Category Archives: drawing

Did someone say Paintings?

I’ve been Painting again… I don’t have much to say about them – except, I think I like them.

They’re little Welsh landscapes that sum up my time here since I’ve moved.  I’ve been a lot more content. I’ve been a lot more relaxed.  And I feel like even one percent of the time I’m on my way to proving my potential…the challenges I’m facing are all good ones, adult-making ones.

I forgot what painting felt like, I think it’s quite clear in these that I enjoyed it…at least I hope so, anyway.

🙂

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Supporting Ambition in the Arts – Celf o Gwmpas

I’ve always wanted to work in the Arts…as cliched as it may seem, I’ve always wanted to inspire others to be creative.  I’m quite lucky that I’ve landed myself a Project Co-Ordinator role at Celf o Gwmpas, Llandrindod Wells.

It’s quite an amazing place, really.  It’s easy to get caught up in emails and admin., but Centre Celf breathes a sense of ‘happening.’ Someone last week told me that Celf o Gwmpas has changed their life.

I remember when I first applied for a job there I stalked the Celf o Gwmpas twitter and the description simply said ‘Creating social inclusion and supporting ambition in the arts.’ – I thought, I want to work here.  And now I do, yay!

As part of our  ACW year-long Learning and Practice project, throughout June we have been running sessional weekends for Artists who have experience or knowledge of the arts and mental health.

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The Learning & Practice Project is made up of multiple strands, with Blue MacAskill working with ‘at risk’ young people through filmmaking, and sessions with Stephen Park being held at various venues throughout Powys during his residency – The Welfare, Ystradgynlais and Oriel Davies, Newtown. Working together, they are developing knowledge, practice, experience and creative aspirations and promoting wider understanding of arts and mental health.

In November 2016, Celf o Gwmpas is hosting a week of events and activities Boxing Shadows in a celebration of arts and mental health as part of WALLS:MURIAU Welsh Mental Health Arts Festival 2016. (programme details at end of post)

 

The aim of the Peer-To-Peer training sessions in June 2016 is to provide a platform for Artists to develop and elevate their professional practice while giving them the opportunity to exhibit work as Part of a Wales-Wide Festival.

Our first session was 11th June at Centre Celf, Llandrindod Wells. We were aiming for up to 6 participants for the group, and found that we were oversubscribed! We began with Stephen introducing himself, and playing ice-breaking games where we got to know each other and tried to remember everyone’s names! Stephen explained his ideas of finding creative ‘flow’ as an Artist. He showed us images of artwork that he felt had achieved this ‘flow.’ ‘Flow’ is achieved when we are being creative but not too restrictive and not too perfect. Imagine it as a line…extrinsic on the left (creating freely without inhibitions, restrictions) and then intrinsic on the right (where we’re being too careful, too precious with our work) – Stephen explained that the ‘sweet spot’ is somewhere near the intrinsic, but still creating with an element of freedom. It’s when we arrive at this spot, we are in a rhythm of creating work as an Artist which is vital to developing and sustaining your practice.

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Stephen Park in residence at Celf o Gwmpas, Llandrindod Wells

We then did some ‘High Pressure, Low Expectation Exercises’ where we had to create something by following a brief e.g. creating a drawing by using no more than 5 lines- it didn’t matter what it looked like, it was the process that was important. This is important to apply to our own practice as Artists. We’re often so caught up in what we want the end result to be – we might have an exact idea of a painting or a sculpture in our mind, but we need accept the process itself may change the course of the result. It’s when you accept the validity of the process that the work becomes authentic.

On Sunday 12th, we worked more intensively on ideas of teamwork to find ‘flow’ with each of the participants creating a beginning of a series of Artworks. They had the job role of the Art Director where they took ownership of their series- deciding the colours, shapes and subject, the only rule was – they had to form a pattern. After creating three/four of their series, they then switched from ‘Art Director’ to ‘The Artist’s Apprentice’ and moved around the group to each person’s station, observing and attempting to follow the pattern. The aim was to have a collaborative series of artworks based on finding a creative flow and working together – and we did! It was interesting to see how each person had interpreted the Art Director’s series from their own perception.

