I’m pleased to be back teaching in my studio again! In 2017, I have increased the teaching days to include Wednesdays. A full list of the sessions for this year is:
Spend time learning and developing your drawing and painting skills with me. The focus will be on traditional drawing and painting skills using oil paint but including charcoal, graphite and coloured pencils. I focus on drawing in the mornings and painting in the afternoons – although there can be some flexibility on this depending on when students are free to attend.
Tuesdays – in 5-week blocks.
- 17th, 24th, 31st January, 7th, 14th February
- 28th, February, 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th March
- 25th April, 2nd, 9th, 16th, 23rd May
- 6th, 13th, 20th, 27th June, 4th July
- 19th, 26th September, 3rd, 10th, 17th October
- 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th November, 5th December
Wednesdays – in 5-week blocks.
- 18th, 25th January, 1st, 8th, 15th February
- 1st, 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th March
- 19th, 26th April, 3rd, 10th, * 24th May (no session on 17th)
- 7th, 14th, 21st, 28th June, 5th July
- 20th, 27th September, 4th, 11th, 18th October
- 8th, 15th, 22nd, 29th November, 6th December
10.00 am to 12.30 pm, 2.00 pm to 4.30 pm, 6.00 pm to 8.30 pm
Cost £20 per person per session (morning, afternoon or evening). Special price for block of 5 sessions booked together £95. 10 sessions booked together £180.
Each session is strictly limited to 4 artists – ensuring plenty of individual attention. Tea/coffee/biscuits included. Some materials provided for beginners.
Starting on Friday evening (20th May), I’ll be opening my studio as part of the 2016 Harleston & Waveney Art Trail. This year 25 artists will be opening their studios over the weekends of 21st/22nd and 28th/29th/30th May (including Bank holiday Monday). To download a complete pdf version of this year’s brochure with all the studio locations please click this link HWAT 2016 brochure. (It’s quite a big file – so please give it time!)
I shall actually be open everyday in between the weekends too! Please feel free to call any time between 11.00 am and 6.00 pm. There will be coffee and home made cookies! I also start off with a preview evening on Friday 20th from 5.00 to 8.00 pm. Please come along for a glass of wine and a crisp or two!
This year, I’m pleased that we have managed to complete the decoration of our downstairs garden room/gallery in which a range of framed works will be displayed – making a really useful addition to the studio. I’ll be aiming to be painting each day and you’ll see some works in progress as well as a range of drawings and “bargain” studio clearance pictures.
I am very excited to be leading a 5 day plein air landscape painting holiday at Stang Korvenn in West Brittany this September. Stang Korvenn is a beautifully restored and refurbished traditional Breton long house with attached gite run by Jilly and Bryan Cox. Set in 3 acres of secluded woodland in the countryside that inspired Gaugin and his contemporaries, Stang Korvenn provides wonderful accommodation and home produced, locally-sourced food. Located next to the peaceful River Aulne, Stang Korvenn offers easy access to the Brittany coast to the West. Roscoff and the Northern coast are just over an hour away. The medieval city of Quimper is a little over 20 minutes away with its spectacular cathedral, fascinating winding streets, half timbered buildings and chic shops, bars and restaurants. A little further inland lies the quaint lakeside town of Huelgoat with mystery walks into the forest with its enormous boulders like gigantic Henry Moore sculptures. There are painting subjects everywhere!
This will be a very full five days! We’ll be doing lots of painting each day and will include a trip to the Musee des Beaux Arts at Pont Aven, the town where Gaugin established his famous school and where his work (and that of his contemporaries) can be seen. Concentrating on painting directly from the inspiring landscape, each day will include a practical demonstration and/or lesson aimed at creating landscape paintings that are both satisfying studies in their own right and make useful resources for further development into larger paintings when you return home.
The group will be limited to a maximum of 10 participants – offering plenty of scope for me to give individual attention to each painter. The holiday is suitable for any painter, regardless of previous outdoor painting experience. Stang Korvenn also has a barn studio where you can continue to work on your own after each day’s painting sessions or in the unlikely event that there is any inclement weather.
Further details of the dates, costs and course content are here. The page includes a Google map showing the location of Stang Korvenn. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you would like any further details.
Largely as a result of being a bit unwell over Christmas and New Year, I’m a little late in updating the website and getting out information about everything that’s already planned for 2016! 2015 was pretty busy and I’ve emerged into the cold, bright January air with a really full diary for 2016 and even more deadlines and commitments for the year ahead!
I’ve just sent out a newsletter detailing some of the plans and I’ve updated some of the information on this site about the courses and workshops I’ll be running or teaching throughout the year. If you’re not on my mailing list – you can subscribe here – or I can forward a copy if you email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with “Newsletter Request” in the subject line.
Here are some highlights!
- I have an upcoming exhibition of all 64 of my “64 Pictures in 64 Days” project from last summer/autumn. It’s at The Fisher Theatre in Bungay from 23rd January to 23rd February – further details here.
