Tuesday, 29 January 2019

Leonardo da Vinci theme week at Churchend Academy School.

Churchend School have been celebrating the life of Leonardo da Vinci who died 500 years ago this year.  The students have been learning all about different aspects of da Vinci's work throughout the week and I was lucky to help explore his artworks with the children.

At the beginning of the week I worked with Years 4, 5 and 6 teaching them how to create portraits using the rules of facial proportion. Once all the features were in the correct place the children took turns in observing each other and creating accurate portraits of each other. 

I was also asked to create with the children a modern take on Leonardo da Vinci's 'The Last Supper' to be painted on the wall in the childrens' dining hall. We decided that important people from history should be featured in the mural. I am proud to say that all the children in the school painted the mural from Nursery to Year 6. The students really enjoyed finding out who all the people were and why they were so important. The whole week was a fantastic experience and so many of Leonardo da Vinci's projects really came alive. Below are some photos showing the many stages of our mural.

l-r Muhammad Ali, Florence Nightingale, Gandhi, Anne Frank, Isaac Newton, Malala. 

l-r Leonardo da Vinci, Boudica, Nelson Mandela, Rosa Parks, William Shakespeare, Queen Victoria. 

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Seasons end of Autumn Term Exhibition.

So proud of all the artists who took part in the Seasons Art Class in Camberley this term. The exhibition to mark the end of the course was a stunning with a really high quality of work. 

During the class artists explored a number of different skills and mediums including drawing in pencil and oil pastel, watercolour, acrylic and mixed media paintings. 

The course took inspiration from all over the world looking at Dutch painted tiles, Indian pen work, Venitian masks plus a case study on Cezanne. It has been such a great term can't wait for the next one!

If Seasons Art Class in Camberley sounds like the course for you , find out more by calling 01962676360

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Making Aslan.

Each December Launchpad turns it's training rooms into a Winter Grotto to give out donations to anyone who needs them over the holiday period. It is a wonderful thing to be a part of. This year the Art Group were asked to contribute towards the Narnia themed grotto by building a life sized Aslan. It was a bit daunting at the beginning but thanks to our very talented artists Aslan was finished in four weeks!

During week 1 we concentrated mainly on building a good structure making sure our Aslan would be sturdy and be able to stand on his own. Once the legs and body were sculpted out of chicken wire we made sure we gave him good strong spine and structure in the legs. We gave him a makeshift head making it clear what we had to do the next week.

In week 2 Aslan's legs were shaped better and we made sure they were well balanced. We had some left over modelling mesh which was cut up and threaded into the body to create a mane. He really started to feel like a lion!

By week 3 one of our artists was determined  to to make a proper head for Asian. He resculpted the modelling mesh we had and created teeth almost like dentures, creating them as a separate piece and gluing them in. With the teddy bear eyes I found the face really started coming alive. Lots more mane was added too.

Week 4 was just adding finishing touches, thickening the main and adding a nose. The final details really make Aslan perfect!

To find out more about what Launchpad do to help people who are homeless or vulnerable to homelessness especially in the winter months go to www.launchpadreading.org.uk

Tuesday, 20 November 2018

The Block.

We all feel blocked from time to time, but what happens when you depend on your creativity for your career? What happens if your creativity is a large part of who you are and it has temporarily left you? Personally speaking my creativity is as natural as breathing. It is something I have always had and loved for as long as I can remember. It is quite terrifying when something you can lay your hand on in most situations, at any time, simply disappears.  The most reasonable people will suddenly get superstitious about their creative process and whether the blarney (as Joni Mitchell called it) flows or not. It doesn't matter if you have been professional for 30 years or someone who has just started dabbling 'The Block' can hit at any time.

All kinds of rituals are created to try and secure success. Routines are established, special motivational cuppas are drunk, different ways to calm a busy brains are practiced and ways to decorate blank white walls in the mind are dreamed up. A motto one of my lecturers repeated almost daily was 'Creativity is 90% perspiration and 10% inspiration,' something I am definitely not going to argue here, but that lightening strike is priceless. For me it feels like inspiration comes from somewhere else. The end product will be shaped by my style, influences, symbolism and narrative but on particularly productive days it feels like the colours and ideas just flow through me. I am a bit murky about where that somewhere else is. When it's working and you know when you are on to something you don't question it. You take it with both hands and say thank you very much.

Yes creativity is like magic to me. It is amazing what you can do and especially when you have a group of people all pooling their ideas. You may have the odds stacked against you, no time, no money, no help or understanding. You might have half a plan with a lot of faith and trust in your capabilities and something beautiful might happen.

Blank pages staring up at you can be terrifying and the pressure to start something can be enormous. The simplest way to combat this is to get something down. Anything. It can be something very rough, a splash of colour, some scribbled lines, something you chuck away later but at least it's a start. 'The Block' is like insomnia, if you let it take hold it can last for what feels like a lifetime. You have to break it as soon as possible. Sometimes it is important to shake things up, have a change of scene. Talk to someone in a similar position to you and  talk about what they are doing, what's exciting them. 

I struggle in between projects. My projects can be quite intense and take up all my brain and energy while I'm doing them and can take months to complete. I can feel myself being a colour bore or Frida Kahlo freak when I'm talking to friends! I think sometimes you can just become tired and your creativity needs to recuperate just like any other part of your body when you have been using them too much. I think it is important to keep moving though. It is important to keep the mechanics going drawing, observing, like a muscle, keep exercising so you don't become stiff and stop moving altogether. I enjoy drawing simple things around me, taking small steps, being gentle while my creativity lies dormant. These little recordings of your life are just stepping stones towards something bigger. How we are within ourselves will effect anything we create externally. Taking time to be comfortable, refreshed and relaxed will allow our creativity to grow.

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Radio interview at Blast1386.com

I feel very privileged to have been invited to do an interview at Blast 1386 on Friday  16th November at 11am. I have been asked to talk about Art, arts in Reading and community workshops I have been lucky enough to be a part of. You can listen in live at www.blast1386.com or listen anytime at www.mixload.com/Communitymatters/

Monday, 22 October 2018

Launchpad Artwork at Holy Brook Gallery, Reading Central Library.

So proud of  our extremely talented Launchpad Artists who have achieved so much this year. The Art Group have created large paintings for the Salvation Army's communal garden, created an amazing Pop Art Laaunchpad Wall outside the Launchpad offices and topped the year off by making some wonderful artwork for our show at the Holy Brook Gallery. 

If you would like to find out more about Launchpad Reading, the work they do supporting Reading's homeless or how to support hem please visit launchpadreading.org.uk