Ermanno Novali lr

Looking through my old sketchbooks the other day I found pages and pages of tiny moving figures, and I remembered doing them over 40 years ago. I was working on a college project at the time which featured clowns in strange positions. I had to draw them without models because the poses were impossible, but I wanted the contortions to look as realistic as I could. I had the brainwave of drawing footballers on the TV. This proved to be a fantastic training for drawing moving figures . I learned to capture a mental snapshot and then draw as quickly as possible before the image faded.

Street Sketches 2

I love to draw with paint at live events, dance and music performances. I usually use acrylic paint on dark backgrounds at night time events. Sometimes I will use pastels or ink.

It takes a huge amount of focus and energy, but the buzz I get from it is, I have realised, addictive.

people lr

People usually spend much more time looking at their pencil/pen than the subject. In effect they are always drawing from memory. They get so fascinated with their hand drawing they forget to look properly at the subject at all. One of the exercises I repeat with my students is to use ‘blind contour drawing’. They have to cover their hand so that they can’t see what it is doing, and draw a three dimensional subject as carefully as they can.street sketches 1 At first this feels unbearable, and seems impossible. Even the crazy abstract lines that happen at first have a strange beauty about them though. They are lines of pure seeing – total connection between the eye and hand. The brain can’t interfere and process anything. This is what we are ultimately aiming for in our drawings- pure honest lines that describe what we are seeing.

10 lr Jeff Ballard

Drawing at speed overrides any critical interference; there’s just no time to think. Years of studying anatomy – first in formal classes at college, and then from years of working with both nude and clothed models – have given me an awareness of how the bones and muscles move below the surface to support the outer appearance. This knowledge has become a sort of instinctive identification with the figure. I am always drawing myself in a way. I physically feel the flamenco dancer and the jazz musician in my own body. I can now feel animals and inanimate objects too, which is pretty weird, but I think the drawings are better for it.

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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