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LEGS creatives: Sketching and photography

Neuro Café 3rd November 2021 by Linda S


Conor welcomed everyone and was pleased to announce that Fred and Jiten would be taking us on a creative journey. Fred would be sharing tips for observational drawing and had a sketching challenge for us, followed by a photographic journey with Jiten with images from his travels.

Fred's sketching class


Fred presented an image of a bird to draw and encouraged us to use our observational skills. First, take a few minutes first to look at your subject . What size is the head? Is it bigger or smaller than a golf ball? How about the tummy? About the size of boiled egg, perhaps?

Begin by making sharp, light strokes on the paper and do not worry about making mistakes - that is what your eraser is for! Once the proportions of the head are down on paper, start drawing the main body. How does the chest look? It goes out quite a bit. Look down to the legs and get the outline done.


What is the line from head to beak to back? There is a black line around the belly button (do birds have belly buttons?) Look at the fence, draw a line for the fence for the claws to sit on. Moving to the wings, what are the colours? Blue and grey. Don’t get hung up on details - this is just a sketch.

Enjoy the concentration of looking at the bird and sketching it. You could put some soft and gentle music on to help relax as you draw.

When it comes to colouring in your efforts, Fred suggested using a small brush to paint individual feathers. Start with light colours and go to dark ones. Note the white feathers coming through the black and observe the light blue at the top of the head. Look closely at the subject but don’t get too hung up on detail.

Why not try start drawing with your damaged hand? This is something you can do! You could dab in the colours lightly which gives texture to feathers. You could use a make up brush, cloth or a sponge. Think about structure and form, the vanishing points, yet don’t let the background distract from the bird.

What are the shades of the sky? You can use polaroid sunglasses and look at the colour of the clouds such as they move from light grey to white.

Conor will send a link to the original image if you would like to keep going with your efforts.


Fred recommended having a kitchen roll handy to mop up spills, and obtaining a good quality eraser to correct mistakes.


Photography discussion with Jiten


Jiten transported us away on a fascinating visit to Chile with a selection of photographs from his travels. One of the most surprising aspects was the selection of images, from the magnificent Osurno volcanic mountain - with a strong resemblance to Mount Fuji - to striking pictures of icebergs; somehow not how most of us pictured Chile to be! We imagined Chile as hot with a desert terrain and we were surprised. We heard that Chile is 3600 km long. The North is hot and the South is cold. What an interesting place!

There was a quiet and beautiful iceberg which was about 4 stories high. It rolls in the water and has different textures depending on the changing state of the water where it is eroded. A dull day is best to see the colour of the iceberg. The bright blue hues make a striking contrast to the grey clouds. One beautiful photograph showed the different colours of icebergs whose vibrant shades of blue apparently depend on how much snow has fallen at a particular time.


Deserts, Geysers and future travels


After enjoying Jiten’s photographs, we heard that people are planning trips for the coming year. Reminiscing about journies… Terra del Fuego, Northern Chile – the desert is so hot! Saw a lady coming up the dune with a snowboard – with the intention of sandboarding. Geysers – things look tranquil, calm and still around the spouts. An early morning visit… hot water blasts out from those geyser holes in the ground so you need to be cautious. If you are near geysers, do not go over the top of the holes because steam can suddenly come out! There are different bacteria growing in hot water – which create vibrant orange, green, and red colours depending on the temperature.

Chuckles as we heard you need to release air from your gut when you leave the hotel in the lower area to ascend to higher areas – 17,000 feet and no trees.

Observatories at Atakama – magnificent vistas, blue skies, no clouds.

One participant went to an area where they had had rain for first time in 100 years. Houses were getting washed away… previous to this one day of rain, a roof was not required.

Jiten has 400 photographs and feels the need to show his collections to somebody! For sure we would enjoy seeing more of his collection.

One person remarked they saw more icebergs in southern Argentina than on a visit to Alaska. Life is full of surprises.


This interesting presentation and Fred’s drawing experience made us feel good and enabled us to slow down and escape our everyday world for a while.

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