Monthly Archives: May 2013

A few days of arty stuff with a friend!

I spent the last few days showing a friend London and doing some art. What a privilege! Here are a few pictures from days out at Tate. My friend and I will be starting a new photographic project taking weekly images. I have a plan for the studio and completing my painting project, getting a plan!
Trying to be more mindful, if anyone has the answer to how to do this, please let me know!






Drawing class – a day of indulgence!

Today I attended a full day drawing class with Nelson Ferreira at the V and A. It felt like a total indulgence being able to just sit and draw for hours!

As a drawing teacher it was great to see how others teach the same thing, and to learn better ways of explaining.

The things Nelson taught me today:

When explaining how to work out the angles think of the time, is the angle at 10 o’clock, or 2 o’clock? This seems like a great way to think about it! Shadows have no texture, and hold the picture to the object you are drawing to see the lights and darks, I found out my pictures are way too light! And finally to look at what is the sharpness of the line.

Here is my attempt:


The drawing lesson took place in the Cast Court, which I regret to know nothing about so here’s the V and A’s explanation:
“The Cast Courts at the V&A, two vast galleries that
house the Museum’s most important plaster cast
and electrotype reproductions, make a significant
impression on visitors. These faithful copies were
mainly taken from works of art or architectural
details throughout Europe during the nineteenth
century, when the collecting of such casts was at
its most popular. The Museum commissioned or
bought these reproductions from some of the
leading cast manufacturers of the day. The
collection that was assembled allowed people
who could not travel abroad to admire some of
the major European monuments and works of art.”


My only advice would be to do the half day, as I am exhausted from a full day! But great teacher!—Victoria–and–Albert-Museum.php

Here are a few more pictures from London today:




Day out with mum, The Queens Gallery, and tea!

Wonderful day out with my mother to the “In Fine style” exhibition at the Queens Gallery, a little walk around are gorgeous capital city, and ending with a bit of tea.

Great seeing amazing paintings and clothing from a time when fashion was used to command importance and social position, and different countries were influencing changes through techniques and materials, as well as tastes. Here are a few pictures.

“In Fine Style: The Art of Tudor and Stuart Fashion
The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
Friday, 10 May 2013 to Sunday, 06 October 2013

This exhibition explores the sumptuous costume of British monarchs and their court during the 16th and 17th centuries through portraits in the Royal Collection. During this period fashion was central to court life and was an important way to display social status. Royalty and the elite were the tastemakers of the day, often directly influencing the styles of fashionable clothing.

In Fine Style follows the changing fashions of the period, demonstrates the spread of styles internationally and shows how clothing could convey important messages. Including works by Hans Holbein the Younger, Nicholas Hilliard, Van Dyck and Peter Lely, the exhibition brings together over 60 paintings, as well as drawings, garments, jewellery, accessories and armour.”




Studio day, and a new series is started!

I have started a new painting series because until I have an exhibtion to see the last series all together, I feel I have moved past the meaning of making them. If anyone knows of anywhere I can exhibit 2 large, 3 medium, and lots of small paintings, please contact me!

With the new work I am moving away from the control of the past series, and now trying to use the physicality of the making to help me work through my current life stresses. I still use past work as the starting point (either reworking previous work, or creating a base from previous images).
This is today’s work, each will be titled by the date, or dates of its making. This is “2002 till 16.05.2013”


I am also starting looking at mixing media to create abstracts, still focusing on the the physicality of painting, but also exploring materials over form.

This is “blue paint, vanish and birthday candles”


Thanks for looking! What do you think?

Learning from students

One of the joys of teaching art is that you cannot know everything and sometimes a student shows you something that you missed. For me it was “Tilt Shift”. For those that are like me and missed this her is a definition from

“Tilt-Shift Photography (Miniature Faking) Definition
Tilt-Shift photography or miniature faking is a creative technique whereby a photograph of a life-size location or object is manipulated to give an optical illusion of a photograph of a miniature scale model.
Altering the focus of the photography in Photoshop (or similar program) simulates the shallow depth of field normally encountered with macro lenses making the scene seem much smaller than it actually is.
In addition to focus manipulation, the tilt-shift photography effect is improved by increasing color saturation and contrast, to simulate the bright paint often found on scale models.
Most faked tilt-shift photographs are taken from a high angle to further simulate the effect of looking down on a miniature. The technique is particularly effective on buildings, cars, trains and people.”
I have start my exploration using Snapseed (and app I love for you iPad that is great for playing around with images.)

After: (using Drama effect, then Tilt shift affect)

My next job is to get some better images, do further background reading and learn how to do it myself rather the using an app, or what are the bet apps for the job! as usual all advise and comments welcome!

Further reading:–shift_photography
Photoshop tutorial:

The Pitmen Painters

Last night I went to see The Pitman Painters at The yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford. It is only on till the 11th, so go if you can!

I didn’t know that much about this group of painters, so if you are like me here is a quick intro: “The “Ashington group” [pitmen painters] (act. 1934–1983) originated in October 1934 when men, mainly coalminers, from Ashington, Northumberland, began classes in art appreciation. It was a course without precedent in a mining village 16 miles, and a world away, from the nearest art gallery. The class, organized by the Workers’ Education Association (WEA), first met on 29 October 1934 and was initially attended by thirteen students, rising to twenty-four in the following week. The lecturer assigned to the course was Robert Lyon (1894–1978)” (taken from

I thought the play was brilliant. Funny, aesthetically simplistic stage, believable actors, and great visuals using projections of the real artists work. The story left me feel inspired to want to see art, the world and to paint the things in my life. It reminded me that creating work that you think others will like can be false to you, and become stagnant and dull. The processes of making art for your enjoyment, as well as to make a comment, can be wonderful and beautiful and engaging. Go paint people!



Further reading:

Students projects, and going back to school

As an art and design teacher at a 6th form college I teach my students a way of working through a project, and they often argue that it is pointless, that they should just work on a finished “perfect” idea, and not have to explore all the different ideas, materials and techniques we make them do.
my main question, or issue is why creative people don’t want to explore and experiment with new materials, and what impact this perfectionist, non experimental, focus on achieving a qualification (over producing work they are interested or inspired by) approach to learning will have on the future of art and society. What is this idea they have of a certain type of finished outcome, all neat and precise, but very rarely new, or challenging, or exciting. They want to pass the course, not develop ideas and projects, it feels like something has been lost, about trying things out, and making mistakes. It all seems very serious.

We teach them all these different things, because it is part of the course, but more importantly, so they have a massive arsenal off tools to make work with, as well as a developed and sophisticated visual language. But I struggle with whether I am right, is it wasting their time to try things they don’t enjoy, or feel makes “good art”, or have they been programmed to create manicured art with no substance.

Is the way I teach through a project actually productive? To answer this, I am doing their latest project at the same time as them. It is a graphic design project, based on “life cycles”, with the final outcome being a leaflet of a set size, with some specific format requirements.
So here is the start of the project! Lets see what I come up with!

The process:
1) INITIAL STAGE: Explore the question, and possible subjects . Select a couple to explore further (using words and images). Select on to develop (further investigation into words and images)

2) RESEARCH STAGE: Look at a range of artists, designers and styles to give inspiration

3) DEVELOPMENTAL STAGE: develop ideas and get initial visual responses. Develop these using different materials and processes



4) APPLICATION STAGE: Define final outcome. Make final outcome

5) REFLECTION STAGE: Evaluate project