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  • Helen English Artist

Summer plans!

Where did the year go?! One minute I was packing to leave for England in March, then there was a wild blur and it was November. Now everyone seems to be talking Christmas and 2021!


A lot of things wind up annually for me in mid-December and starts up again in February with gusto. This year looks like it will be no different so I thought I would set myself a plan of attack for the summer. Of course l will be taking a bit of a break but there’s nothing like a creative summer project. There’s limited time and so setting fun weekly plans seems to light the fire.


This year I was thinking about what I would do to extend my current practice. Having written about my process a couple of weeks ago, I thought about what I would do given the choice when I receive a commission, and the answer would definitely be to sketch as well as taking photos when the opportunity is there. Obviously, there are times when this wouldn’t be possible – the commission comes from a distance or the subject doesn’t know about the work – but when it is I would like to incorporate this into my practice.


The problem with simply changing the way that you work with clients is that they are looking for someone who has experience of every aspect of the process and can talk them through it. Whereas I have done a fair bit of live sketching, it has not been a part of the process I have undertaken in business. So, this summer, I have two or three friends lined up to take up the challenge of being my model. My plan is to get them to meet with me after they have given me instructions of what they want from a portrait. Then I will take photos, which is great for getting consistent light, and talk through which pictures they like and why. After that, I will sketch them and chat for an unspecified period of time.


By doing this, I want to find out how long a sitter is happy to work with me and examine what I get from the sketch/talk process. Hold that thought and I will report back in a couple of months!




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