Have you asked Google “how to draw”?

Google recently revealed the top ten “how to” searches of all time, and “how to draw” made it in at number 5.

When you ask Google “how to draw”, the search results show an overwhelming number of step-by-step websites and videos on how to draw anything from a fox to the 3D alphabet. Whilst these instructional blogs and videos seem to satisfy the searcher’s needs, we know that it is with continued drawing practice that drawing skills improve. In fact, we have noticed that some students come to our classes after reaching the limit of what they can do through online training videos.

This is one reason why we do what we do. We design classes that help everyone and all skill levels – including those who are googling “how to draw”.  Our teachers are all practising artists themselves, and aim to help you with whatever you are searching to do creatively.

Why do we draw?

We begin expressing ourselves unselfconsciously through drawing before we can say our own name as it is an instinct we are born with. But by the time we finish school, most of us don’t pick up a pencil again for a very long time. As drawing does not seem to be of tangible use for everyday life, it is easy to place less importance on it, and ultimately forget about it.

We draw for self-expression; to process thoughts and feelings; for pleasure; to record moments in time; to read and interpret the world. Drawing is valuable in our lives because it is a form of visual thinking and challenges us in different ways, from hand-eye co-ordination, to how we really understand and “see” an object in front of us.

People often seek drawing classes in adulthood because few things in life can generate the same feeling that creativity can. Drawing can be calming, it can challenge us and change our brain patterns. Drawing classes are also a “mature” way to continue what we loved doing as children; we may attend classes for the familiar feeling that drawing creates within us, or because we want to become a master of the craft.

Jesse Dayan, Two Empty Chairs and a Top Hat Signifying a Brief Absence, Charcoal on Paper, 2012

We have also noticed that many people at Melbourne Art Class, once they have retired, seek drawing classes with us, because they now have the time to pursue something they have always wanted to do. We feel privileged that we can help these people reconnect with their creativity and the lost art of drawing.

The reasons why we draw are subjective and widely varied, however, we want to emphasise that it is never too late to pick up the pencil again.

We can teach you “how to draw”

Our classes provide an environment that cannot be replicated in an online tutorial. When you are around creative people, you feel yourself become more inspired and more likely to be motivated to return week after week. Practice, ultimately, will improve your drawing. And we believe everyone can draw.

We have a few drawing classes scheduled for the remainder of 2017 and we would love to help you improve, or refresh your drawing skills:

Drawing Bootcamp with Marco Corsini – Nov 4  

An intense crash-course introducing you to the fundamentals of drawing

Drawing in Nature – en plein air with Marco Corsini – 5 week course from Nov 12

A unique opportunity to draw alongside, and receive tuition from artist Marco Corsini in his natural element – the outdoors

General Drawing – Cylinders, Flowers, Folds and Fish with Marco Corsini – 6-week course from Nov 11

Be introduced to various classical strategies and techniques for drawing from Still Life

Introduction to Drawing – The Four Elements of Sketching with Hilmi Baskurt – 5-week course from Nov 21 

Explore the four basic elements of sketching and drawing, including understanding the subject’s structure, proportions, and the placement of its compositional elements.

And here is the rest of the list of “how to” questions we have been asking Google. How many have you asked?

  1. How to tie a tie
  2. How to kiss
  3. How to get pregnant
  4. How to lose weight
  5. How to draw
  6. How to make money
  7. How to make pancakes
  8. How to write a cover letter
  9. How to make French toast
  10. How to lose belly fat

Written by Lauren Ottaway

Incredible works from our Drawing Course

Another Introductory Sketching Course has just drawn to a close, and the students are extremely pleased with their results!

During the first of six lessons with Hilmi Baskurt, students are free to draw however they like. Hilmi’s instructions began after this initial drawing, which is put to the side to compare with the final drawing at the end of the course. You may not be able to believe that complete beginners created these drawings from Still Life below..!

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Inside our Drawing and Mixed Media Workshop

Hilmi ran our first workshop for the year – a Drawing Workshop using Ink and Shellac. It was a marathon workshop, where students created a still life, beginning with charcoal, then two layers of shellac and finished with black ink and white paint!

Hilmi began the workshop teaching students some of the fundamentals of drawing. Students were to choose a number of items of still life that Hilmi had meticulously arranged, with black sheets behind them, which Hilmi explained was important because it creates the shapes of the still life. You see the shape of something by looking at what is behind it, and a dark surface makes this easier.

After students finished the drawing in pencil, they then used charcoal to enhance the dark and light tones within the image.

