Seabird Drawing with the SWLA

I now have a week and a bit to catch up on things before heading off to the mainland on the 16th June for the Society of Wildlife Artists (SWLA) Seabird Drawing. I’ll be based at Aberlady Bay and am looking forward to working with some of my very favourite artists: Kittie Jones, Greg Poole, Darren Woodhead and Kim Atkinson. I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am about going on this course (excited and terrified at the same time haha!). It will be a very intensive week as there will probably be 8 hours a day in the field and then evening sessions back at base but I know that I will learn a massive amount.

So, watch this space for how I get along, I hope to upload some of my field sketches and photos from the trip – hopefully the sea will be calm for the trip out to the Bass Rock!

Going awol…

Please note that I will be away from home from 26th September 2016 until very early in November, therefore any orders placed via my online shop are unlikely to be dispatched until after I return. Apologies for any inconvenience.

Framed prints, mounted prints and cards will remain available to buy in person from the Uist Craft Producers shop at Kildonan – depending on my stock there of course! The craft shop will close for the season on Saturday 15th October at 2pm.

My camera equipment, sketchbooks and paints are packed and I’m heading off to spend time with my family – it will be my mum and dad’s 60th (diamond) wedding anniversary – my dad tells everyone this has been a double life sentence – but he’s just joking 😀

Gerald Olive Benting wedding
My lovely parents on their wedding day 60 years ago

While in Shropshire i’m going to be taking three printmaking workshops with Jenny Gunning at Ironbridge Fine Arts and Framing which i’m looking forward to very much.

I’ll also be heading to Norfolk for a couple of weeks holiday – a relaxing mix of birding, photography and sketching – it’ll be a welcome break after a really busy season here in the studio. I’ve also been lucky enough to get a place on a two day workshop arranged by Norfolk Wildlife Trust – “Learn to Draw and Paint Birds” with Steve Cale 🙂

At the end of October, after Norfolk, i’m heading to London for a few days – principally to see my photo “The Way” on display at the National Open Art Exhibition at Mercer’s Hall. I’ll also take the opportunity to visit the Society of Wildlife Artist’s 2016 exhibition at the Mall Galleries and would also like to go to Tate Modern as i’ve never visited!

If you need to Contact Me please feel free to do so – I will have email but probably won’t be checking it so often.

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography uist outer hebrides western isles robin
Robin – taken in mum and dad’s garden

Printmaking Course

I had a great weekend in Ullapool at Bridge House Art on a printmaking course with the amazing Kittie Jones.

Kittie introduced us to relief, intaglio and monoprinting. The course gave me a real taster and now I would like to learn more! I’ll definitely sign up for her summer course as soon as it’s available.

Ullapool was still very busy with tourists, I was there from Friday afternoon until Monday morning and the weather until Sunday afternoon was beautiful. I stayed at the youth hostel which has a fabulous view across the harbour and loch.

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography uist outer hebrides western isles

Catching up with creative things

Having crossed quite a lot of things off my very long “to do” list I rewarded myself by shutting myself away for a few hours yesterday evening to catch up with some more of the lessons of the Sketchbook Skool class “Expressing” that was run earlier this year over a six week period. I’d done the first three weeks but then was in Spain with virtually no internet. I have to say that I really really enjoyed the class by Michael Nobbs and really like his “Sustainably Creative” website. I’ve been striving all of this year to be creative every single day and this is mostly working out – there have very, very few days when I don’t do at least something creative – even if it is just a few rows of my crocheted blanket work in progress.

Michael suffers with ME/CFS and he gives plenty of advice on staying creative when you have little energy (or time).

I’d already decided that as from 1st July i’m going to do a collage every day for the month – I will look upon this as my daily playtime 😀

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist
Beautiful Eriskay!

Music time!

My first lie in since I can remember – weeks!! Around midday after Facetime with DD#1 I wandered into and all around the old town. a long line of pilgrims queuing up for their compostelas.

Had coffee in the sun and continued my wandering and exploration of the shops. Found that the market is close to where my apartment will be, also had coffee at the nearest bar to the apartment.

A siesta in the afternoon then back off out to find something to eat. Randomly chose a bar in a square behind the cathedral. Excellent salad (ensalada Quintana) and was entertained by music students who were being filmed. I love this city!!

Still alternating between being bunged up and snotty, throat marginally better. spoke to dad, he’s 83 today 🙂

Sketchbook Skool – Beginnings – Week 6

I’ve been waiting with baited breath for the final week of Beginnings, tutored by the amazing and totally whacky Tommy Kane – his videos, as expected, were full of great advice and wise words. Tommy can spend up to 10 hours on a single sketch – crazy! Our homework for the class was to draw our own kitchen – choose a really complex part of the room and go for it. Tommy Kane Illustration Tommy Kane’s Blog I took a couple of days over the drawing and the eventual painting with watercolours and a small addition (as per Tommy) of coloured pencil – probably a total of about 3 to 4 hours. I hadn’t expected to draw past the corner on the right hand side – my original plan was to draw from the oven to the corner. Once I turned the corner everything went to pot and my perspective was way out. My corner plate rack is not actually in the corner and it looks like an elephant trod on my toaster it’s so flat! But I was partly impressed with the final result, wonky and quirky as it is. Every single item is included, every bottle, every cup, every plate. It was very absorbing, even when I was adding the watercolour. So absorbing in fact that I took a swig of my brush-washing water that was in a mug next to my cup of coffee! Bleeuurrgh!! Tommy has a number of rules that he follows when doing detailed drawings like this that I will adopt:-

  • Draw in slow motion and really look
  • Once the pen hits the paper finish the drawing!

