Monthly Archives: January 2012

San Ginés de la Jara


San Ginés de la Jara is a patron saint of our local area and, as he is also a protector of sailors, we went to visit the monastery that bears his name and to pay our respects to this legendary figure. Of course, the crumbling ruins provide a wealth of sketching opportunities too. The site has a long and fascinating history and the remaining buildings are a cultural and historical monument in total decline, with Spain unable to spend the vast amount needed for restoration. The region of Murcia has a web page showing some photos of the monastery in pre-graffiti days.


OLD RUINS IN SPAIN (other than us!)


Spain has a wealth of dilapidated and abandoned buildings and ruins which make great drawing subjects. This stone ruin on the beach is right on the water’s edge and the late afternoon shadows called to my pencil last week.



We always start our drawing groups with 15 minutes of speed drawing where we have 30 seconds to draw the model in each of a series of poses. This exercise serves to warm us up and also to kick in the right side of the brain … the creative and visual side.

Speed drawing is a valuable exercise as it teaches us to judge proportion accurately and to instantly pick out leading lines and the important elements of a subject. Commuting on public transport is a perfect opportunity to brush up on our skills. Go to the EXERCISES page for more commuters.

Drawing …

CACTUS - graphite

… a cactus body that we brought along to the drawing group last week. The day was mostly overcast so no strong shadows to help create form. Concave trunk, rounded branches, variations in textures and a low tonal range made this a complicated subject.





BOATS, a favourite subject to sketch

ImageGommier are traditional local craft of Martinique in the French West Indies. Still constructed today using the historical method of cutting and hollowing out the tree trunk, using fire to soften the wood and sculpting the form with water and stone, they are artworks in themselves.


HATCHING - a simple yet effective drawing technique

We learn to draw simply by continuing to draw … and by believing that we can do it. Drawing is the most natural form of expression and yet it makes us so fearful. We fear what people will think of our work or whether what we are doing is good or bad; we fear that we are not making progress or that we are wasting our time or money. These fears can overwhelm our desire to learn to draw and deny us a great pleasure. In learning simple drawing techniques we develop the confidence to continue to draw, to be proud to show others what we draw, to see our artistic progress and to know that we are making a priceless investment of our time and money.