Once students felt they had a finished sketch, Hilmi put down a big plastic sheet, and made sure everyone wore gloves for, what students felt, was a daunting, yet fascinating process. They laid their works on the plastic sheet and poured shellac all over the page, moving around and smoothing out the shellac with small spatulas. Students were hesitant to pour the runny mixture on the thin paper, however the shellac sealed the charcoal drawing beneath and eventually created a hard surface; changing the images instantly! Students added two layers and then left them to dry for half an hour. If you are familiar with Hilmi’s mixed media works using shellac, he normally uses at least eight layers of shellac!

Hilmi pouring the shellac over the charcoal drawing
Hilmi pouring the shellac over the charcoal drawing
KC smoothing shellac over her drawing
KC smoothing shellac over her drawing

Once the images were dry, the next step was to add ink in the darkest areas, and diluted ink for the mid-tones. Painting over the shellac was unlike anything they had experienced; the new texture of the paper was unpredictable; there were bubbles, rough and smooth areas, which made it very interesting, yet challenging to apply the ink! The final part of the workshop saw students adding white to the lightest areas, which was what Hilmi called creating ‘magic’. It really did lift the still life images off the page!

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If you’d like to join one of our next workshops, you can view them here.

 

Children and art

The assimilation of new techniques into children’s art work.

I have returned to teaching a children’s class after two years focused upon developing the adults’ classes.

I came into this new children’s class with the intention of introducing some elements of ‘atelier’ or ‘academic’ style training for the children. This is the methodology that many of the adults who have attended our classes would be familiar with, that enables us to rigorously teach technique.

Whilst I intended to introduce the same elements as in our adult’s classes, those of you that know me, will know that I am heavily influenced by Steiner and Montessori educational philosophies. These philosophies emphasise intrinsic self motivation (self motivation), creativity and the natural rhythm of child’s development. Whilst these philosophies are not completely incompatible with the style of training I wanted to introduce, it certainly gives me a lot to consider as a teacher.

We have had our first two classes for the term and the results, in fact, the way in which the first week’s instruction was absorbed then reappeared, fully integrated into the second week’s work has left me speechless. Perhaps these children are just incredibly talented, but somehow, they have taken in the new techniques and used them to produce work which incorporates those techniques into their own powerfully iconographic style. The three examples below by Taku, Chloe and Tyla display a far more individual approach than I would commonly see in adults, yet all have used the techniques of constructing a sphere and use of tone that I had shown them the week before.  They do this while still maintaining an aesthetic integrity; the work holds together as personal statement. The new techniques have been subsumed to the personal visual logic each child individually consistently maintains.

Taku, charcoal on paper, 2016
Taku, charcoal on paper, 2016
Chloe, charcoal on paper. 2016
Chloe, charcoal on paper. 2016
Tyra, charcoal on paper, 2016
Tyra, charcoal on paper, 2016

On the basis of these works, it seems that it is possible to teach technique to children without restricting their creative or personal expression. Taku, for example, maintains a powerful expressive line and an arresting visual impact over the foundation of the structural approach he had been shown. Chloe has a whimsical play with the line of the structural drawing. With the interplay of line and the rubbing of the charcoal, the groups of objects all merge into one whole, showing an interplay of relationships between objects. Tyra also uses value, or tone in a powerful way, inventing value for visual impact (the shadow wasn’t present in the arrangement she was drawing from).

I realise that while teaching what is essentially a limiting process to the children, I shouldn’t limit the children’s other visual processes and iconographies. The purpose of restricting would be to show the assimilation of the technique I am teaching more clearly. The problem being that by restricting other information children use in the image, I may be sending the message that other forms of expression aside from that being taught are are wrong. The eventual casualty of such an approach being the death of creativity, exploration and intrinsic learning.

For the age group in my class, (9 – 12 year olds), it seems I can teach technique and that the child experiences an adaption of the new technique into an existing canon of technique, creativity and visual language rather than a weeding out of those pre-existing elements. In so doing, they maintain their ability for powerful personal expression.

I’m very much looking forward to the work that is to come.

Written by: Marco Corsini

Teacher of our 8 to 14 year old’s Children’s Art Class

New day art classes at MAC!

We have been asked for a long time now, when will we be holding art classes during the day?!

Well, we are excited to announce we will be running two new Drawing and Painting (Studio Art) classes during Tuesday and Friday mornings from 2017! Finally, we hear you say!

Artist Marco Corsini will be presenting these daytime art classes and they will run the same way as our popular evening Studio Art Class (don’t worry, he will still be taking our Tuesday night class)!

