Friday, 21 October 2011

Feedback from the first Bournemouth Creative Break.

Here at Bournemouth Creative Breaks, we were just thrilled with how the workshops on our first weekend went. We were lucky enough to secure the services of local artist and teacher Trish Jubb, who is fast earning the reputation of being one of the very best Life Drawing tutors here on the South Coast.

Trish was ably supported by two very experienced models. You can be forgiven for thinking that being a Life Model is simple - just a question of taking your clothes off and standing still - but there is a great deal more to it than that. A really great model is able to know intuitively what sort of pose is suitable for what the tutor is asking the students to do, and that the pose will be one that the model can hold for the required amount of time. Try standing with legs bent and your arms spread out in the air for more than about a minute, without moving, and see what I mean.

The day dawned beautifully warm and sunny for October, but this meant that all of our refreshment breaks could be taken out doors, overlooking the vibrant Lower Gardens here in Bournemouth.

Here are some photographs and verbatim comments from the Life Drawing workshops.

Exercises included: "Work with your non-dominant hand"


"All the paper and equipment was provided by the tutor and she wanted us to use as much paper as we needed.  I also got to try new materials that I'd not used before.  Tutor gave us free reign to do our own drawing in our own styles and gave us advice if she felt it was needed."

Some of the musical instruments in the hotel

Enjoying coffee and biscuits in the lounge

"Nice welcome and atmosphere, friendly staff, clean.  Lovely coffee, great views over Bournemouth Gardens.  Really enjoyed the delicious sandwiches at lunchtime - it was fantastic sitting outside listening to the man singing on the Bandstand."

Trish Jubb working with a guest

"I've been to a number of life drawing classes in the past and often the teacher just leaves people to get on with it. Trish's exercises were really useful, and she explained everything very well and didn't try and teach too much at once."


Another of the exercises was: "Draw with BOTH of your hands. At the SAME TIME!" 

"Trish the teacher was very professional and introduced each exercise with new tips - so we didn't have a whole list to remember through the day.  It was a progression of skill building - and felt very natural.  The models were good fun and at ease with their task too.  It was fun to try different materials, and using different coloured paper was good rather than it all being white."

"I love art and find it my therapy to help me cope with all that life throws at me. Today gave me hope again that I still could go to art college and achieve what i wanted to all those years ago. It was wonderful and so fulfilling to get positive guidance from Trish and all the other lovely people there."

Even the lunch was something of a still life

"We were keep busy, but not overloaded throughout the day - which meant getting the best value from the time on offer.  I felt that by the end of the day my confidence in my abilities had been enhanced, and it was all good fun in a friendly, supportive atmosphere."

"All in all a fun and useful day - I would recommend this to friends."

Look out for details of the next Bournemouth Creative Break, which is scheduled for the 25th February 2011. Why not sign up for our newsletter, or subscribe to our Facebook Page? 

Friday, 16 September 2011

Cooking Your Creativity.

“I often think I could be more creative, but I know I simply don't have what it takes!”

I hear this all the time. I used to nod sympathetically, but not nowadays. I feel like since turning forty I've learned more about creativity, and now I am convinced that EVERYONE IS INHERENTLY CREATIVE.

It's just that not everyone recognises that, and not everyone works with what they have.

Creatively productive people are different from the rest of us mortals only in that they have a) figured out what their creative passions are, and b) figured out how to harness their creativity. By that I mean, they've arrived at some kind of working process, even if they aren't too sure what exactly that process is (as I discovered when I tried to explain song-writing to a journalist friend.)

People's misconceptions about the creative process can lead them to make a lot of assumptions about it being beyond them. If people see the process as being black and white - “You've either got it or you haven't”, they often never bother to try in the first place. Whereas, all they need to do is learn the four (or so) corner-stones of the process. There's nothing new to this concept – it was put together by a man called Graham Wallas in 1926. Here's my version.

