Sunday, 10 August 2014

Exhibition in Shropshire

Fiona has had a painting accepted for the Whittingham Riddell National Fine Art Open exhibition at Weston Park in Shropshire, showing from 6th August until 27th August.

The painting started as always in a sketchbook; one of a series of quick colour studies of the sky at sunset, looking west over the Irish sea from Aberaeron during the longest days of the year in June. It was then developed from the sketchbook studies, in acrylics and oils on canvas.

'rock melt west'; acrylics, oils on canvas

floating frame

on display at the exhibition

one of the sketchbook studies

Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Drawing wild birds

I went to the North Lakes in July to participate in a workshop led by John Threlfall, organised by the Field Studies Council at their centre on Blencathra.

John is an outstanding contemporary artist, committed to the drawing and painting of wild creatures on location from direct observation. In his own words he witnesses the natural world through pencil and paint. The books of his paintings are annotated descriptively and poetically, every wild creature painted within its own landscape.

He currently has a solo show exhibiting at the Donald Watson Gallery in Aberlady, near Edinburgh. His work will also be on display at the Society of Wildlife Artists annual show at the Mall Galleries in London in Oct/Nov this year. 

As well as all of that he is a very good teacher.

The workshop took place over 4 days in the most spectacular location of The North Lakes near Keswick. An extended spell of high pressure meant clear skies and warm temperatures all week.

Drawing birds is a challenging thing to attempt. They move, they swim, they hide, they fly away. John stressed the importance of close observation in order to identify characteristic features and gestures, and above all, patience. We all applied ourselves and had a very rewarding and enjoyable week, learning as we sketched.

In four days sketching, I used up a pad of A2 cartridge paper, 4 pencils from tip to stump, trashed a portable chair, ripped the buckle from a bag, and wore out two old shirts.  (Also a fair bit of strong coffee, gin and tonic, and white wine, but that's another story)

A selection of sketches of canada and greylag geese, attempting to capture characteristic gestures and positions (Fiona):

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Exhibition in Wales; 'Myself'

Jane's submission for the Tabernacle Open art competition at MOMA has been accepted. It has been awarded Highly Commended. Very exciting and well-deserved.

The theme given was 'Myself'. Jane worked in charcoal, linseed oil and acrylic on board to produce a very contemplative and moving self-portrait.

The exhibition runs from 12 July to 30 August 2014 at MOMA in Machynlleth, Wales (link above)

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Garden shed

garden shed from Fiona's garden; inks and watercolour (Jane)
Broken-down garden sheds are a bit of a speciality in Wolverhampton. As they sag and lose planks, people prop them up and patch up the holes. Black Country people are endlessly resiliant and resourceful. Makeshift blue vinyl rooves are a common sight and almost a work of art in themselves.  These temporary structures become permanent fixtures amidst the nettle patches and compost heaps at the end of the garden.

Jane was taken by this particular shed, and came round to sketch it before we put up another in front of it (in order to decant the contents of our broken-down shed so that we can patch it up in turn, so the cycle continues..). In the spontaneity of her brushstrokes and the discrete use of the startling blue, she has captured the wildness of the undergrowth, and the dappled light as it filters through the tall trees, as well as the unique character of the garden shed.
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