Friday 24 November 2023

Tonal Drawing #3: The Tree

 Goodness! Can you believe that 2023 is nearly over? This year seems to have flown past at an alarming rate. As has done this final term of drawing classes. As we round up the year, our final tonal drawing was of a tree done in graphite pencil. 

Once again, the brief was to concentrate on the tonal masses, and avoid too much line or outlining. Line was to be used as an enhancement to the tonal areas. To begin, 4 single dots were used to indicate the height and the width of the subject on the page. Then, very lightly, a simple structure line was used to establish the form. Students were encouraged not to fuss too much over this step and erasers positively banned! Every mark deserves to live!

Derwent sketching pencils used in this demonstration.

Starting with the 4B Derwent sketching pencils and working across the page the darkest areas of tone were indicated, remembering to think of mass, not detail. For the bulk of the tonal areas I used the 2B pencil. It is important when drawing like this to not get bogged down in trying to draw each individual leaf - that is the way to madness.  I used a soft, brush like motion with my pencils to build up the areas of mass. When required, the HB Derwent was used to blend tones together. I didn't use a paper stump but used the HB as my blending tool. If required, I used a kneadable eraser to 'lift' out any areas that were too dense in tone.

Progression, about 2 hours in. Note the very light lines indicating the extremities of the drawing. This was drawn in an A3 size, 300gsm Waterfords Hot Press paper.

I worked on this drawing primarily during the class times so students could observe how it progressed and I could demonstrate the technique and the result. I chose not to have any background in this instance as the tree is focus as a spot image. Additional darks and branches were added as required with a Staedtler Mars 6B pencil. A soft, shadowed grassy base was used to 'ground' the tree.

I am reasonably pleased with the result but doubt it will get framed. Just another one in the folio of unframed works available for sale.

The completed work. About 4 hours or so.
'California Blue Oak' by Linda Weil © 2023

As this year draws to a close, note that bookings for my 2024 classes at the Victorian Artists Society VAS and the Mentone Mordialloc Art Group MMAG open soon. Register early to avoid disappointment. First term will be 'Cute Critters', drawings of all things small, cute and furry.

Friday 27 October 2023

Tonal Drawing #2: Macro

Continuing with our tonal exploration, this week I introduced the students to Macro drawing; to take a small area of a subject and enlarge it up, concentrating on the small details and tonal variations. Our subject once again was a capsicum. This is such a great subject to draw as you can really explore the tones and shine of the flesh, and the darks and lights of the interior.

To begin use a viewfinder to zero in on the chosen area of our capsicum. I managed to find some very old 35mm slide mounts (old school!), but you could easily create your own viewfinder with a cardboard cutout. 

Zero in your chosen area.

As a backup to your viewfinder, you can also take a snap on your phone or camera and then crop it accordingly in one of the photo apps. However, I don't recommend relying on this photo for your tonal work as you can lose a lot of detail and variation in a photo. Use it as a backup to check shapes against the actual capsicum.

Phone photo crop of chosen area.

Plan your work. Using an area of around A4 size on an A3 sheet of 300gsm Hot Press paper, very lightly sketch out a general shape. Don't press too hard. Remember, you don't want heavy outlines, just a guide to build your tones up to.

Once you have mapped out a general shape, concentrate first on the darkest tonal areas you see. It is important to establish your 'black' first, and then adjust all your tonal range to that dark point. Once you have done this, start to gradually build up the tones outward from this point.

1. Progress: Dark tones established first. Shapes of seeds are created by negative drawing around each seed - the black makes the white shape. This work is all done with the Prismacolor Ebony pencil on Fabriano Artistico 300gsm Hot Press Paper, A4 size on A3 sheet.

As you work, you will probably find that your shape grows and changes somewhat. Don't worry too much about this as no one is ever going to see your actual reference subject. As long as it creates the impression of a capsicum you are doing well! This is also why your initial general shape lines need to be light and indeterminate - the shape may change and flow and if you had a hard black line it restricts you too much. Avoid creating 'wormy' lines of tones too. Build up and out in a circular way, not snakes or worms.

2. Continuing progress: If you wish to try a paper stump to smooth out areas of tone, be careful not to blend out too much. You may need to go back over the blended areas with more pencil to reestablish darks and depth of tone. But one good thing about using a stump, once it is nicely dirty you can 'paint' and transfer graphite to other areas to form light tones, as seen here in the white core area. Also, the smudges in the center near where the seeds rest.

This work took me about 2.5 hours to complete. I decided to add a black border to it to help encase the image and form an nicer composition. But you don't need to do this unless you like the effect. All the tonal work was created with the Prismacolor Ebony pencil, until the very end when I used a Staedtler Mars 2mm clutch HB pencil to add some over drawing and hatching work here and there. The drawing was fixed with Windsor Newton Matt Fixative.

