Exhibition ~ Norwegian Collection 2018-2019

Gosh….. it’s been such a long time between posts, a lot has been going on. I had been keeping this quiet because it may not have included my work due to space restrictions at the studio Space 2 in Stavanger

To my surprise I was able to exhibit 10 paintings of semi-abstract Norwegian landscapes each on a 50 x 70 cm canvas. A scary self portrait done at the International School Stavanger and 2 linocut prints (this seems to have me hooked)….

The artists at Space 2 were great at organising this superb event and guiding on the hanging and spacing of my paintings, I really owe them a lot and I offered to paint their walls so they look nice and bright for future events.

One painting had already been marked as sold and the linoprints were surprisingly popular, I’m determined to get a little body of work together in this amazing medium, I’ll always paint though, it’s just lovely to try new things.

Oh, keep reading the blog, I will be able to post some really cool news in a couple of weeks πŸ™‚

Back to Landscape Painting

With all this life drawing distraction I wanted to keep my feel of landscape painting alive and painted a house I pass every day while out with Tanzie. It was done in stages at the school to show some 12th grade students one way of underpainting, blocking in and then adding layers until finished, Meant to be a study and done in around two hours…. here goes…..

Walking Tanzie does seem to be a time of contemplation, one morning this week I took a photo and by the afternoon I’d finished a 50 x 70 cm oil painting! It was a lot of fun and I used techniques to splash paint around in the foreground. I used a lot of Vasari oil paints in this one and had to admit being blown away by the buttery quality and massive amount of pigment in these paints! Amazing…

the photo I took on my dog walk….
...underpainting
underpainting
…some blocking in, value suggestions and tweaks to the composition
Finished painting
Where the smugglers escaped- Lysefjord Norway πŸ‡³πŸ‡΄- Acrylic on canvas panel 50 x 70
Norwegian lighthouse 50 x 70cm oil on stretched linen

Drawing from Life at the ISS….with (?) 12th grade (?)

Understanding the grade system isn’t my strongpoint so I need to check the grade of the group, my gut feeling is… let me think …. 12th grade? Please let me know and I will fix it if I’m wrong…

This all started a few weeks back when the group looked at the guidelines used to get the anatomical features of the head and face aligned. It had been a while since I worked on any life drawing or portrait work so I decided to practice a bit and produced four studies in a week to dust the cobwebs away. The last one was a self portrait from a year or so ago…when I was in my ‘beardy’ phase…. sorry….

One thing I noticed about the class was their level of engagement and this meant they produced work of such good quality, a very focussed bunch. The students worked on a few quick poses, 5 minutes, three minutes then a single minute before using the remainder of the lesson to work on a longer study. A big thanks to all who modelled – not an easy task.

Personally I felt really inspired by the progress each individual in this group made. I found myself wanting to develop a charcoal sketch (self-portrait) into an oil study. It was a great learning curve purely because I don’t do enough portrait and figure work by far.

Self Portrait Development.

February 17th – The ISS Fine Art Fair 😊

So it’s been a few weeks since my last blog and I am a bit surprised at my terrible inactivity…..sorry about that…. anyway I’m back and there’s a lot to tell you πŸ‘πŸΌ

I should start with the Fine Arts Fair! I didn’t take enough photos, as usual! Sorry about that, if I can track any down that parents or teachers took that are okay to make public I will add them onto here in due course.

So, it was a really great afternoon with lots of activities set up by the amazing art department team Zsuzsi, Jenny, Jeanne, Sarah and lots of arty moms and dads. I had a ‘life drawing’ section with some easels set up and an older student, Anya, a trained Ballerina holding typical ballet positions (they looked so tough to hold – but she was amazing). I did a few and the young students threw themselves into the task and produced lots of great drawings and went on to produce a fabulous mural.

I have it on good authority that the mural is still being worked on and I shall photograph it and post photos when it is all done!

Artist in Residence week 4 – how’s it all going?

In a word – fantastic!

This coming Monday (Jan 28th 2019) I start week four and time seems to have flown by. I have mentioned adding another month to my time at the school because it feels like I’m hardly getting going and it’s nearly over….. so that’s sorted now I’m pleased to say.

