Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Last lesson...well maybe.

Our last online lesson with Jane Davies was to construct our own lesson, then follow it through.  We were given TWO weeks to do this, so that there could be discussion with Jane about the parameters we were setting ourselves in the first week.  We then had a week to do our 10 pieces.

Above is one of my final pieces....It could do with a little tweaking here and there but, basically, I'm happy with it.

I chose to take a photo of my own, a still life, and progress it through many stages to abstraction.  Jane thought it might be a little difficult, but I was sure I wanted to do it. 
I began with one of my own photos, cropped, from a dinner party. (I have plenty of those).

Then I simplified it so that I had a better idea of shapes, textures, and colours that I wanted to use.

Keep in mind that these are EXERCISES, and done fairly quickly, though some have many layers of line, veiling, etc.

I've not included all the pieces I did...just a few.

It was a wonderful lesson in setting your own goals, and in following through on a series.  So much so, that Jane has kept the class open for a couple of weeks so that anyone else who feels inclined to have a go it this, can. 

I guess that validated my decisions for my own lesson.

For anyone with some internet and blogging skills, Jane's classes are SO worthwhile.  She really pushes you to find your own voice, and hands you the tools to use to do so.  She is thorough and constructive in her criticism. 

It is an absolute bonus to see how all your classmates progress, and how they all deal differently with the same lesson.

Wednesday, March 11, 2015


Well, my ten week commitment of 100 pieces is almost at an end. If I thought the previous 8 lessons were a stretch, number 9 has been a real struggle.  Using lots of layering, and varying techniques, we were to come up with a monochromatic piece with 20% of 'something else'.  This might seem to be a simple instruction... but I found it quite difficult.

I tried to keep each of the quadrants different too.  This has lots of they mostly do.

This one has fewer layers than the others. The black and white, with gestural brushstroke is definitely more 'me'.  The background is torn text painted over with a greenish white.

It was fortuitous that I had this collage piece hiding among my painted papers.  Lots of modelling paste gives great texture.

A very 'me' piece... tea-bag, stained muslin, and keyboard bits on a multi-layered background.

It is interesting that, by now, I am finding I can use my own 'voice' in these exercises. For a while I was trying to mimic Jane.

Next week will no doubt be the 'lesson to end all lessons' more ways than one.

I can highly recommend this online workshop, or indeed any of Jane's.  She is a dedicated and serious tutor.

For more info visit Jane Davies.  You'll find it worth your while, if only to see her wonderful work.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Artistic Subtlety

Am still doing Jane Davies online workshop.  It's a 10 week commitment and is getting harder each lesson.  In the past two lessons we have gone from the sublime to the gorblimey, or vice versa depending on your point of view.

In this lesson we were to use as many and varied techniques as possible, making each quadrant of the piece completely different.

On the left is a start...but we were asked to push it further, so the image on the right is the result. Similarly in those below....

In the following lesson...quite the opposite.  We were to make images with as little contrast as possible, but still make them interesting.

This was not as easy as it sounds. I really had to overcome the hurdle of thinking of them as backgrounds, but regarding them as complete works. It was a lesson in subtlety...and one that I needed.

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Online workshops

Doing online workshops is every bit as good as doing them in real life. You get to see the work of your co-participants, get feedback for each lesson from your tutor, and can work at your own pace.


The above are part of my Lesson #4 work in Jane Davies '100 Drawings on Cheap Paper' online workshop.  This workshop, despite it's name, is a serious class in process. The object is to pursue, within Jane's guidelines, variety in all aspects of mark-making.

Working on at least ten 'drawings' at a time has forced me not to get too precious about each  mark, and to allow more freedom of expression.  We are not expected to complete a 'finished' work of art, but to get in touch with the muse within ourselves.  It's working for me.

For ten weeks I'll be 'playing'....and loving it.

Meanwhile there is some serious painting going on as well.

...I never stop trying....

Saturday, January 24, 2015

When is a drawing not a drawing?

Hard to say these days. Most non-artists think a drawing is a linear depiction of something real. In my book, modern drawing is an arrangement of marks forming any image, real OR abstract, using pen, pencil, brush, or any number of instruments or mediums.

Take Jane Davies' "100 Drawings" workshop for instance (and I'm doing just that).  I have gone from this, in Lesson 1...


via this, in Lesson 2... this, in Lesson 3.....

We have used line and shape, black & white and colour, so far.... AND all sorts of mediums including print and collage.  Where will we go from here?  There are seven lessons left, and I suspect that Lesson 10 will seem more like painting to most people.

It is a question that interests anyone entering a drawing prize.  Perhaps the boundaries between drawing and painting have been irrevocably blurred.....and it doesn't matter....or does it?

Friday, January 9, 2015

Back in the saddle again...

...not that I've had such a non-arty time.  I sneak the odd moment in between festivities.

Have been working on collages for the 17th International Collage Exchange.

I tend to move between 'cut and paste' (usually on a painted background).....

The Offering

The Admirer a more 3D technique....


Chained to the past


Las Profundidades (The depths)
....and there's more to come.

Tuesday, December 23, 2014


It's come with a rush and caught me unawares...well almost.

There have been a few signs of the  festive season around the house.

....including the inevitable Xmas tree....

....and I've made a little jewellery for the occasion (sorry about the photo)

...and the odd card, that also doesn't photograph too well.

(it's actually silver, tho' it looks grey)

I guess that's as creative as I get at this time of year. Am pretty good in the kitchen and have been cooking up a storm... and sharing the bounty with lots of great friends.

That's what it's all about isn't it?

I wish you all similar joy, surrounded by family and friends.  May you all enjoy health and happiness in 2015.