Free to Access Art Challenges
These art challenges were developed to help keep our creative community actively working through the first Covid 19 lockdown. These free to access projects are still available to follow and the Facebook groups are still live. Why not use these projects for some creative exercises and see how you respond to them. Enjoy!
On This Day, Anyday....any day, any month, any year!
This 30 day project was our way of keeping in touch during the first Covid-19 lockdown in April 2020. With everyone in mind, those restricted to stay at home, essential workers that need a project to escape to, groups of friends keeping connected through the love of art, whatever the circumstances, we asked you to engage and enjoy the process. We added a new art task to the list on this page every day. All of the tasks are now listed together, you can still access these on a daily basis, or print off the whole list and tick them off day by day.
All you need to get going is some paper (either a sketchbook or a series of sheets of paper that you can later combine together into a sketchbook) and anything that will make a mark on the paper: pencil, graphite, ink, crayon, ink pencil, charcoal, paint, pastel etc. etc. You can work on the plain surface or prepare some papers with collage or pre-paint the surfaces. We recommend that you prepare all 30 sheets before you start – that way if you are short on time you don’t need to waste time finding and preparing a bit of paper. We’ve also included a glossary of terms and drawing/mark-making top tips, just to help you dive straight in, no excuses, whatever your materials or level of experience, this project is for you!
We want you to record what you see, in a specific way, on a specific theme, every day for 30 days. You may all be at home in different corners of the earth, in a town or in the country, at the coast or in the city. You may be sitting at your kitchen table having a coffee, sitting with a family member, laying in bed, walking the dog, out running, sewing a blanket, doing a crossword or baking a cake. Whatever the multiple facets that make up your lives, let these simple drawing exercises become part of your day, to help record your observation of that specific day. We ask you to be adventurous, to use observation, to draw directly from what it is you see, so that you make a direct image of each day, a record, a memory.
A useful way to plan your composition or to identify exactly what it is that interests you, is to make a series of small, thumbnail sketches over a double page spread of your sketchbook or loose sheets of paper. Start off with graphite or charcoal, to understand the tone* within the composition. You could also develop some colour sketches before you start if you like. Keep your sketches in the same format* as your paper (I.e. square, portrait, landscape) so that you can transfer the composition you select for the final piece. This will enable you to become familiar with what you are seeing.
If your viewpoint is not pleasing or interesting to you, change it, look around to find something that you do engage with. It may help to cut yourself a viewfinder with a hole that corresponds to your paper format, this will help you to find your area of interest. Every time you do one of the tasks, you will gain confidence in what is being asked of you and how you respond to the task. Do not stop, keep working your way through the days and you will begin to see a difference from when you start to the final day, this is how you will progress, from experimenting, observing, making marks, recording. Your sketch book can be added to with different papers, surfaces etc. so please do not worry if you run out of pages, just add some more!
Your sketchbook or loose papers do not need to be clean, tidy and organized. Use them to write in/on, draw in/on. Take notes or scribbles, snippets of something you heard on the radio, references you want to follow up later, stick in small objects. Record any observations of your day and how you felt about the challenge of recording what you saw. Let it become an extension of yourself. It is good to see evidence of your trials and how you work through the process of seeing.
A small piece of paper can contain a wealth of information, you may draw or paint in a detailed, meticulous way recording every minutia, or you may work in an expressive and vigorous way, you may like to use graphite, charcoal, chalk or oil pastel, you may use acrylic paint and combine it with the above. Your way of recording may be illustrative, or more abstract, it may be subtle or dynamic, whichever way you use your hand and eye we ask you to be representational, to challenge your observation of colour*, form*, tone* and texture*.
Here is the list of Daily Tasks. You can work you way through the list at your own pace. Why not print off the list and tick them off day by day.