Auntie Cousins' Recipe For Creativity
  • Get Your Ingredients Together (Preparation)
  • Marinade for a Bit (Incubation)
  • Experience That Magic Lightbulb Moment! (Illumination)
  • Get The Hell On With It (Implementation)

Get Your Ingredients Together - Preparation.

If you were going to create a completely new and unheard-of dish, wouldn't you first of all check that you had everything you needed? All the right equipment, and especially the ingredients? Yes, of course you would. Cooking is just another form of creativity – not really any different from song writing or water-colour painting.

It's not just about making sure you have what you need physically in order to practice your creative skills – it's also about mental preparation. What do you already know about stir-frying? Where could you look for some instructions? What have other people done with stir-frys in the past? Sure, this takes a little time, and it takes a little patience. You may need to go shopping, talk to people, spend time in the library; you may even have to pop next door and borrow the odd cup of Nam Plah. (Good luck with that!)

Marinate Your Ingredients - Incubation

Once everything is ready – peeled, chopped, laid out on your counter-top in diddy little plastic bowls … then what? Then, you look at your ingredients and do nothing else with them except, perhaps, just combine some to marinate. It's actually your brain that is marinating. Give yourself time to allow your ideas to combine deliciously.

The Magic Lightbulb Moment - Illumination

This is the “Ta-Da!” moment many creative people spend all day (or longer) waiting for. When it happens and we allow ourselves to act upon it, we can do so to the exclusion of just about anything else. You may have heard the American expression “In the zone” or, as Sir Ken Robinson says it - “That person is really in their Element.”

The Ta-Da moments can happen at awkward times. My daughter bought me a waterproof pen and note board to use when I was in the bath, because I kept having to get out and stand, dripping, jotting something down. Driving can be another time .. I would leave myself a voice memo on my phone, but using one whilst driving is illegal. Suggestions, please? And, curiously enough, I have lots of ideas when I am hoovering!

What about you? When do you get your best ideas?

Getting The Hell On With It - Implementation

Your oil is hot. Your ingredients are chopped. Your wooden spatula is poised. You have an idea of what you want and so you throw it all in the pan with a theatrical flourish and begin actual cooking.

Photograph from Jenny Eatwell's Rhubarb and Ginger Blog
But .. how does it taste? Is there an ingredient missing that you hadn't originally thought of? Are the red peppers a bit overcooked now? In short – do you need to adjust your seasoning? This is where the hard work begins.

Many people seem to think that creativity is all about the Ta-Da moment, and falter when the hard work part starts to kick in. Don't be fooled into thinking that true creativity is .. well, is a piece of cake. It took Michaelangelo about four years to paint the ceiling of the Sistene Chapel in Rome. The Beatles took 129 days to record Sgt Pepper.

If you can find a way to work your way through these three stages in the process without coming a-cropper at, say, the Implementation point, then the world could well become your oyster and your stir-fry the pearl within it.

Bon appetit!

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Would You Like To Try Life Drawing?

Image from

Thanks to the weight of local demand, we at Bournemouth Creative Breaks have decided to open up the forthcoming Life Drawing Weekend to non-residents as well! Saturday’s workshops will be from 10.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 4.30pm - group working sessions with an experienced nude model and the opportunity for one-to-one guidance from Trish Jubb. There will be comfort and tea/coffee breaks, and a light lunch of sandwiches and fruit will be provided. All for the extraordinary price of just £60.00

But that's not all. Because it is our first ever event, we'd like to encourage as many people along as possible so that we can ask for as much feedback as possible. So, if you're prepared to have your work photographed to talk to us in a VERY informal focus group and fill in a couple of questionnaires for us at the end of the day, we're prepared to discount the ticket price even more, to a mere £32.50!

So, what might you expect from a day of Life Drawing with Trish Jubb?

Well - I'm the organiser of Bournemouth Creative Breaks, obviously, but in real life I am a Community Musician, working with adults who have learning difficulties. So, I don't necessarily rate my abilities as an artist very much. I can sing and play the guitar and a whole host of percussion instruments, but DRAW? From a live model? No, probably not.