- I’ll be teaching lots of workshops at The Art Trading Co in Bungay throughout the year. Details here, here, here, here and here.
- I’ll be offering regular small group tuition here at my own studio. 2016 MC studio tuition.
- I’ll be teaching my first Painting Holiday in France at the stunning Stang Korvenn in Western Brittany. I really can’t wait for this one!
- I’m running a “plein air” painting course in Walberswick during the Summer.
- I’m really pleased to be doing 2 one day courses at Norfolk Creative Arts, a new centre for art tuition and other activities at Grimston, near Kings Lynn. This is a really exciting venture and I’m flattered to be part of it. Specific details of the two workshops are here and here.
Hoping to be a bit more regular in posting during 2016! Mind you, I was taught as a youngster that “the road to hell was paved with good intentions”!
“The world is full of magical things – patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.” W B Yeats.
Here I am in early October – wondering why time passes so very quickly! Radio silence has been maintained over the last couple of months – purely because I’ve been so busy with my “64” project on top of an already pretty heavily committed summer. Actually, I have had a really productive (and intensive!) summer and have finally landed in the autumn with a lot of extra experience under my belt.
I’m always full of “good” ideas! The recent “64 pictures in 64 days” project being one that has tested me in lots of ways.
Above are thumbnails of the studies from Day 1 (28th July), Day 32 (28th August)and Day 64 (29th September). They illustrate aspects of my 64 day “journey” (as X Factor would no doubt describe it). Essentially, these are of the same view over our back fence across the water meadow by the river Waveney. It is a view that I love and one that constantly reminds me in times of stress how fortunate we are to live in such a delightful setting.
Various “painterly” things have evolved for me over the last couple of months of regular painting in a square format:
- I’ve become tidier “out in the field” – my paint mixing and general palette discipline has improved
- I cart far less stuff around with me (mostly using 6 tubes of paint as the basis of all the landscapes)
- I (mostly) work more efficiently than before – with less “fiddling about”
- I understand that almost any view makes a good subject for a study – this is all about learning to see
- I love oil paint even more than before
- I’m now even less inclined to work from photos than before
The full collection of 64 pictures is now in a dedicated album. Each 8″ x 8″ study was painted (and in one case drawn) directly in the landscape or from a still life set up in my studio. Aside from very minor bits of tidying up, they are untouched after the painting session in which they were created. Each picture was offered for sale at £64 (unframed + P&P). Several dates were reserved ahead of the painting being made and several sold after being posted each day to a Facebook page and Pinterest board I set up for the project. All currently unsold works will continue to be available at the “project” price for 64 days (’til 3rd December 2015) following my recent birthday on 30th September (the reason for the whole project in the first place!).
I spent most of today at The River Waveney Study Centre (was The Otter Trust) at Earsham just outside Bungay. It’s a big site (with views wherever you turn) and I set up by the new hide overlooking the Scrape. This is where I will be putting my installation as part of the Waveney & Blyth Arts Sculpture Trail later this month. I also painted a second picture from the path by the river. I’m happy with both pictures and they’ll probably both be included in the installation – but I’ve chosen this one as my Day 6 picture.
I’m still working in oils and using these first few paintings to try out some new paints. The paints are from Pip Seymour who uses a wide range of ancient (and more contemporary) pigments and cold pressed linseed oil and makes the paints in small batches. They are a little different to my regular brands (Michael Harding and Old Holland) but I’m getting used to them and very favorably impressed so far. I’ll list the pallet that I typically use outdoors in a future post.
Incidentally, I thought I’d answer the question that no-one has asked – “What are you painting on?”. Well – I’m glad I asked! I am painting on 8″ squares of 6mm plywood which have been given a coat of gesso and sanded to a smooth-ish finish. As the pictures are all quite small, I didn’t want to to have to worry about fighting the texture of canvas or linen and I’ve cut the 64 panels from material that was left over after we’d lined our new studios.
Some sunshine at last!
I set off on Day 4 to find somewhere near The Waveney. I’ve often driven the back roads near us in search of painting locations. This quiet little road junction is between Mendham and Homersfield. However, there are very few parking spots on these roads and I’d not noticed anywhere convenient to stop. In the end, I parked up just off the road by the entrance to a field and walked the 50 or so yards to the little triangular island where I eventually set up. Despite being a bright, sunny afternoon,I was not interrupted at all and barely saw anyone bar a couple of cyclists and dog walkers and the odd car or two.
Today I went to Wenhaston. I knew there was going to be a sketching party alongside the Inspired by Becker exhibition at Wenhaston Church. Although I’ve joined in with a couple of previous IBB “sketch outs”, I had limited time available and didn’t know exactly where the scything party (the subject of the sketching session) would be working. So – beneath my sunshade, I chose a quiet spot in a clearing and started to paint. Later a few of the artists from the exhibition came along and the scythers set to on a patch of bracken to my left. By this time, I was well into my “study in greens” and kept going on my oil study. I may add a couple of figures in the studio at a later date!
