Wednesday, 9 August 2017

A new creative winning formula in The Peak District!



What an exciting two days we have all had recently over the weekend painting together in fabulous and brand new modern studio at 'The Old house Studio' on the edge of The Peak District - a fabulous way to kick start August over the first weekend in the month.


The fully equipped, spacious, warm and bright studio was perfect for our needs exploring expressive mixed media techniques over the weekend with an expressive painting moorland theme using watercolour, gouache, acrylic inks and soft pastel allowing all our ideas to flow, as well as the paint!


We couldn't resist a moorland theme for the weekend now could we - not with the Pennine Way being only 600 metres away from our studio!

Your hosts James and Joanne Crook who have lovingly restored their historic farmhouse with superb accommodation for guests (and Pennine Walkers) on site couldn't do enough for us! None stop care and attention (to include amazing and generous lunches) from James and Joanne meant everyone could relax into their painting, enjoy the beautiful serene 'get away from it all' location and really enjoy a relaxed creative weekend together.


It was great to share so many different creative skills with everyone in the popular and buzzing art class each day. 


Brimming with creative ideas and really receptive to new, innovative and exciting mixed media techniques, everyone's paintings were really captivating to watch as they developed.



Using lots of different layering techniques combining our chosen media together, everyone's moorland paintings had real expression, depth of colour and real magnetism to them.



It was great to hear how everyone had really enjoyed their weekend painting together, each others company both in the studio and on our evening out together in the local village pub too!

A really successful and rewarding weekend painting break for all over the creative weekend. 

With the studio being perfectly placed in a really inspirational setting yet easy to get to being on the edge of The Peak District (Manchester and Leeds at best being only an hour away, Glossop just 3 miles away), next years creative weekend on 7-8 July 2018 is set to become as popular as this one was too! 

With easy travelling, great accommodation for those who choose to stay, generous and tasty lunches, great tuition a superb studio (and more besides), Joanne and James together really have created a winning and popular formula!

Full details about next years expressive mixed media weekend workshop (this time with a loose and contemporary woodland and river theme) can be found here...

I look forward to teaching you again in a truly fabulous and unique studio in The Peak District in 2018. See you then!



Tuesday, 13 June 2017

New in Norfolk

Demonstrating expressive gouache opaque and semi-transparent painting techniques over acrylic ink washes on the first of two fabulous painting days with Norfolk Creative Arts students
Just returned from a fabulous weekend teaching two back to back expressive painting  mixed media workshops with Norfolk Creative Arts, North Norfolk in a quiet peaceful part of the historical West Norfolk friendly village of Grimston.

The historical old Grimston Church Hill School now lovingly restored into a wonderful art studio - complete with lots of spacious and free off road parking too!

The lovely village cottages at Grimston right opposite Norfolk Creative Arts - a great landmark to know you've really arrived in the heart of West Norfolk!
Norfolk Creative Arts nestling perfectly in a quiet corner of Grimston village seen through the lovely old church yard at St. Botolph's Church - a church which dates back to the 12 Century - fabulous!
The wonderful and historical St.Boltoph's Church just a few steps away from Norfolk Creative Arts - quite literally as you can see the church through the windows!

The spacious, light and airy fully equipped studio in 'The Old School' at Grimston, West Norfolk (having been carefully and sympathetically restored by directors of Norfolk Creative Arts, Hans and Sean), was perfect for everyone to fully enjoy their really exciting and thoroughly rewarding full day workshops. 

The workshop well underway in the wonderful fully equipped bright and airy studio at Norfolk Creative Arts

Assessing those all important next steps to both draw and paint with the brush at the same time - a great mixed media painting being created using acrylic inks, gouache and watercolour in combination

Using the foundation of the painting to draw back into with dark colours - a real mixed media painting, drawn and painted throughout

With everyone continually pampered by Hans with a lovely range of teas, fresh coffee, homemade light refreshments and a wonderful tasty gourmet lunch midday - all between one to one tuition, demos and practical painting experiences, our painting days were packed full of great things which reflected in all the work.

Hans - your happy host! Speciality teas and fresh coffee and cakes await!

As each day progressed and everyone's paintings began to develop, the rich tapestry of layering using acrylic inks, watercolour, gouache and pastel created amazing visual effects in each and every painting. 




Each and every artist who came to the popular workshops brought with them different levels of creative painting ability. Using the chosen media combined was a unique, exciting and creatively rewarding experience for everyone!

Students review celebrating everyones creative approach 

Milage in your marks - showing how one painting can make several or become the start of something new entirely by cropping into the bigger picture

Texture, colour, pattern and expression - it's all there!

It was a real honour to be teach in such a wonderful, historical yes modern learning environment at Norfolk Creative Arts and with art students in each full class travelling far and wide to come to learn my mixed media techniques, it was a joy to know how each and every student was creatively enriched by their painting experiences with me.

Start with some free and expressive drawing using a soft 4B large graphite stick 

Add some acrylic inks...

...add some more...

...use a large Chinese brush (this one is a Wolf hair from 'Asian Brush Painter'), to keep things moving, expressive and ideas creatively flowing - sideways! Gravity being incorporated, big time!

Explaining the importance of both drawing and painting with expression throughout the painting process with all media

Demo done - yes, alright, I'll try that, turn myself upside down and painting it like that next time...thanks!

Expressive mixed media demonstration painting using acrylic inks, watercolour mixed with gouache and final layering with pastel. a few more special marks with soft pastel at home and this expressive mixed media of 'Autumn tide on the turn at Morston, North Norfolk' is done!

