I have several projects coming up in March, including…..
…. A potential partnership with the
The Nottingham Oasis Breast Cancer Trust is a local charity which helps ensure that breast cancer patients who live alone can get some essential help and support – it helps patients with things like money for taxi rides to hospital appointments if they have no-one to drive them, for example. The idea is that no-one should have to struggle through recovery alone.
I would say that this charity is a little bit close to my heart, not least because I know several friends who have already been through breast cancer, and who have amazed me with their stories of what that experience was like – and also with their resolve to make something positive out of it. One friend now volunteers at a hospice (the last I heard, she was learning how to give patients manicures and hand massages!…) – and another is writing this award-winning blog – I especially love her post about ‘Life Lessons‘ (this post is by someone who, at the time of writing, did not think she had very long left to live).
I also love this post, in which she writes:
‘Dear God, if possible, could I please have the following back before Christmas:
Some hair that looks OK
A normal face
My social life
Peace of mind’
My website, my blog, my drawings – the projects I care most about are kind of about body confidence, and helping people feel beautiful and confident with the body they have; this is probably why these words resonated with me to such an extent. And it was while I was driving in my car one day, after having just spent the evening with a friend, her talking about her experience of breast cancer and then the two of us talking about my drawings, that I had a brainwave: Maybe I can offer a service here that people need…
I’m looking forward to using my drawings to help do something super positive – more details soon!…
February was an exciting month with lots of things happening at Ewa Szypula Art… But the main thing that I’m pleased about is my new Etsy store – which you can find here:
For a while now, people have been asking me for prints of some of the drawings I display on this website. For some time, too, whenever I introduce myself to someone and mention that I’m an artist, the first thing they ask me is ‘Are you on Etsy?’ And I always have to say ‘Erm, no.’
It’s exciting to think how many people might now be able to buy an Ewa Szypula print… Happy shopping!
Check out my Etsy collection here!
Just What The Doctor Ordered…
Happy New Year!… This month I am excited to be returning to The Doctor’s Orders Micropub in Sherwood with a new exhibition – please welcome…. ‘Pet Portraits’!
The idea for this exhibition came about in a really organic way. I was sketching portraits of children in an art gallery one day, when a lady approached me and asked me if I could draw a portrait of her dogs. I said yes. She emailed me some photos and I used these to draw a selection of portraits for her. When I sent her a sneaky preview, she was absolutely delighted, and she told me that my drawings were going to be a gift for her youngest daughter, who was away at school and missed the dogs very much.
I loved the idea that someone appreciated these drawings so much, and that they could (almost!) be a substitute for being near your furry friends. I suddenly realised that I’d like to do an exhibition of pet portraits – and so, over Christmas, I settled down to sketching my friends’ and family members’ pets!
It was great fun to do and I enjoyed it. And I found that there’s something almost therapeutic to looking so closely at a picture of someone’s pet, and working those charcoal strokes into the page; I felt like I was stroking the animal’s fur.
Wish you had a pet to cuddle?… I recommend drawing one. Or alternatively, you could come and see MY drawings…
‘Pet Portraits’ is on at The Doctor’s Orders Micropub until 1st February. To commission a portrait of your pet, contact Ewa at firstname.lastname@example.org . Prices start at £50.
JUNE – JULY – AUGUST
This summer, I have been keeping busy giving foreign-language tours of the Leonardo Da Vinci exhibition at Nottingham Castle – and making sketches of the drawings in the exhibition.
Photo credit: Nottingham Castle Museum
I have a soft spot for Leonardo. In 2010, I went to a fantastic exhibition at the British Museum, called ‘Fra Angelico to Leonardo: Italian Renaissance Drawings’. The exhibition featured rarely-seen drawings by artists such as Verrocchio – a major influence on Leonardo – and I stood in front of those drawings for absolute ages and, with my sketchpad and pencils in hand, I drew and drew with all my might, until I felt like my arm was going to drop off. (‘Wow! That’s so cool!’, a ten-year-old said whilst passing by, looking at my drawing. A ‘wow’ from a child is worth a lot, mind. They’re a discerning audience and they tell you straight if they think your work is bad.)
My sketch of a Girodet drawing, Musée Carnavalet, Paris
I’ve always liked drawing in museums. There’s a certain unspoken etiquette to it – don’t put yourself in everyone else’s way, if someone stands in front of view and blocks your view, don’t huff – and I try very hard to make myself small and unobtrusive as I do it, and always make space for anyone who might be trying to squeeze in and have a closer look. I’m yet to get a negative reaction from someone when I’m drawing in a museum; maybe it’s because I’m now an expert at making myself invisible – or maybe, actually, it’s just that the general public understand very well that artists need to stand about in museums drawing things.
My attempt at Renoir’s Le Déjeuner des canotiers – detail
Mobile phones make it so easy to take a good-quality picture, why would you bother drawing it?… – you might ask. Well, drawing a work of art rather than just clicking your camera phone is an act which forces you really to see, to pay attention. There’s something magical about standing in front of a Picasso, or a Leonardo, or any favourite work of art, and being forced to note exactly how the artist made that curved line work, how he or she made those disjointed shapes come together and entwine.
Learning from Leonardo: one of my sketches from the Da Vinci exhibition
It brings you into a level of intimacy with that work of art which it is impossible to get in any other way. (Years later, I still remember intricate details of those works I have stood in front of and sketched; I can’t actually say the same about artworks in museums where I just got my phone out and started snapping away.) And, when you think about it, it’s the closest you can get to getting an art lesson from Leonardo.
An artist sketching in the British Museum
So the joy of observing and deeply appreciating a work of art is immense. The joy of observing a drawing, when you’re someone like me and you love drawing – it’s a whole other level of joy. I was glad that I could help more people enjoy the drawings through my tours, and I was genuinely bursting to tell them everything I know. And I hope I sent a few people scuttling down to the museum gift shop to buy a notebook and a pencil…
Copyright Ewa Szypula 2018. All right reserved