Education Blog

We are delighted to present a guest post from Venetia Norris, Artist in Residence at North London Collegiate School (NLCS). Here, Venetia gives her tips on how to get creative! A private-veiwing of Venetia's work will be taking place on 15th October at NLCS. To RSVP please email

Unleash your Creative Side!

By Venetia Norris, Artist in Residence at North London Collegiate

This summer I have held art classes in Regents Park Rose Gardens, The Royal GeogVenetia Norris North London Collegiate Schoolraphic Society Map Room, Victoria & Albert Museum cast room and many more inspiring locations. Art does not solely take place in a classroom or at the kitchen table. Nothing beats drawing from life. For example, when drawing a rose you may notice the fragrance, intensity of colour, scale, thickness of petals and much more! I love tutoring art! It is wonderful to share skills, techniques, enthusiasm for the subject and help students on their own creative journey. I tutor students through art GCSE, A Level, preparing for art scholarship and art school. I feel it is important to choose a theme that interests and captures the student’s imagination. Recently a student who loves cars created a dynamic GCSE project inspired by tyres.
I have jotted down three creative ideas for you to have a go!

1. Create your own self portrait – For inspiration head to the National Portrait Gallery and explore over 200,000 portraits from the 16th Century to the present day. Look carefully at the artworks and choose one that catches your eye. Why do you like it? What can you learn about the person from the artwork? Take note of the pose. What they are wearing? Where they are looking and the atmosphere of the piece? Create your own self portrait inspired by your chosen piece at home. Consider where would be the best location – a white wall or perhaps outside. Lighting – think about your chosen artwork was the person standing beside a window or could you use a desk light to create directional light? Viewpoint – where does the person taking the photograph need to stand or sit? Organise someone to photograph you. For further ideas visit Facing History: Contemporary Portraiture exhibition at the V&A until April 2016.

2. Make a unique jar of Curiosities – If there are any budding scientists The Hunterian Museum is the place to visit. The Museum is located within the Royal College of Surgeons and boasts an unrivalled collection of human and non-human anatomical and pathological specimens. There are hundreds of jars containing all sorts – this is not for the faint hearted! Save a jam jar and start drawing treasures that you want to put inside. Perhaps you would like to draw items you saw at the Museum, your favorite animals, cars, planets etc. Cut out your drawings, colour in on both sides and attach inside your jar.

3. Draw your London – Do you look up at the buildings you walk past? How many chimneys can you see? Are you looking from somewhere high down onto gardens and streets? London is not characterized by any particular architectural style, having accumulated its buildings over a long period of time. From the Tower of London to the Lloyd’s building London has a varied and inspirational architecture for us to enjoy. In your sketchbook have a go at drawing the outline of a building or skyline and jot down the location. Use a biro, pencil or whatever is to hand and spent 20 seconds or 20 minutes to draw what you see once a day for 20 days. You’ll be amazed by what you will begin to notice from getting into the habit of looking. Why not have a go!?

Besides being a tutor, Venetia Norris is an artist who widely exhibits her drawings inspired by nature. For details of Venetia’s forthcoming exhibition of artworks created during her artist residency at North London Collegiate School, please visit her website


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