Monday, 28 October 2013

Workshop at "The Wheatsheaf"

This workshop has been in the pipeline since May when we met Tony and Kathryn Marshall, landlord and lady at The Wheatsheaf, Thurcaston, on our holiday at Lopud Island. I had run a little painting session with Kathryn on one of the rainy days and she invited me to do something at their pub.

They do have a lot of different things going on with a host of "special evenings" offering exceptionally good value and quality food and have a "skittle room" where they hold all sorts of different events and where we held the workshop.

The workshop was really enjoyable with mainly beginners and they produced some terrific little studies seeming to get the "gist" of what I was trying to teach them.....I was particularly pleased when a couple of ladies said they had always wanted to try painting and had felt slightly afraid to try... I had made them realise it is all about playing with the paint and enjoying the process rather than needing to produce a masterpiece every time...

They also asked me about running a two day course which having had a chat with Kathryn, I will be doing..... I will share more details on here when we finalise a date but we are looking to possibly late Feb or early March. If you are interested please let me know as there will be a few people from the workshop  who I think will book and numbers would be limited to 12.

We carried on our journey after the workshop to visit my sister in law near Milton Keynes where we have had a lovely relaxing weekend and returned yesterday to be entertained with a super meal at my son's! All in all a great short break!! Did some clothes shopping in Buckingham too.....

I would also like to say a huge thank you to Kathryn for lunch, for providing the venue and for the refreshments which were available thoughout the afternoon.....

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Opening an Exhibition!!

A couple of weeks ago I got a phone call from Dave Hendry (he of Westhoughton Art Group fame) asking would I like to open their annual exhibition? What an honour that was... he had asked the group what they thought about the suggestion of me doing it and they apparently agreed!!! Both my sons greeted the news with superior amusement and also as if I had grown two heads as if to say "aw bless her she does try!!!"

Anyway I didn't really have to think about it, apart from enjoying being with them all as they are a very warm and friendly crowd... I have a lot to thank Dave for in these early stages of my arty life!! I did my first workshop at the group and seem to have been a fixture ever since and also know he has passed my name to other groups recommending they book me to run sessions for them as well.

So I did write a little speech at home, I haven't ever given a speech before but I thought it would be similar to speaking at the demos and workshops I do, which it was and as I do at those I decided to speak naturally without referring to any notes ..... I did take my specs off as I didn't want to see any grimacing expressions so as far as I'm concerned it went really well and they were all smiling happy faces!!!

I had decided that I would mention the quality of the art work and offer some words of encouragement whatever the standard.  I don't always see the finished pieces when I go to the group and of course don't know what they do in other media of which there are a lot so didn't really know what to expect. Anyway I was able to say in absolute honesty that the work was of a really high standard and I was quite blown away by it... there were some truly lovely pieces and I was very impressed by the variety of media they use as I only get to see the watercolour they do.

I have to say a big thank you to everyone for the lovely flowers Dave presented me with.. I was very taken aback as I certainly wasn't expecting anything and it was my pleasure to be at their lovely event!!

On a final note I understand what it takes to put together in exhibition of this sort and every credit should go to Dave Hendry who works very hard behind the scenes for WAG.... the group has had a waiting list recently... Dave's solution, he has started another session!! So they now hold 2 meetings every Monday, am and pm in the same venue and it looks like both sessions will be equally well attended... already looking good for next year's exhibition!!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

2013 Xmas Cards

I think these are my final cards. I have done another 3 today as I wasn't altogether satisfied with the ones I had done previously and decided to stick with my animal theme.

Photo by Paul Sherman
 Photo by John Robinson
 Photo by Chrissy M
 Photo by Steve Gibbs
Photo by Caroline Yealey

Monday, 14 October 2013

Demonstration by Katie Hampson

I was invited to Westhoughton Art Group today first to do a workshop for the second group they have formed in the afternoons due to popular demand and second to attend a demonstration by young Lancashire artist Katie Hampson.

Katie introduced herself with a string of accolades most of us only dream of, exhibiting on several occasions at the Mall galleries and winning The Artist' Editors award in 2012. She has work in many countries and at the ripe old age of 20 has an amazing career ahead of her!!

She started her demonstration of a Bavarian cow working on mountboard with a freehand pencil drawing (no reference image) and then water soluble felt tip pen which she bled into the painting. She started to build up the piece with blues and purples allowing and encouraging the paint to drip. 

