Category Archives: Just for fun

Strathmore Artist Workshops

I’ve discovered this little gem online: Strathmore Artist Workshops

It’s a series of short, basic interactive online workshops. It’s presented in video format, with written instructions alongside, and templates as well for those who don’t want to practise sketching (just painting). My personal preference is always to draw from scratch, so I had a go at the exercises.

If you sign up (it’s free), you can post in the forums and gallery, allowing you to interact with the instructor and classmates. As far as I’m aware, because there aren’t deadlines, it’s open for quite a few months to give you time to post your exercise attempts whenever you want.

While I was using up the last few sheets of my Cotman watercolour sketchpad, I found some watercolours I painted last year. I spent most of 2017 experimenting with watercolours – it’s a medium I’ve wanted to get better with for a long time, after favouring acrylics for so long. I love the thick textures and how expressive acrylics are (it really is the medium for me), but I also really appreciate the delicacy of watercolours. These were fun to do at the time – lovebirds and crane birds! What do you do with your small pieces, do you display them, sell them, or throw them out? Mine just stay in the pad!


Dr Sketchys – Great fun!

This was my second time attending a Dr Sketchy’s event, and it didn’t disappoint. The format for the events I’ve attended remained the same – and it works well. It’s more of a casual, untutored opportunity to sketch from life. The poses are around 1 minute, 2 minute, 5 minute and 10 minute sessions and there’s usually two performers. The performers don’t always remove all their clothes – and that gives it’s own challenges with sketching clothes over the human form. There’s music, challenges and prizes, and a performance from each of the life drawing subjects. The first session I went to had a fire dancer and cabaret singer (he was very good!), but last week we had a mime dancer (lip syncing) and burlesque dancer. Although the latter pair were entertaining, the fire dancer was very mesmerising.

Here is a selection of sketches from the evening. Highly recommended for a fun night out – it’s informal, great value (£7 entry), and entertaining. You can even get competitive with entries for Nondominant hand, Most Magical Sketch, Partner swap drawing, etc.

Lady Lolly Rouge
Lady Lolly Rouge – 15 min pose and later further refined

UPDATE: I’ve just heard bad news – unfortunately the Salisbury Arts Centre has decided not to schedule any more Dr Sketchy’s events. If I hear of any similar events being run, or Dr Sketchy’s moving to a new venue, then I will let you all know.

Patti Mollica

It was by sheer accident that I came across Patti Mollica’s online art course. I was fortunate enough to find the class just a couple of weeks before registration closed. I had been looking for some time for a course that was based online, with some structure, that wasn’t geared towards total beginners. A lot of the well known courses start you from the ground up, giving you the foundation and basics to build upon. They also tend to be for watercolours and oils – while I’m very much an acrylic painter. As I’m more intermediate (between beginner and intermediate, really, based on the limited time I have to practise), and I’m limited on time, I didn’t want to waste time going over old ground, although I always appreciate the practise that comes with rote exercises.

So, with lots of enthusiasm, I signed up to the Online Color Workshop (sic – she’s based in USA). The timings worked out very well – as a full time worker the 6pm GMT live conference classes were an ideal start time. On the East Coast of USA this translated to around 1pm on the set day each week. We met once a week, for 5 weeks, and if you missed it, you could catch up with the recorded session at a later date. These were in the form of presentations with lots of information, from basic to advance techniques. The homework also reflected different levels of skill, and you could choose what to do. I tried to do it all (as did some others), but found quickly that I needed to be more selective and focus on the exercises I chose. I will, however, go back to the exercises I didn’t manage to complete (there were up to 4 each week to choose from).

There was so much information to take on board – colour theory is such a broad topic and feeds into other areas of study such as composition and value, that I don’t consider my studying “done” by any means. A lot of the information and further reading recommended will continue for me to get the most out of this.

If you enjoy loose painting styles, particularly in acrylic, and wish to further your knowledge – do look out for Patti‘s courses. She also runs workshops.

Here are some of the studies I produced for this course:

All course content and photo references © Patti Mollica

Doodling Peacocks with FW Ink

I have been having far too much fun playing with my FW inks. The colour intensity and the translucency of some of the pigments just lends itself so well to some subjects. I have always been in love with peacocks, and the way they twirl with attitude, displaying their plumage for our benefit. They are so gorgeous, with the petrol blue shades, turquoise, and purple, and all the variants in between.

Well, I am also lucky enough to have some of Golden Fluid Iridescents copper, gold, and pearl pigments to play with, so of course, I have used these too. I’m well known for my magpie tendencies, so had to add some copper and gold leaf sparkle.

Here is a little peek of what I’ve been up to!

Peacock Splatter - 2018 - Acrylic Ink
Peacock Splatter – 2018 – Acrylic Ink

Added to PaintingsAvailable to buy on Artfinder