The Macro Capsicum by Linda Weil © 2023

Monday 23 October 2023

Upcoming events

 Well, 'Bestiary Mechanica' wound up on Saturday evening - sad to see it close, as it was a great show and I like to think some of my best works to date - but thank you to all who came to view the works. And buy! If you did come in and are thinking of buying, or else couldn't find time to get there, you can still view or purchase unsold works on the Tacit website HERE.

But now that that is finished, what is next? Well, no rest for the wicked - here are three opportunities I am involved in coming up for you - all based in the beautiful Victorian Artist Society buildings, East Melbourne.

First is the ASMA/VAS Maritime exhibition, come dip your toes into some briny art! I have 3 works showing - two for ASMA and one for VAS.

Second is the David Heffernan Drawing Exhibition - this is kind of a biggie. I have one work showing for this exhibition.

And finally, do you have a young adult 16 - 20 years who is doing art or creative practices at school? VAS is offering one day workshops all summer featuring different art mediums to this group. Usually, classes have an age barrier of 18 and above, so this is a great opportunity for the aspiring young practitioner to learn some vital skills from some of Australia's top contemporary artists.

All information and links are below:


ASMA National Exhibition 2023

Opening night Wednesday, October 28, 2pm


VAS Edward Heffernan Drawing Exhibition 2023

27 Oct - 6 Nov, 2023
Victorian Artist Society Galleries
Cato Gallery and Mackley Members Room
430 Albert Street East Melbourne

Opening Event and Awards Presentation, Tuesday 31 Oct at 7pm



Young Artists Workshop - JUST GRAPHITE!

VAS is offering workshops intended for artists aged 15-20 and have been developed with Art Creative Practice or Art Making and Exhibiting VCE subjects or Tertiary Fine Arts courses in mind. Each workshop includes lunch. Materials will be provided for class, but you are welcome to bring your own if you have them. See the information link below for additional information and other classes on offer.

Thursday, 18 Jan, 2024, 11:00am to 4.30pm
VAS Gallery


Thursday 12 October 2023

Tonal drawing #1 with Prismacolor Ebony 14420 pencil (review)

 I recently found a Prismacolor Ebony 14420 at the Rossdale warehouse outlet here in Cheltenham, and I thought I would give it a try. The blurb on the Prismacolor website states:

"Draw penetrating details, stirring shadows and sultry highlights with Prismacolor Graphite Drawing Pencils. The jet-black lead means advanced portrait artists and skilled amateurs alike will have the tools necessary to create piercing marks and outlines. Each ebony pencil features leads with superior smoothness that are effortlessly supple yet strong enough to sharpen to a fine point. Bring precision, intensity and depth to your craft with Prismacolor drawing pencils."

Which pretty much says what these pencils are all about, although I would go on to say that they are a very intense graphite, somewhere in the 6B or 8B range. The feel of the pencil when drawing is very creamy rich, velvet smooth with a lovely dark tone. It also draws very lightly if you wish, enabling you to create a full tonal range with a single pencil. In spite of the pencil being in that 6B 'soft' range, it sharpens to a beautiful point and retains that edge for a good 4 strokes or so. The graphite responds well to blending with a paper stump. They layer nicely, but too much pressure and the tone can become shiny quickly. The core isn't 'crunchy' or overly grainy like a traditional 6B but smooth and satisfying.

Anyway, my classes next week will be doing more tonal value work, and our theme is 'three views, three tonal techniques' using a red capsicum as the drawing subject. For these demonstration images I have used three different papers, a single Prismacolor Ebony 14420, a paper stump and a kneadable eraser.

All of the following works were created with just these three tools.

Capsicum, Angle #1: Approximately 1 hour drawing time, creating soft, smooth tonal graduations. Paper is A4 Art Spectrum Toned White paper, 250gsm.

Capsicum, Angle #2: Approximately 45 minutes drawing time, creating tone by using hatching. Drawn in A4 Windsor Newton Visual diary, 210gsm.

Capsicum, Angle #3: Approximately 1 hour, creating tone with abstracted, tonal blocks - using 4 tonal values only, plus paper white. Paper is A4, Art Spectrum Watercolor pad, 300gsm.

As you see, you can achieve a wide tonal range with this single pencil. That makes it a great travelling companion! But also, the dark intensity you can achieve with it means it is fabulous for negative drawing of the darks. The pencil is not overly expensive, around $3AUS in most art shops - but I got mine for a mere $1 at Rossdale! However, don't all rush there to buy one there, as I went back this morning and purchased all their leftover stock of some 28 pencils... not for me, but for my students next week as an early Christmas gift. I know they will enjoy playing with this pencil as much as I have!


And just a reminder - I will be at Tacit Gallery this coming Sunday for a Meet and Greet session. Please come along and have a look at the art, stay for a chat!

