The Adventure of the KB Cafe Free Drawing Workshops has Ended!

What an adventure it was!    A wonderful group of people journeyed together into the terra incognita of ART.  We came together for six lessons and worked with laughter and concentration.

BUT the ever fabulous KB Cafe will no longer be open on weekends, and I have too many deadlines looming.  It did take much more time than I had expected because I loved thinking about it and making plans.

  I will cherish the memories.  Stay in touch!

drawing in the KB Cafe

One of the balcony tables full of artists drawing in the KB Cafe during the last Workshop

vegetable drawing at the KB Cafe people shared their fruits and veggies and got to work first with thumbnail drawings and later with larger finished watercolor drawings.

vegetable drawings from free darawing workshop

vegetable drawings from free darawing workshop

We ended the series of free drawing workshops with a celebration of my birthday with a cake by Ruth Grant.

vegetable drawing at the KB Cafe

Marzipan Lill painting marzipan Lightwaves from the cookie shore of Lake Champlain



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Travels To A New Hemisphere ((KB Cafe Free Drawing Lesson #6 )

Not only did Bob Turner go to the Southern Hemisphere to get his drawing’s subject matter, he also went into the Right Hemisphere of his brain to get the job done.   Bob is a retired mechanical engineer, and you can tell he made the brave trip over the Corpus Callosum  into the La-La Land of Artists by the fact that he missed the date by a month. To Right Brainers, such things as proper dates are a “whatever” while a perfectly expressive line is worth spending a day to achieve.

Bob Turner's Machu Picchu drawing

Bob Turner’s Machu Picchu drawing

Bob had never drawn for pleasure before attending the KB Cafe Free Drawing Workshops, and now he seems hooked.  He did this petunia drawing yesterday too. They are both strong and delightful.  The petunia was drawn from life in his garden.  

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Go Figure in the Landscape (KB Cafe Free Drawing lesson #5)

Reference photos popped up on cell phones and appeared as magazine photos and personal snapshots. These pieces were done in about forty five minutes and remained fresh and fun on account of the relaxed atmosphere.

The exercise was to imagine figures into a landscape.  We spend time each week exercising our imagination as well as our drawing skills.

The drawings do have more life in them than the photos, don’t you think? It’s not just that they have figures, it’s the flow of the mark making that brings them to life.

We had 16 paarticiapants in the live class in Vergennes .

Some participate in their own way from afar.  Here is a piece done  by Ann Hayes in Boulder, CO.Ann art It is based on a scene (without figures) that she painted in Redstone Colorado last week.  The graphite stick simplifies the drawing of the rock forms.
As soon as I offered the little watercolor kits and some white gouache, color took over.  I had expected slightly tinted drawings, but the results were more like mini paintings.  More on the method.

 Eleanor Koaler's drawing based on a photo with two figures added. Eleanor Koaler’s drawing with two figures imagined into the piece.

imagining figures in the landscape: Kendra Schpok drawing

Kendra Schpok has baby sea turtles about to go into the water and a distant fisherman on the horizon

Dr Ruth kennedy Grant imagined her her grand daughter mid cart wheel and her son and daughter in law enjoying the view.

Dr Ruth Kennedy Grant imagined her her grand- daughter mid cartwheel and her son and daughter-in-law enjoying the view.

Heather drove up from Benson with her son Eli.  She took an image of a painting and dropped a mysterious figure into it. Heather's "put a figure in a copy of a photo / painting project

Way to go group!  I am so impressed.

homework: make your own name tag!


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Cafe Table Flowers as Models (KB Cafe lesson #4)

Last week’s lesson turned out to be a surprise due to last minute events!  We drew individual flowers plucked from the Cafe bouquets.  We covered  structure,  gesture, and contour.P1160120Jane Barlowe’s quick flower study

Tip for structure:  to connect the stem to the flower head, draw the connection right through the area where it is visually blocked by the petals in order to make sure that the stem connects to the center of the blossom.

