ArtWork of Ken Simm
ArtWork of Ken Simm


This series of lessons could take a significant period of time. From one starting point.

Initially provide a full sheet of sugar paper,in various colours from an earthy pallet(Greens,browns possibly blues etc).

Chill, close your eyes, float, be calm.

Imagine you are floating several thousand feet above a landscape. A landscape with a river flowing through it.

You are looking down on the river as it makes its journey across the landscape. How does it look?

Ask yourself some questions.

Is the river wide, narrow, curved, winding?

Do other elements affect the river, tributaries, fields, trees, roads, towns, villages etc?

Don’t open your eyes until you are ready.

Draw what you see of this river on your paper. Add all the elements you feel change the line that is the river. Make it as detailed a view as possible. Only draw the river at this time.

Draw in pencil and show the way that your river meanders (explain).

Draw it as a double line, one line for each bank. The lines should not

be parallel.

When you are satisfied with your river add other elements.

What other things would change your river line?

Add all the things feel would be around, in and on your river.

For most of the first lesson add detail in pen or pencil.

Ask group what is a line? What causes it to be a line? Change the questions according to the ability of the group. Ask group to point out examples around the room. Are any two lines the same? How often do lines change? Can a line have character?

Objective is to discuss the concept of something that is seen and used everyday but rarely used and never with a degree of understanding. The concept of Line. As direction, as threshold, as boundary, as change, as informative, as necessary, as unique, as indicator of mood, as infinite, as complex & simple.

Development of Graphical skills, observational skills, use of the imagination.


What will you see and how will you see it?


How far up are you? How far away from the objects you can see? What does distance do to them/

What angle are you seeing your houses and trees and fields?


Useful questions.

What is aerial?

What is a plan?

What do you think you can see from,1000, 3000,10,000ft?

What happens when objects go away from you?


Add elements of colour, tone and texture by using, collage (don’t use anything that is recognisable, such as pictures of houses or trees, or letter forms, these are the first things you will see when looking at your composition), paint, pastel and anything else you can think of to add to your river. Remember you are drawing with all these various mixed media elements. Experiment with the shape and size of the torn paper you use in your collage for instance. Consider carefully the colours you will use, what colour is the line that is your river? Is it the same colour throughout its length? What causes the colour to change? (There is no such thing as a blue river, not even the blue Danube) Ask yourself what an earthy pallet is?

Remember always that this is an exercise in line. What causes the line to change, how often does it change, are all lines the same, what is the character of the line you have drawn? These formal elements must be considered constantly.

Think Geographically as well. What does a village look like? Is this different from a Hamlet? What does a village have that a town does not? What is an ox bow? What is a delta?

Think Scientifically. Why does water never flow up hill? What grows around water? How is fast flowing water different from slow? What causes all the different colours in a landscape?

Lots and lots of different questions.

Think urban. What else do you need beside houses? How do you get to them? What are services? How are roads planned? What do you need every time you have a bridge?

How does your drawing differ from a map?

Think Cartography. What is it? How do you show height? What are contour lines?

Some brief mention of use of shape and it comes quite naturally from using line.

Can we draw without using line? Do all shapes need line?

What are positive & negative shapes?

Contribution to Core/Practical Skills

    Literacy Specialist Vocabulary, (Tributary, hamlet)

    Numeracy Cartography, map reading, proportion

    ICT Internet research

    Practical Activity based


It is important, particularly with a drawing like this that uses so much mixed media, that the student considers every aspect of the drawing. To the point where he or she may feel that they have destroyed the drawing. The drawing with look complete, there will be no spare paper. The drawing may have become quite substantial. The edges may have become somewhat tatty. This is not a problem.

To get to this point will take an entire term. This scheme of work will be suitable as a starter exercise for younger students as it encourages individual thought and experience. It is important that the students have the experience of bringing a dead drawing back to life. A mixed media drawing such as this requires time to complete.



This is the first in a series of lessons on how to draw.
Draw all your lines on this piece of paper. Do not turn over. Only use a pencil.
Draw the line you think most appropriate to the title.
You can only use one line and you cannot use words, letters or numbers.

1.A happy line.
2.A heavy line.
3.A line with no start and no finish.
4.The start of a line.
5.The end of a line.
10.Airline or hairline.
14.Straight to the mark!
15.A white line.
22.A knotty one this!
25.Northern Lights.


Remember you can only use one Line.

Art and Emotion

A piece of Art work can be read. A visual artist will place images, forms, colours, ideas, down in such a way that can be communicated with you the viewer. An author will tell you a story in much the same way. As will a choreographer, a composer, a film director. The hope is that when you read the work it will serve your understanding in a multitude of vibrant ways. It will begin to make sense, in some cases a perverse kind of sense. The hope again is that you will be encouraged to learn more and stimulated in a variety of cerebral and even passionate ways.
An artist will take you on a trip around his work. He will tell you what to view and in what order. He will attempt to provoke a variety of responses, even negative one's. He will appeal to your sense of wonder. He will ask pertinent questions of you whilst you view. No one should remain passive in front of a piece of art work.
This artwork will and should ask as many questions of both the intellect and the emotions as it answers. This is true of all art.
In the visual arts, painting, drawing, sculpture, photography, film making, dance;There is no substitute for looking. Seeing the quality of a painted surface, the textures of the brush stroke, the coolness or the warmness of colour, feeling the temper of metal, the hewn quality of wood, the impact of actual size, the excitement of movement, the recording of an event.
It is important that we appreciate the full intention of the artist as close to first hand as we can.
Real looking requires a conscious effort on the part of the viewer so restricting oneself to only a few pieces of art at a time is always a good idea. Trying to give equal weight to everything in an exhibition for example is too exhausting. Study selected work in detail. Most pieces will demand this attitude anyway, they cannot be bypassed with merely a glance.
As the emotions are caught up inevitably in looking our experience will also, with a certainty become involved. For example the various theories of Emotional Colour will, usually all unknown to the viewer play an increasingly important role. What are these theories? Red for danger, black for death and morbidity, in the western world at least, are two of the most obvious. The Madonna's cowl in a religious painting is always a certain blue. This was originally produced from a semi precious stone called Lapis Lazuli before the advent of chemical paint. The emotional aspects of this should be obvious. Warm colours, reds, oranges, yellows appear to come towards the viewer and are on occasion welcoming. The cool colours, blues, some greens appear to recede. Atmospheric or aerial perspective is used by artists in this manner to provoke a feeling of distance or vastness. Have you ever considered why a certain type of music is called the blues? Or why colours themselves are thought to sing? Why certain colour combinations are called Complimentary. (These are the opposites on the colour wheel, a primary with a secondary, Red and Green, Yellow and Purple, Blue and Orange).
In this and many other ways, too many to list here; does the artist knowingly play with our emotions. It is part of what he or she does. It is sending a clarion cry to the world saying this is what I think, how about you? What do you mean you have never thought about it? You damn well should. It is important! It is vital! And it simply cannot be ignored!. Whether you like a piece of art or not is irrelevant. That it provokes an emotional response above the cerebral is about as relevant to your emotional state as it can get.
You are perceiving the world around you through your own and someone else's senses. All involved would be failing if you walked away from such things unmoved. Developing a sense of perception through emotional response to such things as colour is a very good way of maturing one's emotions. I can think of no better way than by looking, listening, studying or even taking part in Artwork.
Look at a piece of Abstract Expressionist Artwork such as a Mark Rothko or a Sam Francis and put the emotional aspects considered above into practice and see what I mean.




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