If you would like to share your work, you can either share it on our designated Facebook group: BHA_on_this_day or if you have an Instagram account, you can upload your image and tag Bridge House Art and #BHAonthisday
If you would like to share your work, you can either share it on our designated Facebook group: BHA_on_this_day
or if you have an Instagram account, you can upload your image and tag Bridge House Art and #BHAonthisday
Colour: An element of art made up of three properties: hue, value, and intensity. Colour can change the mood of a picture, it can be used naturalistically or heightened in intensity. It is an intuitive thing, don't worry about if you have got it right or wrong, enjoy using it freely!
Hue: name of colour
Value: hue lightness and darkness (a colours value changes when white or black is added)
Intensity: quality of brightness and purity (high intensity = colour is strong and bright; low intensity = colour is faint and dull)
Form: An element of art that is three-dimensional. It can be helpful to understand how something sits in space when you draw it. Take the time to walk around objects, look at them from all sides. Equally, remember a drawing is a two-dimensional reality. Shape and tone give the deception of form, get them right and your drawing will make sense!
Format: the orientation of the paper:
Square Landscape Portrait
Shape: An element of art that is two-dimensional, flat, or limited to height and width. It can be useful to look at the shapes across a composition in order to see if you have a variety of sizes of shape and a mixture of curved and geometric shapes.
Space/Perspective: An element of art by which positive and negative areas are defined or a sense of depth achieved in a work of art .
Texture: An element of art that refers to the way things feel, or look as if they might feel if touched. The kind of materials you use can help with this, but also the marks you make with those materials.
Tone: The values of lights and darks within a composition; works should have a range of tonal values. Objects/edges within the composition can be light against dark, or dark against light. If you struggle to see tone it can be helpful to screw your eyes up as you look at your subject, this will simplify the range of tones that you see. It can also be useful to exaggerate what you see tonally, make the darks darker and the lights lighter.
Value: The lightness or darkness of tones or colours. White is the lightest value; black is the darkest. The value halfway between these extremes is called middle grey.
Drawing / Mark-making
Vary your drawing techniques to maintain an element of surprise and discovery. Scribbling freely will show you the kind of marks you tend to make, try to deliberately vary the direction and strength of your mark and see what happens. Repeated marks across a surface can flatten a drawing.
Top warm up tips:
Try drawing with your non-dominant hand I.e. if you’re right-handed, draw with your left and vice versa. Don’t try to control it – you will get better with practice!
Blind drawing - do not look at your page, but let you eyes follow the shape of what you are looking at and let your hand follow your eye - again, gets better with practice! (helps not to lift the pen too far off the page)
Continual line drawing - do not lift the pencil/pen off the paper for the whole of the drawing, take it slowly and really try to look at shapes and how they connect across the drawing.
Double pencil - tape 2 pens/ pencils together to get a double shadow line.
Vary the pressure of the pencil on the paper to give a variety of weights of line.
If working with ink, do the same as above, vary the pressure to get a variety of line.
Do a double hand drawing I.e. draw with your left and right hand on 2 pieces of paper side by side, at the same time – notice how each hand responds differently.
On a pencil/graphite/ charcoal drawing - Lift out lights with an eraser and make darks with a pen.
DO NOT RUB OUT ANY LINES they are a useful guide to finding the correct line (Look at Alberto Giacometti)
Explore surfaces by making a variety of marks with the same drawing tool - dots, dashes, circles, smudges, lines of varying weight.
Over the last few months, many of you have been getting in touch to ask if there was a way to contribute or make a donation towards the work we are doing. We thank those of you that have already generously donated independently; some have likened it to buying us a virtual coffee, some included a cake, others have alluded treating us to dinner! Your comments and feedback have affirmed how important it is for us to safeguard the future of Bridge House Art.
After much consideration we have added a donation button to our website. It is entirely by voluntary contribution and only if you feel inclined to support us. We hope you do as we want to be here for you in the future and above all want to see you in person at Bridge House Art. We aim to continue to bring you content regardless of any donation.