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Art-Marco Launches their Artist Guide 'Working with Charcoal' (An ideal hobby for the recently retired)

Updated: Mar 19

If you are recently retired and are looking for an hobby then here would be a good place to start. I was you a few years ago. No longer wanting the drudge of work but still ready to take on a new challenge.

Why do artists create? Is it for themselves or is it for others? I'm sure you have heard people say "Oh I only paint for myself, I find it relaxing"...

I read somewhere "He helps most who does not know all the answers ? I don't profess to be a professional artist but I am more than willing to offer my experience and gained knowledge with anyone who is looking for answers to improve their artistic skills.

Leonardo da Vinci is reputed to have said "The more you describe the more you will confuse. It is necessary to to draw as well as describe. " So these guides are a combination of both. Photographic examples and descriptions of how I have honed my skill. They are not shortcuts let me say up front. As yet I haven't found any element of art simple, but it is incredibly rewarding.

I produce art for various reasons.

  1. I enjoy people admiring my creation

  2. I love the challenge

  3. I enjoy learning new skills

In my early years and certainly once married I had to learn various skills, mainly because we couldn't afford to pay professionals to build walls, decorate the house or install central heating. Even fixing the car became an essential skill that I had to learn. I still remember to this day the cold weekends spent in the St Andrews University car park replacing the constant velocity joint of my old Triumph Dolomite. Luckily I could walk to lectures and its main function was to get me home to Sheffield at the end of term. Perhaps chasing rabbits across the sand dunes in the car at night whilst fun wasn't such a good idea after all !!!

I have been retired for a few years now and took up art, as a planned retirement skill. Something I always had an interest and passion for, but never had the time to do it while working and raising a family with my wife of now 40+ years. I'm lucky in that I do not have to earn money from my art, it's a passion and a pleasure. But that doesn't mean that the reasons I gave above don't still apply. We are all pretty simple in our motivations and drives. university psychology lectures taught me that. Acceptance and esteem from our piers still burns bright in nearly all of us in some way or another. I have also been lucky in that the artistic skills I have acquired have found favour and my work has sold. To get to this point however wasn't without some considerable trial and error, research, reading and frustration that I couldn't get it right. I studied many of the considered rules of art creation; composition, perspective and design and came to one simple conclusion. 'If it looks right, it is right'. I would then add to that and if people like it and you get pleasure from it even better. It is one of the few skills I have acquired where there just doesn't seem to be a right or wrong way to do it. Others will differ and say you must follow the rules but I see so much art that I either hate or love and do I judge it on whether it follows the rules? No. It is one of the most subjective elements of human response I have come across but what we do have to appreciate to get that positive response there are a 'few tricks of the trade'..

The two Art-Marco web sites show some of my art and offer prints from the original commissions for sale. I guess I could be accused of producing them out of vanity and assessment of my newly acquired skill. If I'm honest and, keeping in mind my motives, I have and still do really enjoyed the experience but now want to give something back.

Both web sites now include Artist Guides 'Working with Charcoal' and Pocklington Freddie'. The first two are now published and more will follow. These first guides concentrate on charcoal and its use on making art.

The first 'Working with Charcoal' is an introductory guide for those who have never worked with charcoal before.

It covers setting up the equipment the various ways of applying it, and taking it off. It covers tone and value and with text and photos I hope will give you a valuable and useful start to the subject. At £9.99 I hope you agree its good value for money and is a download directly from the web site.

Creating an artwork in charcoal
AM02 Pocklington Freddie Thumbnail of Guide

Guide 2 which complements it studies the creation and completion of a finished artwork. Taking the techniques and tips provided in the first guide and applies them to Pocklington Freddie a Black Labrador Retriever.

Fred was our family pet and is sorely missed. So this was a memorial work in his honour. The original hangs proudly on our dining room wall but we have released a very limited number of prints available in the shop. 


However if you want to produce your own version then everything you need to do so is in the guide and it's only £25. It contains 18 pages of detail, text and images which chart my creation of the artwork.

Members who join the site and buy the guide can also ask me questions or make suggestions on what guides you would like me to include in future.

Look forward to hearing from you. Marco

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