Silk Painting Workshop at the Embroiderers’ Guild

I haven’t tried silk painting before, so when I saw my local Embroiderers’ Guild were running a workshop I thought I would give it a try. The session was run by textile artist, Kirsten Yeates, from Denmark.

Kirsten began by handing out pieces of silk that had designs pre-drawn on them using gutta – a technique that creates a boundary that the inks can ‘bleed’ up to. Apparently it can be quite tricky to draw smooth lines of gutta so, as a beginner, it was ideal to be able to start with these pre-drawn examples. We were then given a short demonstration on how to apply the inks. A fine paintbrush and cotton bud is useful if you are painting a detailed design and a thicker soft brush if you need to cover larger areas with a wash of colour.

The silk painting inks are very concentrated and produce a really vibrant colour on the cloth. Painting with inks looked easy but the inks dry quickly leaving a hard edge of colour. To prevent this from happening you can either damp the fabric slightly with your brush, before applying colour, or water the inks down.

I’m more familiar with watercolours, so by diluting the inks I was able to create the effect of the colours softly blending in to each other. Here is the piece I made, before and after…

In a short two-hour session, these are some of the lovely pieces that the group produced.

For more information on the Embroiderer’s Guild, or to find your local branch visit https://embroiderersguild.com/

A second life-drawing session

I took part in my second life-drawing session at Metal on 13 March (you can read about my first session here). Having attended a full day on my first session, I thought I would try a half-day this time. I certainly found it less exhausting than a full day, as drawing from observation can be very tiring, and I felt I got much more out of this session.

In the morning we had a female model and again used a combination of props, costumes and lighting to add drama and intrigue to the poses.

To warm up we began with five, three minute poses, using charcoal.

female-5quick-sketches

Followed by two, five minute poses.

female-2-sketches

The following two poses were 30 minutes each and combined props, strong lighting and fabrics. I chose to use collage and mixed media to help capture the dramatic lighting effects and the different texture of the materials.

female-collage-props

Live drawing at the English National Ballet

The English National Ballet offers live drawing workshops in venues across the country. This gives the public a unique opportunity to observe and draw ballet dancers during their daily company class. Without the costumes, makeup, lights and scenery you get a very authentic, behind-the-scenes, view of the dancers. This fresh perspective helps you to appreciate the dedication, repetition and hard work that is required to produce the effortless-looking polished performance.

The workshop was held at the Coliseum in London and was led by artist Heidi Wigmore. The session began at 10am with an introduction and some basic warm up, observation exercises. At 11am we were taken into the stalls in the main auditorium and as we had the space to ourselves we had the luxury of sitting wherever we chose.

The company class was divided into two parts; a warm up session on the barre; and a more energetic and complex set of dance routines performed across the floor. The dancers arrived wearing furry boots, leggings and jumpers to keep their limbs warm, which were gradually removed as the dancers warmed up; ballet pointe shoes were only worn during the second half.

The company class finished at 12.30pm and we finished the session with a review of the work we had produced. These are a few of my drawings…

Simple blue line drawing
Simple blue line drawing

 

Female dancers
Female dancers

 

leaping dancers
Leaping dancers

 

Quick sketch from photo
Quick sketch from photo

 

Quick overlapping sketches
Quick overlapping sketches

 

Sketch using two pencils simultaneously
Sketch using two pencils simultaneously