Well Thumbed

June 23rd, 2017

Alongside continuing work with Ballet Cymru, I’m currently painting a series of pictures for Well Thumbed, a theatrical celebration of innuendo and sexual subtext in great literature, created and performed by Terry Victor (whom I painted in 2013 as part of my Performers series).

Terry invited me to produce images to be exhibited alongside performances – portraits of writers who feature in the show, made with reference to historic photographs, paintings, sculptures, etc, or from the imagination. I thought this was an intriguing proposition, involving a very unfamiliar approach to painting, so I’m giving it a go.

Pictures will be shown at a number of performances in Wales and England in July this year, and then during the show’s run at the Edinburgh Festival throughout August.

For further information, please see here.

Thanks to Terry for the opportunity.

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Jackson's interview

June 10th, 2017

I was recently invited to do an interview with Lisa Takahashi of Jackson’s Art Blog. The questions addressed a few things I’d not thought about much before – or at least not for some time – so it was an interesting exercise. Many thanks to Lisa and Jackson’s.

Please find link here.

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Comedy festival portraiture workshop

May 3rd, 2017

Some years ago, Emma Butler, one of the directors of the Machynlleth Comedy Festival, had a splendid idea and suggested I run a drawing workshop as part of the festival programme – which I’ve been doing so ever since.

Modelled by comedians, the event began as a life drawing class – with Tom Parry sitting – though since 2014 has focused on portraiture and involved an array of other wonderful sitters, including Mark Olver, Josie Long, Joe Lycett, Henry Widdecombe, Alexis Dubus (as Marcel Lucont), Bec Hill and Holly Burn. This year Ed Aczel and Beth Vyse sat, which, as ever, resulted in some beautiful work.

The workshop is for people of all levels of experience, including complete beginners – which always creates a lovely dynamic in the class – and the sitters, who’ve often never sat for a portrait before, always approach it with enthusiasm and do a brilliant job. It’s a highpoint of the festival for me, and represents a few hours of calm in the midst of an otherwise very lively weekend. It also invariably teaches me something new about charcoal drawing and portraiture, or reminds me of something I need to pay more attention to in my own work.

Big thanks to Emma and the wider festival team, the Tabernacle Gallery (whose beautiful studio we use), and to everyone else who’s been involved over the years.

For further information about the Machynlleth Comedy Festival, please see here.

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Back in the dance studio

April 16th, 2017

Great to be back with Ballet Cymru in Newport as they work on their new programme for 2017, including productions of A Midsummer Night’s Dream and The Light Princess – the latter being the company’s original adaptation of George MacDonald’s 19th century fairy tale, scored by Catrin Finch.

It’s fascinating to see the creative process of dancers and directors experimenting and playing out ideas in the development of new choreography – which, in the case of The Light Princess, is largely informed by the principle character being literally weightless throughout much of the story. Very excited to see this extraordinary piece evolve, and inspired by the energy and inventiveness of everyone involved. It’s looking wonderful.

At the moment my plan is to focus on making small, fairly rapid charcoal drawings on cardboard – primarily looking to capture simple shapes and movement – though I shall probably return to oil painting over the coming month or so.

The shows open in May – The Light Princess on the 19th at the Riverfront, Newport, and A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the 24th at the Blackwood Miners’ Institute. For further UK tour dates, please see here.

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Conclusion of Kickstarter

April 10th, 2017

Very happy to be sending out the final round of prints to backers of my Kickstarter project, Painting dance. I still have three portraiture workshops to deliver, which I’m looking forward to, and a couple of canvases I hope one day to finish, but otherwise the project is now over.

It’s been a great experience in lots of ways, and has given me much to think about as I plan the next phase of my work – including continuing collaboration with Ballet Cymru. Huge thanks to everyone involved.

For my final project update, please see here.

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