September 28th, 2016
This photo does little justice, but Angharad Harrop gave a beautifully playful performance at the opening of the Culture Action Llandudno’s Freehaus exhibition on Friday.
Responding to the paintings themselves and to prompts from the audience, the dancer moved around the exhibition giving a commentary in Welsh, Portuguese and English, describing some of her experiences and thoughts about modelling at the FreeHaus project – both for me, and for the students in the workshop we ran last month. A real highlight of the Llawn Festival weekend.
I’m very grateful to Angharad for her enthusiastic involvement in this project. I learned a great deal about figure painting on a significantly larger scale than I’m used to, and made a number of technical discoveries that I know I’ll take forward in my future work – much of which was drawn from the model’s creativity.
For more information about Angharad’s practice, please see here.
September 16th, 2016
Here’s Angharad Harrop in situ, once again cooly letting gravity know who’s boss.
Being involved in Culture Action Llandudno’s FreeHaus project has been extraordinary – collaborating with an inspiring and enthusiastic model, working far away from my usual studio for short, intensive bursts of activity, and experimenting with new techniques and ideas about painting. In addition it’s been great to meet other artists working across a range of unfamiliar disciplines, and to spend time with local people during the art school programme – particularly the figure drawing workshop I ran with Angharad and Deborah, which was great fun, and produced some lovely work.
The FreeHaus exhibition will feature pieces by all ten resident artists, and open on September 23rd as part of Llandudno’s Llawn Festival – a weekend of music, theatre, film, friendly robots, story-telling, games, dance, puppets, art exhibitions, workshops, and a pop-up cinema on the prom.
See the LLawn website for the full programme. Everything’s free. It’ll be a hoot.
Big thanks to everyone involved.
August 17th, 2016
Had a lot of fun running a figure drawing workshop at Culture Action Llandudno’s FreeHaus art school at weekend.
Students (from primary school age to retired) spent Saturday working from life with two dancers – Angharad Harrop (the model for my own FreeHaus pictures) and her friend Deborah Lago – who experimented with a wide range of poses, mostly arrived at through improvised dance informed by the Brazilian tradition of Capoeira, which Angharad and Deborah practise.
An album of images is here, and below it on the timeline is a video of Deborah and Angharad finding one of the poses.
The idea for this process, incidentally, came from my experience painting dancer John Livingston in 2014, when John danced in my studio, periodically freezing into positions for me to draw. It was fascinating to see two models working together in this way, and great to see the drawings they inspired.
Big thanks to all involved.
FreeHaus students will exhibit their work from the 26th to 29th August. Please see the CALL website for details.
July 20th, 2016
These little oil sketches were made in my temporary studio in the Free Haus, Culture Action Llandudno’s arts project, where I have a residency this summer. They’re the first steps in working with local dancer Angharad Harrop.
A fun and productive session, during which I discovered two key things: that Angharad is great to work with, and that forgetting to pack walnut oil becomes even more problematic on a warm day than it would have been normally, with turpentine drying on the palette and brush.
We explored lots of ideas – particularly interactions with geometric shapes and the bare architecture of the building itself. Now looking forward to developing these themes further over the coming weeks, and to scaling things up to painting on canvas.
July 7th, 2016
Over the past few months I’ve been dropping in on Ballet Cymru as they rehearse for this season’s productions, making charcoal sketches and shooting digital film, which I’m then using as reference material to make pictures in the painting studio.
Seeing these dancers at work has been hugely inspiring – both in terms of their physicality and creativity and everything else that interests me as a painter, but also with regards to their extraordinary discipline and the commitment they have to their art. I feel extremely lucky to have had this opportunity.
Looking for moments of stillness within passages of movement, I edit, loop and project sections of film in the studio, as close to life size as possible, and paint as if from a model holding a pose. So far I’ve made a series of small oil sketches and some larger drawings on paper, though my plan is to begin scaling this work up, using the technique to produce large compositions on canvas involving multiple figures, and more directly exploring some of the themes and choreography of the dance that inspired them.
I currently have more ideas for paintings than I know what to do with. It’s very exciting.
Thanks again to the company for all their support.
Please find Ballet Cymru’s website here.