Our little collective of an art group met again in September. We have a name. A year or so ago, I created an online art group, on Facebook, for friends and I. I called it The Art Shack and we have been adding in little bits of art here and there and we have been posting about art, crafts and events. It has been nice. It wasn’t really a very active group. We lacked one key aspect, which was that we were not really communicating or meeting up as a collective. That’s ok, it really was just a place in which we could stay informed and connected to art, but it really was not being used meaningfully much beyond that.
When a friend and artist, Tina Hannay, suggested meeting for an art day at her house, with members of the Art Shack and some of her artist friends, a new momentum was born. I posted a little about that meeting, in an earlier post but, needless to say, somehow we have become an active group and most attendees, at Tina’s gathering, have joined the little Facebook group called ‘The Art Shack’. This is where we communicate with each other, share ideas, question and challenge things and where we explore art and crafts. So, we are now a group who are joined as ‘The Art Shack’ and we are very active in the Facebook group. I am just delighted about this.
Unfortunately, due to holidays and work commitments, the whole group could not meet in September. This seems to just be the way things are for a lot of people at this time of year. Everyone is cramming in an additional holiday or days out and so meeting was not easy. That said, three of us did meet up and we had a really enjoyable day.
This month it was Darren’s turn to host. There is no rota, though we try to rotate the venue where we can. Only Tina and I could attend, plus one other stopped by to share coffee as he was unable to attend due to study commitments.
Then, after enjoying freshly brewed coffee and some pain aux chocolates, we were off. Tina is an established artist and so she kindly suggested a couple of activities. I am intent on portraits, at the moment. My day was, therefore, going to be about using the time to practice for portraiture and to do whatever would contribute to developing that skill.
The first exercise was not difficult, as such, but it was challenging for you are limited to a stopwatch. We had literally just five minutes to draw the face of one of us three, focusing on using lines. It was after this, that I was better able to see and appreciate how to use the lines caused by light and shade and so I found the whole experience helpful.
We went on to do a few similar studies. One was a five minute portrait where you do not remove your pen/pencil from the page at all until the time is up. Another was to spend ten minutes creating a portrait simply by adding shade. These were all time limited exercises and so the end result was not particularly good, but when something is all about the process, it is what you observe and learn from the exercise that is the outcome, rather than the likeness.
This was a meeting in which we looked at techniques and I have found it so helpful. Why not give it a try, yourself? If you do, please let me know how you got on, in the comments below. Or, feel free to post other ideas for similar exercises and we will give them a try at our next group meeting.
(c) Dean G. Parsons. 2019.