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With the first weekend being one of such encouragement, we then organised individual mentoring sessions with each Artist to apply these ideas to their own practice. From 12th-18th June, each of the participants had a one-to-one mentoring session with Stephen. This gave each Artist time to chat with Stephen about their own work, what they’re interested in, and the direction they’d like to go with it in the future. It’s important as Artists to have regular feedback on the work we create and to gain a wider understanding of the artwork in context. As well as this, some pieces that we may have disregarded others might see value in. As the Peer-To-Peer training sessions are for Artists who have already established a level of professional practice, it’s been a fantastic opportunity to meet with Stephen who gives solid and constructive advice on developing their practice.

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For the remaining sessions in June, the Artist’s are putting ideas they have learned into practice by creating work for the Boxing Shadows Exhibition at Centre Celf in November. Between now and November, they will be working on a personal project developed in these sessions. We’ve set up a private online forum where the participants can share ideas, comment on each other’s work and encourage each other after the sessions end and throughout the Summer as they live all over Wales. In addition to this, we will be having two gallery visits during the Summer months to gain inspiration, as well as meeting up at the start of November to curate the Boxing Shadows exhibition as a group.

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Boxing Shadows Programme:

Thursday 10th November 4-6pm

Exhibition Preview at Centre Celf, Llandrindod Wells

Providing a platform for the artists involved to exhibit and screen work.

In parallel with Stephen Park: Residency Exhibition

Showing new work created during his residency stay over the course of six months in Llandrindod Wells.

 

Friday 11th November 6-8pm

Performance at Centre Celf, Llandrindod Wells

Performances/Stand-up comedy evening with:

  • Artist in residence Stephen Park
  • Writer, performer and outsider artist Sean Burn
  • Havin’ a Laugh’ showcasing a Powys-based project helping to build confidence and improve mental wellbeing through comedy.

 

Tuesday 15th November 10am-4pm

Panel discussion & Artist’s Talks – Centre Celf, Llandrindod Wells

Artists in training presenting their practice with Stephen Park talking about his residency and:

  • Blue MacAskill (tbc) tackling issues of aspirations, isolation, rurality and immobilization through creativity and art.
  • Sean Burn reclaiming the languages of lunacy, reflecting on his own lived experience of long-term mental distress.
  • Jane Cooke, Senior Officer, PAVO Mental Health Team, psychotherapist and trainer exploring forms of expression that bypasses a diagnosis in the minds of both client and mental health worker, and leading an investigation of creativity as a tool for encounters at different levels of experience.
  • Amanda Wells (tbc) former Celf o Gwmpas mentored artist and instigator of Celf-Able, a group of disabled artists in Mid-Wales, who meet to do art together, share skills and break down barriers.

 

Sculpture Trail @ M I D W A L E S A R T S

A lot has changed since I last updated on this… I’ve moved house, got a new job, curated exhibitions and smiled a lot more, too.

I came back on here with a free afternoon and a want to write something.  Not only something, but something worthwhile.

Yesterday seen the opening of the Sculpture Trail at Mid Wales Arts Centre in Caersws, Powys.  I work here, as a marketer/curator/poster designer and ocassionally, gardener.   I’ve never been involved in putting together a sculpture trail before, and have to say that the idea of having over 100 sculptures to site, catalogue and co-ordinate was a little daunting at first!

First, I met Thomas and Evermore who represented the Tengenenge Sculptors. Tengenenge is a village in the North of Zimbabwae, where all of the residents are artists (a wonderful thought) who make their living by sculpting stone.   The village is what they like to call an ‘open-air gallery.’  (another wonderful thought)

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             Pictured:  A Sculptor’s stand //  Stephen Chizora amongst his sculptures in Tengenenge Village.

With the downfall of the economy and in turn, the lack of tourism, the Tengenenge’s have suffered with less visitors to the village and therefore selling less work.  However, despite these hardships, the community has survived due to the passion and the energy of these people!  This passion and energy was plain to see in Thomas and Evermore.  They were excited about the prospects of the trail and the expansion on last years trail.  They told me stories of how certain sculptures were made and how a lot of the artist’s looked at a certain type of stone, they could already see what it was going to resemble…! I feel humbled that they want to bring work to Mid -Wales for us to enjoy.  Further, I’m delighted that we can be a platform for them to sell their work and to make a living in Zimbabwe.  The Tengenenge Sculpture’s look beautiful in the Mid-Wales landscape.  The Opal, Ruwinka and Springstone they are made out of compliment the back drop of the rolling hills.  A lot of the sculptures are abstract in form, and after hearing the context and sheer determination of a tribe that are striving to survive creatively, it translates directly through the gestural way they are carved.

