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I’m popping in to let you know that Winterbourne House and Gardens have booked me for a day of painting fun on July 2nd. You can view the details here if you’re interested – we will be collaging canvases, having fun mark making and using the beautiful gardens to gather and sketch ideas to paint. And if your worried about your artistic abilities – don’t! I always have reference books and tracing paper tucked away 😉
I’ve also ordered sunshine so that we can eat ice creams and enjoy the grounds!
I get to dream up lots of fun projects for kids and adults alike as part of my job at MAC which in turn challenges me to keep things fresh, re-visit techniques long forgotten or delve in and learn new ones.
And as a part of my Mixed Media Textiles teaching, I played around with some potato printing which I hadn’t done for as long as I can remember.
It’s often the simple, childish things that are the most fun to do but can be brought to a new level as an adult.
One thing I’ve rediscovered is my love of drawing with threads – either by hand or free-machine stitching. It’s just another form of colouring in and mark-making.
And all of that play has got developed into a one-day course Print, Sew, Make on Dec 15th where you can use simple fabric printing methods and stitch and leave with a drawstring bag if you like.
There is a big gap forming between what I’m doing each day and the speed I get here to show it!
I’ve been busy lately making fabric butterflies and moths for an upcoming MAC workshop.
I’m loving the variety of work that teaching Textiles opens up.
I have loads of photo reference from my trip here last year which has come in really handy.
I love it when you follow your heart’s inspiration only to find things come together at a later date.
I couldn’t have known back then how useful the trip to the Oxford Natural History Museum would be and I guess that’s why artist play dates are so important (explanation here)
And it’s interesting for me to see the marriage of painting and textiles coming about too on this project.
BTW did you see my new website header sneak in!
I had a lovely day workshopping with some GCSE student’s at a secondary school near Cannock yesterday.
The brief was to learn some of my still life painting techniques – they had fun with the masking fluid but didn’t like the smell – who can blame them!
And they coped exceptionally well with all the pattern I threw at them in the set-ups.
I really enjoy being around young people – youth is infectious and these kids are talented, funny and a credit to the people involved with them.
Hello! Today is the first day here that truly feels like Spring. It’s also the first day in a week that I feel well (stupid virus, nothing serious) and maybe it’s a combination of those two things that has prompted me to tidy out my iPhoto library today and come say hello with pictures.
It’s not that I haven’t been busy creating (apart from last week) but quite the opposite and once there’s too much to say I find it becomes harder to say anything.
In the last weeks the dresser got Spring cleaned – I found myself picking out yellow and pink china and it snowballed from there.
I was thrilled to get the opportunity to begin teaching one of the MAC’s adult evening Textile classes (insert whooping and cheering). This has taken me on a journey back in time and a re-birth in skills once learnt and used. I studied all kinds of Textile art for my degree before specialising in Print and it has been really invigorating prepping samples to show the students – here’s some batiking I did inspired by these gorgeous anemones.
I’m excited to see how teaching this class will develop my own work as these things always have a synergistic effect.
You know the saying “give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime” well this couldn’t be truer in the context of me teaching my daughter to crochet. First she knocked out her own gorgeous Granny Square blanket as her first project, then set about a huge Granny Square blanket as a friend’s birthday gift (here’s where I got jealous!) then for Mothers Day she made me this beautiful cushion cover for a pillow on our bed 😍
And the making = love message has been strong in our house of late as we celebrated a BIG birthday this weekend. We can’t believe our kids are 18 and 20 – where did the time go?
Lemon and Blueberry Buttermilk Cake with edible flowers for the girl who gave up chocolate for Lent.
And following the tradition to have a special item to commemorate a landmark birthday like 18, this little pumpkin asked me to knit her a cardi! Ahh…
It did nearly kill me as it’s the most complex thing I’ve done yet but that’s how you up your skills level isn’t it!
Here’s a little snap of my Spring inspired work table to leave you with. Hope the sun’s shining where you are.
The Midlands Art Center (MAC) has been part of my life since I came to Birmingham as a student over 26 years ago. Like any normal friendship its had periods of intensity and periods of neglect but always featured in someway whether it was when I was a single girl with time to socialise there or as a mum with toddlers needing a run about the park or as a stifled creative finding periods of creative bliss on short courses.
chance providence I have been lucky enough to find some work there since last year as a tutor bringing together all the phases of my life studying art, textiles, printing and working with children and I can’t tell you how much I love it – it’s rounded out my solitary life in the studio and I get to be part of the MAC family with all the benefits that brings.
