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.


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.


Representation by Ffin y Parc Gallery

March 27th, 2017

Excited to now be represented by Ffin y Parc – a beautiful gallery on the edge of Snowdonia, North Wales – and looking forward to working with them on future exhibitions.

The first will run from May 28th to June 21st this year, and feature a selection of paintings dating from 2007 to the present. I’m currently in the process of taking older pieces out of storage and preparing to show them again, which is a curious experience. Intrigued to see such a range of work hanging side by side.

Please find further details here.


Kickstarter update

February 26th, 2017

Getting into the final couple of weeks of my Kickstarter-funded project Painting dance, and reflecting on the remaining canvases I want to produce for the series.

The project has involved a great deal of experimentation – both technically, in terms of creative processes, materials and so on, and with regards to poses, picture composition and scale. I’ve run into a lot of problems, but have learned a great deal and developed a much clearer idea about the direction my work will take in the future – which will certainly involve further collaborations with dancers.

Looking forward to producing the final pieces, and to making up the second set of prints to be sent out to Kickstarter backers. Planning to have done this by mid-March.

Photo is from last week, during work on Gwenllian Davies and Krystal Lowe 12.


Studio session with Krystal and Gwen

January 7th, 2017

Continuing my project Painting dance, my second Ballet Cymru studio session was with dancers Gwenllian Davies and Krystal Lowe, just before Christmas, and just after the final night of their 2016 tour.

Focusing on the improvisational approach explored in the earlier session with Anna and Andrea, we extended things a little by dropping straps from the ceiling to introduce a new dynamic to the compositions. (I installed the straps when building the studio in 2005, intending them to be used by nude models as support for particularly difficult all-day poses, though they were very rarely employed in this way. The main use they were put to for the first ten years was as an indoor swing for various friends’ children, until one, Lila, began inventing poses in them in 2015 – a brilliant idea, I think).

I made some sketches and shot a lot of footage of Krystal and Gwen holding positions they’d found through improvised dance, and I’m now working from these using the looped film technique described in my Kickstarter, whilst experimenting further with a range of materials and painting techniques.

One of the most exciting things about this project is not knowing where a session’s going to lead – which I’m just beginning to understand, and to feel more relaxed about. Working with Krystal and Gwen was great. They brought an extraordinary inventiveness and energy to the process, discovering new ways to use the studio space, and creating some beautiful poses. I’ll be posting some of the resulting pictures online as they are completed.