I have always felt that I couldn’t draw if my life depended on it and that this would never change. I have had times when I felt I made some progress over the years. When I was working with a fashion design lecturer from Edinburgh College of Art as part of my South of Scotland Visual Arts Award, I felt I had made some inroads.
Despite the odd progress I always lacked confidence, was dreading every project and definitely neither enjoyed the process nor the results.
As an artist I would like nothing more than to be able to have some fab drawings in my sketch books, which are full of notes and mood boards, no sign of sketches.
I blame the art teacher I had at school and his strict ‘lessons’. My only memory of the time are fearful hours spent drawing a huge cactus. There were thousands of thorns to be drawn and I don’t think I ever managed to finish the blasted thing. What a nightmare…
So, things changed dramatically when I was on Lanzarote again a few weeks ago. I re-visited the studio of Dutch artist Inge Koetzier Van Hooff in Teguise and spoke to her about individual drawing lessons. Fortunately I managed to get to her studio for a few lessons despite the horrendous rains and floods on the island.
When I saw Inge’s work first this summer, I immediately liked the style of her work and enjoyed talking to her. So, it felt like a no-brainer to re-visit, to see more of her drawings and to learn from this talented artist.
Teguise is one of my favourite towns on Lanzarote anyway, it has many nice cafes, restaurants, galleries, shops and is the home to the widely popular Sunday Market.
Working with Inge has given me a lot of confidence but there is more to it:
I enjoyed myself AND I liked what I drew! This has never happened before. In addition I finally feel like I understand some of the things other artists mean when they talk about things like ‘warming up’ and ‘exploring a subject’. Things that are taken for granted by others have finally fallen into place for me.
Inge suggested I work with charcoal or a huge piece of graphite on approximately A2 sized paper. Until recently I didn’t even create my paper sculptures and books bigger than A4! I would have thought that working with charcoal would also go against the grain: I don’t like getting my hands dirty! Imagine my surprise when I took to it all like a duck to water!
Suddenly I enjoyed drawing which started to feel like playing on paper. It had developed away from being a dreaded and much judged (by myself) activity. Inge’s teaching helped improve my technique and my way of observation: how to look, how to take my time, how to hold the charcoal, where to put the easel, how to work with big subjects, how to approach a subject, …, the list goes on.
In addition to all of the above it was a pleasure spending time with Inge, not only because she is a knowledgeable and patient teacher but because of her easy going personality. Hope we will keep in touch.
There are photos of the Lanzarote Cactus Garden in my Blurb book ‘Jardin de Cactus’ on http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/2929423-jardin-de-cactus