On my way to teach my classes I walk along a corridor where this exhibition is currently hanging: Made at mac: life drawing – some of the work of the Saturday life drawing class.
There is such life and joy in these pieces; I was immediately inspired by them. Such clever ways using mixed media to describe the human body.
My favourite is this one using newspaper and paint to use positive and negative spaces – genius.
Well worth a look if you’re a local.
I had a lovely day on Saturday tutoring The Spotted Dog Art Group from Nottingham in the sensibilities of The Fauves. I hope they don’t mind me calling them ‘The Wild Beasts of Nottingham’ they are actually a very welcoming and inspiring group.
The Fauves, meaning Wild Beasts, were a C19th affiliation of artists which included the rock stars Gauguin, Dufy and Van Gogh. When their work went on show, a French critic named them The Wild Beasts because of the way they saw and used colour – he wasn’t a fan!
But The Fauves use of warm and cool colours contrasting brightly was exactly what we were trying to emulate on Saturday.
The Spotted Dogger’s are all very good, competent artists and a pleasure to work alongside – although I did more chatting than actual painting.
It was a challenge to translate a Fauvist colour palate into a scene without it but with the use of paint-chip cards and visual reference they all made successful interpretations and produced beautiful work.
I thoroughly enjoyed teaching about colour and encouraging a more unplanned, experimental approach to painting and in return I had some great advice about what acrylic paints to buy in the future – I love it that there’s still so much we can learn from one another and that painting can be such a social endeavour – it’s fun to spend time with like-minded people.
After an exercise in Fauvism it was interesting to see individuals translate the approach into their favoured way of working and medium.
I get a lot from these kinds of days – so thank you again Spotted Dog Art Group and good luck with your exhibition – I hope The Fauve paintings win the prizes 😉
Do you like vintage china? pattern? painting? Want a lovely day out with a scrummy home-cooked lunch?
Then this could be just for you – the lovely Bev and Nigel of Old Bank Studios have booked me to teach a Pattern on Pattern Teacups watercolour (gouache) class on Saturday 5th March.
All abilities are welcome. We will work from a still-life set up and approach the painting in stages.
Or you can go at your own pace and follow your own creative leading. Either way Bev will still cook a lovely lunch for us to eat together 😛 Booking details are here.
Then on Sunday 6th March I’m teaching All Things Bright and Beautiful (Mixed Media) again at Old Bank Studios so why not make a weekend of it? It is the Mothers Day weekend – treat yourself or come together and treat your mum!
This is a fun way of working: layering up collaged papers and paint layers, starting out loose and experimentally and then adding increasing levels of detail. I’ll be bringing bird and butterfly reference material but you can make your canvas of any image you want.
Harwich is a bit of a drive but don’t let that put you off! (all the more reason to come for the weekend…) Bev and Nigel are two of the loveliest, most genuine people I’ve met and Old Bank Studios is a lovely setting to learn and create in. Oh and did I mention the delicious lunches…
Yesterday I had the absolute pleasure to go as visiting artist to a lovely primary school as part of The Big Draw.
The Big Draw is the world’s biggest drawing festival with thousands of drawing activities which connect people of all ages with museums, outdoor spaces, artists, designers, illustrators – and each other.
This international celebration of drawing has grown from one day in October 2000 in the UK to an annual month-long festival of drawing across the world.
This year the theme was Every Drawing Tells A Story and I designed a workshop for children where we looked at drawing our hands.
These were a class of year three’s (that’s about age 7) and we began the day with some fun warm-up activities like a timed continuous line drawing and then a charcoal rub which they then drew through with an eraser.
Oh what fun and happy mess that was! I had forgotten how kids can really maximise a messy activity – luckily it was before break-time and I could restore order to the classroom. All I can say to the mums and dads is sorry about your child’s school uniform 😳 and I used to be a teacher! Shame on me – ha ha!
They learnt lots of new skills so they could draw a hand in proportion better.
And they also leant about tone and how to achieve that.
Then with all those skills under their belt we thought a bit about how hand gestures can communicate our feelings and they drew one.
All in all it was a fun-filled day and I came home with the sweetest evaluations forms from the children; all written in child speak and spelt phonetically saying how they’d enjoyed themselves and want to become artists. Thank you Big Draw it was a day we all enjoyed 🙂