FreeHaus figure drawing workshop

August 17th, 2016

Had a lot of fun running a figure drawing workshop at Culture Action Llandudno’s FreeHaus art school at weekend.

Students (from primary school age to retired) spent Saturday working from life with two dancers – Angharad Harrop (the model for my own FreeHaus pictures) and her friend Deborah Lago – who experimented with a wide range of poses, mostly arrived at through improvised dance.

An album of images is here, and below it on the timeline is a video of Deborah and Angharad finding one of the poses.

The idea for this process, incidentally, came from my experience painting dancer John Livingston in 2014, when John danced in my studio, periodically freezing into positions for me to draw. It was fascinating to see two models working together in this way, and great to see the drawings they inspired.

Big thanks to all involved.

FreeHaus students will exhibit their work from the 26th to 29th August. Please see the CALL website for details.

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Painting in Llandudno

July 20th, 2016

These little oil sketches were made in my temporary studio in the Free Haus, Culture Action Llandudno’s arts project, where I have a residency this summer. They’re the first steps in working with local dancer Angharad Harrop.

A fun and productive session, during which I discovered two key things: that Angharad is great to work with, and that forgetting to pack walnut oil becomes even more problematic on a warm day than it would have been normally, with turpentine drying on the palette and brush.

We explored lots of ideas – particularly interactions with geometric shapes and the bare architecture of the building itself. Now looking forward to developing these themes further over the coming weeks, and to scaling things up to painting on canvas.

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Continuing work with Ballet Cymru

July 7th, 2016

Over the past few months I’ve been dropping in on Ballet Cymru as they rehearse for this season’s productions, making charcoal sketches and shooting digital film, which I’m then using as reference material to make pictures in the painting studio.

Seeing these dancers at work has been hugely inspiring – both in terms of their physicality and creativity and everything else that interests me as a painter, but also with regards to their extraordinary discipline and the commitment they have to their art. I feel extremely lucky to have had this opportunity.

Looking for moments of stillness within passages of movement, I edit, loop and project sections of film in the studio, as close to life size as possible, and paint as if from a model holding a pose. So far I’ve made a series of small oil sketches and some larger drawings on paper, though my plan is to begin scaling this work up, using the technique to produce large compositions on canvas involving multiple figures, and more directly exploring some of the themes and choreography of the dance that inspired them.

I currently have more ideas for paintings than I know what to do with. It’s very exciting.

Thanks again to the company for all their support.

Please find Ballet Cymru’s website here.

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Studio in Freehaus, Llandudno

July 2nd, 2016

Very excited to be involved in Culture Action Llandudno’s Freehaus Art School this summer, working with students and colleagues, and producing new paintings. The building is a huge, four-storey townhouse, largely stripped down to bare brickwork and exposed joists, and divided up into a dozen or so makeshift studios and two large communal areas. Delivered easels and other equipment this weekend, and will start residency in about a fortnight.

The art school will be open-access and run from July 21st until August 20th, with workshops run by artists with a wide range of backgrounds and disciplines. I’ll be an associate with the project, and plan to continue developing the themes and techniques of my recent work with dancers, working with local people.

An exhibition of students’ work will take place from August 26th to 29th, and fellows and associates will show their work from Sept 23rd to 25th.

For further details, please see here.

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Lala

May 5th, 2016

Great to work with Lala (one of my regular models from 2008 to 2011) for a few hours when she was back in Cardiff recently. The kimono was the Japanophile sitter’s idea, and the black background part of a continuing experiment, following on from (still in progress) portraits of Lisa Jones.

Most of my earlier pictures of Lala are nudes, with just a few paintings from the period when I transitioned into working in portraiture, so it was interesting to return to such a familiar sitter a few years on and with more experience in the genre. The result was a quick painting (see Laura 37 in Artworks – Works on panel), which I’m happy is probably a more successful portrait than those I made previously.

Many thanks to Lala.

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