First Steps in Art is a workshop specially designed for people who are completely new to drawing or painting. So, what can you expect from your first art workshop?
Firstly a warm and friendly welcome, a cuppa and a chat when you arrive. There will be time to introduce yourself to the other members of the group and as the teacher for the day I will be taking time to help people settle in.
Then, an overall introduction to the day and what we will be up to. Clear instructions on each lesson and how to use the materials
Each lesson will be introduced in turn with plenty of guidance on what to do. I’ve some interesting and exciting things planned for us which are geared to help build your confidence quickly. As an example, we will use watercolours to paint stripes on a piece of paper and then cut it up to make a simple collage picture by sticking it on coloured card.
We take an hour for lunch allowing time for a break.
Group size is limited to 8 people so there is plenty of opportunity for one to one discussion and support from me.
Finally, you take home the results of your painting for the day.
This weekend I’m off to the Artist and Designer Fair being held at the Pavilion Gardens Marquee in Buxton. The Pavilion runs a huge number of events each year including food and drink , arts and crafts, antiques, and garden events. This is one of a regular series of art events in the calendar and I’m off to scope it out for two reasons. I’m going to be looking to exhibit myself next year now I’m settled in Buxton and I’m thinking about Christmas presents.
I really like to buy from local crafts people and artists rather than from the high street. I love knowing exactly who made the item I am buying and in lots of cases being able to chat to the artist or maker to find out more about them, what materials they use, how they go about making or creating the piece and all about their work. Its a great way to shop and I always have an interesting time and come away with unique and lovely things.
I’ll be posting after the event with news of all my purchases. Thinking you might like to drop on in? Here’s a link to the Pavilion site with a list of events between now and Christmas.
I’d love to hear about your finds, what has been your best arts or crafts purchase so far?
I’m thinking about new ideas in my work particularly how to join up the skills I have as a psychotherapist of over ten years and as a practising artist. Having been on my own journey of artistic development; from someone who hadn’t picked up a paint brush since “A” level I’m very interested in working with people in freeing up their creativity, whether it’s because they want to paint, play music, act dance or sing or because they want to find a way to improve their creative energy in a more general way and free themselves to be more expressive.
Critical Inner Voice
When I was at school I can remember how difficult art felt sometimes. My inner voice criticising, feeling unable to express myself feely, being scared about what others might think or say about my efforts. From my own recent personal experience I can definitely say that my confidence in painting and in being willing to experiment now comes from having done so much personal development work as part of my training to work as a psychotherapist. That work has been all about understanding myself better and growing my confidence in my thinking, feeling and ways of being myself. Which has fed through into my painting in a willingness both to experiment and test out new ideas and to put myself out there, for my work to be seen and commented on.
I’m not by any means suggesting that everyone who is an artist or who wants to express themselves in a more creative way needs to undergo a course of psychotherapy – however I do think that there is something to be said for understanding how we might be limiting ourselves and then finding ways to liberate ourselves from old patterns of criticism, or insecurity in our expressiveness.
Coaching for Creativity
I work with people in just this way, whether in a small groups or on an individual basis I provide creative coaching support. My approach is to focus on what each person wants to gain from the time with me. So, we might explore practical techniques as well as how your thinking and feeling might be influencing your work. In my experience it is the ideas we have about our abilities and what we are doing that feeds into what and how we create.
If you think you might be interested in exploring how I might be able to help then please give a call or drop my an email using the form below. we can have a 20 minute conversation free of charge to explore some of the areas you might like to work and if this might be for you.
The joys of acrylic paint – a gallery selection of some of my work using different techniques.
My next workshop is an opportunity to explore and play with acrylic paint, hopefully silencing your inner critic – or at least turning the volume down while you have some fun. I love using acrylics – they are versatile, easy to use and have a fabulous range of colours. I have designed this one day session to provide a chance to chance to explore some of these qualities in a quiet, relaxing setting in the Peak District.
There are lots of really good artists out there offering painting workshops, and what I think I offer that is unique is a combination of skill in teaching and personal development and painting.
I have been a personal development professional and teacher for over the last 10 years so I bring a wealth of experience of working with people supporting them in developing themselves and an in-depth understanding of how we can limit ourselves and stop our selves experimenting and being creative because of unhelpful inner dialogues. I’ve been painting seriously for about the last five years and work in acrylics, oils and mixed media. So I’ve done lots of exploring myself in how to release my own creativity and connect with my inner artist.
The workshop I’m running on Friday 6th May in Rowsley, Derbyshire runs from 10am until 4.30pm and is all about introducing people to the joys of painting in this medium. We’ll spend some time in the morning doing some experiments that explore and play with the properties of the paint. Testing out the texture and qualities of the paint, how it mixes, using different tools like sponges and sticks. Looking at colour.
