Flower Power Still Life – Flourish July 2018

Drawing has never been my strong point, so I was particularly keen to see how the marvelous Hilary Hutchinson was going guide me towards producing anything vaguely artistic at this month’s Flourish session. Many of you will already know that our original plan to run a Life Drawing session (Yes that’s the naked one) had to be postponed as our model had some sad family news and was no longer able to attend.

As a result, Hilary very kindly offered to adapt the evening into a Still Life Flourish.

Equipment provided

  • Willow charcoal sticks
  • Various sketching pencils ranging from HB/B1/ 2/3/4 (No H pencils as they are too hard for this type of drawing- something new I have learnt😀)
  • Large A2 sketching paper
  • Large A2 wooden sketching boards to lean on
  • Masking tape
  • 3 bunches of flowers
  • Various vases, teapots, bottles and plates
  • Soft Pastels

Equipment Flourishers brought themselves

  • Old clothes to wear – its a messy business!

We settled down with a quick and easy warm up exercise, trying to draw our hands whilst not looking at the paper and not taking our pencils off the page as we drew.

This exercise was really freeing as you couldn’t go back and correct anything because you couldn’t see what you were doing. You just had to get on with it. Very ‘Done is Better than Perfect’, one of my favourite pieces of life advice.

Hilary advising Louise

One of the funniest things about the exercise was that I felt ultra confident whilst I was doing it. I studied my hand carefully and really felt that I was doing a good job recording each and every detail of my hand from the oddly shaped fingernails to the all too numerous wrinkles. Normally, I would never feel like this whilst I was drawing. Then, once I had finished, I looked down on my work and just started to laugh. I had produced something that looked more like a two year old’s scribble that anything close to a human hand and yet I had felt so sure I was doing well!

Hilary took a look at what I had drawn and suggested I go bigger on the page and use more of the space. I took her advice and repeated the exercise. Although the results were still not brilliant, they were a vast improvement on what I had done only minutes before. I love that feeling of making progress! It felt great.

Mairi and Lorraine deep in concentration

The next step was to draw the objects on the table. Again Hilary’s advice was to go big. Pick one element of the flower arrangements and zoom in to make it big and bold. This made the objects easier to draw and stopped us from getting overwhelmed. The next piece of advice was to look for shapes like circles and triangles to help us make sense of what we were drawing. Again I found this really hard, but as I attempted more and more drawings, I began to relax and enjoy the process.

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Gorgeous flowers

The next element Hilary introduced was pastels. We each had to divide our paper up with masking tape to make 5 or 6 sections. Then we chose two pastel colours, one to represent light, and the other to represent shade. Now we had to fill each section totally, to the edges of the paper.

Once every section of the paper was full we peeled back the masking tape to reveal the sections. It was a really good exercise in letting go of how you thought your picture should look on the page and instead drawing what was actually in front of you.

The session was so enjoyable and flew by. I really want to do some more drawing soon whether it be at another Flourish or just pootling about at home. I suppose a good way to get regular practice would be to be more adventurous when I doodle. I should try to draw something real rather than a standardised love heart or a cartoon flower just as my 10 year old self would have done.

Thanks again to Hilary for a wonderfully inspiring evening.

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Hope to see you soon.

Charlotte Xxx

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