With this blog, my aim is to post a slather of ideas, lines, colour and inevitably a little bit of babble. I would like it to be a place where Architecture meets Art, falls in love and procreates. This is my passion, brilliant, unguarded and unafraid.

If you'd also like to hear from me every now and again, you are welcome to subscribe to my mailing list.  

 

 

 

Thursday
Nov232017

Landscape Artist of the Year 2017 | Sky Arts

To all of you who tuned in to watch Landscape Artist of the Year last night, thank you for being supportive wonder beans. It was certainly an awesome experience to take part in and I'm grateful for the opportunity to have brightened your November just a little bit. If you would like a intimate view inside my studio, you can find me on Instagram as @emilyfongstudio. x

Sunday
May212017

Refined and Elegant Whine

Refined and Elegant Whine : Container Study for a PaintingThis watercolour sketch is a study for a larger oil painting that I'm currently working on in the studio. At my Solo Show in Edinburgh last October I was a cheapskate and fed the punters mulled wine using very classy boxes of 'Australian Shiraz.' I love materials and I love recycling, so I've collected the empty boxes and wine bladders and have started using them as the key material in my recent sculptures. The trouble is now that I can't drink 'boxed wine' fast enough to keep up with the pace of my ideas! If there is anyone who's reading this post that shamelessly loves a glass of goon... please feel free to help a sister out and send me your empty bladders! ;)

This particular empty one was sitting on my kitchen bench for ages, just like this, with the bladder extended and poking out to say hello. After looking at it for ages and letting the image swim around in my mind I decided to draw it to discover why I found it so interesting as a composition. 

"GET YOUR INSIDE OUT!!!" Is what it was screaming at me. Objects actually do speak that loudly to me... Yes I know I'm a bit loopy. I thought it was funny to contrast this loud teenage pitched voice with the text on the box describing this product as Refined and Elegant Wine. HAHA as if.. 

I am not elegant. I am not refined. I'm just a box with a bladder that needs to hang out more often. 

So, my wisdom for the day is that we all have one. Get it OUT! x

 

Tuesday
Apr252017

Reaching beyond the surface

Today was the 4th portrait sitting with Catherine. I feel like we are getting to some place special. Somewhere beyond the surface towards the heart. The challenge for me is to work these studies into a painting that expresses many things, simply. I want to portray the many faces of C that are beautiful, raw, surprising and challenging. There is intense lightness and humor alongside a well of emotion and pain. Humans are containers of experience. We are rich, incredible and in many ways completely unknowable. What a privilege to have this opportunity. Game on Fong.

Stay tuned & thanks for reading, Em x


Live portrait sittings of Catherine (weeks 1 & 4) April 2017

Sunday
Apr232017

All of you


Knotted Tree, Crawford Priory, Cupar Fife Scotland UK 

 

 

 

 

 Automatic full-bodied shiraz, refined and elegant whine, all boxed up and ready to squeeze - empty bag. Get your bladder out, let it hang. All boxes contain one. One. An other, Mother. Father. packaged deal, packaged to deal or no deal. feel. Feel to heal not conceal. Real. Reel it in, letting it out. breathe. breath. Your breadth I desire. All of you, true. All of you, even the blue hue. For the blue and the red make the in-between, all the seen and the unseen. The shades of you. 

24.04.17

Saturday
Apr222017

Selena & Trish (Nationwide Gas Care, Kinghorn Fife)

Here's a double portrait of these two everyday heroes from yesterday morning. Selena and Trish from Nationwide Gas Care in Kinghorn have generously allowed me to sit in on their work day to observe and draw them in action. I love drawing people in their environments, be that home, work or play. Double portraits are especially interesting because the energy between people is a rich source of extra knowledge to draw on. It's impossible to come to a drawing with no knowledge. You bring all of your experience & emotion to the page so a blank page is, in a sense, never a blank page. Thought for the day! I'd call this drawing a success & I'm back with them next Friday. Stay tuned.

Em x


Selina and Trish working at Nationwide Gas Care, Kinghorn Fife

Friday
Apr212017

10 Top Tips on Drawing People 

This is the guy with the Mohican! Seen/drawn in a cafe in Dundee, Scotland.  