Friday 6 October 2023

Bestiary is now showing!

 Thank you to all you beautiful people who came to the opening of 'Bestiary Mechanica' on Wednesday night - it got very crowded! There was a good overflow from Cat Poljski's 'Hidden Spaces' in the main gallery to the rear room gallery where my works are on display. My visitors had to bravely thread their way through the crush to see my works. I tried to speak to each of you personally on the night, but if I missed you in the crowd, please know how much I appreciate you coming out on a wild and rainy night to see my artworks on display. 

I popped into Tacit yesterday and took a few shots to show the exhibition display (without crowds) for all my interstate and overseas readers to see - those in Victoria still have time to come until October 21 to visit in person.

Wall 1 & 2

Wall 1

Wall 3 & 2

As well as the new, framed works in this exhibition, Tacit has put out a selection of my unframed pieces for sale as well as small, framed works in the 'MechEgg' series. On this table you will also find my ideas sketchbook. This sketchbook is filled with initial ideas, thoughts and notes showing the development of the concepts before the final work. You can examine it and see all my thoughts and things that didn't make the cut.

Display table

Display table featuring Newt, the gallery dog.
Also, a peak into the smallest gallery to the right showing just a glimpse of one of Tim Bateson's wonderful 'Two of Us' works.

And a big thank you to Anne, who gave me a wonderful surprise on the night by purchasing 'Corvus'.

I encourage you to come in to see the exhibition if you can - honestly, photos don't show the level of detail or tonal/hue variations well. No need to purchase (although that would be lovely), you can browse my show, and also take in Cat Poljski, Tim Bateson and Brendon Taylor's work as well. And if you like, you can take away a beautiful full color catalogue featuring all the works for a mere $10 at the gallery.

I am always happy to meet people, and if you would like to chat, contact me via the contact box on the right and I will come in. Otherwise, I will be doing a 'meet and greet' session on Sunday, October 15, from 1 - 3pm. Notification will be sent in the next few days if you are on my contact list.

Thanks again for your support - enjoy the exhibition!

Monday 25 September 2023

Inky fingers - Inktense and other inks

 I had a lovely day yesterday with the Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens FOBG; a wonderful group of talented artists who meet every Monday. The session I title 'BotanINK'; so drawing plants and botanical items in ink. Not strictly scientific drawings, more interpretative and free form. The challenge is to draw from a live specimen in ink, with NO initial pencil outline!

I use a specific method to demonstrate and teach this technique. If you would like a full description and step by step instructions, please contact me via the link on the right with your preferred email address and I will send you a pdf of the worksheet for this class.

The bare bones is to use four 'dots' to establish the top, bottom and sides of your image, then carefully draw an outline of the shape only using black ink and connect (maybe) those four dots. Once your outline is established, you infill the negative spaces and join shapes to create more defined leaves and stems. Finally, you can add detail using hatching, crosshatching, dots, sketchy lines, etc. It is challenging, but really rather fun. Each artist was given a sprig of Eucalyptus Baby Blue to draw using this technique. 

Previous Eucalyptus Baby Blue demonstration: RBGCranbourne 2023. This was repeated at Ballarat, and the final result with color addition is shown below.

Of course, then can use color inks to follow! There are many types of inks to try, and I brought along a selection to test out with the group. This included Adel and Staedtler color fine liner pens, Art Spectrum Acrylic inks, Sennilier Shellac inks, Inktense pencils, Inktense blocks, Inktense pans, and finally Prismacolor marker pens. Quite a selection!

Just some of the different types of inks that were available to try!

And of course, I did a few small demonstrations of different ways to use these inks and how they could work alongside and with the black line drawing.

Demonstration showing how different color inks work as tints, lines, and blocks of color. Each little demo took no more than 5 minutes.

To further show how color can be added to black ink drawing, I used my earlier demonstration from that morning of the Eucalyptus Baby Blue and went to town with the marker pens!

Added color with Prismacolor marker pens to black ink demonstration drawing. The black in drawing was done using Staedtler Mars fine liner pens ranging from .05 to .5 nibs. Paper used was Lana Bristol 250gsm.

Each artist then went away and experimented with the different inks using their own reference materials - from live specimens, color photos and digital tablets. They all did some fantastic work and seemed to enjoy the experience!

One artist had as specific problem; how to draw a pinecone? This is my demonstration work I did with her showing how to analyze the cone structure and then draw it with ink washes and fine liner pens (all sepia.) This was done on a Waterfords Cold Press paper, 350gsm.

It was a busy and full day with lots of fun drawing. And afterwards I had a delightful stroll through the gardens, admiring the statuary in the old conservatory, enjoying the colorful spring ranunculus display, and getting all nostalgic down the Sequoia walk. At only 160 years old they are still only youngsters!

