Courage – Daily Therapy


“Some people feel the rain, others just get wet.”  Bob Marley

Original artwork by Christine Stoner ©
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Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“I imagine a world in which there’s one state and it’s called Earth and we’re all on it. People who are refugees are given free passage to move to other places. That’s the kind of world I’m imagining: cosmopolitan, in the sense that we’re all citizens of the universe, citizens of the world.” Micah White


Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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The private property aspect of creativity must be destroyed, all are creators and there is no reason of any sort for this division into artists and non-artists.” El Lissitzky

Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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My favourite thing is to go where I’ve never been.”  Dianne Arbus


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“The best time to hold your tongue is the time you feel you must say something or bust.” Josh Billings

Drawing – Gesture and Movement

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“We may think of gesture as the character of the action.  Look at two vases – one tall and graceful, the other fat and squat. They are as different in character as two people might be. 

Gesture, as you will come to understand it, will apply to everything you draw.  Even a pancake has gesture.  There is gesture in the way in which a newspaper lies on the table or in the way a curtain hangs.

The key to the nature of a subject is its gesture and from it all other aspects of drawing proceed.

It is far more important that your studies contain this comprehension of movement, of gesture, than that they contain any other single thing.” Kumon Nicolaides


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As a method of free handwriting, this post will be all about gesture or scribble drawing. This type of drawing is about drawing the essence or spirit of the subject only and there is no regard for how the drawing will turn out.

To start a gestural drawing it is best to get the pencil moving without planning or preparing.  This way is often called free handwriting. To define free handwriting, words such as quick, sketchy, loose and impulsive come to mind. 

Get started by making quick “feeling out” strokes stating your first responses to the subject.

The pencil grip is most important with free handwriting.  Allow the pencil to dangle by sliding your hand as far back from the point as you can. Try to use your elbow and shoulder in order to get more fluidity and movement into the line.   It is most important to hold the pencil loosely.  You can rest your hand gently on the paper although most confident artists do not do this.  What you give up in control, you pick up with mobility and speed.  You will need to be self-tolerant with this.


Choose a subject that invokes a feeling in you, perhaps a pet, a handbag, a person, a favourite tree in your garden or even a coat draped over a chair.  The idea is to draw not what the subject is but what it is doing.

Remember, you are drawing the spirit or essence of the subject in the quickest and most economical way and you don’t care how the drawing turns out either.

Each drawing should take only one minute and it is best to keep your pencil moving all the time.  A good gestural drawing will not eventuate if you take your pencil off the paper in a stop/start way.  It is best to do at least 6 one minute gestural drawings before you start your final sketch.

As with all drawing, it is wise to be mindful of the weight of the subject.  For example, a model usually places the most weight on one leg. The weight in a handbag rests at the bottom of the bag.  It helps to think about this weight when you are drawing.  You will be surprised at the difference this will make to the gesture you are after in your final drawing.

And what is the purpose of gestural drawings you might ask?  Gestural drawings help you see the subject as having an intelligent life of its own.  These quick drawings prepare you for when you do a more controlled drawing later.  You will see the subject in a different way after drawing gesturally.  This type of drawing is good way to warm up too.

There are three free handwriting techniques to try, the gesture, the connected line and the five minute rapid.  In these three styles there is, once again, no regard for how the drawing will turn out.  Instead, the above words can be used as triggers as you try out these three methods.

And here is a juicy quote to get you thinking..

.”The roughly rendered typography of the rubber stamp gives it a gestural immediacy.  It suggests the informal.  We can almost sense the sound that the stamp would make when the image was made.”  Unknown

In the next post I will write about the “connected line” drawing.

To read more about gesture drawing here are some links…

Cubism – The First Form of Abstract Art



“Les Damioselles d’Avignon” 1907, Picasso  Accessed from Khan Academy on 14/10/2016

Cubism was the first form of abstract art and is rarely practiced by artists these days. The most famous Cubist work (above) is titled Les Damioselles d’Avignon (1907) by Picasso.  This painting was built up from cubes.  Picasso created this work to shock the art world and he certainly succeeded.

Here is another Cubist work by Marcel Duchamp and another fine example of Cubism.


“Sonata”, 1911 by Marcel Duchamp Oil on canvas.  Image from Olga’s Gallery, accessed 16/10/2016.

I recently did a workshop on Cubism and will pass on the details here.  The first exercise was to do a Cubist sketch followed by a painting.

Firstly I drew an apple and divided it randomly with horizontal and oblique lines.  I then extended the edges to abstract the shape even further.   I then shaded in starting from the bottom and going around the apple.  The dark always touches the light and the light always touches the dark.

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To commence the painting I drew a still life with a paint brush and followed the same procedure as above.  The rule of thumb is that the objects must be either sitting separately or over-lapping, not touching.  Background lines are included and best done more sparingly to subtly delineate background from foreground.

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I then proceeded to paint in the shapes being aware of the light which I placed on the left-hand side of the objects.  This required some time consuming blending.  For the best result it helps to use the paint directly from the tube without any water.

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Cubist works were often done in monochromatic tones. The fundamental qualities of Cubism are found in detachment and intellectual control, objectivity combined with intimacy, an interest in establishing a balance between representation and an abstract pictorial structure.

Here is a very powerful nude in the Cubist style by artist Corne Akkers from the Netherlands.

Corne Akkers


Corne has recently moved on to a new form of cubism with curved lines replacing the angular marks of Cubism.  This style is called Roundism.  Here Akkers combines crosshatching with Roundism.

Braque and Picasso were the founding fathers of cubist drawing.

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Courage – Daily Therapy for Artists

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“Finishing a painting demands a heart of steel: everything requires a decision, and I
find difficulties where I least expect them… It is at such moments that one fully
realizes one’s own weaknesses and how many incomplete, or impossible to complete,
parts comprise what one calls a ‘finished’ or completed work.”
Eugene Delacroix