Wellington School of Drawing
Seeking a higher purpose
At present, in the fine arts institution setting, little is handed on from teacher to student in drawing and painting. As a result students spend long hours working alone, reinventing the wheel.
Building a discipline, through routine, strengthens a work ethic, allowing students to develop the playfulness essential to practice. In this way creativity can be harnessed, rather than chasing the ever shifting goal of the ‘avant-garde’.
Our intention is to advance the teaching of drawing and painting, providing solid training in strategies and procedures for developing work. We offer a wide range of classes for all students, whether you’re an experienced artist taking your work to a new level, a student currently studying in one of the local art institutions, or a beginner interested in finding your hand, the Drawing Studio is a resource for all.
Studying craft in pursuit of art
"Drawing is undervalued. It is likened to sketching by most. In fact its range is such that as an analytical tool it gave rise to science (Leonardo), gave history its written record (pictograph to symbol) and in the realm of ideas drawing has given shape to thoughts and feelings – in the spiritual realm.
Learning to draw is no different from learning to speak, write, compose and play music, or any other activity by which expression is given to ideas. Keep an open mind to its many possibilities and thus to your own practice of it as an instrument of limitless power in the realm of ideas and feelings."
Deane G. Keller 2000
Intensive Figure Drawing Mon 10-1pm
Advanced Drawing/Painting Mon 6-9pm
Figure Drawing Strategies Thurs 2-5pm
Master Studies Mon/Fri 2-5pm
Cast Drawing/Still Life Tues/Fri 10-1pm
Cast Drawing/Still Life Tues/Fri 2-5pm
Still Life Fri 6-8pm
Portrait Drawing Wed 2-5pm
Untutored Life Wed 6-8pm
Watercolour Sketch Sunday 1-3pm
Intensive figure drawing
Trying new strategies
For keen beginners and experienced artists wanting to push their work to a new level, this course will make accessible a body of useful drawing strategies to boost the student’s performance. Though each strategy presents its own expressive possibilities, the intensive nature of the course and sheer volume of output will enable the student to work in a more intuitive, responsive manner.
To this end, the course will consist of many quick drawings, each exercise concluding in a longer work based on the particular strategy studied. In this way skills will be practiced, assimilated and employed as part of the individual’s fabric.
Sustained figure drawing
Form lighting and shadow shape
Introducing a simple light and shadow value system, offers the opportunity to study the figure under classical 'form lighting' conditions. The edge of the shadow provides a useful internal line expressing the form's volume.
Initially we draw what we see but this is further supported by knowledge and experience. Drawing is ultimately an invention yet it is also how we tell the story, the battle to find the drawing and engage with the attendant inspiration.
Portrait drawing and painting
The underlying form of the skull is the framework on which we develop the drawn head. Initially students will draw as if ‘sculpting’ the head, working with construction lines to suggest proportion and seeking a basic overview.
Massing the larger forms and locating underlying anatomical landmarks, supports the confident placement of features.
Analytical drawing exercises will culminate in oil sketches using directional/form lighting. Demonstrations and a slide lecture will support studio work.
Constructing a painting
Painting will begin in monochrome using the wipe out process, effectively drawing with paint. The second term will introduce toned grounds (both light and mid-tone) in preparation for indirect painting, where work is sustained over several weeks and built up gradually through layering. Moving from the ‘Grisaille’ (under-painting) through to the broadly painted ‘Ebauche’ (first colour layer), will reveal how each ensuing layer modifies but does not altogether conceal the under-painting.
This course lays the foundation for representing the figure in oil paint. Introducing a wide range of drawing strategies to free the hand and useful ways of constructing a workable figure, students will progress to studying the effects of light on form, identifying and translating value (tonal) relationships.
Oil painting begins in monochrome using the wipe out process, effectively drawing with paint. Subsequently, we will introduce toned grounds in preparation for indirect painting, where the work is sustained over several weeks and built up gradually through layering.
Master Studies class offers a rare opportunity to actively study works of great artists. We are often overwhelmed by the magnificence of a work but do not consider why it is effective. This class will stretch your habitual approach to drawing and viewing artwork.
Initially, you will analyse the composition by creating rough black and white sketches. In this way the work is abstracted to the basic light and dark pattern which helps uncover the fundamental elements of the work.
As the class progresses, you will make longer duration studies. Avoiding the urge to itemise detail, you will select details which add to the unity of the artwork, all the while honing your skills in observation and interpretation.
Historically, master studies were an important part of an artist’s training. The practice gave students an insight and ‘conversation’ with the original work and familiarity with the artist’s compositional structure. Furthermore, we gain access to the spirit of their artistic age.
Draped Figure study
Draped Figure study
Beginning with the masters
In the late 1700's as art academies and drawing training evolved, plaster casts of great works of sculpture, were collected by the academies.
Students were able to study and draw the effects of light and shadow as it fell over the motionless human form. "Where the complexities of human form are resolved by the sculptor and frequently organized with greater clarity than offered in drawing from life". (Jon deMartin)
For this reason, cast drawing was seen as a basis for the study of painting.
Supporting what you see with knowledge
"Clearly an immense respect for the human figure in art supports the study of it; in turn, the greater familiarity with it, the more authority evident in the work and the more sovereign the expression."
Deane G. Keller
A knowledge of Anatomical structure provides the artist with the freedom to invent and distort a figure to fit the demands of a particular design. The art is to balance the expressive response with the growing understanding of structure. This essential struggle, played out on paper or canvas contributes to the stirring nature of a work.