November 14th, 2016
Funded by my Kickstarter campaign, it was great to have my first studio sitting with dancers of Ballet Cymru last week. Neither Anna Pujol nor Andrea Battaggia had ever worked with a painter before, and I’d had only a little experience of working with multiple models, so none of us quite knew what was going to happen.
What resulted was several hours of experimentation – planned and partially directed at the start of the session, though becoming more spontaneous towards the end, with the dancers arriving at poses through brief discussion and passages of flowing, improvised movement. This latter approach (developing some of my earlier work with Beth Powlesland and John Livingston in the studio, and with Deborah Lago and Angharad Harrop at the FreeHaus project this summer) was more directly informed by the dancers’ own ideas, and led to some particularly interesting and expressive poses, a number of which I look forward to working up on canvas.
It was an inspiring day, and a productive first step in my new project.
Big thanks to Anna and Andrea, who were excellent to work with, bringing an enthusiasm and creativity to the process which I hope I can reflect in the paintings.
Ballet Cymru is currently touring Romeo a Juliet and Little Red Riding Hood & The Three Little Pigs – both wonderful. See dates and venues here.
October 2nd, 2016
My Kickstarter campaign – Painting dance – runs until October 16th. If you are interested in my work, please consider supporting the project, which will enable me to focus on painting for a sustained period of time in order to develop ideas and techniques I’ve been working on with professional dancers over the past year or so. I’m very excited about it.
Rewards include panel paintings, canvases, prints and figure drawing workshops, so I hope there are some nice incentives to get involved.
Please find link here.
UPDATE – 17th October: Thrilled that the Kickstarter has been successful! Massive thanks to everyone who got behind it. Can’t wait to get to work!
September 28th, 2016
This photo does little justice, but Angharad Harrop gave a beautifully playful performance at the opening of the Culture Action Llandudno’s Freehaus exhibition on Friday.
Responding to the paintings themselves and to prompts from the audience, the dancer moved around the exhibition giving a commentary in Welsh, Portuguese and English, describing some of her experiences and thoughts about modelling at the FreeHaus project – both for me, and for the students in the workshop we ran last month. A real highlight of the Llawn Festival weekend.
I’m very grateful to Angharad for her enthusiastic involvement in this project. I learned a great deal about figure painting on a significantly larger scale than I’m used to, and made a number of technical discoveries that I know I’ll take forward in my future work – much of which was drawn from the model’s creativity.
For more information about Angharad’s practice, please see here.
September 16th, 2016
Here’s Angharad Harrop in situ, once again cooly letting gravity know who’s boss.
Being involved in Culture Action Llandudno’s FreeHaus project has been extraordinary – collaborating with an inspiring and enthusiastic model, working far away from my usual studio for short, intensive bursts of activity, and experimenting with new techniques and ideas about painting. In addition it’s been great to meet other artists working across a range of unfamiliar disciplines, and to spend time with local people during the art school programme – particularly the figure drawing workshop I ran with Angharad and Deborah, which was great fun, and produced some lovely work.
The FreeHaus exhibition will feature pieces by all ten resident artists, and open on September 23rd as part of Llandudno’s Llawn Festival – a weekend of music, theatre, film, friendly robots, story-telling, games, dance, puppets, art exhibitions, workshops, and a pop-up cinema on the prom.
See the LLawn website for the full programme. Everything’s free. It’ll be a hoot.
Big thanks to everyone involved.
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 informed by the Brazilian tradition of Capoeira, which Angharad and Deborah practise.
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.