Vicki Mullina, oil on canvas, 2016, Studio Art Class

Marco’s Studio Art Classes are our longest-running and are the foundation of Melbourne Art Class. We welcome people from all creative backgrounds, skill levels – anyone who needs a space to be creative, become inspired, acquire specific skills, continue an artistic project – the list goes on. The unique element about this class is that we limit enrolments to only ten students, so Marco is able to provide critical feedback, drawing and painting tuition or just help you get your idea out of your head and onto the canvas.

To get to know Marco’s classes a little better, you can read about his Tuesday evening class here.

Our classes are held at Enderby Studio, 314 Church Street, Richmond.

Daytime Art Course Dates

Term 1 Tuesday mornings: Feb 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th, Mar 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th (8 sessions)

Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

Term 1 Friday mornings: Feb 10th, 17th, 24th,  Mar 3rd, 10th, 17th, 24th, 31st (8 sessions)

 Time: 9:30am – 12:00pm

Enrolments: https://melbourneartclass.com/drawing-and-painting-with-marco-corsini/

If you have any questions about our new daytime art classes, please don’t hesitate to email Lauren at hub@melbourneartclass.com! We look forward to helping you add some creativity to your week!

 

A marathon workshop using ink, shellac, charcoal and pastel

Last Saturday we held a Drawing Workshop using Ink and Shellac with Hilmi; we were very excited because it was our first of this sort and it proved to be very popular.

The workshop’s primary focus was on structural drawing techniques and describing value. Hilmi summed the experience up as a marathon day, where students worked from Still Life, beginning the day with a structural drawing, then introduced value with ink washes and then sealed this with a shellac layer. Pastel and charcoal was then used to further develop the drawing.

You can see their incredible process below! Unfortunately we do not have images of all our students’ works (if you are not featured here and would like to share your work with us – please email Lauren).

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Attending to the lightness of seeing

Drawing and Painting Student, and Guest Blogger Ivana, inspires us with her newly-found dedication to agreeing to pay attention to the act of seeing.

A little while ago a post floated across my facebook feed, one of those pithy inspirational quotes – you know the sort; the sort that is ever so wise and makes you feel good and whole while otherwise scrolling cat vids*.

From William James, the American Philosopher and Psychologist it said simply:

“My experience is what I agree to attend to.”

It got me thinking around a bunch of stuff. Now, some of that stuff is pretty personal and I’ll hold it close but in respect to the act of drawing there is an insight bound in the idea of agreement and attention I thought might be relevant and of interest. Here goes…

Left to my own devices, I’m a sloppy drawer. Hard handed and while not lacking confidence in attacking the page I’m a little too focussed on immediate gratification. I just want to get that damn image down! Quickly. I’ve got 20:20 vision and know one end of a pencil from the other but you might not always be able to tell when looking my work.

Here’s an example, sketched quickly at home:

Moomin with Mummy, Ivana Lees
Moomin with Mummy, Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So I take drawing classes and I do this for two reasons:

1) To develop technique, and;

2) To tame my giddy inner self and focus on seeing.

It is true that with each drawing and each class my technique improves; manipulation of material and touch becomes easier, tips are gained and tricks learned but… If that’s all a drawing class was, I’d still be a sloppy drawer –with admittedly significantly better tools at my disposal.

So this is where the second point comes in. Obtuse perhaps, but insanely important it’s about the act of seeing – agreeing to pay attention to the act seeing; to force myself to do this in a structured and warm but firm environment.  To learn to look at. To learn to look around. To learn to look through. To learn to truly look. To agree to do this so that I might actually see. Through this, my naturally excited hand becomes light and free; truly trained and tamed and my work while still distinctly mine becomes all the better for it. At least, that’s my goal. Some recent Melbourne Art Class drawing class works:

Ivana, charcoal on paper, March 2016
Ivana Dash, charcoal on paper, March 2016
Ivana, charcoal on paper, March 2016
Ivana Dash, charcoal on paper, March 2016

Now, I’ve done a number of MAC drawing classes with Hilmi Baskurt and am intensely driven to continue however other than the obvious improvement in technique (which in itself is delightful and not in question) I was feeling a little at a loss as to why I was so compelled. After all, I lead a busy life like everybody else and classes come at the cost of doing something else. Then, I saw that little quote and my gut instinct got a voice. I want to learn to see.

I agree to attend to being able to see.

Written by Ivana Dash

*BTW, cat vids are awesome. I have nothing against cat vids. Oh look! Here’s one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OUtn3pvWmpg

I learned to mix black – this may have changed my world

Ivana’s inspiring experience during our Summer School

Ivana was one of a few students who undertook the challenge of completing both our Painting and Drawing Masterclasses in-between Christmas and New Year (not to mention the challenge of the heat)!

