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Our pictures were stories that we were telling ourselves – ‘here is the house, and I can draw the rooms and people inside the house too’. We made more important things bigger, so heads are much larger than bodies, eyes are enormous and Mummy might be twice the size of our naughty sister.
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I think that most adults really wish that they could still draw and paint.
Almost all of us enjoyed making pictures when we were children – it’s a natural thing for humans to do. Watching colour spread out across the paper, drawing pictures of houses and people and dogs and cats, or whatever else we were interested in was all so easy then. We didn’t worry if our symbolic stick men were exact or not, or if we coloured the trees bright pink with blue apples.
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Somewhere along the line though, we decided that we just weren’t able to make things look ‘real’ enough. We copied the symbols of houses and people that we were shown, but they still didn’t look right. Maybe someone laughed at our purple lemon, or our six legged horse. We were told to make grass green and skies blue. Little by little we lost our innocent creativity in an attempt to what? Please other people?
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Many children then give up, and the precious gift of creative self expression slips away. Some love their art classes at school, and do well in their exams, but when Real Life kicks in, who has time to practice drawing or painting? Years later, when circumstances change, and they have some time for themselves, many decide to take up art again. It’s a shame to lose contact with that playful love of making pictures, but luckily it’s really never too late to rediscover it.I really love teaching adults – it’s such a great feeling to help someone realise that actually they can draw much better than they ever thought they could, just by being shown a few simple ‘tricks’.  My previous Blogs (see archives!) have given you every single one of those ‘tricks’. I wonder if you have tried any? They really do work. All we need to do is see the world as it really is instead of how we think it is. And then draw a line around the shapes. It only takes one basic drawing class to get that ‘Ah-ha!’ feeling. Of course, it then takes practice. Anything worthwhile takes practice.

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I still practice constantly and hope that I am still learning. It’s like climbing an endless ladder that you can’t see the top of because of the clouds – every rung teaches you something new. I don’t ever want reach the top because that would mean the adventure was over.I am happily climbing that ladder, challenging my drawing skills by using things I can’t control easily, by drawing at night, by drawing people that are moving, by drawing with colour……   how are you challenging yours?

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About Jeni Caruana

Jeni was born in England and studied at Uxbridge, Hull and Harrow Art Colleges before settling in Malta in 1977. She subsequently worked as a graphic designer and followed a post-Diploma course at Malta College of Art. Jeni has held regular solo exhibitions of her works and participated in numerous joint, group and collective exhibitions in Malta and abroad, representing Malta in UK, USA, Sardinia, Rome, Tunisia, Libya and Norway. Paintings now hang in many public and private collections. --- Works cover a wide variety of subjects and media, from landscapes to Prehistoric Temples, sand to ceramics, watercolour and acrylics to wooden sculptures. They are always based on good drawing and keen observation and always started on location or from live models. Intense study of the human figure has resulted in her ability to capture fleeting glimpses of people in motion. Visually expressing the emotional effects of music on the senses, her ‘musician’ paintings are a favourite subject. --- Jeni has been teaching drawing and watercolour techniques to adults since 1995. She regularly runs courses and workshops in drawing and watercolour for adult beginners and improvers, specialised courses in life drawing, watercolour techniques, weekend workshops and painting outings and also art for self-expression, meditation and relaxation. --- For more information please contact; Studio Address: - “Dar Il-Mistrieh”, - 15, Old Church Street, - Manikata - MLH 5202