Determined to challenge this fundamental belief about myself, I decided to attend one of Trish Jubb's Life Drawing Classes.

I freely admit that it took me a minute or two to 'get over' seeing a naked man other than my husband, for the first time in about twenty-five years. But Trish didn't give me a chance to dwell on this - the early exercises we did were all cleverly designed to demolish fear - most especially, fear of failure.

Fear of failure is something that can prevent you from trying anything new, especially anything creative and new. That's a shame. With Trish's encouragement and lots of support from the rest of the group, I ignored the little voice inside my head saying things like "You can barely even draw the curtains - what makes you think you can draw a naked man?" and just got on with it.

This was my first attempt. I had exactly three minutes to get this:

Then, we had two minutes, and I came up with this:

Then, we had to draw with out non-dominant hand (i.e. my left) and, after a few moments, let it be joined by the other hand, using a different colour. So, I had two pencils on the page at the same time. It was insane! It was hysterical! It was so much fun! And it looked like this:

By this time, I had forgotten all about not being able to draw. My next attempt came out like this:

 - which I don't mind telling you, I was rather pleased with.

Last but not least the model held a much longer pose, which I found quite testing. However, the greater amount of time was beneficial in that I was able to - with some more help from Trish - identify where I'd drawn things in a way that I didn't like, and learn ways in which to correct them. This was wonderful, because this was where the real learning began.

Life drawing, like any creative endeavour, is a skill - it has techniques that can be caught and practiced and improved upon. I got this:

Still very rough, but reasonably good on the perspective and the proportions. I'll be going back in a week's time for more!

If you'd like to have a day devoted to life drawing, remember the first Bournemouth Creative Break is now open to non-residents as well. So you don't have to stay overnight (though if you do need accommodation, that can easily be arranged.)

Saturday’s workshops will be from 10.00am (registration is at 9.15) to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 4.30pm. The focus group runs between 4.30 and 5.30pm.

These workshops will be group working sessions with a nude model with the opportunity for one-to-one guidance from Trish Jubb. There will be comfort and refreshment breaks. A light lunch of sandwiches and fruit will be provided. No materials whatsoever will be needed - we will supply everything - making this day of workshops even better value!

To book a place please call the Arlington Hotel on 01202 552879 or look at their website.

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Creativity Time!

I went to visit my friend, the artist Jeanette House.

Jeanette has a whole room dedicated to the pursuit of her profession. It's a treasure trove of materials and resources - fabrics, paint, canvasses, card, beads, collage materials, books, pens, tools, a sewing machine, a drawing board, stencils ... oh, I don't even know the names of some of the things she had in there!

Jeanette is a prolific and accomplished art journaler. This term is not to be confused with "art journalist", which is something entirely different. Jeanette and I had a conversation to help me find a definition for art journaling that I, a writer and musician, would understand. Art journaling is like writing one's Morning Pages, but with colours and collage too. Effy Wild at Wild Precious Studios called it "Art's version of improvised jazz." And I got that.

"You HAVE to try this!" said Jeanette, her pot lid rattling with the barely-contained steam of enthusiasm. She put a pinny on me (no. Photos do not exist of this.) and sat me next to her. She began thrusting paints and gessos and inks and brushes and pens into my hands one after the other, explaining their properties and functions to me as she went. I felt utterly out of my depth. It took me quite some time to figure out why: after all, I had everything I needed. I was sat next to an expert.  The room was warm and bright and comfortable and safe. I was well equipped and supported by a woman I have known for (mumble-mumble) years - she and I used to sit together in our O-level art class. But in spite of everything seeming to be perfectly aligned for me, at the end of 40 minutes or so of 'happy splashing',  Jeanette had this:

"Freestyling: 'Swircles'" by Jeanette House.
- and I had THIS:

"Um ... er, yes." By Laura Cousins.

So what exactly had been missing from my experience? TIME!

We were pressed for time, you see. I had to be back in Bournemouth for three p.m. This knowledge was holding me back, preventing me from appreciating the array of materials at my fingers. I hadn't time to play with everything. Play is how we discover how to use tools for creativity.

