Wednesday, 19 February 2014

Prep School

Oh my goodness, I can't believe it's been over a week since I was here with you last. As you know, it's a busy time at Squirrel HQ just now, and I have been painting at a furious pace to try to get my last piece ready for framing. However, as I tend to get up at a seriously unsociable hour (05.30, 'Husband' is out the door for work before 06.00) there are a couple more hours of the day that I can put to good use. Once I have fortified myself with a large cup of tea and packed my beloved off to his daily chore, I can catch up with online admin and check in to facebook to see what everyone else has been up to. It's actually my favourite time of the day. Just me, a cup of tea and the radio, a precious, quiet time before the hectic onslaught of whatever the new day holds.

Yesterday was such a lovely day. Finally back into teaching and having a lot of fun demonstrating techniques, getting to know enthusiastic students was so rewarding and with 12 of them, very busy. It was so pleasing to hear the many compliments at the end of the day, and overhearing how much people enjoyed it and thought they would book a place on the next one, especially as some had not picked up a paintbrush for some years. Ooh, I'm chuffed to bits and already thinking on how I can improve the experience. If you were one of the 12, it was lovely to see you and I am looking forward to seeing you next time. Buds and blooms will be on the menu methinks.  

The chilli pepper worked on in class
with some of the charts used by students
A colour copy of a previous chilli study
helped with tonal values and colours

In school, as a teacher I was very aware of how individuals learn. We all have a different style and if you think about how you learn something new yourself, you will see how it works. There are three main types, listening, seeing and kinesthetic learning. Some people learn something simply by listening to an instruction and acting on it, (don't touch that pot, it's hot), others watch someone carrying out a task and follow their lead, (oops, you touched that hot pot and hurt yourself, better not do that then), and some prefer to learn by doing a task themselves and learning from experience, (ouch!). Ensuring that there is something for everyone is one of the hardest parts of the teaching job and trying to include a bit of all three learning styles helps keep everyone happy. So, with this in mind, I provided a demonstration of  a complete study, talking through each stage and technique as I went and taking questions. The colour charts, notes and tonal copies I provided of a finished piece helped as a visual aide memoire, and of course, everyone had a good go themselves. These last additions went down really well in the feedback, so I am glad I included them.  

Elsewhere, I am really chuffed to have got a Sketchbook Squirrel YouTube channel started. No videos as yet, but I am planning to share tips, projects and more, with step-by-step guidance on techniques and colour mixing thrown in. The idea is that the videos will that work alongside my blog posts and workshop projects. That's the plan, so I hope you will join me soon.

Oh, and see if you can spot the difference with The Green Belt. Deadline day is looming large and I have yet to get this monster of a piece tamed and to the framers.


Here there was something of a large gap at the top
between the grass and bramble, and again
between the bramble leaf on the right and the stem


Just working on an extra grass stem
with a couple of leaves filling the gaps a little.
An extra rose bud will fill that little space at the bottom left.
Oh, and a small feather snagged on a thorn.  


Starr White said...

Oooo, so looking forward to the YouTube videos..wish I could go to a good class like yours, but there just aren't any where I live (the boonies), so following your blog and now watching the videos will be great! thank you for sharing so much here.

Sketchbook Squirrel said...

Yes, here's hoping that once this piece is out of the way, I can focus on a couple of videos. Really pleased you enjoy the blog Starr, and that you get loads from it.