So, I’ve finally gone and done a bit of teaching. I have finally imparted whatever remnants of wisdom I have onto others, which they can apply to their own artistic endeavours. How did it go? Well, rather bloody well actually. And I am very grateful to Cupola Gallery for their hospitality and for thinking that a paint making workshop was a good idea in the first place.
My workshop seems to be pretty solid ‘straight out of the box,’ with only a few tweaks needed for my next gig at Bank Street Arts. 5 people attended, which was perfect because I was able to conduct the workshop with a sense of informality. It felt more like a few friends with like-minded ambitions that came together to chat about an artistic endeavour, which was lovely, as I was instantly able to feel at ease.
I started by introducing myself and my practice and showed examples of my paint applied to a surface. I then proceeded to conduct a working demonstration of how paint is created before the attendees had a go themselves: A pretty simple yet effective workshop model. However, whilst I knew more or less what to expect, what I hadn’t bargained for was how I would feel afterwards. A palpable sense of accomplishment engrossed me as I knew that those who attended had gone away with something useful, tangible and captivating.
However, my workshop was by no means perfect. Hare a few things that I will tweak for the future:
- I need a few more props and materials. – I didn’t bargain for the volume of work that would be created. Bringing too many materials would be more beneficial than bringing just enough. I ran out of eggs part way through – though that was easily redeemed by nipping to ASDA. I also ran short of canvas board. Which was less redeemable, but I got round it by supplying paper and acetate. I also think that a hand-out, describing and imbedding what I said throughout the workshop, would be valuable for attendees to take home.
- I need to remember that there is value in what I have to say – I felt a little awkward initially adopting the role of a teacher. What I do as an artist is quite idiosyncratic and intuitive: But I think that if what I do can’t be imparted in some way, allowing people to apply it to their own way of thinking, then it is useless. Workshops are a good way to share experiences, and the reason why people attend a workshop like this is to learn. Embracing the teacher dynamic with confidence may make for more coherent and engaging workshop in the future.
So, with this, and my experience in mind, I will now strive to make my Bank Street Arts paint making workshop every bit a success.
If you’re interested in attending my paint making workshop at Bank Street Arts on 28th September, you can find details here – https://www.facebook.com/events/649424818409817/?ref=22
There have been a few whisperings reaching me of late suggesting that it might be bloody lovely if I shared a few of my techniques with regard to the process of making paints. Well, guess what? because I’m an unstoppably wonderful young man, I have now gone and included a basic guide to making paints out of food on my Facebook page! Can you believe my generosity? You can view said guide by clicking on the link below:
I hope there is something to be gained from my guide. Sharing knowledge and applying that knowledge is something that art utilises really effectively and it’s an extremely useful way to develop professionally. So, enjoy. And while you’re on my Facebook page, you can even ‘like’ me, if you’re that way inclined. Or check out some of my earlier work, Or just shut the window down and forget it ever happened. Whatever you wish.
Leaving food alone for a bit to think about trees instead.
Landscape. It’s a subject that – like still-life – can be given a bit of a kick up the arse in order to allow it to become relevant in the 21st Century. If we take into account my incessant desire to progress and embrace new artistic direction, it seems appropriate that a departure from food can emerge in the shape of re-considering landscape.
So winter is (Finally) beginning to recede, buds are tentatively emerging from trees and, more noticeably, embalms associated with the spring are beginning to appear: Woodland creatures can now be found on crockery, floral designs began to emerge on garments and as I was walking down the street, I noticed a woman wearing a small acrylic pin badge cut into the shape of a fox. Bearing this in mind, a poem began to form mentally, which regarded the acrylic fox-shaped badge as an object which, despite being lifeless, still retained connotations associated with a fox:
Now, bear with me – there is a point to all this. You see, my initial hunch was that this poem must be related, or relatable, to the notion of re-considering landscape. And upon pondering the relationship between the two some more it hit me – The fox in my poem is of interest because it is removed from nature: It becomes a component; an emblem that, through the medium of plastic acrylic, is able to transcend its surroundings and become a symbol, a fashion statement, an entity that becomes open to subjectivity and abstract thought. The fox is no longer an animal that is merely attempting to survive: It is instead a statue.
Can we apply this to landscape? When the components of landscape are removed from their surroundings, and applied to something else, what are we left with?
I propose that by manipulating these components just enough so that they are to become perfectly usable as paints, whilst still enabling them to retain their intrinsic natural elements, then what you will be left with would be a medium with infinite possibilities which can be applied to a surface and at once represent visually whatever subject an artist wishes, whilst also retaining the subject of landscape: Landscape will still exist – incognito, still and subtle – but embedded within whatever subject the paint is said to render.
So basically, I’m doing what I did with food, only with landscape, except here I am regarding the components of landscape in a richer way. This, in turn, has allowed me to ask critical questions of my food-based practice. Why am I choosing the food I am choosing? Are the components of a meal more important than the end product? Does an audience consider the same food relevant as me? These questions would not have emerged if I did not take a slight departure from food to consider landscape: Therefore, my professional development may have stagnated. This confirms my belief that it is important to embrace whatever challenges come your way: If you don’t, you may end up creating things of no value to an audience.