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The Nature of Drawing with Laurie Steen

Tutor: Laurie Steen

May 21 @ 5:00 pm - May 26 @ 2:00 pm

| £345 - £640

IMG_4746This drawing course is designed to enable you to loose your inhibition to draw through large movement and shadow drawing, emotive sketching, and experimental mark making within nature.


Our objective is to draw without inhibition; while focusing on finding and nurturing each persons own unique line and mark making ability, through the discussion and testing of a variety of drawing mediums and surfaces.

This course is suited to all levels and abilities.

The act of drawing while moving, and shadow drawing positive and negative shapes, allows us to loosen up and explore the concept of Edges, Space and Shapes, in a way that doesn’t continually reference our stored symbolic concepts of a subject. Sometimes learning to draw is about knowing that your only job is to record information and shadow drawing allows us to do this brilliantly. Also sometimes our hands have yet to find the perfect drawing mediums that enable us to draw with confidence and intent! We will set out to explore and develop our drawing language all of which is aimed at exploring the way in which we draw, while losing our inhibitions to push our drawing processes.

When we talk about finding our own drawing language it can involve many things such as selecting the right materials, deciding on the best type of marks to make and choosing the right drawing discipline for us. The fun lies in the exploration of working with both wet and dry drawing techniques to find the most naturally suited drawing medium for you. By navigating our way through a series of exercises involving shadow drawing, contour and analytical drawing, experimental mark making, and emotive sketching we might be able to further clarify what drawing means to each of us.

We will also aim to use the natural environment, not only as our subject, but also as a resource for some of the tools and mediums we use to draw. Much of which will be in response to our chosen surroundings and conditions on the day. All of which looks at the very nature of how we draw.


I have been drawing shadows in my garden since I was a teenager.  I think this was perhaps the beginning of my need to make.  Looking back it was about capturing the fleeting nature of trees,  positive and negative shapes and forms in the landscape.   I believe it helped me understand the need to focus less on the recognition of an image and allow the energy and spontaneity of process to become celebrated.  It is the environment in which I live that continues to be my constant source of inspiration.

Extract from an article by Fiona Robinson:

 Steen has a singular vision.  She describes her work, as ‘very experiential’.  Everything that feeds into her work is the result of direct experience, something observed whilst on a walk or when driving, or just being.


When you walk past something, or experience something in nature, it is that specific bit that inspires me and needs to be recorded.  I have always had the desire to make work that is fleeting, which directly recalls the sensation of experiencing a specific subject.




The need to relate her vision with human scale, probably owes something to her architectural training. The complete focus on trees and the natural world is relatively recent, but she makes no distinction in her working methods between her tree paintings and the portraiture which is another element of her practice. The one informs the other and they are all part of the same progression…  Her drawn line is very beautiful, delicate, thin and yet has a tensile strength which encapsulates both the brittleness of dead twigs and the suppleness of sap filled branches.

I tend to call all of my work ‘drawings’, mostly because the creative process of each piece begins and ends with drawing.   The process of which is at the very centre of how I work.  My motivation has always been my belief in drawing and the act of finding my own figuration.  I believe this can be seen most recently in the ‘home drawings’ where the honesty of the material holds a memory of my working processes and intent.  I use paint as a tool, and in a way it is secondary to the act of drawing.  I use paint to define space, to build up texture, to define the positive and the negative, to carve out or build up, to layer ideas, and to push and pull the line.  It is the graphite that defines silence and light.

My aim has always been to make drawings where only the most important lines survive.  Lines that make you want to read, then breathe, then read the drawing some more because you know it is moving something inside of you  –  and there will be parts that confuse and parts that sing and parts that you know you will never be able to forget.

An established artist in Canada where she was born, Laurie continues to exhibit in Canada, Switzerland and the UK, where she has exhibited in many solo and group exhibitions and collaborated on interdisciplinary, performance and design based projects, over the last 20 years.  Laurie also teaches drawing to all ages, and has established an ‘art and forest camp’ for children she co-runs during the summer holidays.  Laurie lives and works in Devon.

During this course Laurie will work with students during the week to look at different drawing methods, materials to draw on and ways to layer and capture the natural landscape, and all the glorious details within it.





Please bring with you a selection of any and all drawings mediums as this course encourages experimenting and using multi mediums. These should at least include:

  • A woodless pencil, 8b, or 9b,
  • A selection of graphite pencils,
  • 1 or 2 kneadable Erasers (I find that Cretacolor are the best)
  • Sanding board is useful or sandpaper
  • Thin sticks of willow charcoal, (we will also have these at the studio)
  • Conte (black, white and any colour)
  • Chunky black charcoal (Cretacolor at Great art) and/or condensed charcoal
  • Any wet drawing tools including, favourite water soluble brushes.

Wirobound Sketchbook forLaurie Steen tree & house multi media, preferably A3 or A4, in thick grade paper or water colour paper. (approx. min. 200gm.+) check out: ARTWAY or JACKSONS Paper Pad or Wirobound Sketchbook for dry media, preferably size A3 or A2 in a good quality and smooth grade paper, as well as some larger sheets of misc. good quality paper. Try a smooth printmaking paper or heavyweight drawing paper with absorbs charcoal beautifully. check out ATLANTIS ART for a broad selection of smooth cartridge papers. Also good value: TWO RIVERS We will have at the studio a selection of handmade two rivers paper, for testing and purchasing sheets individually, See two rivers link above.

Laurie Steen leaves 2


May 21 @ 5:00 pm
May 26 @ 2:00 pm
£345 - £640
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Coombe Farm Studios
Dittisham, Devon TQ6 0JA United Kingdom
+44 (0)1803 722352


Laurie Steen