Exercises and warm spring days

A very dear Dutch friend, an artist and art teacher in Rotterdam, has very kindly given me some assignments to help me loosen up and investigate the abstract in my approach to painting. I was bemoaning my frustration with my work, and how I want to explore new horizons.  I feel moved to push myself towards abstraction, especially after the art class I attended in Cornwall a couple of years ago, but I need guidance, so she generously said she would help me.

So it’s back to the drawing board so to speak!

The first assignments involve strengthening my composition. The first was to draw anything I like, anywhere I like, drawing whilst looking at the subject and never looking down what I’m drawing, thereby not knowing if lines were meeting up properly or if the scale is right; then to crop that drawing by laying a rectangular or square cutout of paper on it,  I was then to draw what I saw through that rectangle/square, doing the same again and again with each resulting drawing, at each stage the drawing becomes more and more abstract. I enjoyed the sense of play this brings, knowing that these are exercises, it’s a relief from having to create a finished artwork, it allows the mind to wander.

Here are some examples of that exercise:





the second assignment was to involve colour as well, but using my memory of the colours, not observing and colouring at the same time; a very different way from how I usually work, usually trying to interpret the colours and shapes I see, as with most artists; however, due to senior moments I had to jot down where I’d drawn them so I could delve into my memory for the colours!



Here are 2 examples of colouring from memory:




I then used the same concept using some drawings I did when I subscribed to the live-streamed life drawing class from the Royal Academy on 25th January.

I know I’m deviating here, but incidentally, this was their first foray into this kind of event,  I believe it was quite successful for everyone who took part, for amateurs and  professionals alike. I think it’s still available if anyone is interested:





There are some quick 3 minute poses to start with,  then longer poses towards the end.

Anyway, I tried using the cropping technique with these drawings and came up with these:






I now see what I’m meant to be aiming for, the interest is in the marks themselves and the composition, it’s not necessary to recognise it, but to create a pleasing assembly of marks and colour.



Another try, this time I played with an interior I’ve painted:





Lastly, some halcyon days reared their heads again this week and the grasses are growing quickly, the spring flowers like jewels randomly dotted amongst them:\



IMG_7681Version 2

but sadly it’s back to rain and cold again today, even hailstones; never mind, we know summer is around the corner!

I’m publishing this a few days after writing, and we are back to sunshine again!


7 thoughts on “Exercises and warm spring days

  1. The absract sketches are lovely! suexx





    > Message du 17/05/18 12:58 > De : “lizkingsangster” > A : suzane.willcox@orange.fr > Copie à : > Objet : [New post] Exercises and warm spring days > >WordPress.com

    lizkingsangster posted: “A very dear Dutch friend, an artist and art teacher in Rotterdam, has very kindly given me some assignments to help me loosen up and investigate the abstract in my approach to painting. I was bemoaning my frustration with my work, and how I want to explor”

  2. Hey Lizz, it looks great and I am curious to see them for real. I really like your colours, it is more clear and bright. Maybe we could organize a small workshop in the summer when we are in your neck of the woods :-).
    I would love to do some more abstract exercises with you.
    At the moment I am finishing my thesis hopefully ready in two weeks!….
    See you in summer, love hugs and kissis!

  3. Wow, you’re getting some great results from these exercises Liz, I must try them myself! The drawings and colour studies are very alive, you can really appreciate the marks and the materials for what they are, it’s very satisfying. I can see how focusing on just doing and not worrying about a finished image can reap rewards you wouldn’t get any other way, great stuff 😊

    • Hi Phil, yes that’s one reason why I posted them, a few of my artist friends read the blog and I thought they might be interested in having a go at this themselves. Things have moved on a lot since I was at art school, I really wish the tutors had had the original thought that goes into getting students to loosen up and ” do their scales”. I have a book on expressive drawing which is very inspiring, maybe I’ll do a post on some of those exercises too. I’ve just read your latest blog, it’s wonderfully quirky work and great fun!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s