Beautiful spring display at Ballarat Botanical Gardens.

Thank you to the Friends for a wonderful day of BotanINK!

Sunday 17 September 2023

Outre Gallery

 Earlier this month I visited the Outre Gallery in Fitzroy to see Alfred Liu's 'Dream Quest' solo exhibition - and was totally blown away by the work! I told my classes about the show, and I know a few of you went to see it and were similarly impressed. If you missed it, you can still see the preview HERE. Make sure to click on the link on that page to see/listen to the interview with Alfred. His work is whimsical and moving, beautifully executed in gouache and pencils. Fairly small scale, with intimate and exacting detail. Do have a look.

Outre will also be having their international VANGUARD exhibition starting September 22 to 15 October. This is another interesting show - a group show of international artists that is interesting and eclectic... to quote from the catalogue:

"OutrĂ© Gallery is proud to announce the VANGUARD Invitational, an exhibition featuring artists who are leading the way in their creative practices and forging ahead in new frontiers. Each artist brings something totally exceptional to the table – from their execution and technique, to their innovation, creative vision and idiosyncratic flair. Many of the artists invited to this show have never exhibited with us before, and we are eager to share their work on Australian soil. We also warmly welcome back artists who have shown with us previously and delight in seeing their newest original work. 

We are so proud of the diversity on display in this veritable feast of international talent. Our artists hail from across the world: from the US to the UK, Japan to France, the Netherlands to Poland – and even here, on our very own shores. The artworks span not only terrestrial scope, but breadth of style, methodology and concept. Our artists are classically trained or completely self-taught; displaying meticulous restraint or a flurry of expression. There are works of hyperrealism and fine rendering amongst the bold and abstracted. There are mind-bending surrealist pieces amidst chiselled, architectural wonders. Pop-art infused depictions sit beside the whimsical and folkloric.

It is a melting pot of visual splendour. These are the pioneers of their craft. Prepare for the VANGUARD- you will be spellbound."

I was sent a preview catalogue there are some great pieces, and some weird and wonderful things. Of course, my favorite is Mark Seabrook, but there are many others to admire.

Not sure if my link to the preview catalogue will work, but here goes: CATALOGUE

Enjoy your school holidays everyone! I am taking a well-deserved break for a week or so - just chilling out, gardening, doodling, visiting galleries, playing video games, etc.

Just don't forget to come see 'Bestiary Mechanica' on October 4!

Friday 8 September 2023

Serpentis Maris

 Well, I thought I was finished... but it seems I had one more work in me for my Bestiary Mechanica.

 Hope you enjoy this preview of my 'Serpentis Maris' (sea-serpent).

You can see the entire show preview HERE
But don't forget to come see the works in real life if you can, would love to see you at the opening!

Saturday 19 August 2023

Upcoming exhibitions

 I am very excited to announce my upcoming solo exhibition at Tacit Art - do come along and see this show - I am very pleased with the works. It has been a labor of love, stress and swollen fingers over the past 30 weeks or so to create this body of 10 drawings.

Influenced by traditional art of the Middle Ages Bestiary books, this modern take draws on a rich medieval tradtion and blends it with elements of the modern world of A.I and cybernetics. The beasts are creations of mechanical, organic and biomechanical body parts offering a contemporary take on the established form. Each beast was selected based on my own personal affection for the animal (or animosity), and from dragons to cats, each has elements from my own time and place created in pencil drawings in a medieval format.

Bestiary Mechanica

4 October - 21 October 2023
Tacit Art
Level 1, 189 Johnstone Street, Collingwood, Victoria
+61 (0)423 323 188

Image: 'Lupus' - The Hare by Linda Weil

Opening night Wednesday, October 4, 6.30-8pm


And have a look online for this exhibition by the Australian Society of Marine Artists. Some wonderful artists are part of this society, creating beautiful marine inspired works. Featuring only small boats, from tugs to dinghy's, the exhibition promises to be interesting!

Image: 'Harry' by Linda Weil

Saturday 12 August 2023

Tacit Art Stockroom

 Yesterday I posted about the current exhibition at Tacit Art - TJ Bateson's 'The Two of Us'. But I forgot to mention that Tacit also has a street front retail outlet, the Stockroom.

Stroll into the shop, take a work off the wall and walk out of the door! You can browse through this mini gallery style shop, seeking out treasures on the walls, the drawers and flip stacks. Artists include Robyn Burgess, Louise Blyton, Melinda Harper, Jennifer Marshall, Terri Brooks, me and many others.

The Stockroom is found on Johnston Street, just a step around the corner from the upstairs gallery on 191 Johnston Street (next to the Tatoo parlor). So, when you come in to see 'The Two of Us', (or any time you are near), don't forget to drop into the Stockroom downstairs!

Come into the Tacit Art stockroom and browse the wonderful selection of works!