I introduced myself to Middle School at their assembly the other week and last week I rode my bike to the school to introduce myself to the High School, the weather was icy and I underestimated the grip my tyres would have on it…. and crashed, some minor bruises (partially dislocated elbow…ouch) and some damage to my bike (easily fixed later) I decided not to wimp and head home to check myself out and instead, carried on to school…. and wasn’t expected πŸ™ so didn’t do my intro. Not to worry, slight communications issue, but I’m all set for this week.

Classes have been going well although, I misread the week before last Friday afternoons timetable and was really late for a year two lesson….they were sooooo cross with me! I love the fact they cared so strongly! Well we continued sketching the view out of the window and we got into a position where both year 2 classes were ready to paint with watercolour!

I’ve been looking at some older students work with them and it’s been great to see the enthusiasm they have. The students are teaching me more than I could imagine teaching them. There are some great paintings about and some amazing imaginations there. I will ask some student if I can photograph their work and post on here. I know some of the blog readers have suggested I post more photos on here and I’d love to but I need to observe the protocols involved with this, there are data protection/child protection-type issues to consider which is fair enough but a lack of images make this usually very visual blog look a bit bland. I hope to get some sort of arrangement with the school regarding this soon so please bare with me.

I’ve been very excited to work with some students involved in a school production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Last week I was helping to make props, when it’s finished it’ll look great and I will take a photo to post. The week before I was with a team of students who are extremely creative and industrious in designing posters and tickets (and Tee shirts I think) for the production. The quality of their work is outstanding and the level of engagement in the task is like nothing I’ve ever seen.

Mid-week, last week I was fortunate to have use of our car so I bought some paintings down to school. I thought there were plenty but when they were hung on the wall they looked a bit lost so I definitely need to increase the body of work, use stretched canvasses so I can hang them and make the work more ‘school-specific’, that will not be a chore at all! Although figure work is great fun, everyone moves so fast my sketches have to be super fast…but that can be seen as an interesting challenges and the results far different from my usual stuff. Could I be evolving? Let’s hope so!! I heard there were a few people enjoying the work, the year twos were very interested and some members of staff chatted in depth about the paintings, I felt really pleased with the reaction.

Definitely need more work on the wall!!

On Friday afternoon, the two groups of year 2 mini-artists got stuck into some water colour painting and I had a great time, Zsuzsi and I had to adapt the demonstration part so everyone could see and it worked out really well in the end. Some great work from the student too! With a little luck we will be finished next Friday and, at the risk of repeating myself endlessly I’ll take photos and post (I’ll even swap my iphone camera for my posh one). So here are some photos I took of the two demos I did for the year 2 students, both are unfinished and I’ll post the finished article also.

Year 2 group 1 watercolour demo

Grade 2 group 2 watercolour demo

The art department had a meeting on Friday afternoon and one thing discussed was the Fine Arts Fair, or FAF in mid-February, it feels great to have been asked to get involved! I shall be drawing large scale outline drawings from life, perhaps of older students and the children will be adding bright colour to these! I’m loving the idea and looking forward to it.

So….I’m writing this part a few weeks later because I was waiting for some photos. Unfortunately and for various reasons I wasn’t able to make it to the classes with the grade 2 students but they continued with their work. I noticed they were pinned to the wall in the corridor outside the classroom and I stopped in my tracks! They looked great and so I took a few photos on my phone – I’ll post them below and let them speak for themselves….

On Friday I bumped into Tristan who showed me his sketchbook that he had been working on, my favourite picture was his green robot!!

This is Tristran’s robot – I was really pleased to find out he’d started keeping a sketchbook!!! Brilliant stuff πŸ™‚


Week 1 at ISS (International School Stavanger)

This week saw my first few days at the international school Stavanger, Norway as Artist in Residence!

All very flash! I suppose on the lead up to Wednesday (my first day) I had a funny mix of imposter syndrome and confidence but there was no real reason to worry, all I had was a warm welcome absolutely everywhere I visited. Check out this poster some very thoughtful students made for me!

I also spotted some of my work was on display in the school lightbox!

Before classes started the school photographer took a really lovely picture of the very cool members of the art department (Zsuzsi, Jenny and Jeane).

We started with some classes after that and the students were using pen and ink (a tough discipline for me) to make parts of their own faces, these will soon be amalgamated to make one scary monster face. I spent a bit of time talking to the students and their enthusiasm was immense and left me feeling inspired.