I explained all this to Jeanette. "It's like I plonked you down in front of a piano, or a great selection of instruments, and then didn't give you enough time to figure out what to do with them."

The beauty of a Bournemouth Creative Break is that you have the whole weekend to get to grips with the creative tools you are interested in, plus a well qualified and enthusiastic facilitator. You don't need to worry about food, or work, or the phone interrupting you, or the telly being up too loud, or the dogs needing walking.

Details of the next Bournemouth Creative Break are soon to be released! Register your interest now by contacting the Arlington Hotel.

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Life Drawing Weekend Break in Bournemouth

Our next Bournemouth Creative Break is Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October 2011, and features an entire weekend of LIFE DRAWING.

The human figure has been the subject of drawings since prehistoric times. Though it may seem an advanced subject to the novice, life drawing is in fact suitable for everyone, even if all you can draw is a stick figure! For beginners, progress can be surprisingly fast.

Life drawing is the process of drawing the human figure from observation of a live, nude model, and is often said to be one of the best disciplines to acquire in order to improve one's drawing skills.

The weekend's courses will be run by acclaimed local artist Trish Jubb. Trish specialises in life drawing tuition and runs courses and workshops locally. She also exhibits her work and takes commissions.

This is your opportunity to:
  • Spend a relaxing weekend with like-minded art enthusiasts (equally suitable for experienced artists, those keen to revive their drawing skills as well as those new to life drawing)
  • Work with two experienced models (one on the Saturday and another on the Sunday)
  • Enjoy the freedom and space to pursue your own style and work at your own pace.
The Arlington Hotel will be used exclusively for this painting and drawing weekend.

The price of the weekend is only £199 per person (if you book before the 31st of August). This incredible price includes welcome drinks on the first evening, dinner, bed and breakfast at the Arlington Hotel for two nights, lunch on Saturday and Sunday as well as life drawing workshops on Saturday and Sunday.

Bournemouth Creative Breaks has been inspired by Bournemouth’s traditional identity as the place for rest and recuperation.
  • No experience necessary
  • No equipment required (we will provide all the basic materials)
  • No partner needed – come alone or bring your friends. There’s no supplement for single bedrooms!
To book your place for this weekend: Call the Arlington Hotel on ☎01202 - 552879 or use the Book Online facility.

The programme for the weekend:

Friday 30 September 2011

Make your way to the Arlington Hotel in Bournemouth. Settle in to the hotel and perhaps take a short stroll to the sea before the planned events commence. The weekend proper starts at 6.00pm with a glass of wine and an opportunity to meet the workshop tutor Trish Jubb, Bournemouth Creative Breaks organiser Laura Cousins and the other participants. Then over dinner you’ll have the chance to get to know each other better and discuss your expectations for the weekend. Trish’s work will be on display in the hotel and after dinner join Trish and Laura in the hotel bar for an introduction to Trish’s particular style and approach with some simple creative activities.

Saturday 1st October 2011

Enjoy a leisurely breakfast (and perhaps a quick walk along the seafront or through the gardens). Saturday’s workshops will be from 10.00am to 1.00pm and 2.00pm to 4.30pm. These workshops will be group working sessions with a nude model with the opportunity for one-to-one guidance from Trish Jubb. There will be comfort and refreshment breaks. A light lunch of sandwiches and fruit will be provided. At the end of the afternoon you will have time to have a rest, or go for a walk. Meet up with everyone back at the hotel for dinner at 7.00pm.

Sunday 2nd October 2011

After breakfast Sunday’s workshop will be from 10.00am to 1.00pm. The workshop will be a group working session with a nude female model. Afterwards there will be a hot lunch in the dining room. Over coffee or tea there will be a closing session with an opportunity to review the work of the weekend, to discuss any outstanding questions and to share feedback. The weekend’s scheduled events will finish at around 3.30pm-4.00pm.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Breaking Through A Creative Block

If you are the sort of person who enjoys writing, painting, or making music, you may well be familiar with the feeling that you are 'blocked' - whatever it is or was that normally fuels your creative fires seems suddenly to be in short supply and the flames are dwindling down to just .. embers.

