On Saturday I went to a workshop at Green Hill Arts with artist Peter Stiles.   Green Hill Arts has been successful in securing funding from Arts Council England to support an eighteen month programme to help the professional development of artists, and the development and delivery of a programme of activities from Green Hill with the particular aim to engage with hard to reach residents, particularly the younger and older generation, in the community.

This workshop  offered a series of 1:1 diagnostic sessions to look at people’s work and  to discuss development of practice and working in the community. Running alongside these 1:1 sessions was an all day group workshop based upon copying.

“Great artists have always copied. Not only drawing from old masters (Michelangelo copying Giotto’s frescoes) but sometimes making full scale painted copies (Rubens copying Titian)

This activity provides a means of analysing an image and committing it to memory in a way that no other process can match. Not only that, but that process has been the starting point for making new work.”

I live in a small town with a lot of artists and crafts people.  It was great to arrive early and see eight more people arrive, all of whom I know.  There was a felt maker, a performance artist, a painter, a book binder, two drawers, a ceramicist and me, a fibre artist.  Of course, we are all open to exploring other media than our main one(s).

I decided to take a painting by my favourite artist, Marc Chagall.  This is called ‘The Painter:  To the Moon’.


As with drawing an object, when I examined the painting, I could see how it was constructed and in this case, put onto the canvas.  I drew the figure in pencil and after lots of rubbing out and re-drawing, I was happy with the proportions.  Then I got India ink  and a dip pen.  But you know what?  My nib holder is quite bulbous at the end where the nib goes.  I always get ink everywhere when I dip it  into the ink bottle.  I asked my friend Nina (of Nina Fenner Handmade Books) how she stays neat and she lent me her nib holder, which was a lot narrower.  I love drawing with ink and am going to get a new narrow nib holder as soon as I possibly can!  I also took my water soluble crayons and pencils.  Still learning about colour!  I very much hope that a future workshop will be about ‘Colour’.

This is as far as I got and I’ll finish it at home.


I’ll keep you posted with how the community involvement develops too.


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