I Found Paradise …

Paradise-for-webFrom 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.

Some Special Dates in July

studio 01I had a great couple of weekends in the new studio with my second year as a member of Harleston & Waveney Art Trail. Here’s a photo of the display wall I’ve put on the back wall of the studio. Here I’ll be able to keep a permanent (but changing) show of small works.

I’ve got lots to catch up on now that the open studio weekends are over. Firstly, I’ve just sent out a newsletter to my regular mailing list with information about some special dates in July. Here are the details:

Please make your way to the bottom of this post for details of a real challenge I’m starting in July!

Drawing and Painting Farm Animals From Life

Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th July
10.30 am to 4.00 pm each day
A unique two-day course for artists of all abilities who wish to learn and improve skills in drawing and painting directly from live animal subjects. Each day will include specific tuition in observational drawing and painting (literally “in the field”) on an independent working smallholding in the Suffolk countryside. Refreshments and a light lunch provided. Bring your own paints and other materials – a hard-backed sketch book is recommended.
£85 for the full weekend or £45 per single day
Venue – Maisebrooke Farm, Shipmeadow, Beccles
To book, contact Malcolm at info@malcolm-cudmore.com or call 01986 893291

“Going Green” – Coloured Pencil Techniques

Saturday 18th July
10.30 to 4.30 pm
Learn and develop your coloured pencil and composition techniques including:

  • Seeing essential light and shadow shapes in the subject
  • Finding the right greens
  • Varying marks to describe depth
  • CP palette and layering techniques
  • Erasing, softening and blending techniques
  • Composition and working from photographs
  • Choice of pencils and papers

£45 per person (includes a 10% voucher for lunch and other purchases at The Earsham Street Deli next door)! Places are strictly limited for this special workshop which is at The Art Trading Company, Earsham Street, Bungay. To book, contact Sue Kemp at www.thearttradingcompany.co.uk or call 01986 897939

Two to the Power of Six!

To celebrate moving into my new home studio and a “significant” birthday later this year, I’m planning to embark on a big painting and drawing project.

For each of 64 days, starting on 28th July and finishing on 29th September, I shall be making a picture a day. Each picture will be 8” x 8” (do the maths!). Each will be posted to a special section of my website and be available (booked in advance or on a “first come, first served” basis) for up to 5 days from the date of painting for the special ‘celebratory’ price of just £64 (unframed, plus P&P). To take advantage of all the art I’ll be producing during my adventure, I’d like to invite you to reserve a date in advance or keep a close eye on my website for the duration of the project.

The majority of the pictures produced will be landscape or still life studies painted “alla prima” directly from the subject. Land, sea or river-scapes could include animals or people within the view. Occasionally, the picture may be a “tasteful” figure study in oils, graphite or other dry media. I’m afraid that I won’t be able to take commissions for the subjects of these daily paintings. But – if I know a particular acquaintance has reserved a date, that may influence (to a degree!) the subject I chose for that day.

If you’d like to reserve a date between 28th July and 29th September (inclusive) – perhaps one date has special significance for you – please get in touch to check availability. If you would like to register to see each day’s painting or to receive the updates about the project, please get in touch through my website or by e-mail.

I’m really excited by this project. I’d like to invite you to be part of it too. I mentioned it to some visitors during my recent open studios weekends – and some dates have already been reserved.

Just in case you needed any further clues about the maths!

Malcolm Cudmore – Back on the Trail!

Konigs-on-the-Blyth-webIt’s been a pretty full-on start to the year! And here I am – frantically readying the new studio (and what used to be a garden) for visitors to the two Harleston and Waveney Art Trail open studio weekends. Saturday 16th/ Sunday 17th and Saturday 23rd/ Sunday 24th & bank holiday Monday 25th May. A digital version of the full brochure (24 artists in total) is available here.

Pictured is “Konigs on the Blyth” – one of my larger coloured pencil pictures. It is being shown at one of the two “taster” exhibitions that run alongside the art trail itself. “Konigs” is in the exhibition at The Fisher Theatre in Bungay together with a small landscape study of a nearby village church. I also have two pictures in the other “taster” at The Pennoyer Centre in Pulham St Mary, near Harleston. Incidentally, “Konigs” was envisaged as a bit of an alternative to most regular animal pictures (in CP at least!) where the focus is so often on the rendering of the animal’s eyes. I wanted to know if it would be possible to draw the viewer into a picture in which none of the animals featured were looking at you! It is based on the Polish wild horses that live on the Blyth and can be seen at the Hen Reedbeds near Henham Hall. Based on photos and sketches done there at various times of the year, it is also a work of imagination and was started as a demonstration piece at Patchings Art Festival last year. Unfortunately, this photo omits some of the subtler detail in the background.