For “earning a living” reasons, I was not able to make my Day 2 picture on Day 2 itself! The combination of a journey to Crewe after finishing painting on Day 1, then a day in a shopping centre followed by a return journey home late on Day 2 meant that it was just not practical. So – inspired (!) by what I’d been doing the day before, I decided to paint a piece of “contemporary”art the following day. However, unlike Mr Koons, I have been a professional balloon modeller for the best part of 25 years, so I felt that I could legitimately create my own prototype and take care of production myself without an army of assistants.
After lunch, I got on with Day 3! For a July day, it has been rather cold and miserable. Once again, I was painting in the wet under a dripping umbrella. This view is also over our back fence – slightly to the left of the view on Day 1. It shows part of the dairy farm that grazes its cows on the water meadows behind us.
Today is the first day of my “64 pictures in 64 days” project! For each of the sixty four days leading up to my next birthday, I shall be creating a picture a day. Each picture will be 8″ x 8″ (do the math!) and for sale for the duration of the project (unframed + P&P) for £64 each. I don’t have a master plan for what each picture will be. However, I do intend that all the pictures will be painted “alla prima” or drawn direct from the subject. They are most likely to be landscapes or (depending on the weather and time of day) small still lives set up in the studio. On occasion, the picture may be a figure study done at one of the life drawing groups I help to run. If you would like to purchase any of the pictures or book one in advance, they will all be available on a “first come, first served” basis. NB. Since announcing the project during my open studios weekends in May, some of the dates have already been reserved. Please check for available dates if you are thinking of booking one.
The first picture is, fittingly, the view over the fence at the end of our back garden. I love this view over a drain that connects directly to the River Waveney just beyond the footbridge. It was raining and pretty windy today and I spent a fair bit of the 2 hours on this one holding onto an umbrella and stopping my easel being blown over!. I do expect to return to the view more than once before 29th September (the day before my birthday).
The pictures will all be located in a new gallery here.
From 1st July until 30th September, my painting “Paradise Claimed” is on display at The Fisher Theatre, Bungay. Not just any old landscape painting – this one started as a capital “P” cut from a two foot square piece of plywood! It is one of the eight letters of the word “PARADISE” that has been painted, decorated, adorned or otherwise creatively rendered on behalf of eight art organisations in the Waveney & Blyth micro-region and located in eight of the region’s venues. The project is part of Waveney & Blyth Arts summer programme and aimed at encouraging people to discover more about the area. I’ve painted the “P” on behalf of Black Dog Arts.
Inside the 2015 W&BA summer brochure (which is, incidentally, full of great events) is a pull-out collecting card. Each venue has a unique rubber stamp. Collect all eight stamps on your card and you can enter it in a draw for prizes which will include tickets from some of the the venues and other goodies. In addition, at each venue will be details of another “secret” treasure hunt. All eight letters will be auctioned on 8th October.
“Paradise Claimed” is an entirely imaginary painting which references a number of sources.
- The early influence on me as a future painter of seeing “classical” (often ‘Italianate’ and allegorical) history/landscape paintings in museums and books. These paintings seemed to describe a peaceful, relaxed time when healthy, often half-naked men and women inhabited a rural world where the sun shone on animals grazing the land around ruined temples. Merging in my mind with later, well-known Constable (and other Norwich School) paintings which described the real rural landscape of his time, these idealised “classical” pictures appeared to me to describe a lost time when everything was rather perfect. Of course, I now know that such images were often allegorical, rarely described the rural poverty and slavery that actually existed at the time, and were usually painted for the delectation of a wealthy elite in order to reinforce their view (and ownership) of the world around them. Probably just as importantly, as a young boy, I was also rather attracted to the idea of a world in which half-naked shepherdesses were an integral feature of the natural landscape – which was not that dissimilar to the rural landscape around me in East Anglia!
- Milton’s “Paradise Lost” which describes the well-known story of the “fall from grace” from The Old Testament.
- My own mature (and possibly more rational) view of the function of the religious stories I was taught in childhood.
“Paradise Claimed” imagines a world in which a couple of early humans (let’s call them Edam and Ave), dis-quieted by a voice advising them to not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge, fear that they may have been chosen as unwitting pawns in a plan to establish a world religion. They fear that person or persons unknown might be planning to keep a curious population in its place by discouraging it from seeking knowledge (and we all know that knowledge is power) through the invention and promotion of guilt. Alarmed by the prospect, they make a quick escape, leaving the Garden of Even and relocating to the nearby Blythvaney Valley – where they establish a small rural enterprise selling a wide range of fruit to the curious from the shelter of a conveniently vacant “classical” folly. Naturally attracted to this rational enterprise, Justice descends from her temporary position atop the folly (to which she had been assigned after a period of employment as a sculpture catalogue model) to become an equal partner in the business – “Knowledge and Justice”. Thus – they have claimed their paradise.