does this chappie look?
 Boat building along the canal, many of these unfortunately did not get to float as their was a strong current but I did see a few launch successfully
 Artists and the general public chalked their way to Kings Place just in case anyone was in doubt of where the activities were taking place. You'll be pleased to know that this was all washed off at the end of the day.
 The portrait workshop, many of the drawings created are to be posted on The Big Draws online gallery
One of the many amazing matchbox sculptures, I wonder if this is the pirates treasure chest from the life drawing workshop? 
Even Quentin Blake couldn't resist taking part in the portrait workshop, drawing one of the many volunteers portrait. 
My matchbox sculpture from the day - inspired by Quentin Blake of course - this is my folding boat race
All the matchbox sculptures together at the end of the day, in the centre you can see a black oil spill with BP on it - very clever
A series of drawings ready for the zoetrope, in this animation a sausage is emerging from a tap whilst a startled figure appears at the bottom of the picture frames 
The zoetrope! 
 I was so impressed with how at ease Quentin Blake and the other guest artist were drawing infront of a large crowd. This picture show Quentin making illustration look effortless
The finished illustration 
 Following on from Quentin was Marf, after illustrating a family in the crowd, Marf allowed the children to help her finish the picture - as you can see the children eagerly took on the challenge

Nadia Shireen created this stunning illustration using Stabilo Woody Pencils, showing how a few simple lines can become something quite amazing
Nadia's finished illustration 
The incredible team work of Stephanie von Reiswitz painted illustration. I loved watching this piece evolve across the paper 
 And last but by no means east Adam Dant, who used markers to draw this charming newspaper boy and then......
Let the children fill in the newspaper with their own images, thoughts and text. It was quite interesting to see what news stories were relevant to the children and young people attending the event. We had everything fromstopping killing whales to Justin Bieber!!!

Monday, 19 September 2011

A sketch a day...

Last week I had a wonderful week off visiting some of the stunning and beautiful sites in Suffolk and Norfolk. Prior to going away I spoke to my best friend about what drawing materials I was going to take with me. She said, "can't you have a week off, your on holiday?" And the answer quite plainly no. I am constantly inspired by the places I go, people I meet, things I observe - everyday life in general. More importantly I feel compelled to sketch, draw, paint and document my observations. I decided as I was on holiday that I would complete a minimum of a small postcard sketch everyday, which I would use to send to my family back home. This way, I got to sketch everyday and also got to share the places I had visited from my view point with my family. I always have my drawing bag in the car, filled with a range of mediums from ink, watercolour, pastels, pencil, charcoal and felt tips. I usually work at a minimum of an A3 scale and actually found it quite frustrating and difficult to draw to such a small scale. The postcards were also a good opportunity to work on quick ten minute sketches, focusing on colour, mark making and observations.
These postcards were a bit of a joint effort. If you look closely on each postcard you will find a character drawing of my husband and myself, which my husband added to each postcard once it was complete - adding the final personal touch.
Below are the six postcards completed - I hope you enjoy!
 Illustration of neolithic flint mining at Grimes Graves, felt tip and pen
 Breakers at Great Yarmouth beach, oil pastels
 Bowling Alley, Oil Pastels
 Dragon fly, pencil
 Framlingham Castle, Watercolour pastels
Orford Castle, Watercolour pastels

Monday, 5 September 2011

From Morning Till Night

 This is an image of the photo that I was sent - Position 50. I found out in a conversation with some of the Czech Villagers, that this is a factory that makes alcohol. One of the villagers husband used to work at the building and explained to me that the picture was taken from the forest.
This Saturday I had the pleasure of spending 12 hours drawing as part of the From Morning Till Night commission by Tate Modern of the Artist Katerina Seda. This was an amazing event and a great opportunity for those involved to meet some very talented artists and interesting people. I arrived at the Tate Modern at 6am and was greeted with a smile by some tired looking staff. All artists were given their position number, badge, translation book, map and any materials they had requested. At 6:30 I placed myself on the far corner of the Tate by the millennium bridge and got to work on my image. I really enjoy drawing outside and the early start (although a bit of a shock to my system) presented me with a beautiful and peaceful environment to work in. As the morning progressed Czech Republic Villagers started to walk past, offering a smile and comments on the site I was drawing whilst carrying out the action or activity Seda had provided for them.
So what was the project about - Katerina Seda invited 80 residents of all ages from Bedrichovice, a small village in The Czech Republic, to perform a one-day action in London. In the village the inhabitants would normally leave the village at sunrise to go work, carry out chores and go to school - only returning home at sunset. This limits social interaction with their neighbours, with many villagers only meeting when they bump into each other accidently. Seda wanted to bring the villagers to London and recreate the village in an unfamiliar context. The villagers were given tasks to perform such as building a den out of cardboard boxes, do washing, playing badminton, riding a London Barclay cycle, taking photos, celebrating a birthday and so forth. These actions and activities provided the opportunity for the villagers to integrate in a new way, within the imaginary border around Tate Modern to St Paul Cathedral.
In addition to the villagers 80 UK based artists were invited to assist Seda in representing these imaginary borders. Each artist was sent a picture from the village and provided with a spot positioned at the outskirts of the imaginary village to draw or paint the picture. The general idea, was that the artists would slowly create pictorial images of the village to the passing London visitors whilst the Czech Villagers engaged in social activities within the imaginary village borders.
These are some of my pictures of events of the day and the extensive range of art work produced as part of the commission.

 The start of my drawing at 6:30am....
 In Position 51 was Max Dixon, Who created this stunning Chalk Pastel image
These exquisite acrylic paintings were created by Layla Al-Marzooqi, describing some of the foliage and the side view of the factory.
 More foliage being painted along the Southbank
 These two boys were amazing throughout the day. They constantly had smiles upon thier faces and were checking on the artists to make sure we were all ok. It was great to observe them enjoying building their den and chatting with them about their home.
 Me and my coffee cups at Position 50
 My finished drawing, completed using water soluble crayons.
After completing my picture I tried to draw it from memory. I did cheat a little referring to the  photo for the initial outline, but I promise I did not look at it once when adding detail and shading. If you look at the foreground you will notice my lack of imagination with the foliage which all seems to be leaning in the same direction. The image above has a bit more movement to it.
The images below show a snapshot of the village and the incredible work created by some very talented artists. I hope I have got all the names correct and apologies if there are any spelling mistakes.
 Ade Awofadeju detailed pen sketch
 Isabell Markus expressive watercolour
 Debbie Atkinson breathtaking pen and ink
 Inez Schrader - if you look closely you will see that Inez got the villagers who passed her by to sign her picture, actually giving them ownership and putting them in the picture.

  I did not get the names of the artists that created the two images above
 Katerina Seda and her Intepreter address the villagers and artists at the evening celebration
If you would like to find out more about this project have a look at the following link or read about events of the Tate Blog