At my studio, I’ll be showing a range of my framed work, some works in progress and figure drawings as well as cards, prints, my DVD and starter sets. I’ll be open from 11.00 am to 6.00 pm each day of the trail.  Tea/coffee and my home made biscuits form part of the inducement to visit! I’ll also be unveiling a project for a little later this year which is in celebration of  having a new studio and a “significant” birthday at the end of September. The project is provisionally titled “Two to the Power of Six” – which may give you a clue!

Moving In – and Moving On!

studio-03At last – after moving to East Anglia four and a bit years ago, I am now in the process of moving into my own dedicated home studio! Whoopee!!

It’s been quite a struggle – and the studios did have to take their place in the queue behind the higher priority of a completely refurbished, fully functional kitchen – but, finally, I’m within days of being able to “go to work” each day in my own studio. The shed we’ve put up isn’t all for me (!) as it also includes a studio and clean room which is Lorry’s pottery.

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Work on the house and studios has been the principal reason why I’ve been neglecting my website since last autumn. However, despite this, I have arranged a pretty heavy schedule for the year ahead. I’ve increased the amount of courses and workshops I’m teaching this year and, given that it’s already the end of April, I have already completed two one-day courses (coloured pencil and graphite techniques) and a four-week oil painting course at The Art Training Company. I’ll be posting much more information about these workshops and courses in the near future.

26 Minutes of Fame!

EADT-Oct2014-for-webMy latest excursion into the wonderful world of TV has just aired on The Painting and Drawing Channel. Filmed in August on location in Bungay and Walberswick, I feature in an episode of “Fraser and Friends” – an eight part series from the SAA/Teaching Art Ltd. In the series, professional artist Fraser Scarfe spends time with eight different artists and learns a bit about them and their work. Each episode also features Fraser painting on location with the featured artist. The Painting and Drawing Channel is a digital channel available on Sky (192) and FreeSat (402). The programmes are also available online on YouTube for those without a satellite dish or cable.

The series trailer is here:

My episode’s trailer is here:

And the whole programme (in two parts) is on YouTube here: and here:

This new series is a departure for the SAA in that the content is not “instructional” in the way that the previous magazine programme – “A Splash of Paint” – focused on techniques and tips that could be followed or copied by viewers. “Fraser and Friends” has much more of an “out and about”, interview/chat based format. The viewer will learn more about the personality and interests of the featured artist and their chosen locality than they will about precisely how to make paintings or use art products. Personally, I think this can provide just as much inspiration as an “instructional” programme and is much more the sort of programme I would watch myself.

My episode includes a visit to Bungay’s Bigod Castle, The Earsham Street Cafe where I spent so many hours working on the Bungay Panorama, The Art Trading Co. where I do much of my teaching as well as a painting trip to Walberswick where we were able to meet the fascinating artist and historian Richard Scott – author and expert on the artists who have lived or worked in Walberswick in the past.

Walkabout Artist

With grateful thanks to "Anything Arty" for the photo
With grateful thanks to “Anything Arty” for the photo

I’ve just returned from a terrific three days as a wandering sketch artist at FolkEast 2014. Held at Glemham Hall just off the A12 near Wickham Market, and now in its 3rd year, this festival has a reputation for a particularly friendly atmosphere. While Lorry kept shop in the Art Marquee with a selection of both of our work and a drop-in activity with air-dry clay, I wandered around the site dropping into workshops and performances with my sketchbook and pencils to make records of some of the people and activities.

I’ve put the sketches that I did into a gallery which can be viewed as a slideshow or by clicking on the individual thumbnail images.

When working at home, I nearly always have recorded music or the radio playing in the background. This weekend, the music was very live!  All but a couple of the sketches sold as souvenirs to festival-goers or to the people or artists that I had sketched. We definitely look forward to returning to this terrific event next year.

 With grateful thanks to “Anything Arty” for the photo of me sketching.

