Inspiration not intimidation

There are so many great artists out there, do you ever feel ‘I’ll never be as good as that’? Do 100’s of images on all the social media platforms confirm to you that there really is no point in trying?

It’s easy to feel that way; intimidated rather than inspired. But all of those artists have their own creative challenges to overcome. And remember we tend to see the ‘finished/perfectly photographed’ item rather than the workings, bad sketches and off days.

Last year I started the ‘Couch to 5k’ running programme and I’ve decided that for me, learning to run is a bit like learning to draw.

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The Cowes Library Drawing Group – What have we got planned for summer?

I love drawing, always have. I love spending hours wrapped up in the gentle art of sketching, coaxing a likeness of your subject out on to paper. I draw to paint too. If you want to create accurate paintings it really helps if you’re coming from a robust foundation where you know that your subject is accurate at the start.

In the Cowes Library Drawing group we focus on observational drawing techniques. Observational drawing is about looking at your subject and drawing what you see, not what you think you see. In the sessions we look at ways to improve our hand/eye coordination, understand how light and shade shape our drawing and improve our accuracy from the beginning with plotting, measuring and negative spaces.

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Tonal Values – eggs exercise

One of the biggest challenges in drawing is to take a three dimensional object and give it depth and form on a flat piece of paper.

Observing the areas of light and dark in your subject and understanding the ‘tonal values’ in between can really help you capture realism and depth.

‘Value’ is a term that refers to the lightness and darkness of a colour. It is really useful to practice sketching ‘value’ studies where you are using only pencil or charcoal so you can see how light, and the absence of it, effects the objects you sketch. In the Cowes Library Drawing Group on Thursday we looked at eggs, how light falls across them and how we can use our pencil to capture those changes on paper and make them look three-dimensional.

“When we draw we want to mimic the way light falls on form to create the illusion of three dimensionality”  The Drawing Source

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Thoughts on… Perspective

We touched on perspective in the Cowes Library Drawing Group last week. Just touched on it. You can research thousands of articles and review mathematical equations to help you with the depth, width and height of objects in the drawing, or you can ask yourself the following question to get you thinking about it.

 “I’m trying to draw things that are near and far from where I am, and I need to think about how I can represent that on this flat piece of paper”…

Artists use two types of perspective to help solve that problem: Linear perspective and Atmospheric perspective.

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Painters Progress

I love to see paintings when they are complete, framed and ready to show…  but I really love to see how they started, how they progressed, what worked, what didn’t and the decisions that were made as a result.

Drawing is my first love, I find painting a much more challenging medium, so it really helps me to see the process behind the work and learn tips and techniques to help and inspire me.

Here’s a series of photos that I took when I painted ‘Lobster Pots of Lyme’.  I chose the subject because it was complicated. I wanted to challenge myself to convey the shape/volume of the pots with strokes of paint. I liked the cropped composition, too. It felt like a cross between an abstract and a still life.

close up

I used a very limited colour palette of acrylic paints; raw sienna, raw umber, yellow ochre, burnt sienna, paynes grey and white on a pebeo canvas panel. I used my own photograph for reference.


I roughed out the composition. then concentrated on adding the foreground areas. I painted the areas ‘inside’ the pots as abstracted shapes, looking at the ‘negative’ spaces between the ‘positive’ wicker structures. I worked on each pot individually, but kept coming back to the painting as a whole to check the colour choices and the light and shadow. Finally I added in a grey-ish background to anchor them.



Lobster Pots of Lyme. Bethany Moore 2016

Acrylic on canvas panel 40cm x 40cm