Autumn Courses


FullSizeRender When it is sunny, the combines are working in the fields, and the garden is overflowing with courgettes, lettuces and beetroot, the thought of Autumn Art Classes couldn’t be further from your minds. Fair enough. I thought I would send out a quick list to whet your appetite. Please look at the courses for more details

  When the courgettes have turned to marrows, the lettuces have bolted and the beetroot are even larger because you don’t want to eat them every day…there will still be a light on the horizon.

September

Museum visit – Homage to Ganesha –Wednesday 30th September A visit to The Ashmolean Museum in Oxford to see the Homage to Ganesha exhibition, and to draw from the museum collection. Each term there will be a visit to an exhibition, and a chance to draw in a museum. Art Draw Paint  – Monday 28th The start of FullSizeRendera 10 week course covering introductions to a variety of different media including ink, graphite, mixed media and acrylic.  Practise What you Have Learnt – Monday 28th Monday afternoons are a time set aside to practise what you have been learning, to bring along pictures you are working on for discussion, or to paint a Still Life.

October

Evening Life Drawing – Tuesday, 6th The first Tuesday of each month (term time) there will be an evening of life drawing. FullSizeRenderExperimental Drawing – Tuesdays 6th, 13th, 20th A reminder of the experimental possibilities, pleasure, and variety of options available within drawing. Art Draw Paint – Mondays 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th Practise What you have Learnt – Mondays 5th, 12th, 19th, 26th

November

Evening Life Drawing – Tuesday 3rd Autumn Charcoal Drawing into Oil Painting – Tuesdays 17th, 24th A series of classes to lead you from drawing in charcoal into painting with oils Shipping Forecast – 18th and 19th The poetic language and rhythms of the shipping forecast are companion to the insomniac and early riser. On this course you will endeavour to capture something of the broadcast. Art Draw Paint – Mondays 16th, 23rd, 30th Practise What you have Learnt – Mondays 16th, 23rd, 30th

December

Evening Life Drawing – Tuesday 1stFullSizeRender Autumn Charcoal Drawing into Oil Painting – Tuesdays  1st, 8th Art Draw Paint – Mondays 7th and 14th Practise What You Have Learnt – Mondays 7th and 14th

Reasons to be Cheerful, One, Two, Three…


This is taken from a BBC Magazine article on 14th July, 2015. I am not sure how to reblog from their site so I hope I haven’t broken laws etc. Too good a piece not to share it with you.

We’d all like to know about how to keep our brains as sharp as possible as we age. But what are the best ways to do this, asks Michael Mosley.

Ask anyone over the age of 40 what worries them most about growing older and the answer that comes back is almost always the fear of losing your memory. I worry about the fact that I find it harder than ever to remember names and that without my phone to remind me, I would forget many of my daily appointments.

There are some fairly obvious things to avoid if you want to maintain good brain health. These include smoking, becoming overweight and developing Type 2 diabetes. But what can you positively do to enhance your brain.

Trust Me I’m A Doctor, with Michael Mosley, Gabriel Weston and Dr Chris van Tulleken, is broadcast on BBC Two at 20:00 BST on Wednesday 15 July

Watch the programme on BBC iPlayer

With the help of Newcastle University we recruited 30 volunteers to find out.

Before we began our experiment all our volunteers were subjected to a barrage of tests that measured things like memory, ability to problem solve and general psychomotor speed (reaction times).

Everyone was then fitted with an activity monitor to measure how much and when they were moving.

The volunteers were then randomly allocated to three groups and asked to do a particular activity for the next eight weeks.

One group we simply asked to walk briskly, so that they were just out of breath, for three hours a week. The idea is that walking – in fact any form of vigorous exercise – will keep your brain fed with lots of oxygen-rich blood. This was not a popular choice with some.

“Walking is my least favourite activity,” sighs Ann. (Newcastle does have punishingly steep hills.)
The second group were asked to do puzzles, such as crosswords or Sudoku. Again they had to do it for three hours each week. The reasoning behind this approach is that your brain, like a muscle, benefits from being challenged. Use it or lose it.

