Wednesday Challenge

Throughout these difficult times, I thought you might like some fresh ideas to keep you going with your painting and drawing.

So here are some ideas.

I would love to see some of the Challenge results.

Please email a photo to me, and they can go into the gallery:

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4. Shadow Play

Have you noticed the lovely clear blue sky lately? (I wonder why that might be?)

Bright sun means lovely shadows, and shadows give us endless fascinating patterns, shapes and colours to paint or draw.

Don’t be fooled into just drawing a silhouette, see how the colours, tones and edge qualities change throughout the shadow.

You can set up your own shadow show, or search out ‘wild’ ones. Look for unusual ones, perhaps you could make a collection of ‘puzzle shadows’.


*See what happens to the shape of the shadow when it crosses an uneven surface.

*What colour are your shadows? If you can’t be sure, you can see it better by isolating the colour, ie viewing it through a tiny, tiny viewfinder, which blocks out surrounding colours.

*How does the colour change when it falls on different coloured backgrounds?

*Check the tone (how light or dark it is) compared to the background and the actual object.

*Is the shadow crisp and sharp edged or soft and fuzzy, as you would get, for instance, from the gentle, moving ‘wild’ shadows under a tree?


Here are a few shadows I found:

3. What colour?

For this week’s challenge, have a go at some colour matching and mixing.

Collect several objects of the same colour. I suggest you don’t chose a primary colour, so look for either green, orange, brown or grey. Violet/mauve is rather difficult with the usual selection of paints, but have a go if you like.

Arrange your objects to draw, or take each item individually, then try really hard to mix the exact colour. You will probably need to use a different selection of paints for each item, so you will need to experiment with the mixes on a spare sheet of paper.

You can use paints, coloured pencils, coloured pens or even pastels, whatever you like, or have fun and mix your mediums up, but get as close to each individual colour as possible.

Try it with as many different colours as you like. 

2. House Safari

You may think you have nothing to draw in your house, but you will find that there are some surprisingly pleasing still life images to find if you just look in a different way.

Most of my students will, at some time, have received a viewfinder from me. If you haven't got one, it is just a piece of paper or card with a hole cut out, in the same shape and proportion as the paper you will be working on. 

Now go exploring!Walk around your home, looking only through the viewfinder. Look in all the corners and unlikely places. Little 'surprise' still-lifes are all around, and just need to be seen with a fresh eye. Keep your camera in the other hand to snap whenever you see something.

Another way of doing it it is to walk around just viewing through your phone or iPad viewfinder. Or you can use a small hand mirror, to look behind you as you walk. (Don't fall over!)

Here are a few I found in a 5 minute house safari.

1. Squaring up the view from your window.

Use masking tape (yes- it will come off!) to divide up the window into a grid. Depending on the size and how complicated the view, you could use more lines, and make more grid boxes.

Then draw similar grid lines on your paper. You should make sure you use the same proportions, that is, if you have squares on the window, you have squares on the paper, or if the rectangle proportion on the window is 2:1, make it the same on your paper. You must end up with the same number of boxes. Try to be as accurate as possible.

Now it is now much easier to copy accurately from the window view to the paper. Copy the contents of each box carefully.

I would love to see your results. If you have a go, email me a photo and I'll start a new gallery to display your pictures.

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