Snow & Baked Potato Day 16


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Wednesday 27th March

Still some snow on the ground; Winterbourne very quiet. Worked randomly all day in a single colour and by the end of the day was starting to see results.  Bitterly cold so I treated myself to a hot chocolate and baked potato in the cafe; chatted to Vicky from the university who had studied fine art and now wants to get back into it. Worked in blue- cerulean, cobalt and pthalo blue. Chatted to one couple from Hull who live on the coast and they said they rarely see snow up there. Blue blue blue. Also chatted to a bloke up from London visiting his mother, and a toddler – James – from Stirchley. 

Photos & Palette day 14


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Cold blue sky sunny day. I had a broken night’s sleep and barely slept; too many ideas racing around all night. It is the Arts & Science Festival today so brought a portfolio of paper with me on the train so that visitors can draw too if they feel the urge. A productive day with lots of visitors; folk from Northfield and Shrewsbury for example. I reworked four paintings with a blue grey black palette which transformed them. Like a midnight garden; dark and dreamy. Clare kindly printed off photographs of the family for me so I shall begin working with those next time. I’m surprised I achieved so much as I had slept badly but who knows perhaps it was because I was working on automatic that I got results. Very tired and caught the 5 o’clock train home and got a seat! I now need to think about ordering some art materials: canvas and more paint. The paint I have my eye on – a very expensive blue- is £100 a tub! 

David Lodge Day 13


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

March 12th 2013

Continued in square format but this time worked in watercolour which is similarly challenging; very unforgiving. Started six side by side studies which I can work back into with mixed media also. Late afternoon I went across to the Barber Institute with Sunny to hear David Lodge talk about his novel, “Changing Places.” He was introduced by the wife of the novelist Jim Crace. Liked his use of a variety of stylistic formats in the book, eg. third person, first person and script; gave me an idea for the text in my picture book. I call it that as it is aimed at children and adults. Slightly embarrassing as he was asked at the end to choose between a bottle of wine and a bottle of champagne as  a gift and as the bottles were physically there we all felt he should be given both; but he wasn’t . He took the champagne and kindly signed my first edition copy of Changing Places. Upstairs in the gallery afterwards I saw the latest acquisition: a Reynolds they had hung that veryday; it had been given to the state in lieu of death taxes apparently. Talking informally to the marketing man at the Barber they apparently receive income from paintings loaned out so the large Manet for example is currently down in London at the Royal Academy. 

Scullery & NADFAS Day 9


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

February 28th 2013

Clear cold blue sky day. Very productive planning day. Have a whole new range of ideas to explore. Considered the children’s picture book more closely and looked at the family history and the children who lived here and what they might have got up to. Tried to upload some of my film onto the screen in the studio but to no avail as my laptop kept crashing. Chatted to a man named George about the university art collection which I must find time to see in particular Paolozzi’s prints and the primitive art collection. Thought about the subject matter as well as the style. Looked into the kitchen and scullery which will surely feature, also their shop, which won’t. Chatted to a lady from NADFAS – West Midlands regional Chair no less- and another representative from the parks and gardens department regarding the possibility of doing some workshops. Developed a tiny A6 sketchbook (a format I hadn’t used before), adding dark wash to the pencil studies. Worked on each double page spread before drying it on an old fashioned Edwardian radiator beneath the window. I now have a clearer idea of my direction which is helpful. Need to get a quote from a printer for my small book to assess if it is viable to self publish. It would have 47 double page spreads. Watch this space!    

Charcoal & Exotics Day 1


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

January 28th 2013

I produced a drawing of the primitive African man and woman sculptures in the railway room in my sketch book in line and tone and then translated these into compressed charcoal upstairs in my studio. Chatted to people passing through from specialist cactae man to former producer at the BBC. Two A1 drawings. Tip off from Lee that leek and potato soup was all Winterbourne home grown; ate some and enjoyed some. Set up a visitors’ book and chatted to 3 Spanish students from Murcia over here on an Erasmus scheme. Photographed by a University student for newspaper. Cold. Got togged up and went out in the afternoon to draw the gardens – drew structure of hazel tunnel. Walked down to the Japanese sunken garden and collected twigs with which to draw.  Said hi to the chickens then holed up in the cactus house and began a pencil study of the cactae. Stuck my head in the jungley orchid house and returned via the palm house past lime, pineapple and banana plants through the shop to see the plants on sale, potting shed and printing workshop. Back in studio did  a twig and ink study of the drawing I’d produced outside. Walked to station in torrential rain; soaked to the skin; damp journey home.

Opening


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

January 24th 2013

Drove up to Winterbourne with a car load of stuff; canvases, easel, tubs of paint and primer, art materials and a few books to establish my new studio space. No recent snow fall so the journey was easy and we sailed through. A stream of students were just leaving as we arrived for the private view of the new upper rooms at Winterbourne: there’s an Edwardian nursery, Nina the teenage daughter’s room, the governess’ room, also a hobbies’ room leading onto my studio. The staff were racing around making final adjustments and then at 5.30pm the first of fifty arrived for the reception. I chatted to the editor of Birmingham’s Gem magazine, two of Winterbourne’s volunteers, a Birmingham Councillor, an ex KES headmaster and his wife, the marketing manager of the Barber Institute, and the new director of the B.I, Nicola Kalinsky. Alison Derby made a short speech to us all from the stairs and announced my position as artist in residence as from Monday. Paul enjoyed seeing the whole wonderful set up for the first time and said I’d have a great time. We’re ready for the off!