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Abstract Form,  Moffat ,  Hard Serpentine,  POA

As well as having these wonderful African sculptures, we’re proud to be the home of Sculpture Cymru –  an organisation of sculptors living and working in Wales.  Sculpture Cymru celebrated the opening of an exciting new ‘Test’ space and Sculpture Trail in 2015 at the Mid Wales Arts Centre.  Alison Lochhead of Sculpture Cymru and the Gas Gallery said it was the beginning of an exciting period for Sculpture Cymru who have wanted a ‘Cartref’ , ( welsh translation for home) where they could have a permanent exhibition space to show their work and exchange ideas.  So, after a firm foundation and a successful exhibition in 2015, this year has seen the expansion of this ‘cartref.’ The work that began to arrive at Mid Wales Arts Centre from the Sculpture Cymru members really impressed me.  Perhaps ignorant in the past, I never truly took the time to appreciate sculpture.  I’ve always been a painter so find myself drawn to those instantly when I go to a gallery.  Working here has given me a newly-found appreciation of 3D work.  I’m particularly fond of the work by sculptor Alison Lochhead, whos practice is based on memories.

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Detail of Alison Lochhead’s Mine Map

Through living, we leave our mark on the earth which it retains.  Alison works with different materials, all integral from the earth and with their own strengths and reaction to heat and to each other; iron, clay, oxides, wood. In the kiln alchemy takes place as the various materials are drawn together or reject each other, and these forms are the result.  There’s an idea that there is no ‘wholeness’ to a memory…parts are fragmented, distorted, forgotten, rejected…this is shown literally through the form that Alison’s work takes.  Her pillars of ‘memories’ are erected in the garden and in a field in groups, and you can’t help but feel a sense of fragility and a deeper experience when viewing them.

 ‘Memories are fragile and transitory; as is much of her work.’

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In fact, this ‘experience’  when viewing Alison’s work applies to the whole trail.  A bird landed on one of the bird sculptures during the opening yesterday and a few people laughed…that made me think.  There’s something refreshing about being outside in the landscape not confined by space, walls, rules or roofs – experiencing art.  Mid- Wales is such a beautiful place, and the artwork only reinforces this fact.  Yes, Paintings may work best in the white cube format, but this sculpture trail is a living one…in a way it’s a performance – It’s reacting to and with the land.

That’s really quite special.

 

References:

http://www.midwalesarts.org.uk  // http://www.sculpturecymru.org.uk  //  http://www.tengenenge-tomblomefield.com/

Aerial Painting- The Landscape according to the Artist’s eye.

For me, the Aerial Landscape has always been an intrinsic part of my identity.  I find myself fighting others to have a window seat on a plane.  Looking down on the earth from above has always given me a comfortable perspective and I find that life becomes somewhat insignificant as it simplifies merely into shapes and forms.

When I paint, I try to translate some of these feelings of movement and depth into my work.  Although I am not as committed in the fashion of Lanyon and his paragliding or Turner supposedly attaching himself to a mast, I believe my inspiration is clearly recgonisable in the gestural, rhythmic and expressionate marks I apply to the canvas.

I first found this love for the Aerial Perspective by accidentally discovering a batch of Old R.A.F war photographs.  Even in black and white, I was captivated by the painterly nature of the land.  I began my own Pinterest board which contains a comprehensive list of Aerial Photos and Paintings. (including some of my own work, shameless plug)

This board is updated regularly, so feel free to check it out and follow! You can see regular progress of my own work via Instagram, following @radunlop

Richard Diebenkorn - CityScape 1, 1963, Oil on Canvas

Richard Diebenkorn, CityScape l, 1963, Oil on Canvas

By the Sea lll

Jenny Nelson, By the Sea lll, 2008, Oil on Canvas

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Sidonie Cardon, Down to Earth, 2006, Mixed Media on Canvas

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Landscape Aerial Photograph of the Longji area, China

John Evans

John Evans, Fields by the River, 2000, Oil on Canvas