She works instinctively adding more and more colour moving effortlessly around the painting and also adding white gouache as she progressed. She then moved on to using some watercolour inks which give her a slightly more vibrant depth of colour, followed by Copic Ciao marker pens and Posca White markers.

The final stages were added using normal coloured pencils adding more and more texture and building up depth of colour so a full mixed media piece at it's completion

This is the finished piece which to be fair doesn't do it justice as we can't see the multi-layered effect Katie achieves with these pieces. She uses many colours and though the piece was quite subtle it was full of life, interest and depth.

This whole painting took about and hour and a half and after a morning coffee break Katie asked for suggestions for a second piece which was slightly more caricaturist and which I painted along with. It was a dog which again she drew freehand, Katie has studied anatomy and for birthdays and xmas presents has had skulls and deer's legs!!! As a result her drawing skills are based on very solid anatomical knowledge and she is very able to draw from her imagination as she understands the form and how the skulls and bones form the features of the particular animal she is drawing.. I messed up the initial drawing so was fighting it the whole way through but I did enjoy the process of applying the paint as it suits my style. I'm not sure about painting on mount board as I do love the way watercolour behaves on paper and feel the mountboard would behave more like a smooth paper which I am not fond of!!

Katie brought some of her sketch books which imho were wonderful and almost stole the show for me!!

She had such a mature way of painting which doesn't fit her tender years. She paints quickly and instinctively and though she remains silent during the process is quite happy to answer questions as she goes along. When you paint as she does, I'm sure it is quite difficult to verbalise exactly why you are doing what you are doing, she moves around the whole piece, never lingering in any one area adding, what you may think are at times, indiscriminate and sometimes indistinct marks but bringing the whole piece together in a fascinating way.

On this subject of dialogue during a demo I can empathise with Katie... (not that I am trying to compare in any way what I do with what she does) but it made me think about a few paintings I have done which I would find very hard to demonstrate or deliver in a workshop, they are those which sort of evolve and I have as little idea as anyone about why I am putting the strokes where I am!! Other paintings are more formulaic and can be explained more easily, they maybe demonstrate certain skills and techniques which show how different effects can be obtained, how colours can be mixed, why I'm using the colours I have chosen and why I am making decisions around the piece and I find it helps both me and the people attending to verbalise my thoughts.Whether I will find a means to talk my way around these other pieces time will tell!!!  What I do find however, is by deliberating about the dialogue I will use during a workshop (I often practice out loud while I am practising a painting), it helps me to understand why I'm doing what I'm doing, forcing me to understand the reasons behind my methods and therefore actually reinforces my own learning... I knew there was a jolly good reason why I love doing these workshops!!

After lunch I did the workshop for the new group of people who have joined Westhoughton Art Group for the afternoon session and a great time was had by all, me included!! I have also been asked to open the annual group exhibition so need to get a little speech ready for that which will do the members proud and get their exhibition off to a flying start!! No pressure then.......

BTW if you are still here, do take a look at Katie's website

And this is the link to Westhoughton Art Group where over the next few days am sure Dave will update the blog about Katie's visit.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Back to Painting

Not on puppy duty this weekend so first chance to get some painting done... yeh!!!! I need to get my xmas cards printed along with some greetings cards as I am doing a solo exhibition at Garstang Arts Centre in November and I want to have a good price range of paintings to offer so cards are ideal for anyone who may like what I do but can't afford to buy a painting (I have to say my unframed, mounted paintings are very reasonably priced, as in fact is all my work but obviously framed pieces are more expensive).

So have had the afternoon painting and have been working on 6 different paintings at one go, doing little bits here and there as I am waiting for them to dry. We are doing a still life of pears in the loose group on
Paint my Photo using a photo taken by Clare and when I started to think about it I realised it might be suitable as an xmas card

 I also did this other image of pears which Lorna had tried......... a complicated reference with a very busy bg which I decided to simplify. This was done by first painting the pears but losing edges here and there then building up the whole thing with both negative and positive painting. This isn't a finished painting it was just something I fancied having a go at to see how it might work.

Finally I finished another xmas card.  The other 3 are still drying and I will finish them next week sometime. I have painted this image before but went in much darker with the bg this time as my xmas cards have a sort of theme with darks bgs and I want them to look like a collection. Image from a reference by Chrissy M

 So now I have to start making decisions ... which images to use for both xmas and greetings cards and then which paintings I need to have framed for the exhibition... thankfully I do have quite a few already done..... think I might need to do another 10 and maybe swap some around as well. I think I will be taking about 35, some just mounted, then some cards. Am getting worn out just thinking about it!!