My Mum recently had the opportunity to spend some time learning alongside Sadie James, a bright young artist in Coral Bay Western Australia. I love hearing about different art forms and when Mum told me she was taking part in a workshop with Sadie I jumped at the opportunity and asked her to kindly write a Guest Post about Sadie and the workshop. After reading Mum’s review I can only hope that Sadie remains in Coral Bay for a few more years so I get the chance to meet this remarkable artist and share in her knowledge. Enjoy!
I am very fortunate to be presently enjoying a one week holiday in Coral Bay. This small settlement is about 50km North of the Tropic of Capricorn and about 120kms south of Exmouth in Western Australia. Coral Bay, as the name suggest, is protected from the Indian Ocean by the Ningaloo Reef. The abundance of fish and colourful coral is easily accessible either by boat or snorkelling and is the inspiration for many artists.
I have recently rediscovered my enjoyment for the arts and have taken it up again over the last two years dabbling mainly in pastels. While I feel comfortable using pastels I am always keen to learn and develop new techniques using other mediums to expand my creativity. So it came by chance that I met a young artist in this outback coastal settlement by the name of Sadie James.
It didn’t take long before we struck up a conversation about herself and her artwork. Sadie is an Master of Arts Graduate from Central St Martins University in London. She came to Western Australia 9 years ago to visit her parents who had emigrated to Australia from England some time previously. She has lived and worked as a Teacher in Coral Bay for 2 years as a qualified teacher with 13 years teaching experience, working with pupils from age 5 to 65. When I asked her what bought her to this idyllic holiday location her reply was simply “the reef”. It gives her the inspiration she needs for her artwork.
She is a freelance artist and undertakes commercial projects and commission work including working in schools to provide specialist art workshops. More recently she has become a published author and illustrator of a children’s book called The Whale Shark Song (Pictured above and available online for A$15.50). At present Sadie is also working on another children’s book called The Puggle and the Humbug and is expecting this to be published and released towards the end of 2014.
My friend and I were given the opportunity to share in a private workshop with Sadie at the local school. I felt excited and extremely fortunate to have the chance to be given an art lesson from this renowned artist and draw from her experience. I was looking forward to the workshop with great anticipation and the expectation that I was about to learn a new artistic technique. I was not disappointed in any way. Sadie conducted the lesson professionally and at a level that a novice like myself could easily follow. She taught me the three basic drawing techniques; blind drawing, continuous drawing and other hand drawing.
To the uninitiated and self taught artist I found all of these methods challenging. It did however teach me to allow myself to not be so judgmental and self critical of my work. Which is kind of liberating and just what I need to focus on to become less restrained in my own work. During a very enjoyable afternoon along with my charismatic subject (a fish head! A mackerel head to be more precise) I learnt how to build a background using water colours, acrylics and edicol dye. How to apply all of the mediums using various methods of applying water through splatter, dry brush, sponges, rollers hands and fingers.
After sketching the fish head onto a blank sheet of paper using our own style of drawing we then mono printed (using 1 colour) onto our background prepared sheet. Mono printing using printers black ink is also a new technique for me and something I think I could work with in the future. Once we had printed our subject we then finished it off by painting in highlights with watercolours, and mounting our piece of artwork.
If you are interested in taking a workshop with Sadie or perhaps purchasing her work. Find a link to her main website above.
You can purchase Sadie’s children’s book Whale Shark Song through the above website.