Looking Classes

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UPDATE 12TH APRIL 2021

I’ve been advised that the Armoury Hall will not be available until late May at the earliest, so have been thinking about how we can get going with drawing both online and off and stay within the ‘rules’ and keep everyone safe. So we can start drawing together asap, I’m suggesting we meet.


Firstly – I ask you to subscribe to my mailing list so I can keep everyone up to speed and no-one falls through the net. It needs to be GDPR compliant, so if you could click here and subscribe that will be a great help. I will update on the website and on Facebook too – but subscribing will be essential to be kept up to date. 

When you have subscribed you will be sent a link to attend an intro session, see next item.

Invitation to meet online – FREE – so we can all say hello and have a chat about what people would like to learn, and at what level, I am going to host an introduction session on GoogleMeet on Tuesday 20th April at 12 noon for one hour. Googlemeet is like Zoom but simpler really. 

Prepare – because after the intro you are welcome to join in on a live drawing session! Bring along a piece of paper or sketchpad and a pencil or pen to draw with. Once we’ve all had a chat about things we’ll have 20 minutes to do a sketch. I will pose for you! (clothed )

All you have to do is click, or copy and paste, the GoogleMeet link I send you when you have subscribed – and follow the instructions – I will be there waiting for you.GoogleMeet  is simple and free. For future online classes I will pay to subscribe for Zoom – which has more bells and whistles.


At that meeting – we will introduce ourselves briefly and I’ll ask some specific questions and make a few notes. I’d like to know more about whether or not you have experience, what sort of thing you like. I will also run some ideas past you for drawing sessions – from drop-in online sessions to outdoor groups – you tell me what you would enjoy.


Then you will all draw together at the same time – Don’t worry, it can be private – or you can share with the group. No pressure. You can turn your video off while you draw if you prefer. (I’ll talk you through how to do that).  I’ll play some music and when the music stops you stop drawing. All a bit of fun, nothing to worry about. If you can share the drawings with me by taking a photo of it with your name on, I can get some idea of where you are at. A few people have said they would like a beginners class and I plan to schedule online and offline activities that can support everyone in some way. Some will be for beginners and others more advanced – and some suitable for all.

And another thing – because young people are having such a grim time with their education I thought it would be great to make some places available for them to join in – to help them with their school exams in art. If you know anyone that fits that bill (school age only) tell them to subscribe too!

Cant wait to meet you!

Spring 2021

WHY ARE THE DATES NOT SET YET?

Because of social distancing and compliance with the ‘rules’. This must be taken very seriously and the classes will only take place when they are allowed to do so. Tables will be spaced appropriately away from each other and the class size will probably need to be quite small. If we fix a potential date but then can’t run, I will notify you and offer an alternative outdoor scenario – if that is rule-compliant at the time. I’d be grateful if you would be understanding if this happens, and only request a refund if you are unable to do an alternative date. Having to be flexible creates far more work in planning and rescheduling, so I hope to not be in that position.

WHY LOOKING CLASS?

I teach observational drawing, sometimes in a non-traditional way. So it is open to all who have a curious approach to drawing, are happy to experiment and explore new ways of seeing and recording.

I call my drawing classes ‘looking classes’ because that is what we do when we learn to draw. It also makes reference to a looking glass, as in a mirror. It is about finding the right way for you to express how you see the world.

IS IT SUITABLE FOR BEGINNERS?

I’ve been asked whether my classes are suitable for beginners. As long as you come with an open mind as to what drawing can be and prepared to relax and explore, you’ll be fine. We’re not seeking perfection, we’re developing our personal visual language. It may not be suitable for those who wish to complete a perfect picture for framing (though you may well find you do!). There are some great classes out there to learn that way and lots of online videos.

It is likely that if you have done some formal art education, or are an experienced artist, you will find the classes liberating. We will do things that involve letting go of expectation and being prepared to explore new ways of working.

DO I NEED TO SPEND A LOT ON BUYING SPECIALIST MATERIALS?

No, better to have a small range of good quality materials than a large range of cheap stuff. I’d recommend charcoal, putty rubber, soft pencils (at least 2B), maybe some black ink and a soft brush, chalks etc. Due to the space we use, dry materials are preferable to avoid spills and stains. But anything is possible.

I will have a supply of charcoal and chalk for people to try before they decide to buy anything. When it comes to paper I recommend that you use A3 at the smallest, but preferably have a range of sizes. Again, I can supply some things like A1 cartridge at cost price. If you want to work wet, you’ll need suitable watercolour paper.

You will be given a programme in advance for each workshop outlining the materials you will need and flagging up things I can supply.

FOR DAY COURSES SHOULD I BRING A PACKED LUNCH?

Yes, please do. You can have access to a microwave/cutlery/plates etc. in the building. Or even easier, pop to Shop at the Ship to buy something fresh and quick there.

HOW MUCH WILL IT COST?

I’m afraid until I know how many people we can have, and the price of a space, I cannot yet confirm the cost. The full day workshops will run from 10am – 3pm with an hour for lunch (bring your own).

FEEDBACK FROM 2018 COURSE

“It is very satisfying to be able to try different materials, techniques, scales, and I enjoy exploring. I have no formal training in drawing and want to learn to observe.”

“Had a great day in Newnham being taught how to draw by Carolyn Black. As someone who hasn’t drawn anything since art classes in school I’m feeling pretty accomplished. Really pleased to have gained enough confidence to keep practicing.
Thank you, Carolyn 😁😁

“This was a class led very professionally by and with huge support from Carolyn Black. Thanks C, I really enjoyed getting back some me-time and some drawing in.

Cane drawing – a technique used by Matisse

TEACHING EXPERIENCE

I have an MA in Fine Art, Post Grad Diploma in printmaking and a BA Hons in Fine Art.

I taught adult education for several years (have FAETC qualification) and GNVQ’s at Filton College. I work as a curator/producer and arts consultant, and occasionally mentor artists too.

I continue to develop my own practice, which, as this website shows, is mostly about the River Severn.

4 thoughts on “Looking Classes

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