Tuesday, 26 February 2008

Blasts from the past

Inspired by an old friend to look for sketch books from my school days, I found some early attempts. It was quite sobering looking so far back! I wasn't much good at most things; I was a bit clumsy, had a sister who was musical and could sing beautifully and I was in the 'C' stream at a grammar school, having confounded everyone by passing my 11+. But a new art teacher in my early teens showed me the possibilities and opened a door - a way to escape my 'roots' and head for the dizzyingly sophisticated lights of Manchester and an Art College, 30 miles down the road. My family viewed my new-found ambitions with great trepidation. 'Art students' had a certain reputation in the 60s! These drawings are from sketch books from my days in Leyland, while still at school and being taught by Mr May.
Caroline, Fox Lane Leyland, visit to the Lake District all early 1960s

Thursday, 14 February 2008

This 'One Painting a Day' thing

I'm all for disciplining yourself to paint and draw every day, but finishing a painting, bothering to photograph it and load it up to a website EVERY DAY, seems to inevitably invite a compromise in quality-or am I missing something? Yes, sometimes you can get things right in what seems to be a very short period of time, but as someone said to me only the other day, that 'speed' doesn't take account of a life time of experience, all the preliminary sketches, trials, rejects, over painting, re-drawing, thinking time...
If you're going to jump on the bandwagon, it seems to me the whole idea is better suited to 'One Photo a Day' rather than 'One Painting', more like a visual diary and save the daily painting for doing just that, painting every day but without the pressure of having to finish and 'publish' it.

Monday, 11 February 2008

Getting started

I wanted to get back to basics. After 30 years as a graphic designer, and working in front of a computer screen all day, I needed to start getting my hands dirty again!
To that end, last autumn I enrolled in art classes, did some short courses and plan to do a summer school and continue with the weekly discipline of working in a studio with other aspiring 'artists'.
'What to paint?' is a frequently asked question, but 'What NOT to paint' seems more appropriate! We see and absorb images all the time; we are moved by the world around us. Dirty dishes on the table, light on a stone, textures in the snow, frosty vegetables in the allotment-any observation is worth recording as that first step to just 'making marks'. Am getting stuck in, and just DOING IT - It's like being back in the sixth form!