Create Beautiful Artwork with Ink

Drawing and painting with ink is a time-honoured method: just look to the Chinese and Japanese traditions, where ink has been used for centuries for both painting and writing.

It is an incredibly expressive medium to work with, offering both rich depth of colour and sharp, powerful lines. Here are our top tips to help you make the most of wonderful inks!

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4 Reasons we love Frida Kahlo

“I paint myself because I am so often alone and because I am the subject I know best.”  Frida Kahlo

Born in 1907 in Mexico, Frida Kahlo is an inspiration to many people; for her beautiful and honest artworks and her incredible determination in the face of much adversity.   She once poetically described herself as a “ribbon around a bomb”.  I knew I had an appreciation for her, but after researching for this blog I am blown away by her magic.

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Yaazhini’s Artwork

Written by Miss Hannah Brown, Artist and Teacher for The Independent Art School.

I have been tutoring Yaazhini regularly for almost a year and a half. During this time, Yaazhini has grown in confidence and has produced a vast range of unique artworks using many different materials and techniques.

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How to Paint Realistic Water

If your landscapes are let down by unsophisticated seas or rivers, you are in good company.

Water is one of the most difficult things to render realistically, and even accomplished artists struggle to get it right. This is mostly because it is both translucent and reflective, but also because it is constantly moving. From stormy seas to serene lakes, we’ve put together some of our top tips for making the water in your painting look realistic. Continue reading

Simple Ways to Start Sculpture at Home

Admittedly, sculpture isn’t the easiest art form to practice at home, but you don’t need to start installing a kiln into your kitchen just yet.

There are plenty of at-home ways to practice your modelling skills that don’t require special equipment. Here are our tips for making sculptures at home! Continue reading

Becoming an Artist in Later Life

picasso torch 2More artists than ever are now picking up a paintbrush later in life, and for good reason. Taking up a new artistic hobby later in life is a wonderful thing to do, as it can provide a much-needed sense of achievement and joy to your life.

Clichéd though it sounds, it really is never too late to start, and here we give you some of our top tips for making the second part of your life the most creative part.

1. Chase your second wind!
You can be a wonderful and skilled artist regardless of your age. Henri Matisse was made an invalid aged 71 after an experimental surgery on his colon in 1941, but he still referred to his artistic period during this time as his “second life”. He produced the wonderfully bright cutouts and illustrations – which still mesmerise us today – from his wheelchair. Picasso similarly used a torch and a camera to ‘draw’ onto a wall (see above), as his health and eyesight began to deteriorate.

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How to Draw Hands

Learning to draw can be a daunting task, so we are all in favour of ‘bitesize’ drawing: fitting drawing into your day whenever you can. Hands are notoriously tricky to master (even the great masters struggled!), so a little practice will go a long way in helping you develop your skills in drawing and painting, and even in sculpture. Continue reading

5 Tips for Getting Started with Oil Paints

Oil paints can be amazingly diverse; offering great scope to help create pictures that are wonderfully rich in colour, with beautiful textures.  Yet with all this exciting possibility in mind, we can find ourselves daunted about where to begin.

1. Find a place to paint where you can leave your canvas
‘Patience pays huge dividends when painting with oils. In order to paint with clean, fresh colour you need to stop from time to time and clean the brush… and don’t think that a painting has to be finished in one go’. – Stephen Brown

Your patience will be rewarded by the enjoyment of taking your time over a painting.  No rushing, pausing for a day to come back to it can really open your mind to seeing new things in your painting!  Make sure you have a space with good light, that you will be able to leave your painting to dry, and that you can return to regularly.

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How to Find Your Own Artistic Style

picassoA Picasso painting always looks like a Picasso painting, and a Degas painting always looks like a Degas… Great artists have a very distinctive personal style, a combination of subject matter, medium and technique, which makes their artworks striking and recognisable.

Artists are always keen to develop their own personal artistic style, and it is a great way to gain confidence in your own practice. Here are our tips to get you started!

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Getting to Grips with Negative Space

Observational drawing is as much about what you don’t see as it is about what you can see. Mastering the art of drawing negative space will give your drawings a real sense of depth and volume because it helps to show the relationship between objects, and avoid pitfalls like outlining your objects which can make your finished picture look flat and lifeless.

