Session Two : 20th September 2017

Our second session, delivered by Manuela Hübner

Supported using public funding by the National Lottery through Arts Council England

A beautiful day at Springhill, starting with everyone in the sun participating in the next three moves of Shibashi, taking us to 6 of the 18. The group is starting to feel very relaxed in each other’s company, inhibitions are lessening and the willingness to participate and learn is evident, but this week something significant dropped in to place for a number of people. Letting go of expectations?

A few announcements were made relating to our forthcoming sessions, in particular a visit to view Femi Keeling neé Martin’s work before she delivers the fourth session in creative writing. Also, the exciting prospect of having an exhibition of the project in the Radzinowicz Library 📚  in Lent term.

After a review of the last weeks session and the artwork a few people had managed to do in the intervening week, in particular the upside drawing activity, (a great exercise in perception and developing hand eye coordination, see below) Manuela then gave a 10minute introduction to herself and her work. Particularly, the importance it played in her rehabilitation following a breakdown and the challenges she faced drawing with her non-dominant hand: the importance of daily practice, being inspired by your subject and the havoc expectations cause to any sense of achievement. Also, learning not to be scared to stop and put something down if it’s not working and try again the following day, or change the subject.

Following a few instructions in the use of chalk pastels (Manuela’s delight in the quality of colour pigments was infectious), we started off drawing each other, without any pressure to produce a finished piece. We were encouraged to look at the person we were drawing to get a sense of them and draw using the colours that spoke to us (about that person) and not necessarily the ‘true to life’ colours.

After the break, Manuela set the challenge of drawing with the non dominant hand. However, rather than drawing each other (moving subjects) people were invited to draw pears which had been brought in to model.

Now relaxed and confident with the medium, accepting the challenge, the results were really quite something to behold:


Already, the results from the last two workshops have proven beyond expectations, both in terms of work produced and on a personal development level; the feedback received from the participants is immeasurably good…


“Today’s drawing session really help us to get together as a group and Manuela’s speach was so inspiring!!”

“To date I have found the sessions both educational and enlightening. It can only be beneficial to encourage the arts in a safe space to help with encouragement and healing.

Really really well done.”



Try this for an exercise in your sketch book:

  • Take a picture /photo/magazine cut out of someone you would like to draw. (Try and select something that has defined lines, good positive/negative, so you can see the features clearly).
  • Give yourself 15mins to make a pencil drawing from the image.
  • Now turn your sketch book upside down, and work on the next page, so you’ll be able to see the images alongside each other. Turn the image you are copying upside down too and give yourself 15mins again to draw the (now upside down image).
  • When you’re done, turn your sketchbook the right way up, you might find you are surprised by the images you create.
  • Our brains are pre programmed to see faces, we identify them from birth (generally) two eyes, a nose, mouth etc. So you draw these features where you believe, or think they should be.
  • By turning the image upside down you are challenging your perception, and so, like viewing an unfamiliar landscape, your brain is seeing it for the first time and thus you draw what you see, rather than what you think you see.


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