 The Natural Way to Draw , first published in 1938, has detailed  descriptions of contour and gesture drawing.  Or search on Google for information  about how to understand and practice these classic exercises.drawing workshop

Our lesson on figure drawing and proportion inspired Janet Seaburg: human proportions in stone by Janet Seaburg While watching her grandchildren on the shores of Lake Champlain, she put together this delightful example showing proportion in much the same way that we showed it in pencil.  She used black matte stones that had washed in from the Adirondack palisades and she glued them to a gray rock.

Each week there are examples like this of how the drawing workshop is inspiring creative hours outside of class.

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Go Figure! (free drawing lesson at the cafe #3)

Welcome to our Drawing Workshop!  All adults and all levels of experience are welcome! P1150954

We will begin with a painting demonstration showing how to insert figures into a landscape painting.  Figures can be used to animate a painting and tell a story or just to add a touch of color.  You can  play with them until they add the right feel.

Following the demo, we will draw a landscape based on a choice of photo references and then we will add invented figures to it.  We will have the opportunity to add watercolor.

As usual, you can stay after and keep working or socialize over lunch.

homework well done

last week:

Here is a photo of the Rena’s finished “homework” which was to fill another pocket sketchbook. She did all 16 little pages.

Human proportions  can be generalized to make generic figures.  We practiced doing this – you can look on google and find numerous videos that show how.  figure drawing proportion video  

workshop participant's figures - just warming up.

workshop participant’s figures – just warming up.

Then the figure can be moved and you can start to learn to visualize various poses. figure drawing on mini packet sketchbook We practiced drawing a live model and posing ourselves to feel the pose from within.  We covered gesture.  The final project was creating a little landscape and adding three figures to it.  The results were amazing.

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Success for All at the First Free Live Drawing Workshop (KB Cafe Lesson #2)

Well, that was fun!

July 9 – 11:30 to 1 pm.  Always free.  All adults welcome:
  This week we’ll do a different fold to get a bigger surface and then we’ll get some  instruction on human proportions so that we can slip little figures into our drawings.  You’ll get all kinds of tips on animating drawings free drawing workshop #1 KB Cafewith people.

Stick figures are cool, but even Mr. Stick can  take on life if he has a bit of movement and good proportions.  Let’s get our sticks dancing.

After that, we’ll move on to  composition.

I’ll keep the energy flowing by watching closely and changing things up whenever our energy sags.    See you soon.

Last weeks report: We folded our pocket sketchbooks and got right to work filling them. Everyone filled 10 pages and practiced everything from drawing their favorite childhood pet to sketching the live moving model.

Mike Kennedy has already delivered a stack of drawing boards so that even more people can comfortably work on the balcony.  Come early  to snag the best seats.

Friendships were started.  Skills were built.  This will continue to just get better and better.  Many people stayed after and had lunch with the others in the group.

I have all kinds of ideas to enhance our group – Next week I’ll get a big board so that we can pin up our drawings and share what we’ve  drawn during the week as well as what we are working on during the lesson.  I’m going to get more art books to leave out in the cafe all week.  You’ll be able to come in any time and study them.

Out of towners:  You can set the same time period aside and imagine you are here. Get a group together.  Streaming has been suggested.  Send me photos of your work and I can post it.  This could be YOU Ilene, Libby, or Margaret!  It could be your shtik to send me your Sticks. figure drawing proportion video  shows some info on proportion – or go to youtube and look around  – SO many videos are available.


