Trying out some new paints

I have been given the task of trying out some new water based oil paints…I know, sounds ridiculous! However, after a try with a basic set, I can see some benefits in a school setting. See what you think!

Sculpture I have made in my classroom for an upcoming project

Sculpture I have made in my classroom for an upcoming project

Working into wear canvas with charcoal

Working into wet canvas with charcoal

Working into it with white paint

Working into it with white paint

More charcoal

More charcoal

Starting to add colour

Starting to add colour

Final painting

Sacred Figures Experiment

I am, along with the two other teachers in my department, re-taking my Art A-Level so that we can use it as a teaching tool (students will mark our work) and also to fuel our competitive natures. Our first project is titled ‘Sacred’ and my take on this is to like at the idea of the Sacred Figure including relics.

I have been fascinated by the sculpture Veiled Christ made by Giuseppe Sanmartino (can be seen in a chapel in Naples). Veiled Christ Giuseppe Sanmartino

It is a beautiful piece of craftsmanship – I can’t even begin to think how you could carve marble with such delicacy. I have been experimenting (crudely) with different ways recreating this, including soaking thin material in PVA/water solution and today’s effort (see below) of using mod rock over thick material. There is definite refinement needed, but I do think there is scope for something interesting.

Lazy blogger

I dare not look at the date of my last blog! But things have been very busy at school and although I’ve been making work, I’ve not even spared a thought for this page. One of my New Years resolutions is to learn new skills, starting with oil painting. I’ve never really played with them, but having tried a couple of basic exercises I found in some ancient text books, I’ve fallen in love. They also really suit my practice because I can stop and start as necessary (there is rarely a quiet moment in the department).
I also took part in a workshop with a (long ago) ex-student Rob Anderson who now lives in New York. It was a great opportunity for both staff and students to learn a new technique. We started with charcoal and a water spray on a raw canvas and then started to build with acrylic washes and finally oil detail. I will post a photo of the result soon (it currently lives in the science technicians lab).
But for now, here is my first steps in oil…


Would also like to say hi to my ibbles – I finally updated it!!!

Skipton Art Studios

Today I went to see some of the open art studios as part of the Skipton Open Studios event. I went to La Folie and met Clare Ormsby who was making some beautiful paintings, combining acrylic and piped coloured glue and Pippa Barrow who makes bronze casts of human and animal feet (as seen at Durrell Wildlife Zoo – or whatever they call the zoo these days) and also sets tiny bones collected from owl pellets in resin. They were incredibly beautiful and delicate, particularly set in resin, it gave them a preserved quality that highlighted their fragility.

I also went to see Kerry-Jane Warner in her amazing new studio – very jealous of the facilities she has! She let me have a go on her letterpress and I made this:


The machine is so clever, you pop the letters in their holder in to the machine and then you pull the lever and e magic happens! I’m sure there is a better way of describing it…never mind!

If you are in Jersey, the studios are open today and next weekend – have a look here for a list of events

I am going to try and see some more next weekend – apparently Ian Rolls’ studio is to die for!

Productive afternoon

Yesterday was really productive (amazing what a bit of sunshine can do!). We were back to school for INSET in the morning, and we discussed a new project for Year 10 Applied Arts – they will be working with an archaeological team who are digging up some Ice Age sites near to school. The students will have to make a pop up museum (in a container) and lots of signs for bus stops and the dig. This is great timing for resources – the British Museum currently have an exhibition on called ‘Ice Age Art: Arrival of the Modern Mind’ and we also started to watch an amazing programme called ‘Cave of Forgotten Dreams’ about the Chauvet caves in France – completely blew us away and left us very excited about the project!

Two sculptures made from air-drying clay. Left outside to weather.

Two sculptures made from air-drying clay. Left outside to weather.

I went home thinking about the sculptures again and made a couple out of some different air drying clays. They have a Hessian base and have been lovingly left outside – surprise surprise its raining today – to “weather”. So far, not much to report – hoping for something amazing to happen over night, but expecting to find some slightly slumped bits in the morning!

I also got busy with some printing ink too, just using a drawing from my sketchbook and a photograph of one of the figures from Pompeii.

Thanks for reading! (and Hi to Daphne Gertrude, Frankie and Dave if you have stopped by!)

Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time

I watched a programme on BBC yesterday called ‘Pompeii: The Mystery of the People Frozen in Time’ which was an investigation into why in Pompeii the victims were quite literally frozen in time, but in nearby Herculaneum, all that was left of the inhabitants was skeletons. I won’t go into the scientific detail (there are clips on the link above), but it struck me incredible that an event that was so destructive could also hold the power to preserve. It also struck a chord with my project and gave me some ideas about how bring a new visual element to the sculptures. So far, they have been relatively based on my own experiences and imagination, but I am going to start doing some studies of the casts from Pompeii to give me some new ideas.