Drawing people is awesome. It's also very scary. Personally it has been my challenge over the past 10 years to overcome my fear of drawing people. Do you ever find that you're having a conversation with someone or just simply watching the world go by and think, "I wish I could draw that face!"or "WOW look at that dude with the Mohican... he's so interesting! I wish I could draw what's going on there!" Well I'm here to tell you that you can. Below you'll find 10 of my top methods that I use when drawing people. I hope that you find them useful & if you have any questions or top tips of your own please leave a comment below! If you would like more of my drawing wisdom in your inbox, feel free to join my list. Em x

 

woman on a train from Dundee, conveniently engrossed in her phone. 1. Keep a Sketchbook Close 

so you can action the desire

If you don't have, or can't afford a sketchbook, any surface and implement will do! For me the habit of keeping a sketchbook close by means that I can both seek out opportunities to draw and accept the ones that find their way to me. There is always time between events (that we fill with whateverness) but drawing is FUN, great for the mind and the heart. Public transport is an abundant resource of people to draw. 

Be kind to yourself and breathe through your doubt.

 

2. Just Breathe.

Be more AWESOME than your fear.

Take a deep breath and gather your drawing kit. That can be anything, but at the very least, a surface and and an implement. Pencil and paper will do. Everyone that draws people comes up against fear. I certainly do! Fear of the blank page, pressure that my drawing won't look like the person, pressure that my drawing won't be good enough. Poor drawing. It's feeling sad and it doesn't even exist yet!! This is the point at which many people stop. That's right! Before you've even begun. Push through these feelings because as your muscles develop more memory they get easier to sit with. You'll learn to be more AWESOME than your fear. Breathe. Again. 

3. LOOKING is necessary.

No judgement, just pure looking 

The most common cause of a drawing not looking like the subject is simply not looking. So that's a great place to begin. Take the time to really look and study your subject before putting the implement to the surface. Try as hard as you can not to dive in too quickly. Let your brain and your heart gather the information through your eyes before your hand has a chance to catch up. Remember to breathe. You wouldn't start a car in 5th gear and drawing is the same. You look left, right and left again and make sure you won't crash before you're even on the road! 

Blind Drawing of Urban Art Binge pals. Lols...sorry Debbie!4. Blind Contour Drawing 

FUN! and a great way to continue looking as much as you can without judgement

Keep you hand on the page & your eye on the subject. Naturally because you're not looking at your drawing it will be wonky! That's ok. Remember muscle memory!! 

John Mills Himself, Brisbane Australia

 5. Find a Crowd

Humans are a busy species in 2017

This works to your advantage when you're wanting to learn to draw them! Most of the time, in a crowded place, no one will notice you drawing away. If someone should notice, your AWESOME factor will increase exponentially.  

 

warmup sketch focusing on comfortable details like clothing

 

6. Begin with a Button

focusing on fabric is a great way to get your hand moving

Start by looking at and drawing a part of the body that makes you feel most comfortable. I often begin by drawing part of a person's clothing. It might be a button, the texture of fabric or a shoe. I choose this as a method because often times, my subject will begin to forget that I'm drawing them & by the time I get to the face we're deep in conversation. That said. I will often look up at my subject between the button and the page because that way, my heart and brain are in-taking visual information about the subject's facial expressions. When I'm ready to draw the face, I have a rough idea of what's going on. Remember my analogy of the car in gear, well this part is more about long distance vision. You can see further down the road before you've arrived. Drive slowly. With enough fuel in the tank you'll arrive at your destination. 

 

Focusing on the interaction between C and her frantic Jack Russell, Becky.7. Be selective

7. Be Selective

you can't draw everything in one drawing, and you don't need to

With each drawing that you do, try and simplify your intension before you begin. You are trying to communicate something through your drawing. Eventually this process of simplification and editing will become natural, but in the beginning you need to work hard at this part. The good news is, by work hard, I mean do nothing! At least nothing with your hands. Breathe. Observe. What is jumping out at you? What do you find most interesting about what you're looking at? If the answer is nothing then you have a problem...which may simply be that you're not interested in your subject matter. If that's the case, move on to something that you DO find interesting. Once you've decided what that is, then your drawing will have more clarity of intension. Keep it simple. Breathe.  

C wearing the colours of April in Fife8. Every Body is Beautiful

 and everybody is different 

This also means that each drawing of a person will be different. I think this is why drawing people is so challenging. Try and use your hands in an emotional way to express what it is you understand of the person you are drawing. What do you know of their character? Are they bold and fierce? Gentle and thoughtful? A melting pot of lots of character traits? Allow these thoughts and insights to travel through you and guide the marks that you make. With each drawing you do of a person you will discover more layers, if not their layers, then definitely your own. Be open. 

