Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Primary School Art Workshop

I had an absolutely fabulous day yesterday- I went to Martley Primary School and got to work with a small group of very talented young artists to create acrylic canvas paintings of famous children's book characters for display in the school hall.

Our characters included Tracy Beaker, Smaug, Peter Rabbit, The Gruffalo, Winnie the Pooh & Piglet as well as Sophie and The BFG. I gave all of the children a laminated reference picture and explained that this is how I begin all of my paintings because you have to have something to work from. The laminating part is important too because it doesn't matter if you get it covered in paint or water!

The children then all drew a rough sketch of their design, beginning by mapping out the main shapes to make sure that they filled the paper, and then going on to add progressively more detail. I never let children use rubbers at this stage because I don't want them to be afraid of making mistakes- nobody is going to collect their sketches in and mark them so this was their time to experiment and figure out how to draw their character.

Our next step was to transfer the sketches onto large canvases. This is such a difficult skill to master and my group made a very good job of it. We did use rubbers at this stage to make sure that no unwanted pencil lines were visible beneath the paint. I helped a little with the odd positioning of eyes and marking where the head and feet should fill on the canvas.

It's a little tricky to see the sketches at this stage but that is only because the children did such a good job of drawing out their outlines lightly with their pencils.

After morning break we painted our background colours. There were so many different styles from all of the reference pictures that we covered lots of different colour mixing skills to create the more natural colours found in Beatrix Potter's illustrations to the vibrant primary colours in Nick Sharratt's quirky style. It was a bit of a rush (a large piece like this would usually take me a week and we had a day to finish!) but we finished our background colours in time for lunch.

After lunch we focused on colour mixing again to create the right shades for our characters and used smaller brushes to add details and make sure that we didn't have any white gaps left on the canvases. Finally, once the paint began to dry, the children used fine liner pens very kindly lent to us from Oak Class to add finishing touches and really make the paintings stand out from a distance.

I'm sure you'll agree that the children did an absolutely fantastic job. I was blown away by their talent and what they managed to achieve in just one day. A huge thank you to my group of artists and to all of the staff at Martley for letting me borrow the children from their classes for the day. They were an absolute pleasure to work with.

Tuesday, 15 March 2016

What I'm Working On: March

I've had a particularly busy start to the year because I will be attending my first trade show (BCTF, Harrogate) in just under a month's time. I had heard great things from the lovely makers I met during art markets last year and decided to register my interest in the show at the start of the year, thinking perhaps I could learn more about it and apply for 2017. I then received a phone call from the lovely Margeret who organises the show telling me she had taken a look at my work and would be delighted to have me in the Newcomers Gallery this year. I was absolutely delighted and a little apprehensive as I am very much a planner and this only gave me a short window of time to prepare for the show.

Invitations have been sent out to galleries and shops.

Since then I have been redesigning my packaging for my products- smartening up my fine art prints with printed labels and information cards on the backs, creating catalogues of my work, designing new packaging for my pocket mirrors and altering my pricing so that it is suitable to sell at a trade show without making a loss to name but a few! So far I would thoroughly recommend taking part to any other makers out there as there is a wealth of information to help you prepare for the show and it really helps to guide you to a more professional set up.

I'm now surgically attached to the Newcomers' Guide

Sam has very kindly agreed to help me build my stand and come along to the show with me and my next job is deciding exactly how I'd like the stand to look. The Newcomers are allocated a 2m by 1m area which is actually quite a tricky space to fit lots of stock into so I will be having an experiment with ideas this week.

I have also been working on a time-lapse series of videos showing how I create one of my paintings. My mission is to double my range of work by the time h.Art rolls around and this is the first of those pieces. He's not finished quite yet, so part three will be appearing soon!

I will be attending loads more art markets this year- please see the list below and am also delighted that I will now also be at the May Farmer's Market at The Talbot at Knightwick on the second Sunday of the month.

Where to find me this year.

And finally here are a few images from my sketchbook: