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.
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.