There are a million-and-one suggestions as to how one can overcome these crippling symptoms, not least of all the much-lauded "The Artists Way" by Julia Cameron - an exhaustive and sometimes exhaustING 12-week programme that brings about real change in a person's life.

Perhaps there are easier ways to bring some changes, though? Here are some of my suggestions.
  • A Change of Scene - get out of your usual office, workshop, studio; go somewhere physically different. Meet some new people. See some different things. Be somewhere where all the usual distractions and interruptions simply do not impose on you.
  • A Change of Direction - start a brand new project and work on that for a set period of time. I know, I know; it;s perfectly possible to never do anything else. So set yourself a time limit and promise you'll return to the original project once you've had a bit of a break from it.
  • A Change of Equipment - normally paint in oils? Go back to coloured pencils. Normally write at the piano? Try an accordion or a bamboo flute. Normally use a camera? Try taking audio recordings. In some cases you're not only changing the technical equipment you use, but also the sense you are using primarily to interpret your surroundings.
  • Change of Inspiration - new books, new galleries, new views, new sounds, new conversations ... this can come as a natural consequence of everything suggested above.
A Bournemouth Creative Break can help you achieve all of these suggestions!

Life Drawing tutor, Trish Jubb.
The first Bournemouth Creative Break runs over a whole weekend between September the 30th and October 2nd at the Arlington Hotel, and features Life Drawing workshops with acclaimed local artist Trish Jubb. Trish's teaching style is especially inclusive and particularly good for both beginners AND those who already have some experience. The Early Bird price - if you book before the end of August - is only £199.00 per person.

Just what you need to bust through that block.

Book now by telephoning the Arlington Hotel on ☎01202 552 879, or visit their website

You can see more of Trish's wonderful work on her Flickr stream.

Sunday, 12 June 2011

What is "Art With A Difference"?

Art is an ongoing experience and Trish Jubb's sessions are designed to be accessible for anyone, from the person who hasn’t drawn since primary school to the regular enthusiast. She says: "We're on a voyage of discovery; not so much intending to produce a finished masterpiece, as to break down the walls that stop us from enjoying art or from trying something different."

Art Facilitator Trish Jubb
The plans for such a session tend to be fluid enough to be able to respond quickly to people's individual needs, and as such, they evolve. As with the Life Music session, it's not easy to give an exact description of activities. However, a typical session might go something like this:


Warm ups – art is like exercise! The group could begin with some easy drawing activities to loosen up and get in the mood - starting with literally scribbling, then another exercise like drawing without looking at the paper.

"Jeremy" by Trish Jubb. All rights reserved.
Tips and tricks – a few suggestions to help you get what you want on the page. The basics of 'how to draw', introducing straightforward hints and ideas that will be of value to everyone but not too taxing. There are no barriers, no 'right way' or 'wrong' way to do art.

New ideas – trying out some different ways of making art – making pictures doesn’t always need to be all about pencils and paint! A gentle introduction to 'mixed media' – that is, different ways and different materials with which to make pictures.

The SECOND HALF of the session is all about what you want to do. It'll give a chance to spend a bit more time on something which appeals specifically – say, working with a technique you tried in the first half of the session, or something you have seen someone else working with; getting some individual drawing tuition, or even some discussion and exploration of something you brought with you. Please feel free to bring along anything you are working on or any materials you may like to work with.

"Autumn Glow" by Trish Jubb. All rights reserved.

"Going" by Trish Jubb. All rights reserved.

Art materials will be available you outside of the session if you'd like to carry on with what you're doing, and on the Saturday afternoon Trish will be in the hotel for anyone who wishes to join her. To book your Early Bird ticket for the first Bournemouth Creative Break, which runs from Friday 30th September to Sunday 2nd October, visit the Arlington Hotel website.