Tag Archives: life drawing

Art Design and Health

On Tuesday night I went to a very interesting event at COFA (College of Fine Art). It was a presentation on Art Design and Health. Although my degree is from COFA, I went with a friend who is currently working in the health sector. It was totally fascinating and we went for a drink afterwards and then dinner and talked talked talked. It was a buzz.

It wasn’t about art therapy, nor was it about painting the walls calming colours. It was about a more holistic way of integrating art design and health. One example is these seed pods which are used with Alzheimer’s patients and allow them to have meaningful engagement with others for up to an hour. One of these was passed around among the audience and it was such a beautiful tactile object.

It is a huge field that I can barely touch on here, but is related to making the hospital experience more about the individual than about the system. If you are interested in knowing more here are links to  a MOMA progam and in England there are Maggie’s Houses.

I drew these last two speakers at the event and you can see their photographs here.

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Filed under life drawing, sketchbook, sketching

Solar plate etching


A couple of weeks ago I went to David Wilsher’s exhibition on an old ferry at Blackwattle Bay. David, who teaches drawing at the Sydney Community College was successful in gaining a residency on this old ferry. What a treasure trove of images in that area. I took many photos on the day, but the sun was high in the sky, and a week later we went to take photos at 9 a.m.

bollardsThe last two Saturdays, I did a solar plate etching course with Seraphina Martin. Fantastic! Last week we made four plates and this week we printed them in various ways. The first and second ones  have been inked up a la poupee (different colour inks on different areas).  They are also both photographic, with a bit of Photoshop, then after they were printed onto acetate I worked into them with a stylus.

The last one has been inked up  in a dark brown  and pome_stencilviscosity printed. The first colour roll (the blue) was masked with torn paper, then it was rolled with a blend.  This one was drawn onto architects drafting film with Liquid Pencil, then some stronger darks were put in with a very thick propelling pencil.

I am really pleased with these three. Now I know the process I can’t wait to get some more solar plates and make some at home.


Filed under drawing, Matisse Derivan, photography, Print-making, viscosity printing, working harbour

Dr Sketchy’s at the MCA


Dr Sketchy’s came to the MCA again a couple of weeks ago. Fabulous again!  The link above will take you to an image where you can see the setup  – we’re all in a big u-shape with three models to draw. That image is from last year, and you can see my drawings from last year here.

This year was related to the current exhibition of Yinka Shonibare so the models wore some interesting outfits. That exhibition finishes very soon, but if it comes to a place near you – 2_min_215_min_1don’t miss it!

Again, there were three models, so it was easy to see well, but I must say we were awfully close and that’s a challenge in itself.

These first two drawings were only two-minute ones, which were a lot better than the ones I did a year ago.

The next two drawings are 5-minute ones.  That’s not a nipple – it’s a flower stuck there.  I was happy enough with these two, but the ten-minute ones were not great.

After that,  I decided to be very daring for the 15-minute ones & just go for it with a pen!

I just scribbled & scribbled as fast as I could go, then dabbed on some watercolour- though my waterbrush wasn’t co-operating so well.

I was working in an old A4 sketchbook – leftover from college. Last year I did a myriad of ghastly one and two minute drawings in a ‘good ‘ sketchbook, so I decided not to make 5_min_2

that mistake again.




Filed under drawing, life drawing, MCA, pen and wash, sketching, watercolour

Who’d be a life model in this cold weather.

Life drawing 3Last Monday morning I went to life drawing class. This drawing, like the green one a few posts before, has had the paper prepped with Matisse Transparent Gesso , with a little acrylic paint added for a bit of colour. I FAR prefer drawing large when I’ve got transparent gesso on the paper. It gives you something to dig into, and I draw better. (I find life drawing so difficult). It’s a transparent medium with gritty stuff in it (technical term!) that makes ordinary old cartridge paper work like pastel paper. This product is available in art stores around Australia, and in North America, you can get it from Jerry’s Artarama. It’s even on sale there now, as is all the other great Matisse stuff. 

Today is pretty cold, so I wagged life drawing, Life Drawing 2but I have been painting at home, testing some new products and they’re going to be such fun!  It doesn’t take much for me to wag life drawing. It’s silent, and it’s a struggle. It’s sooo tempting to stay home and do other art work that appeals to me more. I’ve also made some collograph plates, that I hope to print on Sunday. I’m taking a few classes with Seraphina Martin, who taught me collographs and viscosity printing. Hopefully I’ll have something worth putting on the blog next week. Life Drawing 1I’ve tried some amazing new textural things that I’m testing, so who knows how they’ll print.