She has had previous experience in painting, however it was the first time she had ever experienced life drawing. We gratefully received her feedback and detailed experience below, and hope you also find it helpful and an insight into the classes we hold here at MAC. Thank you Ivana for allowing us to share your wonderfully candid account! This is why we love what we do.

“My objective in these classes was twofold. To refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation as these are areas where I am poor. Also to dive into the Flemish technique as I’m obsessed by light and form but am yet to represent them in a way I find satisfying. The class was a remarkable opportunity to do that.

I see an immense difference and again, must say I’m thrilled with the result. I think I’ve come a long way in a short time. At home, I paint something I am more often than not unhappy, sometimes to the point of wanting to go all ninja on it, beat it with nun chucks and chuck ninja stars… You’ll be pleased to know that these works remain safe from Japanese implements of combat. J

…I’m also practicing Flemish technique on some small canvasses at home (I’m intent on capturing that light, dammit!) and am happy to share those once done and if I’m happy with them.

Ivana Dash, Still Life Imprimatura
Ivana Dash, Still Life Glaze (work in progress)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My focus was on learning; the technical in these two specific areas (refine my eye and hand; to learn specific technique and refine accuracy in representation) and that goal was achieved. I am thrilled with the results.

I think it’s also important to point out that these are my first still life and portrait paintings. Ever.

Now, with my drawing skills they are significantly less progressed and in respect to the drawing class, I think I was probably on a par with the others. I spoke with Hilmi about this before signing up as it was a Masterclass, and he encouraged me to do so as refining skills in this area would only be of benefit to my painting… even if I was slow and didn’t totally rock the class.

He was right.

First time working with charcoal, first time life drawing – I Loved It!

I don’t think my drawings will be hanging anytime soon, however even I could see the progress as the days progressed. See what you think:

Day 1: Still Life Gestural  
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 1: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Dark Base w/ shellac and Day 4 painted highlights
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: Still Life, Charcoal. Structural. Light Base.
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3: Life Drawing #1. Pencil + Black Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: Life Drawing #2. Pencil + Black & White Charcoal:
Ivana Dash

 

 

 

 

 

Once again, I was thrilled by the results and have become slightly obsessed with life drawing. I need to do more. Soon!

I also learned to mix black. I think this may have changed my world.

I really enjoyed Himi’s teaching style. He’s quiet and confident, firm and precise but also gentle. I think one of the most important things in a learning environment is to have the freedom, comfort and latitude to feel free to make mistakes; countered with a confidence in your lecturer that they can pull you up on these without making you feel like an arse and have the skill to pull your work back from the brink so you can move forward. That’s a tricky balance.

Hilmi did this with me many times and I am hugely grateful and inspired to continue.”

We are very appreciative of any feedback we receive and also encourage students to share their work with us so we can share it with everyone at MAC!

We have two painting courses beginning this Saturday, running for seven weeks – Painting from Still Life with Hilmi Baskurt and Painting from the Life Model with Marco Corsini. These classes are open to all skill levels and our teachers will focus on drawing fundamentals in the beginning for those of you who are new to painting. We also have students in the class who have been returning for many terms. If you are interested in joining these classes, you can find out more information and enrol here: http://melbourneartclass.com/painting-courses/

Introducing Melbourne artist, Adrian Stojkovich

We are very fortunate to have Adrian Stojkovich joining us at MAC and presenting our new drawing course.

Adrian is as endearing in real life as his work. He carries a youthful energy, seemingly swaggering on the edge of the precipice of creative potentiality he is about to dive into. His work, traced with cool, skilled abandon is undergird by a sound humanity and is about to fall into something wonderful.

Based in Melbourne, Adrian completed his Bachelor of Fine Art with Honours in 2009, and his Masters of Fine Art in 2013 at the Victorian College of the Arts. His recent show at Paradise Hills in Richmond was made up of room of large abstract works and a room of dead fish paintings. He can handle either style well, demonstrating that he is an artist and painter who has taken the time to explore his craft at a high technical level. The work is infused with subtle passion but maintains the clarity to steer his little project whichever way he chooses.

Adrian Stojkovich’s abstract installation, 2015. Image: Paradise Hills Gallery (http://paradisehills.com.au/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Adrian’s abstract work comprises  hovering planes of coloured marks on a consistent pale, or dark, or umber background. The marks vary in size and slightly in tone, diffusing beneath layers of thin paint, therefore creating several planes. Despite being on a flat, consistent background, the marks drift off into pockets of infinity. Like little galaxies or the infinite suggested by certain repetitive patterns. These paintings aspire for a greater harmony, a greater resolution, a sense that there is or could be an infinite. The colours Adrain uses are slightly cool and acid, slightly sour yellows and greens, supported by pastels and more mellow cool colours. The colour combinations are fresh enough to keep the whole project interesting yet still harmonise. Abstraction at this end of its historical passage is difficult to do well and Adrian passes it off successfully.

