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LESSON PLANS WINTER 2022 (1st half) Lesson 3. Drawing with pen, looking at autumn stems.

In this lesson we're having a quick look at the very beautiful work of Catharine Nicholson (above), a botanic artist who worked mainly in pen and in great detail. We're using her as an influence rather than to copy her technique. I'm asking my students to be influenced by the effect she creates with her work and to allow that to help them work freely with pen and paper to create a similar but looser effect. They'll bring in seed head stems and sticks etc. from which they can draw.

Winter term, 1st half 2022. Lesson 3. Tall seed heads and stems.

Drawing with black gel pen.

· Look at the drawings of Catharine Nicholson on my laptop – this is just for influence!

· Take your first stem and hold it up in front of you. Using a black ink/gel pen…

· …on your largest sheet of paper or sketch book page let your pen flow up the page as you look at one side of your stem. As your eyes follow the stem, your pen travels on the paper.

· In Catharine’s drawings, precision is an absolute must. In your drawings we’re looking to create an effect, a gathering of line drawings depicting a collection of different stems on one page.

· Look at the leaves on the way up the stem, look at the seed head at the top. Travel down the other side of the stem looking at details on the way.

· You’re using line to create the outline and line to find some textures or detail across the stem/leaves/seed heads.

· When you’ve done one stem, pick up another and place that alongside the first. They can be varying heights. You can choose stems to fit into useful gaps.

· Fill your page with stems. Don’t worry if it looks tangled – we’re aiming for the ‘autumn hedge’ look.

· Lastly, if you need a bit more definition, use a small amount of watercolour to pick out one or two stems, leaves or seed heads with paint.

Next week: Set up a stems,leaves&seed-head still life in a jar and using today’s techniques plus watercolour, make a lovely study of the subject.


About this site...
I am an art teacher living and working in Dorset.  I have taught for the Adult Education Service and the University of Bath, plus some supply teaching in my local schools but now I run all my classes and courses privately. This site is intended as an addition to my teaching, primarily for any student who in the week misses a class and wants to catch up.
The lessons are also available for any one anywhere who would like some ideas on what to teach, what to learn or is just interested in seeing what we do.
I'm afraid I won't be able to answer emails asking for comments on anyone's work (other than for currently enrolled students).
I teach three weekly art classes in halls in and around Blandford in Dorset and every six weeks or so I run a Sunday workshop in a village hall on the outskirts of Blandford. I also run a vibrant five-day summer school.. Other than that I spend every available moment in my studio or drawing and painting elsewhere.
I studied for four years at The Slade School of Fine Art where I was awarded The Slade Prize on graduation. I went on to travel and study further finally doing a P.G.C.E at Exeter University with Ted Wragg as my mentor. It was a wonderful year of education which set me in good stead for my years of teaching since then.



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