I’ve just returned from attending a stimulating abstract art course in Cornwall. We were working/playing in oil and its various additives and media, like encaustic and standoil in addition to the usual linseed and liquin which I normally use. I really enjoyed working among like-minded people; we were quite an eclectic bunch although all of us had knowledge of the arts in some way: print-makers, artists, etchers, administrators, painters. It was very strange arriving on the first day and finding it was an exact replica of my old art school, a converted Victorian primary school, with those delicious smells of turpentine and linseed intermingled with brewing coffee wafting through the corridors, the only thing missing was the tobacco smoke…not a bad thing…..
We were encouraged to play with our materials and to see where that led us, I found it difficult to begin with: having to work from nothing, that is to say from my head, so the first thing it taught me was how I personally need something fixed from which to work, to bring about ideas of colour and shape and form, it was quite hard to release my inhibition and just enjoy playing around; even so, I found it limited me eventually, as I had a tendency to repeat colours and marks.
These are some of my play boards:
After that I worked more in my own way, painting a rough interpretation of my view of a corner of the art room, but incorporating some of the methods learned previously on applying paint, it’s all about discovery and it was extremely inspiring. We were all exhausted by the end of the day. It was an intensive time the group had together, painting, lunching, and exchanging ideas. The strangest thing was how it ended, for everyone was in a rush to get going and return to their homes ( as far away as York and France) and it was a though the threads bonding us had been cut and we all scattered full of our own concerns, we’ll probably not meet again. I’ve kept in touch with one lady, but strangely, it’s as though it was all a dream.
Since my return I’ve been sketching away both with graphite and acrylic paint, with the ideas flowing, then halting, ebbing and flowing, eventually I hope to use some of these as a basis for larger paintings. ( -or not, who knows?!) Because I’m working in the kitchen I haven’t been working in oils, but once I get to the studio, and my shipment of bees wax arrives, I can brew up some encaustic wax and I’ll be playing with those techniques again.