Tag Archives: conté

Art is a Messy Business! by Liz Saunders

Today I walked into class late (they would reduce the Woodbine bridge to 1 lane in the direction I was going on today of all days) and was extremely pleased to see that Reissa had joined us!   Yay!  And she did really well for her first day, although much like Elizabeth and I on our first day, she didn’t think so.  She’s wrong and I’m not afraid to say so.

Today was very messy.  Kathy had prepared a page of paper for Elizabeth and me that was covered in charcoal.  Then we had to do the opposite of what we did before (conté on construction paper) – we had to erase the charcoal for our contrast!  And not an easy thing – the watering can with leaves wrapped around it.  Well, I wasn’t thrilled with the outcome, but it is what it is.

charcoal watering can and plant







Next we got to play with ink!  I had been looking forward to ink but not really sure I’m happy with this either.  And the problem with ink is that you can’t erase it, so again, it is what it is.Leaf in ink





On Sunday I ordered myself some watercolour coloured pencils because Kathy had told us that if you’re going to work with coloured pencils, these are the best – just as pencils – but have the flexibility of being water colours as well.  So, hoping they might arrive today, I drove the three students over to DeSerres and I picked up a selection of brushes.

first brushes

Then to my delight, my pencils arrived this afternoon!  Only thing is…Kathy hasn’t taught us colour yet and I forgot about watercolour paper.

New pencils

So, this week’s experimentation will be very messy at home too! But what the heck, the one thing I’ve learned is that you can’t really do anything wrong in art – especially since if I try some watercolour pencil fruit – I can eat the evidence!


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Terrified Beginner No Longer – part 2 by Liz Saunders

And as promised – my homework:

still life at home

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Terrified Beginner no longer! by Liz Saunders

I can no longer be considered a terrified beginner, a beginner, definitely, but not so terrified.

However, I think every class is going to have its own challenges and therefore terrors.  This week we finished, or mostly finished, our “ribbons” of the week before.  This was an exercise in shading and shadows.


Then it was time to move on to using conté on construction paper.  The idea was to use black conté for the shadows, white conté for the highlights and the colour of the construction paper for the medium tones.  I was going to do the still life, but Kathy seemed so disappointed that we were both going to do the still life, I thought, what the hell, you’re terrified of trying the other option – GO FOR IT!

But can you tell what it is?

first conte

As we were wrapping up the class, a young woman walked in who is a potential new “terrified beginner” and we chatted.   I think her name is Reesa and I really hope she joins us next week – she won’t be terrified for long.   There’s no doubt in my mind that our wonderful teacher, Kathy will put her at ease as quickly as she did me.

But I digress.

Now, I’m determined.  On the way home I stopped at the dollar store and picked up not only construction paper, but also some newsprint.  Daughter Olivia lent me some coloured conté and chalk and I just hope I can find some black and white in there to give a still life, of my own creation, a try.  If not, I’ll improvise.

And speaking of creating my own still life, Kathy even taught us how to go about doing that!  One of the neatest things she said was “have you ever looked at a piece of art and felt that to see it properly you had to tilt your head?  It’s because it’s not balanced”.  So not only am I going to try again with the conté, I’m going to try the creation process from nothing to finished.

Wish me luck!




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