The Journey

My journey along this path into becoming a Spirit Portrait Artist started on the 26th of May 2005 when I was inspired to draw. I was sat at home playing a game on my PlayStation, when I subjectively heard the words "put it down, paper, pencil and draw". I chose to listen and I'm so glad that I did. I found a quiet spot and sat with pencil poised on paper, eyes closed waiting for something to happen. I then heard "can you open your eyes so that I can see what I'm doing please". I did as I was asked and pretty soon the pencil started to move across the paper in a swirling motion gaining in speed until it was hard for me to keep up with it . At first it was just scribble with no defined images and  I felt a sense of frustration and asked "are you left handed". The moment I asked that question I felt a sense of elation, the pencil went into my left hand, I heard "thank you" and I drew my first spirit portrait. (pictured on the left).

For the first two months I drew left handed, which I have to say unnerved some people who knew I was right handed. I found drawing with my left hand strange and cumbersome. It got easier over time as I got used to my guide controlling my hand but it was slow going and each picture would take over an hour to complete. It was obvious that these pictures were developing and progressing but the speed was becoming an issue. It was pointed out to me that the average message given from the Church rostrum was three and a half to seven and half minutes and that if I was to put this new found ability to good use then I would need to fit a portrait into that space of time. Even though the pictures were still not of a high standard due to my lack of knowledge and drawing experience I knew spirit hadn't asked me to draw for no good reason. With this in mind the mutual decision between me and my guide was to go back to drawing with my right hand for speed. By then we had built up a working relationship built on trust, she was used to being able to pull the strings in my mind to move my hands and I was used to what it felt like to have my hands controlled. By making this change we were able to considerably speed the drawing process up to fit within the tight time frame required for public work. 

When doing a private sitting you have more time for the creative process but in a public demonstration speed is of the essence. I therefore tend when working publicly to work with an overhead projector and draw on acetate with a permanent marker. I find this much faster than drawing on paper although the portraits are not up to the same standard that you get when working on good quality paper you can still get a decent likeness.This is the first picture I drew on acetate in November 2006 at the I.S.F fraternal weekend in Eastbourne UK. As a student I was asked to partake in the students demonstration and had planned on drawing on an easel however the evening before my Tutor Matthias Guldenstein drew on acetate during the tutors demonstration. After the dem had finished I was impressed by my Guide to ask him if I could give it a go, there was one piece of acetate left so we tried. The portrait was drawn in just over two minutes and  turned out to be my husbands Granddad. I did not recognise him at the time as he had me draw him in his prime, what he looked like 25 to 35 years before I knew him. It is not an exact likeness but you can tell that it's him. Since my first attempt  I have  developed drawing on acetate further and although I still have room to grow the likenesses are progressing well. 


Acetate v's Paper, both drawn prior to comparison photo being provided

My assessment... First one definitely recognisable, just a little chubby. Second one absolutely awesome, no mistaking that. Many artists would copy from a photo and not get as good a likeness. The hair, the eyes, the face shape, all spot on. You will notice that you saw him slightly older. It's a shame we didn't have a pic to match by age. Thank you you so much, theses drawings will be treasured." Ian A

I am not a trained artist beyond what I was taught in school back in the 1980's, where my art teacher put me off by never marking anything I drew above a 2 out of 10. My guide is the artist and I am the utensil, or as I jokingly refer to myself: a spiritual fax machine. Everything I have learnt has come from her and those people kind enough to help and advise me along the way.  I have to admit that I have been exceptionally lucky to have been advised by some wonderful people, Spirit Artists and Mediums and it is due to all these factors combined that has brought my art on so quickly and made me the Spirit Artist I am today resulting in me becoming in 2012  the first person to be awarded a Certificate of Recognition (CSNU) in demonstrating Spirit Art from the Spiritualist National Union (SNU).

With this in mind I would like to thank Monty Havlock for telling me "never to take peoples criticism to heart, to take it on board and learn from it". John Brett for taking the time out to advise me on the right kind of tools to use. Even though he'd just finished a service and had a two hour journey ahead of him. Joan Walton for taking me under her wing and showing me where I was going wrong with the eyes. Also for making me realise that distance means nothing to Spirit, you don't have to be in the same room with someone to draw for them, in fact you don't even have to be in the same country. Pat Campbell for organising a Psychic art class at the I.S.F. fraternal weekend in November 2006 even though it wasn't on the list of classes. "I know it wasn't easy Pat, thanks your one in a million". Matthias Guldenstein for being my tutor that weekend and bringing me forward, giving me the courage to get up and draw on acetate for the first time. Also for being my Mentor and encouraging me to get up and teach, to pass on the knowledge that I have gained in the fields of Spirit & Psychic Art. Bill Coller whom after seeing me work in St Andrews drove home to get some portraits drawn by his good friend Coral Polge, which he then gifted to me in the hopes they would encourage me in my work. You were right Bill, they have, and I greatly appreciate you taking the time to talk to me about her and for giving such a wonderful gift and opportunity. I aspire as all Spirit Artists should to get to such an excellent high standard of work, she was and still is an inspiration to many.

I would also like to thank the following: my family and friends for their support and encouragement, especially my mother Minister Ann Robson who introduced me to the right people at the right time and for her teachings, patience, friendly constructive criticism and for generally just being herself. All of the Mediums who were kind enough to give me permission to draw at the back of the church during their services. And last but by no means least my Spirit Guides, Friends and helpers without whom I could not do any of this.


© Coral Ryder 2008

 © Coral Ryder 2008