We all popped to the theatre for a brief on the forthcoming production – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, not before I found myself on stage having a work out!! We returned to the art classes and started work on the poster design, I loved the way communication was no problem for anyone and we really progressed with our ideas.

The next day I met some older students, one was keeping a sketchbook which was so full of great work I was amazed and a bit jealous, another student taught me a little bit about Photoshop, I think I need to experiment with it and I can understand how valuable a tool it is and very necessary for the future in art.

I spent some time exploring the school and set up a little table near the canteen to sketch people…. very tricky, everyone is so full of energy and moves so quickly, but I’m pleased to say I managed to get a doodle into my sketchbook and I have made a pastel sketch (did I just say pastel???) Not really my medium but something was telling me to use it (my keyboard is covered in chalky dabs as a result). Anyway….here is the picture.

On Friday afternoon I worked with two year 2 classes who are the most fun to be around I’ve had in years! All were enthusiastic and very happy! We spent some time with me demonstrating a quick sketch of what we could see out of the window and off they all went to try it for themselves. Right before my eyes everyone turned into amazingly talented young artists! They had great ideas of their own and were fearless of the crisp fresh white paper in front of them! I couldn’t ask for better and I think we are trying painting next week…. I am going to love that sooooo much!!!

My little bit of good news!

Getting cold and wet outside is worth it πŸ™‚

I’m really pleased to let you all know that starting on January 9th 2019 I will be the ‘Artist In Residence’ at the International School Stavanger.

The art teachers there are great, full of enthusiasm and have really inspired me to get stuck into this wonderful project!

I can’t wait to meet the students and get involved helping out with ideas and creative processes…..but if any find their way to this page and want to say hi or want to message me – brilliant, please do πŸ™‚

They are very active in social media and happy to let me blog about my experiences there! Watch this space…

Well we leave here on Friday December 7th for a three day journey back to England – the blog will go on πŸ˜ŠπŸŽ„β„οΈπŸ‡¬πŸ‡§πŸ˜Š

En Plein Air….. with rain, wind and hail!!!

 

Dusk on Stokka 9” x 12” oil on ultralight board.

With around two hours of daylight left and a weather report of β€˜cloudy’ I set up my gear and started to paint. All was going well, basic sketch done, values sorted and sky colour shaped in. Then the clouds opened and down came the rain which then changed to hail all mixed in with a strong wind. I was amazed at my waterlogged palette and drenched painting rag and sipped my tea until the worst was over and then cracked on! The light changed as the sun tried to peek out but I had to continue with my original concept. I had no camera or even my phone so couldn’t really capture the fun and games. Suffice to say I am pleased to have done this little painting- I learned a lot doing it πŸ˜Šβ˜”οΈπŸ’¨πŸ˜³πŸ‡³πŸ‡΄

Adapt and overcome!

Oil on canvas board 60 x 60 cm

 

So…… confession time….

One thing I try to maintain is the concept of working outdoors from life using a sketchbook or even full-on en plain air box and tripod…..well…about that…

Yesterday was very very windy here in Stavanger, Norway but while out with Tanzie the labradoodle I just got that overwhelming feeling to paint. When I get that I know it will work out well, but the weather was going to beat me plus there was only half an hour of daylight left at that time of day….yes…it was dark at 3:30 pm yesterday, so out of options I felt it was a paint indoors afternoon and I worked straight from a photo I’d taken about a week ago….. hmmmm…. practice what you preach eh!?

So this one is of a simple scene near where I live, close to beautiful Stokka Lake(s) I was attracted to the muted wintery colours, the silhouette of the treeline and the optimism of the blue in the sky. I used quite a limited palette of  cadmium yellow deep, delft blue, ivory black, raw umber, burnt umber and cremnitz white. I really enjoyed painting this, it was great not to fight the elements (my recent outdoor watercolour sketching has been interesting – palette froze, brushes froze….wow) and to be able to feel my fingers, I had tea on demand – always a winner for me.

Here it is – enjoy! Oh and I have some really great news, I can’t say what yet because I’m waiting for the administrative stuff to be finalised, I’ll tell all when I can πŸ™‚

 

John