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.
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.
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.
April 21st, 2016
Great afternoon of experimentation with Beth Powlesland of the dance company Earthfall. Lots of extraordinary poses, quick charcoal and oil sketches, and fresh ideas for canvases.
Also did some filming, and plan to experiment with painting from those images. Looking forward to developing this work further.
Big thanks to Beth.
April 15th, 2016
Fascinating to spend yesterday with Ballet Cymru dancers in rehearsal for Romeo and Juliet and Roald Dahl’s Little Red Riding Hood. Beautiful and inspiring.
It’s far removed from my usual practice of working with motionless models, though I managed to make some rapid charcoal sketches – mostly little more than notations of line, form and movement, though here’s an example of one of the more coherent images.
Very grateful to all at the company, and looking forward to returning soon.