A good understanding of negative space will enrich your drawing skills tremendously, which will in term benefit your painting and even sculpting. If you have a spare hour, try sitting down with a sketchpad and an object and drawing the negative space!

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How to Use Pastels Like a Pro

Pastels can be an artist’s fickle friend. Used correctly, they yield beautiful results, with both vivid colour and soft, muted tones to create a rich and warm picture. However, they can be tricky to use and if used incorrectly, your pastel drawing will end up more ‘muddy’ than Monet, which can be highly frustrating. Here is our guide to getting the most out of your pastels.

1.  Choose your pastels and paper wisely!
Although you can buy pastels individually, most artists start off with a set of 12 or so, which is a good place to start. You can always add to your collection as you develop your pastel skills!

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How to Paint the Sky using Watercolours

painting_the_sky_by_juandii-d4os8k5Spring is quickly on its way and with its arrival comes those beautiful blue skies we’ve been missing since the autumn. Those pale pink morning skies, warm yellow sunsets and mid-morning clear blue skies are wonderful inspiration for artists- if only it were possible to recreate what you can see!

Well, we’ve come up with our top tips for getting to grips with painting the sky. Watercolour is a really great medium for painting the sky, because you can vary the intensity of the paint and layer the colour to build up the strength. Have a go yourself today, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes: experiment and see what works for you!

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Simple Tricks to Improve Your Portraits

jonathan_silver_97When you feel inspired to create a unique portrait that captures the essence of your subject, it really helps if you have a few techniques to guide you.  Whether you might like to paint, photograph, collage, sculpt or draw it helps to immerse yourself in simple light sketches as a place to start.

Although every face is of course different, and our faces change as we age, there are some rough proportions that you can use as a guideline to help you create more realistic portraits. It also gives a great guide if you are feeling nervous about trying a portrait!

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Nervous? How to Bite the Bullet & Try an Art Class

Life Drawing ClassWe frequently hear from would-be students who are interested in bringing more art into their lives, but are unsure where to start. Joining an art class can seem very intimidating, especially if you don’t have a lot of experience and it can be difficult deciding which class to take.

If you’re trying to decide whether an art class is right for you, here are our top tips for taking those first important steps!

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4 Reasons to be Inspired by Louise Bourgeois

Artist Louise Bourgeois in her Brooklyn studioLouise Bourgeois was born in Paris in 1911, the daughter of an antique tapestry dealer. She died in 2010 in New York, leaving behind an enormous amount of work in every kind of medium- sculpture, installations, painting, mosaic- which has changed the path of contemporary art and inspired some of our most successful artists.

Here are some reasons we can all take inspiration from such a brave and endlessly adventurous artist like Louise Bourgeois!

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My Top 4 Techniques for Boosting Inspiration

‘What we are doing by making art is creating nesting places’ – Hyland Moon (2002)

inspiredThis article is for your whimsical thoughts, dreams and aspirations:  For generating ideas for a project, a new idea, developing a new technique. Finding inspiration is the beginning of your artist journey, or a wonderful refresher!

My studies in Art Psychotherapy have helped my approach to my art practice immensely; it has taught me to be patient and really think about what pleases me to make, rather than other people’s critique.  This is a winning formulation for the early stages of developing an idea and finding inspiration.

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4 Tips to Get The Most Out of a Life Drawing Class

No matter where you are in your artistic career, going back to basics and drawing the human form is a remarkable tool. It is both humbling and enriching, and can be used both for sharpening your observation skills and for getting new ideas and inspiration.

If you find drawing from life frustrating, you are not alone! Even the most experienced artists still struggle with life drawing. However, there are some hints and tips you can try using to get the most out of your class.

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Getting Inspired at an Art Gallery

Going to a gallery can be the most motivating and inspiring activity! Even if you are not an artist it still feels great to add some colour to a rainy January afternoon.

I recently acted as an assistant for The Independent Art School’s trip to ‘The National Portrait Gallery’ as part of our ‘Art on Location’ series. It was a great excuse to visit one of my favourite galleries and learn about the art whilst developing some of my sketches!

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