Virtual Art Class
19 March 2021

Over the course of the pandemic the SPR has been developing a range of online social events – the latest of which was a virtual art class.   Taken by Fareena Hussain, a professional painter and designer, the class provided an absorbing and relaxing interlude to the working day for the 15 or so SPR members that participated.

No-one knew what to expect, but the class went straight into hands-on activity. Fareena asked us to draw circles on a sheet of paper and then to take a minute studying a still life photo of a china tea cup, a biscuit, a rose and some chrysanthemums. The first exercise was to draw this tableau from memory with eyes closed, then to do a similar thing again but with eyes open and keeping the pencil touching the paper.


For those of us who hadn’t put pencil to artist’s pad in many years, this was quite a challenge, though others showed enough talent to suggest an alternative career in creative design might beckon.  In any event, Fareena encouraged us to be brave and hold up our efforts to the scrutiny of the Zoom camera with her positive comments.

She then took up her own pencil for a while, illustrating the idea of perspective by drawing a picture of a house, some trees and a lane stretching back towards a vanishing point.

We then tried to put this into practice in the next exercise, drafting our take on a rather surreal scene of a female figure sitting on the edge of a glass with her feet dangling into the water beside a vertical slice of lemon, with  (what I’m told) was a Be@rbrick toy lurking in the background.  This combined the use of perspective with some rudimentary aspects of life drawing.


The class then changed tack once more with Fareena giving a short presentation on the history of portraiture from its origins in the 13th century through to today, with examples from the likes of Picasso, Duchamps, Basquiat and Francis Bacon.

Taking the lesson that there is no right or wrong way to make a portrait, we were then asked to compose something of our own based on a recent photo on our phones.  This was followed by the chance to draw from a further selection of human and animal figurines.  Some efforts tended towards the abstract while others proved to be more realistic!

The hour passed very quickly and many of those present expressed enthusiastic thanks to Fareena at the end.  The class provided a good balance of practical activity and learning, led by an engaging and approachable teacher.  Hopefully we will get a chance to develop our creative sides even further in due course.

Tim Horsey