Yes, it’s time I did my glossary. Maybe you don’t know what a collograph is, much less viscosity printing. You can see some of my viscosity-printed collographs from a few years ago here.  I found this short step-by-step on the web, should you want to have a try at collographs. We make our plates from mat board, and we print them on an etching press. Here’s all about viscosity printing from Wikipedia. This article says ‘it’s a slow process’. I’ve found that it’s not so slow once you get going – it’s just that it takes a long time to mix all your inks and set up. Takes a lot of space too. 


Filed under collographs, life drawing, viscosity printing

Not naughty at all!

one-minute life drawing

To the surprise of nobody in the Australian art world, Bill Henson’s work was all returned to the gallery and no charges were laid. See The Art Life, “Henson case Collapses.” Well, I say not a surprise, but we’ve become used to draconian reactions from the former government.  Our new Prime Minister got off to a great start, but I must say I do find him on the prissy side. This was confirmed by his reaction of ‘revolting’ about Bill Henson’s work (sight unseen, one assumes.) And the Minister for the Arts (a former rock legend) didn’t do much to support the arts.

NAVA  (National Association of Visual Artists), an organisation of which I am a member, as usual is supporting it’s members very well. They got together some very eminent Australians for a public forum with “Watch on Censorship,” to discuss the issues raised by the Henson case, as they correctly believe that artists should not become complacent.

I must say that I’m glad its over. I hope it won’t happen again. It’s too much like burning books. But that still doesn’t mean I’ll go to Henson’s shows.  

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Filed under drawing, the art world

Nudity in art and the Bill Henson controversy

Green Nude

Recent events.

Last week was quite a week in the Australian art world, with ‘keystone’ cops raiding  art galleries. They’ll be burning books next. The police raided Roslyn Oxley9 Gallery - possibly the most prestigious commercial art gallery in Sydney.  What interested them was the work of Bill Henson who had an exhibition opening there. People have become very polarised, and there have been threats against the gallery. In a very small nutshell, Henson is an internationally famous artist who photographs adolescents, nude.

You can read more about Bill Henson here, and  more about the shenanigans on the Art Life Blog.  In this post, ‘Seven Days in May’ the writer talks about the side issues that the controversy has raised. Some of these issues cover subjects dear to my own heart, and may well be raised again in posts in this blog. (‘The Art Life’ is the art blog in Sydney – you have to read it to be in the loop).

Nudity – naughty or not?

One of the questions The Art Life raises is, “Can our society take the chance that some people might consider art works with otherwise principled motivations to be porn?

I was already wanting to talk to you about nudity in art.  Mostly, anyone who has been an art student, or taken life drawing classes, takes a bit of nudity in their stride. I clearly remember my first life drawing class, in first year at art school in 2002. My friend said ‘ I’m going to try to get around the back.’ and ‘I hope it’s a woman.’ Well, it was a man, and there is no back in life class.  (The green image is one of my life drawings from a recent class – not there for its merit, but merely because I can’t post without a picture!) For the record, life drawing is difficult, and once you start to draw, the body becomes just shapes, & you’re  concentrating on the drawing, so you don’t have time to think about the nudity.

Of course, there are famous nude paintings from art history – those have all been dragged up this week – Manet’s Olympia and Dejeuner sur l’Herbe.  Most people don’t turn a hair at these. However, it has been a source of surprise to me, how varied my friends’ reaction to nudity in art can be. I blithely assume everyone is like me – but it’s not true. Some are much much more conservative. Would they think Henson’s work was pornographic. I doubt it – but I’ve been wrong before. The ‘art world’ (what is that? …..the commercial gallery system?) knows about Henson – he’s been going for 30 years – but the general public on the whole do not, it seems.  But the ‘art world’ is more insular than it thinks. It appears the police hadn’t heard of Henson Does that mean they haven’t got their eye on the ball? 

So, what do I think about the Henson fiasco?  I think it’s bizarre that the police have become involved, and if charges were to be laid I’d think it was appalling. Nevertheless, I voted with my feet and skipped his exhibition at the Art Gallery of New South Wales in 2005. Too many of my contemporaries were affected by child abuse, and I can’t bring myself to support anything that might lead the perpetrators to believe it is OK.

Speaking of the Art Gallery of NSW, I have an artist’s book in an exhibition there, starting on 18th June. You can see some images here and here.


Filed under the art world, Uncategorized