 

Life drawing is the BEST practice for drawing people9. Life Drawing 

is awesome

No matter what anyone will tell you, life drawing will never go out of fashion. In my humble opinion it's one of the coolest and most vital practices for artists and creative humans of any persuasion. The life drawing room is a safe space for people to gather, and have permission to look as much as they possibly can. This regular practice is a place for you to seek guidance and connection & to introduce you to the multiple forms a human body can take. It's an opportunity to test out ideas & media and take your hands for the artist's equivalent of a run! There should be a drop-in life drawing session not too far from you. If there is not, do yourself a favour and start one up. Letham Life Drawing in Fife, Scotland is my regular. 

Grandma, Darwina Fong10. Sleeping People

Draw your grandma. She's got time and she loves you xxx 

 

 

 

 

 

In Summary: 

1. Keep a sketchbook close
2. Just breathe
3. Looking is necessary
4. Blind contour drawing
5. Find a crowd
6. Begin with a button
7. Be selective
8. Every body is beautiful
9. Life Drawing
10. Draw your Grandma! 

Congratulations! You made it to the end of my list! I hope that you found something inspiring within and if you would like more of my drawing wisdom in your inbox or you'd like to get in touch about drawing workshops by yours truly jump on my list! or save my email for reference : emilyfongstudio@gmail.com. 

Bye for now,

Em x

Sunday
Apr162017

Body Machine

'Wrapping, binding, sewing folding; process that evoke memories of home and domesticity. Gifts, bedding, table, linens. Starched white, stains scoured, rubbed holes darned and mended. These acts of cleaning conceal the soil of bodies, the presence of stories. But through absence, something undesired, disgust, seeps through. What do you fear? What do you desire? Is it one in the same?'

Embodying the monster: Encounters with the vulnerable self.

Shildrick 2002

Friday
Apr142017

Second Portrait Sitting with Catherine

This is the outcome of my second portrait sitting with Catherine, my wife's mum. People fascinate me and the process of drawing a live portrait is just so beautiful. It's a conversation in the most true sense. Both of these drawings took about 1.5 hours each and involved me making marks and catching gestures as we spoke to one another about all sorts of things, personal and political. I feel like I'm getting closer to really capturing her with each drawing & hopefull will have some wonderful outcomes by the end. The challenge of usuing multiple parts of my brain at once I am really enjoying. Conversing whilst drawing helps both the sitter and myself to relax in each others company and also enables me to witness and document a range of expressions, emotions and gestures. I'll update my progress as I go along. Mondays are quickly becoming a day to look forward to for both she and I & my passion for portraiture is really growing. 

Wednesday
Mar292017

Conkers not conquered 

A few weeks back I had a bit of a melt down. After nearly one year existing in UK Visa limbo land, I broke...went all Ai Weiwei on my life. I have been living in a straight jacket trying to play by the rules and pretend that I'm on an unfunded "Home Office Artist Residency" but even my extreme powers of optimism and positivity were put to the test on this one. On a walk during this time, I noticed a broken conker on the ground and held it so gently all the way home. It was broken into 3 parts, one half and two quarters to be exact. As a way to meditate through this tough moment I sat down to draw the seed and to my delight it returned me to a place of balanced thinking and calm. Sometimes things need to break in order to be reconfigured. In the case of the conker it's currently reconfiguring itself back into the earth. But in terms of life & relationships, we're constantly in a state of flux and it's necessary to keep moving with the tide and to keep changing alongside one another. I am now in a place of re-examining my parts, taking stock of my strengths and vulnerabilities and re-assembling myself into a more positive and beautiful version of the original. As our cells continue to die off and regenerate, we ourselves are becoming anew. I am not afraid of this. It gives me hope to move forward. 

The ending to this little tale is that I am now in possession of a small piece of plastic that says I can function again at full capacity in the UK, the place I choose to call home right now. In a time of great uncertainty, I breathe out my fear and exhaustion and breathe in possibility and joy. 

How wonderful that drawing can move me forward. Thanks for reading. Em x
Ps: This is what 'going all Ai Weiwei' looks like to the uninitiated..

Ai Weiwei

Dropping a Han Dynasty Urn, 1995

Thursday
Mar162017

Hey! Someone somewhere thinks that my blog is tops! 

It is an honor to know that someone somewhere thinks that my sketchblog is tops. Thank you to feedspot for featuring me on your Top 50 Sketch Blogs on the web! I guess I best be giving you more of the good stuff to keep this lovely golden badge here! To check out the other 49 cool blogs featured, go here to the Feedspot website. Enjoy x