Drawing: Exploring Abstraction

Posted on my website are two workshops in March, same subject–the abstract drawing–“Exploring Abstraction”. I’ve been thinking a lot about drawing lately. A friend of mine asked me if I had thought about teaching drawing again and I hesitated because I have not been drawing very much in the past couple of months. I do consider that there is not a lot of distinction between drawing and painting as a professor of art once mentioned to me. But I’m talking about the act of making marks and lines just for the fun of it and with the purpose of allowing your creative spirit to run wild. My favorite medium is lithographic crayon. Using lith is a way to achieve a very rich black or cool gray and then have the opportunity of taking a wet brush and making another mark but this time smearing the mark. It can be erased too so that using an eraser as a drawing tool is very easy. I’m a fan of India ink and charcoal as well. And then there are the papers and surfaces: beautifully smooth paper, textured handmade paper, brown wrapping paper, glassine, so many choices. Over the years, I have collected a series of exercises that challenge and stretch the artist. Join me for a day of exploration.

"Dance Faster"

“Dance Faster”

The idea of the workshop for me as well as the participants is to enjoy drawing without the critic making remarks about how “this doesn’t look like that or that doesn’t look like this”. I cannot believe how many people have said to me, “I can’t draw”. I like to disprove that idea. So for a participant who doesn’t do a lot of drawing, it is a revelation when he/she creates a drawing that is pleasing if often unexpected in content. For the realist artist this approach is rather hard at first, but my experience has taught me that by the end of the session most everyone is having success. So many artists say that they want to loosen up. Well it is possible, believe me. I’ve seen it happen. Creative play is always a good way to jump start a series of new work, to find a new approach to a previous series or just have a good time making art.

One of my favorite books is the “The Language of Drawing” by Edward Hill. Written in 1966, it is still relevant. But reading, studying although important is still not as important as sitting down and doing it. Like any skill, practicing is the best way to keep your eye sharp. After all it is “seeing” that is the most important part of the process. Try this exercise.  Block out three hours of uninterrupted time and draw from the same subject over and over. You’ll be surprised what you find out in such an investigation.


4 thoughts on “Drawing: Exploring Abstraction

  1. Hi Helen,  This workshop looks awesome!  Ron and I both want to come on March 1.  Are there still spaces available?  Do I need to send you a deposit check? Holly Irwin


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