Drawing after Joanna Margaret Paul

Inspiration from Artists #2

“As a woman painting is not a job, not even a vocation. It is a part of life, subject to the strains, and joys, of domestic life. ... Painting for me as a woman is an ordinary act – about the great meaning in ordinary things.” (NZ Women Artists by Ann Kirker, 1986)

This week's artist is Joanna Margaret Paul, a New Zealand artist and poet, whose work in watercolour paint, pencil and moving image, often focussed on domestic scenes and landscapes. Her artmaking was very much connected with her daily life and she loved to find visual poetry and beauty in her surroundings. Today, let us look at her uplifting drawings which were both studied and spontaneous. 

You will need a sheet of paper (A4 is a good size to use) and drawing instruments such as a soft pencil if possible (2B or 4B) but an HB is just fine. Coloured pencils or water watercolour paint would be an added bonus. You probably won’t have an ink pen at home or charcoal, but if you do, that is a great way to draw. A pen requires focus to avoid blobs of ink on the paper, and charcoal can be more gestural, but messy. Just out of interest and slightly out of the ordinary, another drawing instrument that one of our colleagues finds fun to use is a twig. One of the drawings (a studied drawing) that accompanies this text is made using this technique.

Now you will need your subject matter. This is about drawing from what is around you. Look at a bowl of fruit on a table, or a view from inside or outside your house. You could pick some flowers to draw. You choose, but keep the subject fairly simple. You can also see how Joanna Margaret Paul would include a lot of white empty space in her drawings and paintings. The other drawing to accompany this text (a more gestural drawing) is made with pen and ink. Both focus on a simple composition.

Happy drawing!

If you would like to know more about Joanna Margaret Paul's drawings and paintings, we have included some links below. 

These general resources include an ehive extensive catalogue of her work:




The book:


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