And what did the great man himself have to say about my kitchen drawing?

Yvonne, you have made a gorgeous little masterpiece. Your line work is so delicate and perfect. Your watercolor work is spot on. Your work has great personality to it. I even love the texture of the paper you use. You should be very proud of what you did.


Sketchbook Skool Homework - Tommy Kane
Sketchbook Skool Homework – Tommy Kane


Sketchbook Skool – Seeing – Week 6

Seeing – Week 6 – Homework Part 1

Liz Steel is the tutor for the week 6 Seeing class – I have been really looking forward to this amazing Aussie’s class. Liz is an architect by trade but is mostly known for her urban sketching and her addiction to drawing tea cups. I love her tea cup sketches! Liz Steel Liz’s Flickr Our first lot of homework was to draw an object that means something to us – it didn’t have to be a tea cup… Sadly I don’t have any really fancy cups and saucers (but have it in mind to go through mum’s china cabinet when i’m there next month…) so I started off with a 1930s style cup and saucer – a Clarice Cliff repro by Moorland Pottery with the famous Crocus design on. I wasn’t too thrilled by the results so this morning I had another go – this time using a Wedgewood soup cup and saucer which was given to me by my grandmother on the birth of my oldest daughter 30 years ago. The design is called Kutani Crane. I was much happier with the result. I was quite embarrassed when The Artist from next door dropped by to pick up my husband and i’d left my book on the side, opened to the Wedgwood cup page so he scooted over when he spied it and had a look. He seemed reasonably impressed 🙂

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist

Seeing – Week 6 – Homework Part 2 The next lot of homework that Liz set for us was to draw a building. With her being an architect she gave us a number of tips for when drawing buildings. It was a dull and dismal day and I decided to draw our house – it’s kind of wonky, I think I definitely need a lot more practice!

Hebridean Imaging Yvonne Benting art photography western isles outer hebrides uist

Sketchbook Skool – Beginnings – Week 4

The teacher this week for Beginnings was Jane LaFazio and in her demo she showed us the process that she goes through – how she selects what she wanted to draw, doing a rough pencil sketch then adding pen and finally watercolour. Jane loves to work in mixed media, including stitchwork and she talked us through some of her sketchbooks. Our homework was to create a grid drawing. Jane suggested fruit or vegetables but we’d had a beautiful sunny day and there were a lot of butterflies in the garden, especially on the Buddleia which is fully in flower (and unlikely to stay that way here – the wind and the salty air soon knocks the blooms down).

Sketchbook skool jane la fazio

I drew the 9 x 9 grid first then pencilled in the basic shapes of what I wanted to draw. Once i’d done that I used a fine line pen and added colour using Inktense Pencils. Jane had suggested using black for the grid but I thought that would be too harsh and detract from the flower and butterflies so I used some diluted watercolour. I used this drawing for the #DrawingAugust Challenge too. My mum has already asked me if she can have it to put on her wall…

Sketchbook Skool – Seeing – Week 5

The tutor for week five of Seeing was the totally incredible Andrea Joseph – what that girl can do with a ballpoint pen is truly amazing! Andrea’s Blog Andrea’s Flickr Andrea’s Etsy Shop Andrea is one of the few British tutors on the course and was very generous in her advice and teaching, lots of video demos and she went through some of her sketchbooks too. The first homework was a lettering piece – we had to choose a quote that we liked and write it out. I chose this one by Camille Pissaro.

Next we had to find some objects of the same colour and then draw them in a ballpoint pen of that colour (red objects, use red pen etc.). As I could only find a blue ballpoint pen in the whole of the house that’s what I went for…

Lastly Andrea demonstrated drawing a collection of items and set us the task of drawing a collection of our own – in ballpoint pen of course. I had a bag of buttons that had come from my late mother-in-law’s house so I chose them.

I really enjoyed this homework and indeed the whole week. I don’t think that I’ll be making a habit of doing drawings with ballpoint pen – Andrea made it look way easier than it really is. I guess with practice it would become easier – I found myself pressing too hard occasionally – in Andrea’s video she used very very light, soft strokes when doing the cross-hatching and this is where I found the difficulty – I felt very clumsy. My favourite button to draw and the one that turned out pretty good was the large round, leather-covered button. Sadly week 6 will be the final week of Sketchbook Skool for this semester 🙁 but i’m looking forward very much to it, Liz Steele is leading the last class!