Dear Cleo 18 09 12

Dearest Cleo

I was sorry to have missed you on Saturday but I did have a really good time attending the workshop at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill. Not long now until your quarter day, are you excited?

The London Group Workshop 2

The day itself

For the second London Group Workshop the venue was again the Tabernacle in Notting Hill. It is a lovely place for a relaxing day out, but the London Study Group were working and relaxing didn’t really form part of the agenda, except at Lunchtime and the coffee breaks

The Workshop was led by Clare Wilson who began the proceedings with a very informative talk on her residency as an artist in Aberystwyth and her process of creating abstract work and how place and memory played a part in their creation.

Once the talk was over the work began in earnest. After a time, probably an hour, maybe less of searching for ideas in our sketchbooks, we then set about producing a collage, before moving on to fix down an image of a place we wanted to go we had brought with us to a canvas panel using raw liquid acrylic.

Figure 1 landscape sketch Charcoal on A4 cartridge

Figure 2 landscape sketch Charcoal on A4 cartridge

Figure 3 landscape sketch Charcoal on A4 cartridge

Figure 4 Dream of a memory collage on A4 cartridge

We had a rest then and some lunch where we chatted mostly about each other’s progress with our studies before returning upstairs to the workshop room to remove the paper from the back of our image with a sponge to leave a reverse transfer print of our image on the canvas board.

Figure 5 There are places I remember and others I will go Acrylic and decoupage  on A4 canvas board

We were then encouraged to paint over our transfer, being aware of edges and the layering process to develop the transfer into a new work. The day was rounded off with an open group discussion led by Clare on the benefits of working in a way that was new to all of us and how this could be incorporated into our own processes.

I finished with a sketch of the figures inspired by the shapes of the trees.

Figure 6 Tree people Charcoal on A4 cartridge

Reflections on the day

I would not consider myself to be an abstract painter and I struggled to break free of my realist self. In the sketchbook work I produced three sketches, all three are figurative, but I was playing with my mark making techniques. The second of the three had a beautiful early mark that was reminiscent of  Cezanne but this got lost as the sketch developed. I didn’t take a progress photograph but I have memorised the technique and when it is developed a bit and reappears I will credit this day with its discovery. Looking at the sketches now the second one is by far the most daring and the most abstract, though not very so, I feel it needs to be examined further and pushed on a bit. I am fond of the layering effect of the sharpie over the charcoal and the soft edges of the charcoal contrasting with the hard edges of the Sharpie.

The collage I created is also very figurative, I think the image itself had much to do with this. It is the garden of a restaurant I go with my family he day after a family event, a christening, a wedding or a funeral, when nobody can be bothered cooking and it holds a lot of special memories so perhaps I wanted it to remain real, I think there is a surrealist touch to it so perhaps as a dream of a memory it works.

The place I wanted to go was the Hermitage, there were a lot of straight lines in the transfer print that didn’t quite blend with the curves of the memory place, but managed to contrast quite well with them when the memory place was overlaid on it. I remember seeing the Rauschenberg exhibition and discussing the techniques he used for his prints Clare’s technique was equally as good.

Clare stressed that these exercises were a way in so I did the Old Leonardo trick of staring intently at the final piece. Using a Motivsucher(TM) I picked up while standing at the checkout in Great Art, I isolated this image.

Figure 7 Sample of figure 6 Virtual image

A quick bit of Photo Shopping later and I eventually had my way in, and went on to create Ochre Numbers 1, 2 and 3

Figure 8 Ochre #1, acrylic on canvas paper 40 x 40 cm

Figure 9 Ochre #2, acrylic on canvas paper 40 x 40 cm

Figure 10 Ochre #3, acrylic on canvas paper 40 x 4o cm

Many thanks to Clare, for the thoroughly enjoyable day with much food for thought.

I will see you next Saturday, without doubt, because we are coming up to your quarter day and I wouldn’t want to miss that, until then,

My love as always

Mickos xx

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