Botanical art in graphite – workshop

Today was the second and final day of the botanical art workshop using graphite. It was a lovely small group of artists and I believe that we learnt a lot from each other. 

I think this aspect of a workshop is important, whereby we all learn something from each other – even the tutor. 

I may have mentioned this before, but personally, I don’t think I would have got so much enjoyment from teaching if I hadn’t learnt a lot from the students I was teaching. I always think that a question that one person asks, sets in motion a whole thought process which makes me think about how and why, so that I can answer appropriately. From this I can develop a process, simplifying as much as possible, and cutting out anything unnecessary on the way.

Example, why do I draw my subject onto sketch paper and then trace it via a lengthy process onto my art paper? Those of you who follow my blog ( know that once I have actually drawn my design, I trace over it  once, then again on the reverse side before transferring it to my art paper – and without leaving indented lines in the paper. The whole process seems long and drawn out, when all I want to do is paint a good picture! But I know that my final picture will be no better than the amount of preparation I put into it.

So having thought all this through, what are the benefits?

  1. Freedom to change the design as many times as I want to before the tracing process.
  2. Less waste of paper.
  3. Potential for a better composition on my art paper as I can move the tracing around the paper before tracing it over ( that was a student comment today).
  4. Pristine art paper at the start of the painting – leading to a better result.
  5. The same tracing can be used several times without additional graphite.

I expect that you can add other benefits to the above.

The gorse tracing that I made for my last blog has been used seven times since I did it, without adding more graphite to the tracing. I have just laid it on fresh paper whilst demonstrating the technique at this workshop, and rubbed gently over it with a decoupage tool as previously described.

I used the same technique when doing a new drawing during this workshop. But I used Bristol board and when I took away the removable tape I had used, it removed the surface of the paper. The same happened to one of the students. She was not fazed, and neither was I. We simply quickly repeated the process on the other side of the paper. Tip: don’t do that with Fabriano HP watercolour paper as it has a right and wrong side.

Rather than me wittering on, you will be more interested In the resulting work from the last two days. I have put a copyright on each of the pictures as they are posted on my blog, but the copyright is with each of the students.



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