I'll be back again next year to teach another creative break for artists with Norfolk Creative Arts. It's going to be an exciting and rewarding 3 day 'creative block buster' over a long weekend next time using different media so look out for that! 



Friday, 2 June 2017

Artists bloom during Chelsea Flower Week at Higham Hall


Pastel painting in the lovely herb garden at Mirehouse near to Higham Hall - a fantastic setting and  a real delight for us all in so many ways

Great news - our recent painting week at Higham Hall called 'Impressionistic Gardens' (celebrating natures colour and natural forms with expression), has been a complete success for everyone.

Painting in the sunny gardens at Higham Hall

Painting the beautiful mass of backlit flowers - such a glowing display of colour in the May sunshine at Higham Hall

All aglow again - the inspirational Azalea tree at Higham Hall from all sides. Such a stunning colour in the sunshine!

Using a variety of different painting media to include watercolour, gouache and pastel, painting flowers and gardens couldn't have been more fun! 

Mixing studio painting with two exclusive trips to the magnificent Mirehouse and Gardens (a private home but open to the public on select days) spending time in the tranquil gardens by kind permission by the lovely owners of Mirehouse was a really rewarding creative experience for everyone.

Demonstrating perspective techniques with pastels on Canson Mi-Tientes Touch 350gsm (sky blue) at Mirehouse and Gardens. Such stunning, inspirational and peaceful gardens

Demonstrating techniques how to layer both hard and soft pastels one over and into the other building expressive and impressionistic marks
Marion sketching in the lovely herb garden at Mirehouse - great compositions amongst the Allium planting especially wherever you looked!

Natures fireworks! Alliums in full bloom at Mirehouse and Gardens - magnificent colours

The quiet gardens proved to be a real inspiration with stunning views everywhere from the moment we entered the main gate.

Even the driveway down to Mirehouse and Gardens itself was amazing...

...so much so Sue decided to paint it with pastels - what a great result! (Unisoncolour pastels and Royal Talens Rembrandt pastels on Canson Mi-Tientes Touch 350gsm).

Marions lovely painting from the terrace at Mirehouse looking towards Basenthwaite Lake - what a great result!

The perfect month for the Rhododendron blooms to be seen in all their glory both at Mirehouse and Gardens...

...and Higham Hall

The Mature Rhododendron and Azalea in full bloom in particular at this time of the year both at higham Hall and Mirehouse and gardens were a real hit with everyone. At Mirehouse leading into the lovely walled 'bee' garden with its stone circle, sun dials, herb garden, apple trees the Rhododendron blooms were fabulous - especially the white ones! 
Perfect Azalea blooms at Mirehouse and Gardens

Celia pastel painting the beautiful view through mature trees towards Bassenthwaite Lake on the terrace at Mirehouse and Gardens

Lovely climbing roses in full bloom in a quiet corner of the gardens at Mirehouse
Just one of the lovely tranquil walkways around the mature walled garden at Mirehouse - I just couldn't resist it for my demonstration for everyone!

Another amazing student pastel painting, this time with a view directly over the gardens - such movement and expression in those pastel marks!
Another inspirational tree lined avenue at Mirehouse and Gardens - one to demonstrate for sure next time

At the front of Mirehouse stretching down to the lake towards the historical St. Bega's Church (one of the oldest and smallest in England) was a lovely, magnificent ancient meadow. It was a joy to see (and paint too) as the colours were stunning and the view was magical.

The superb mature, unspoilt, ancient flower meadow stretching down to the lake towards the lovely historical St.Bega's Church

The sign says it all
Marion painting the magnificent view and meadow towards St.Bega's church using Unison pastels on Canson Mi-Tientes 'Touch' 350gsm pastel paper. Radiant colours in the most perfect sunshine...
...and here it is! Marion's beautiful pastel painting of the wonderful view over the delightful meadow at Mirehouse

Looking back to Mirehouse and Gardens set within the most magnificent Lakeland setting
Day two at Mirehouse and Gardens - the resistance to paint the amazing and exclusive access viewpoint down Bassenthwaite Lake being just too much for some!
A rare view of Woodend Brow across Bassenthwaite Lake from the Mirehouse and Gardens estate

Whatever takes your fancy and what a result...OK, your excused for not painting the gardens with a result as good as this!

With the sun once again shining for us when we needed it most, we really made the most of the warm May weather. On our last full day of our rewarding art week together, everyone created some stunning and amazing work once again within the  lovely gardens of Higham Hall. 

Painting in the lovely sunshine at Higham Hall - such an inspirational garden!

Dazzling and delicate - lovely flowers at Higham Hall just about everywhere to inspire future paintings

With inspirational compositions everywhere and the gardens in full bloom there was plenty to inspirational views, colourful corners and lovely compositions to choose from and paint with our mixed media paintings.

With Chelsea Flower Show being on at the same time as our timely art week, it was great to relax in the comfortable lounge at Higham Hall in the evenings too with other guests with everyone being totally inspired day and night by flowers on the art course.

The natural woodland garden. Just one of the lovely mixed media student paintings created during our great week at Higham Hall - watercolour, gouache and pastel used in combination with great effect in this colourful bluebell wood painting.


A thoroughly rewarding art week for everyone and most certainly one we will be repeating again for next year at Higham Hall so do look out for that. 

Now, lets have a look at the calender for 2018 so we can see when Chelsea flower Show is on again!