We’ll be spending the day together at a lovely venue, The Old House Studio in the middle of open countryside about 3 miles from Glossop.
We will begin with some simple ideas about how to compose abstract paintings, as well as spending half an hour looking at abstract work to get some ideas of why these works are successful.
To loosen up and get us in touch with landscape we will then spend an hour or two sketching and painting outside. The Old House Studio is ideally situated for this as it is overlooking part of the Pennine Way with stunning views up and down the valley. There is a useful terrace outside the main studio where we can assemble with all our gear, making it easy for us to paint outside without having to carry lots of materials with us. The sketches will form a loose reference point for the paintings we will then go on to make. We my even use some of the sketches later as collage materials if that is the direction the work takes.
Having connected to the scenes around us, we will move to beginning our final paintings. For these we will be using wood panels as it allows us greater scope for creating surface texture.
We begin on a gessoed panel with intuitive play. Laying down paint in a free and spontaneous fashion to both cover the surface and provide an initial jumping off point into a more finished composition.
Finished with play, we will begin to bring intention into the composition creating landscape forms and shapes. I will be demonstrating how I make decisions in my painting and sharing my thinking with you.
Along the way I will demonstrate various techniques including how to use oil pastel, line, scratching, sanding and scraping paint, collage.
The workshop is for people with some previous experience of painting but this is not essential, and absolute beginners are welcome.
With a few places left, if you are interested then please use the contact form below.
I’ve been putting together my new programme of workshops for 2016 and as a result thinking about some of the comments people have made to me at times. When I talk about painting I so often hear a response that goes something like – “Oh, I’d love to, but I can’t draw”, or “Someone told me I can’t draw/paint” etc. Often said with a strong sense of regret.
Unfortunately it seems that there are quite few people have had some kind of negative experience when growing up around artistic or creative expression. Either that, or that art is not the kind of thing that’s worthwhile or that you can earn a living at. Even without this kind of interaction people do seem create their own inner critic who sits on their shoulder (metaphorically) getting in the way of them being creative.
As a personal development professional and an artist I am interested in helping people step around this and connect with their inner creativity to express themselves in the ways they want and to be satisfied with their work. So all my workshops pay attention not only to the techniques of working with the medium in question, whether it’s acrylic or oils, but also to the conversation we might be having with ourselves while we are working. I’m looking to help the person begin to identify if some of their thinking might be getting in their way of their creativity.
And along the way we’ll be having some fun and Play with Paint! Interested? Call me to find out more 07985 936393 about workshops or coaching.
I’m exhibiting at the Horsforth Walk of Art this year on the 4th and 5th of July. I like these type of open arts events, they attract a lot of people who like to paint, draw and craft themselves. I get to meet people who want to find out about the work and who are often interested in trying the techniques for themselves. So, I thought in the run up I’ll do a weekly post where I will share one of the techniques I use, a tip about how to make use of a material, something I find useful in my painting or possibly a resource that I’ve found interesting or inspiring.
If you want to be sure to receive each weekly post then make sure you sign up either to my blog, and if you have a technique or tip that you’d like to share then post a comment.
The first signs of autumn are here. Leaves starting to turn, end of the blackberries, a cool crisp chill in the air first thing in the morning, misty days like today. I love the autumn colour, although its also tinged with a touch of wistfulness for me as well. The close of the summer, no more endlessly hot, bright days for a few months. I always think that the glorious colours of autumn are natures last gasp of majesty before everything goes to sleep for the winter months. So, I’ve been capturing some of the early signs on my morning walks. The hawthorn, the rose hips, teasels, grasses and flowers going to seed and I’m beginning to think about autumn colour – burnt sienna, cadmium red, alizarin crimson, indigo and purple.
I put up a post a few days ago about working with triads of colour. I said I was looking forward to trying out the principles with acrylic paint to see what that might be like and it’s been great fun.
I have found painting the landscape in the Peak District to be an interesting challenge. Moorland can be pretty bleak and uncompromising and although this is contrasted with some lovely rolling green hills interspersed with rocks, trees, and dry stone walls, the composition and use of colour becomes more important, otherwise I find I can end up with a just a very green painting. I think this is one of those times when, because I’m not painting something that is particularly beautiful of itself, unlike the Isles of Scilly for example, it can become beautiful through the expression of the artist. There is a wildness and bleakness that I do find appealing and compelling, but that doesn’t make it something that in my view works as a painting, so the challenge is how convey something of the bleakness and the wild openness in a way that is visually attractive.
Scotch Pines at Longshaw
The chance to play around with some colour seemed to fit well with this, and here are my first couple of attempts. The first painting is of scotch pines in the grounds up at Longshaw. This was from a walk on a lovely bright winter’s day. I was particularly struck by the deep shadows in the foreground and the light in the distance. The walk we did on this day took us through Grindleford and Padley Gorge where I took lots more snaps to work on back in the studio. Longshaw is a National Trust property between Sheffield and Hathersage.
Snow on Stanage
The next couple of paintings are both around Stanage, one of the many grit stone edges that can be found in this area. From the tops the moors stretch out before you into the far distance and all there is to see is mile after mile of rolling heather, bracken and grass moving in the breeze. Here’s something from a day with the heather in bloom and another when there was snow on the ground.
I’m not a great fan of watercolour, always found them a bit wishy washy and I’ve never felt that confident using them either, too delicate I suppose. I’ve used them for rough sketching and playing about but nothing much else. However, I recently discovered a great book, Art Escapes by Dory Kanter an American watercolorist and I’m inspired! Here’s Dory’s website to have a look at her work. http://www.artworldtours.com/
The book is about keeping an artistic journal, and in it there are some lovely ideas and really great exercises to do as part of a process of doing something creative every day. Which is my latest thing by the way, being creative every day – but more on that in my next post.
Derbyshire Open Arts
What I’ve found most useful is her ideas on working with triads of colour. Now, I tend to work with a limited palette anyway, but her approach was new and I’ve been having great fun. I’ve started with some little water colour paintings that I’ve made into cards, (they will be on sale at Derbyshire Open Arts this weekend) and I’m feeling like they will lead on to bigger things; maybe some larger watercolours. I’m also really excited about how I might take this idea of working with triads and use the principle with oils and acrylic, now that could be really interesting.
Following some pretty wet weather the bluebells are out at Linacre. This time of year is one of my favourites for the stunning beauty of the beech woods and the carpet of bluebells that seem to hover a few inches above the earth, below glorious bright green canopy of the trees.
Each year, as soon as we reach the middle of April I start looking out for those telltale spots of blue that give hints of the glory yet to come. This year has been no different. The wild garlic is showing with those wonderful white stars, the anemones with their delicate petals and leaves and the bluebells with a heady scent that fills the air on a warm day. My inspiration for painting is from moments of peacefulness and connection, bluebells are a favourite of mine, something I love to paint and I never fail to be stirred by them.
I’ve completed a few paintings of bluebell woods, using various techniques. Its been fun experimenting, finding different ways of expressing the experience and communicating what I see.
This is an early painting. I was interested in contrast between the dark in the foreground under the trees and the light in distance between the trees and the remains of last year’s leaves still on the ground, the orange complementing the blue of the flowers.
Experimenting with a palette knife, enjoying the texture of the paint and building up the paint layering it on thickly.
And my most recent work this year, acrylic on board.