Friday wrapped up my iPad drawing course at the Yale Center for British Arts, Paint Like Hockney. It was a class for children and teens, using the iPad and iPhone app Brushes Redux to explore some of the exhibits at the YCBA.
I want to post here and send an email to the parents and students as well, to recap some of the many artworks that we visited. If you were a student for the week and you have a question about a particular work that we saw that I don’t mention in this post, please email me and describe the piece to the best of your ability and the docents and I will try to track down the information for you.
I am including a google drive shared folder of some of the images the students created. If for some reason we did not capture a specific drawing of yours, email me and we will track it down. Odds are we can find it in the particular iPad you were using. So do not fret, my dear ones.
I want to thank the docents, Arianna, who printed so many pictures for us this week and even created some beautiful work herself and Berclee, who asked the students such interesting questions on our rounds through the galleries.
We used Brushes Redux. It is the iPad and iPhone app that David Hockney used, and it is pretty intuitive, and free at the App store.
We were going to use Procreate, which is a similar app with more digital tools, such as straight line and text and selection tools you might miss from Photoshop. It is 4.99 at the app store. It requires a more recent version of the iPad than we had.
The iPads were also equipped with more fun Apps, 53 Paper, which is a sketchbook app, the Josef Albers color app, and more, if you recall using something else during your visit that I did not mention here, feel free to email me, and I will answer to the best of my ability.
We drew from life the first day, an apple. We learned about layers and brushes and the cool play back feature that animates your drawing. We visited the Hockney paintings on the 3rd floor and watched a short video about his process. There was also a wonderfully vibrant (our word for the week) Howard Hodgkins, called Venice, Evening.
On the second day, we created a botanical cyanotype selfie in the style of the artists Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman whose work we saw on the 2nd floor. We also saw work there that was very intriguing, Katherine Morling‘s Butterfly Box, and some specimens of Articles in Common Use, which made us curious what we would include in such a modern specimen box and whether or not our collection would be as puzzling to the people who created the box from the era that was on display.
To make our cyanotype selfies, we learned to search and download botanical drawings from the YCBA database of artworks. This is a wonderful resource and there are high-resolution images of much of the collection, some of which are even marked for public domain use.
Artwork we visited
Among the work we saw this week was a very vibrant (word of the week!) photograph by Yinka Shonibare Mbe, called the Death of Chatterton. It was based on a painting, also at the YCBA by Henry Wallis titled the same, but created in another era.
We were drawn to Her Magesty, a mirrored mosaic of the Queen, by Andrew Logan, which reflected ourselves, and the surrounding artwork.
Drawing from Sculpture
On our third day, we spent the entire time drawing from sculpture on the 4th floor of the gallery. Our docent Barclee spoke about the shapes and textures in the stairwells, the open views and the restful large windows to the outside world that Louis Kahn planned into the architecture of this building. Drawing from sculpture is one of my very favorite things to do on the iPad and we found and drew some horses and a greyhound. We used the techniques of gesture, negative shapes, finding simple forms within the complex body shapes of the animals, and using a variety of styles, including specialized brushes, layers, and transparent washes of greys.
The horse sculptures were Before the Race and After the Race by John Willis Good, and Adrian Jones’ Gone Away. There was a fourth horse sculpture of Queen Victoria by Thomas Thornycroft (whose name just sounds too British for sure!)
More Digital Art tools
Students who had experience with other painting and drawing tools on the computer or iPad shared what they liked about each. We spoke of Photoshop and Illustrator (great for vector graphics which one student used to make a design for a tshirt) and of a free app for the computer called Fire Alpaca, that one of the students loved, which has line tools and easy to use animation tools. I spoke of a watercolor app for iPad called Auryn Ink.
I feel like we just scratched the surface of what is possible to do in digital drawing, painting and collage, and hope that the students download art and apps and continue to explore and create over the summer and return to the YCAB to visit the artworks again in the future.