New Artist on the Harleston & Waveney Art Trail

This year, I have joined the Harleston & Waveney Art Trail collective – a group of around 40 professional artists who all work within a ten mile radius of the south Norfolk town of Harleston. The Art Trail takes place over the bank holiday weekend of 24th – 26th May and the following weekend of 31st May/1st June. This is a new experience for me and one that I’ve been looking forward to. I’ve set up “shop” in the garden with small oil paintings, figure drawings, cards, DVDs etc. and just need some customers! Full details of the 30 participating artists (each year a handful of members take a sabbatical” and don’t open their studios) can be obtained by downloading the full brochure from the HWAT website (the link is at the bottom of the main page). In anticipation, and for use at future art fairs and events, we have invested in an iZettle card reader which enables me to process sales on bank and credit cards by using my mobile phone. All clever stuff!!

Here are a few pictures of the set up in the garden on the first day. The sun is shining – come and get yer art while it’s hot! We’re open from 11.00 am to 6.00pm. For full directions, call me on (07912) 793204 or use your Satnav NR35 1TA.

Trail-set-up-04Trail-set-up-03Trail-set-up-02Trail-set-up-01

Joint Exhibition at The Fisher Theatre

Lorry and Malcolm Cudmore "Moments in Time" Exhibition Invite
Lorry and Malcolm Cudmore “Moments in Time” Exhibition Invite

Lorry and I would like to invite you to attend the Opening of our first ever joint exhibition. Featuring Lorry’s ceramics and my paintings and drawings, the exhibition opens on Tuesday 20th May and runs through ’til Saturday 14th June. The gallery is open 10.00 am to 3.00 pm Monday to Saturday and from 6.00 pm on nights when there is an event in the theatre. It’s worth noting that The Fisher Theatre is a multi-functional venue and, occasionally, the gallery may be in use and not open for viewing. If travelling any distance, please telephone (01986) 897130 to check availability before setting out.

The opening is from 6.00 to 8.00 pm on Tuesday 20th May and we’d love to see you then – where we can offer you a drink and a crisp while you look at the work. In addition to be our first joint exhibition, this is the first time that the majority of my large coloured pencil works on wooden panels will have been shown together in the same space. I’m looking forward to seeing them all up together myself!

President’s Award at 2014 UKCPS Open International Exhibition

Presidents-Award-01 Presidents-Award-02I was absolutely delighted (and pretty choked – to be honest) to learn that “Little Toby Dreams of Durer” had received The President’s Award at this year’s UKCPS Open International Exhibition. I delivered the picture to the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists on Saturday morning and (after a very pleasant lunch with some of my CP chums) returned to the gallery to discover that the picture had received the award. It takes quite a lot to render me speechless – but this certainly did it!  In addition, selection for this exhibition has qualified me for UKCPS Silver signature status.  I was certainly very pleased to be accepted for this exhibition because the last time we were in this gallery (2009) was the first time I’d exhibited with UKCPS (having only just joined following some discussion about whether my work was eligible within the rules that existed at that time). I acheived a “Highly Commended” for one piece at that exhibition.  Following my “Runner Up Best in Show” last year at our 2013 Patchings Exhibition, getting the President’s Award this year for “Little Toby …” has been a tremendous boost. Mind you, no pressure for next year then – when we exhibit for the first time (hopefully an annual event thereafter) at The Menier Chocolate Factory in London!!!  The full story behind “Little Toby …” is in a previous post here. The work is for sale at £1200.00 and is rather large for CP (120 x 90 cm – about 4′ x 3′).

I’ll be demonstrating at the RBSA exhibition on Saturday 3rd May.

Direct Painting from the Figure

Mercy-URC-20140408I’ve said elsewhere that I don’t really do resolutions – but, after so much coloured pencil work over the last few years, I’ve been determined to work with paint direct from the subject in future. I’ve always done regular life drawing sessions (I now help run groups in Lowestoft and Bungay) but been rather more hesitant to paint direct from the figure. However, this is being addressed in 2014! For me, it now holds the same attraction as painting landscapes “en plein air” and I’m becoming more pleased with what I’m achieving (usually in around 2 to 2.5 hours of painting) with a fairly limited palette. Most of these are on primed card around A3 in size or on slightly smaller primed muslin covered boards.