The final group were asked to stare at a naked man for three hours a week. Or, to be more accurate, they were asked to take part in an art class which also happened to involve drawing a naked man, Steve.

The results

By the end of our eight-week trial almost everyone in the walking group noticed a big improvement in their general health – how much easier they found managing a particular hill.

Some of the puzzler group had found the puzzles hard at first, but by the end of the eight weeks many were hooked and swapping Sudoku tips.
The most enthusiastic group, however, was undoubtedly the art class. Although a few found attending a class once a week daunting, all of them commented on how much they enjoyed it.

“I have become a compulsive drawer of everything,” says Simone. “I have been out to buy myself some pastel pencils and even a book on ‘How to’.”

So, art equals pleasure, but which group enjoyed the greatest improvements in brain power?

Our scientists redid their battery of cognitive tests and the results were clear-cut. All the groups had got a bit better, but the stand-out group was those who had attended the art class.

It seems the naked man, Steve, had made a big impression.
Gabriel Weston with life model Steve
But why should going to an art class make a difference to things like memory? Clinical psychologist Daniel Collerton, one of our experts from Newcastle University, says that part of the benefit came from learning a new skill. “Learning something new,” he says, “engages the brain in ways that seem to be key. Your brain changes in response, no matter how many years you have behind you.”

Learning how to draw was not only a fresh challenge to our group but, unlike the puzzlers, it also involved developing psychomotor skills. Capturing an image on paper is not just intellectually demanding. It involves learning how to make the muscles in your hand guide the pencil or paintbrush in the right directions.

An additional benefit was that going to the art class meant that for three hours a week they had to stand while drawing or painting. As we’ve shown before on Trust Me I’m a Doctor, standing for longer periods is a good way of burning calories and keeping your heart in good shape.

The art class was also the most socially active, another important thing to bear in mind if you want to keep your brain sharp. This group met regularly outside class, were keen to exchange emails and there was a definite social aspect to this intervention.
All of which meant that this group enjoyed a triple benefit when it came to boosting brain health. One of our volunteers, Lynn, says that learning to draw had produced other, unexpected benefits.

“Part of my job involves writing and pitching bids, which is a difficult and lengthy process,” she explains. “I am dyslexic which is an added hurdle. But having done the art class I found that my writing now flows and my ability to concentrate has improved. It seems to have opened my mind. I’m not sure I can explain it properly, I just know it made a difference.”

It is likely that any group activity which involves being active and learning a new skill will help boost your brain. Ballroom dancing, anyone?

Great inspiration from Longstock Park Nursery…and delicious lemon polenta cake


The weather wasn’t perfect, but it didn’t rain and it was warm.  Everyone worked outside at Longstock sketching feverishly. Tea and Lemon Polenta Cake saved the day after hours of hard work and concentration.

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Sketch by Liz Shard

The wonderful work produced gives the impression of warmth, light, texture, colour. Incorporated in the work were tall grasses blowing in the wind against the prickly leaved artichokes, and a variety of other plants, architectural features and the everyday functions of a garden nursery.

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texture, calm, secret by Kate Parker

The herbaceous border, backed by brick and flint wall, deep with many varieties of perennials, grasses, alchemilla mollis, roses and goodness knows what, was a source of inspiration for many.

The variety of work was very impressive; mixed media at every turn.


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sketch by Minnie MacHale

Back at Wherwell Priory Studios hard work went into transforming notes and sketches.IMG_0840IMG_0843IMG_0855

What a good idea


Friends send me news about art courses they have been on, ideas they have picked up here and there. I love to see what others are doing elsewhere.

This link was sent to me http://bridgehousenews.blogspot.co.uk.

Two of their tutors have been making/drawing/painting something every week for a year. This blog shows the exhibition they held at the end of the year.  What a great idea…and an incentive to draw, paint and create. Also a diary. Also – why am I not doing it anyway?

I would love to hear of other “good ideas”