Vicky Meets... Jessica Venables artist and teacher

If, like me, you can barely draw a recognisable cat using the '˜two circles and a tail' method, you have probably convinced yourself that you are to art what Van Gogh was to ear muff modelling, with no hope of improving.


Jessica, however, begs to differ and would love to help prove you wrong.“Some people have more natural talent than others, but with the right tuition you can improve dramatically,” she told me firmly.Originally studying textile design at Worthing College, later taking a degree in fine art at Bishop Otter College (now Chichester University), art was to take Jessica all over the world.“Having achieved a 2:1 and a healthy sell-out degree show I continued my passion for light and colour and painted in Norway, Portugal, Australia and the mountains of southern Spain. Each voyage led to an exhibition and therefore funding towards the next trip,” she explained.“When I wasn’t travelling I had regular work as an art teacher at Earnley Concourse, where I enjoyed 15 years of teaching adults how to draw, which I loved. I have also taught art as part of adult education at Chichester College, as well as helping to run a thriving art department in the learning support unit.”Also the resident art teacher at Chichester’s Story Factory, Jessica’s passion for guided tuition sees her preparing to lead a three-day ‘Learn to Draw’ course in August at North Mundham Village Hall (August 15 to 17).“To paint something observed it is great to have an observant eye. It’s like keeping fit; the more you do it the more it comes naturally. Pleasure is also a very important part. To really lose yourself in the focussed grip of drawing is to visit a place that is yours and yours alone. It’s like a really good secret that you have inside you that is available to you whenever you wish.”Ah, but can she really teach a drawing dunce like me?“People can be set in a belief that you have to have a special something in your DNA to be able to draw, but that’s just not true. My job is to help you really see what you are looking at and to achieve a likeness. On the course we will be covering still life and portrait using charcoal, pencil and conte and I’ll be giving demonstrations throughout. “There are lots of ways that you can be taught and encouraged. “Just come with an open mind, a willing heart and a packed lunch” she smiled, patting my hand reassuringly.”Currently working as a teaching assistant in a local school, Jessica still tries to make time to draw and paint for the sheer pleasure of it.“Life is busy, but drawing and painting feeds my soul in a way that nothing else can,” she admitted. Learn to Draw runs from August 15 to 17, 10am to 4pm.To book and for full details call 01243 779922 or email: [email protected]

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