beginners pine cone drawn quickly

"Drawing for beginners"

Beginners please

I started attending a “Drawing for Beginners” evening class at a local college. The 1st lesson wasn’t what I was expecting, but was really enjoyable because I was actually doing some drawing again. After completing the usual admin forms, the tutor said she was going to ‘free us up’.  She explained we needed to relax in order to draw, hence the music on the radio during every lesson I guess.  Next we chose an object to draw from a tray full of knick-knacks.  I chose a pine cone.  We drew our object with our usual hand (mine’s the right), then with our non-drawing hand, then holding the pencil at the very top, then with our “other” hand again at the very top.

A little loosener

After those looseners we started putting objects together on the table to draw a still life.  Natalie gave us 5 minutes start and then asked us to stand up and move a place to the left to work on another person’s drawing.  Soon progressing around the tables we were able to add colour via crayons or pastels. Eventually we landed back at our original drawing and could see all the additions everyone working on it had made.  And they were ‘interesting’!

Judging from the output pictures below, I think I’ve a few lessons to learn!  Boom, boom!

If you like these have a look at

Detail from a Lowry painting at Kelvingrove

Our day at Kelvingrove Art Gallery

We visited Glasgow's Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum where I shot some video on my iPhone, and when I got home, I edited it into a short film using iMovie.

As well as using iMovie on your iPhone, you can also use it to make films on an iPad or a Mac. It's a free app download for Apple devices. It took me a while to get familiar with using it, but truthfully, the mechanics of making a film with it, are pretty easy, after you've practised for a while.

Once you've opened iMovie, your videos are already there. Now just drag and drop the frames into a suitable flow. Drop in some photos as required, if they'll add something to your video. iMovie can do a weird thing, known as the Ken Burns effect, where it makes your still photo look a bit like video. But needless to say, you can turn it off if you like.

Edit your video as much as you like. Shorten a bit here, shorten a bit there. If you like, copy a frame, and split it, then you can use the first half in one part of your film, and the second half in another part of your film. Or the other way round. You can speed up the time of some video, so you can get all the action in, but not slow the pace down too much. Speed it up, for comic effect, if you want. Or make some of it slo-mo (slow motion to the uniniated).

Add some sound effects or a piece of music to the whole. Fade the music out in places where some of your recorded audio would sound good in the foreground. You can change some segments around if you like by dragging and dropping. Create some credits using iMovie too. Nothing much to that, just choose a style of credits and type in credits text you want to see.

When you've got used to the interface, all of the above is possible by clicking or tapping simple button controls on the app, all for free.

When you've finished making your video, post it to Vimeo or YouTube, and don't forget to change your Settings to allow the Public to see it (I'm one of them), and send me a Comment so I can watch it too.

Here's my latest. It's no "War & Peace", at just 78 seconds long, but I hope you like it. If you do like it, why not take a look at this video For Your Pleasure

For Your Pleasure

Watch my video while listening to my poem, “For Your Pleasure”, written following an exhibition I went to by Vik Muniz at CAC Malaga, in Oct 2012.

Vik Muniz created and photographed all of the art installations in the video, with help from some of the site workers. He called his project “Portraits of Garbage”, a title inspired by the subject matter and location of the project at a vast Rio landfill site called Jardim Granacho.

The artist donated nearly all of the proceedings from  sales of the art installations back to the Jardim Granacho workers and their own social projects. His amazing’ project was filmed and can be seen on a DVD called “Wasteland” which you can purchase here: .  The film is every bit as fascinating and heartwarming as the blurb on the back of the DVD case says it is.

The guitar music on the video is called “Granaina” and is played by Pepe Habuelcha. It’s available on the album, “The Beginner’s Guide to Flamenco” which you can purchase here:

© 2015

The Morning After the Night Before

Lauren brought in 6 paintings to inspire. The one that "spoke" to me was "Rooms By the Sea" painted in 1951 by Edward Hopper [many thanks to the Emyoku Project for this reproduction]. And this is the piece I wrote...Read more