Adrian Stojkovich's abstract installation, 2015. Image: Paradise Hills Gallery
Adrian Stojkovich’s abstract installation, 2015. Image: Paradise Hills Gallery (http://paradisehills.com.au/)

Contrasting these abstract works are the dead fish, Fish Tondo painting, two of which he also presented at Paradise Hills. Painted on large circular canvases, the fish paintings maintain an element of abstraction in the big sweeping forms of fish bodies in glass bowls. Up close, they erupt into the most beautiful colours gently laced with glazing. If for a moment you can avoid seeing the fish as you stand back, they are big sweeping abstracts and up close, masterly plays of raw colour. But they are fish, dead and dumped into a bowl for someone’s consumption or aesthetic amusement. There is a fishy, slimy look to the water they are in, with bubbles hovering around the gill area. They undoubtedly reference the Dutch Golden Age and its genre of dead fish paintings. The works speak of life, survival, death and mortality. Painting is a trade for Adrian, from recent abstraction to 17th century Dutch painting, he knows that trade.

The death of Anastasio Somoza, Modified Mercedes-Benz 280SEL. Image: Matthew Stanton (http://www.adrianstojkovich.com/)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

He also knows installation and representation. He created a fascinating work in 2014 whereby he rebuilt from historical photographs, the Mercedes Benz within which Nicaraguan dictator Anastasio Somoza was assassinated in 1980. An insightful investigation of popular media, it hovers between the same banal pop appropriation we have become accustomed to in the last three generations and the other tired contemporary art influence, Duchamp’s found object. But it is not the original object and its role as a facsimile seems to be very tentative. The power of the work is in its materiality and absences. It describes severe violence that we are all familiar with from our own current news reports. It describes the destruction of the impact of a rocket propelled grenade on a car. We know it is not the real deal but the materials, charred, torn and burned are the same, not just a copy. There is something real about the object we see. The knowledge that lives were lost is also very real. The absence of bodies in the installation makes the suggestion of death more relevant. The work jolts out from the plethora of violent images we see every day, somehow adding gravitas back to the humanity, or lack of humanity of the those original images. It recontextualises the decontextualised pop image into a new discourse of humanity and mortality.

Adrian is a solid young artist who knows his craft as a painter and handles the complexities of contemporary art and representation well. He has built up a sound base early in his career with wonderful results. Now what remains is to see what Adrian will do next.

Naked Maja, Adrian Stojkovich, Oil on canvas , 2009
Naked Maja, Adrian Stojkovich, Oil on canvas , 2009

Drawing with Adrian Stojkovich

During this six-week course, Adrian will introduce strategies and techniques for drawing from Still Life. This course will assist beginners in developing fundamental drawing techniques. It is also well suited to people with some drawing experience who want to re-establish the foundations of their practice. Read more and enrol here.

Written by Marco Corsini

Summer Art Classes at MAC

Over the summer holidays many of us our leave our paintbrushes and pencils where we left them after our final art class. So we have introduced two new short courses to motivate you to continue your art practice throughout the break. These short courses are also great gifts to give at Christmas time because the gift of creativity and experience is invaluable. Be sure to request a gift certificate upon payment.

Drawing and Painting Intensive with Marco Corsini – Dec 29th, 30th and 31st

Join Marco this December for a three-day Intensive Drawing and Painting Course.

Marco Corsini, A kind of homecoming, 2014, Oil on linen, 120 cm. x 120 cm.
Marco Corsini, A kind of homecoming, 2014, Oil on linen, 120 cm. x 120 cm.

Marco will combine a series of presentations with personal tuition in drawing and painting, with an emphasis on working from observation and the development of sophisticated technique. Some of the aspects covered include composition, underpainting, representing form, space and texture, colour and its relationship to composition and form, and more.   Find out more information and enrol here

Introduction to Drawing with Hilmi Baskurt – Jan 15th to Jan 29th

This course presents a fantastic opportunity to learn the four elements of sketching with our new teacher, Hilmi Baskurt.

Hilmi Baskurt Untitled
Hilmi Baskurt Untitled

A former student of iconic British painter Frank Auerbach, Hilmi will introduce you to structural sketching, value sketching, Chiaroscuro and contour sketching. Hilmi earned a Master of Fine Art degree in painting from Royal Academy of Arts and his Masters’ thesis was on the subject of Composition. This drawing course will be extremely beneficial for beginners and artists who would like a refresher over the holidays. Find out more information and enrol here