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Weekly Art Lesson Reborn LIVE (KB Cafe Lesson #1)

 FREE Drawing Workshops (The Drawing Sanctuary)Saturdays from 11:30-1  held on the beautiful balcony of the KB Cafe in Vergennes, VT.reception for Vergennes Partnership on the the Balcony at the KB Cafe

Fearless Sketching:

How to Court your Muse in Ten Minutes a Day

  • Spend time sketching and networking with other art lovers in a relaxed setting.
  • The exercises are loosely drawn (pun intended) from my little sketchbook at the Brooklyn Art Library.
  •   I’ll provide all Materials for this lesson,
  • We will learn to make a pocket sketchbook  (click the link to see a video showing how to do it) from a single sheet of paper and then we will fill it!  
  • Intention: that you have fun in a no pressure situation and become inspired to integrate the pleasure of drawing into your routine of living. And, yes, if you are also a painter, it does help your painting.
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Three Powerful Benefits of Photographing Your Art Throughout the Creative Process (Online art lesson # 79)

It’s so easy to take good photos of your paintings.  We snap away with digital cameras and edit on our computers.  We know immediately if we “got it” or not.

Margaret Bobb "Ballet de Fleur" series - acrylic - Alium stage #9

Margaret Bobb – acrylic – Alium; final stage.  “Ballet des Fleurs” series. You’ll love seeing the stages that led up to this. (below)

It used to be that artist’s took slides and bracketed to help insure proper exposure.  We were always reluctant to bracket because of limited budgets.  Then we used silver tape and framed out each slide by hand because it was rare that a piece was the same proportion as the slide frame. And when you sent those slides to someone, they were gone – often forever.  It used to be tedious, but now it is almost effortless to photograph paintings in progress, and the benefits can be far reaching…

1. If your painting comes out well, you can use the photos of the stages to create a lecture, demo, or article.

2. If your work seems to have “gone downhill”, you can refer to a photo of an earlier state, figure out what it was that gave it that special something,  and get ideas about how to recreate that quality.  Often when you try that special something again, you can come back to it at a higher level than before.  If you are about to make a risky move on your piece, take a photo first.  This has proven an invaluable tip to many of my students.

3.  Re-visiting the stages can be fascinating and informative, especially if your process has lots of surprise twists or reductions.  In the 1930s Matisse hired a photographer to document his progress on certain paintings and these photos  have been educating and delighting viewers ever since.  If you get a chance, see the  show at the Metropolitan Museum in NYC .  “Matisse embraced the opportunity to put his process on display and in so doing, dispelled the notion that he worked spontaneously.”

If you can’t get to New York, you can study benefit #3 by looking at the stages below by Margaret Bobb, a regular at the Oasis .  She started with a plein air painting in my garden last spring and then let it change as her inner voice encouraged.
the alium in the garden - the painting was started en plein air

Margaret Bobb - acrylic, Alium, stage #1

Margaret Bobb – acrylic, Alium, stage #1

Margaret is currently showing this and other pieces in the “Ballet des Fleurs” series at  Answers to Health  (720) 340-4435

Margaret’s website

Margaret Bobb - acrylic, Alium, stage #2

Margaret Bobb – acrylic, Alium, stage #2

Margaret Bobb - acrylic, Alium, stage #3

Margaret Bobb – acrylic, Alium, stage #3


Margaret Bobb - acrylic, flower stage

Margaret Bobb – acrylic, flower stage 4

As always, click on any photo to enlarge it.


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Take a Look at Why the Lessons Haven’t Come Regularly

I’ve been scrambling to keep up with painting and studio lessons – why?  Much to our shock, …

We bought the family business, Kennedy Brothers   We put everything into it, and I’ve been a bit too shell shocked to keep up the Weekly Art Lessons!

Kennedy Brothers in Vergennes, VT

Kennedy Brothers in Vergennes, VT

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Flowing into the New Year (Online art lesson #78)

Best Wishes for a New Year filled with Positive Creativity!

Joy to the world, detail silk scarf painting, Lillian Kennedy

Have a Joyous New Year!      Detail of silk scarf painting by Lillian Kennedy

Learning to “go with the flow” is one of the essentials of the creative life. Going with the flow doesn’t mean being passive, it means accepting what IS (not what you expected or what you think “should” be).  Learning to maneuver in shifting currents will keep you from capsizing and you’ll have a much better time navigating the river of life. Continue reading

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