Then we’ll move on to planning a composition and completing a small painting during the rest of our time together. Mostly, we’ll be playing with paint!
Think this might be for you? Email me using the form at the bottom of this page with any question or to make a booking. Hope to see you there!
I’m absolutely delighted that I now have an on-line shop! I’m using Big Cartel which seems very straightforward both for me as the seller and for all my potential customers. Easy to navigate and secure, I can accept payment by debit and credit cards and by Paypal.
The last week has been spent searching out and testing suitable packaging for sending cards and prints through the post. Going through some of my smaller works for paintings less than £100 and photographing them for the site. I think most people want to see the item in person first if it’s over £100. Maybe I’m wrong let me know if so!
And we are live today with a selection of handmade cards each with a different mixed media painting all mini originals, along with other printed cards of some of my paintings in various sizes. I’ve some postcards packs and notecards available plus a selection of digital prints.
There’s also a limited edition giclee print of one of my bluebell paintings, Bluebells and Birches. There’s an introductory offer of 20% discount on all purchases over £20, just enter code 8BLR36 at the checkout.
Anyone who has read my blog may have picked up that I’m don’t really paint much using watercolours. I paint in oils and acrylic and I’ve been using pastels recently, but satisfaction with watercolours has so far eluded me. I was thinking about this recently and it dates back to school. I was using oils and acrylics when I took my A levels and I only began using watercolours about two or three years ago. Which makes sense as to why I’ve found them a bit challenging.
I am very much drawn to other artists’ work in the medium, I love the quality of the light that is conveyed and the beautiful lightness of touch and impression of spontaneity. So having recently decided that I wanted to improve my work in this area and spurred on by a couple of book purchases (see Doodling) I’ve been spending all my painting time this week either reading or using watercolours, beginning with some doodling earlier in the week, and finishing up with a couple of small paintings.
The process has been very interesting. I’ve resisted a lot of planning in the past. I’m a “lets get in there and start painting” person. This does not work with watercolour. I’ve proved it several times. Two or three minutes in, one unthought through, brush stroke later and the paper is in the bin/ drying for scrap and I’m sitting feeling grumpy. So I’ve planned. I’ve done quick sketches, followed by tonal sketches in pencil. Then tonal sketches in watercolour. Then planned out the palette. And taken my time. Planned which colour to use and when. And had some pretty happy results. A good start and not feeling grumpy.
I was in Sheffield this week and found a second hand book shop on Sharrow Vale Road. I bought three lovely art book bargains, one on drawing for beginners that I thought might have some useful exercises for my upcoming workshops, one on painting outside as, although I sketch outside, I tend to work mainly in my studio, and one on watercolours.
There are some very talented watercolourists out there whose work I love, spontaneous, unusual and fresh work. I think because I came late to watercolours it has been, so far, the medium I find the most challenging. The work so often ends up muddy, or overworked. I aim for spontaneity and brightness and am often dissatisfied with the results.
So, when my bargain book, Fresh Watercolours by Ray Campbell Smith suggested doodling as a way to play with the effects of watercolour I decided to experiment.
The learning has been very interesting and I have discovered quite a few things:
I have been adapting (doing as told without evaluating or thinking about my own ideas) to an artist whose workshop I attended quite a while ago who said that round brushes are “the best to use.” In my other work I mostly use flats, I like the definite marks that result and they are flexible enough to make quite a range of different marks too. So a change of brush to test this out for while.
Because I work mainly with oils and acrylics I tend to work quite quickly and I think I have a habit of getting lost in the work and not standing back often enough to evaluate what I am doing. This does not work well with watercolour when something I am working on can go from fresh to muddy in a couple of brush strokes. I need to slow down and pause.
Planning in advance. I do sketch out my ideas before painting and test out colours using thumbnails. However I have to own that for most of my acrylic and oils I mostly have a broad idea of where I am heading at best and the rest evolves as I am painting. I think this can be a problem with watercolour as an unplanned colour or brush mark cannot be changed. So, I need to spend more time planning and working through ideas. I do find this quite a challenge as often want to get in there and get painting and it sometimes feels like I might lose the spontaneity by too much planning in advance. Although maybe that is the challenge – to find a balance between planning and spontaneity.
Finally less is definitely more. Simpler palettes, simple compositions seem to work most effectively with watercolour. A doorway rather than a complex street scene, a tree rather than a whole wood etc etc.
To all those dedicated watercolourists out there, what do you think? What have been your greatest challenges? I’d love to hear from you.
I’ve been experimenting with working with pastels recently. Getting used to the properties and techniques. Here’s a colour study of some silver birch trees on Curbar Gap during winter. Dry pastel on cool blue grey paper 160g 30cmx22cm. This is going to sit for a while now while I evaluate it. I’ll be looking at mark making, colour, composition. I’m already thinking of using a damp brush to give more definition to some of the branches in the trees.