Abstract Intensives. Reflection #2 Late August.

Late August always seems to be a more logical time to reflect than the dark days around the New Year. Obviously I’ve wanted to reflect on the change the Abstract Intensive Course at hhttps://www.falmouth.ac.uk/ has had on my work. I realise now that that is just part of the picture, prior to my attending the course at Falmouth I had already submitted many works to galleries and exhibitions for the summer season and completed commissions . The unsold works from these events, and, to my chagrin, a refused purchase of a commission are slowly returning to the studio. Even with the insight of a fresh pair of abstract eyes I still really love some of them and am surprised no one has wanted to take them into their homes. Others I can see that only a mother/ the artist could see their good points. I’ve still got some way to go to get through the reading that was suggested to me by the tutors.The reading has been a great pleasure.Accidentally I went to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition twice. Once before and once after the course. I loved it both times but it was really a treat to see it the second time. I’m unsure if it was great because the curating artist was Grayson Perry whose work and words I adore or great because I was really geared up to look at contemporary art this summer. Either way it felt like the best RA Summer Exhibition I had seen. Taking all these things into consideration as well as the Abstract Intensive Course . I feel some change is afoot for my work. I’ve realised that when I paint my abstracts they are not only representations of how I see the subject but also how I think and feel about it. My way of applying an image on my newly acquired art boards (with thanks to Ravi Bains who made them https://www.endgrainsurfaces.com/contact/) may not look so very different from my usual style but my thinking will have taken some more intriguing routes to get there. In the next few weeks I’m going to have a virtual ‘Open Studio’ to sell off this summers returners before I get down to some serious painting in September.
Concrete Rock Pools from the previous blog and inspired by a visit to Trebah ,on the Helford River https://www.trebahgarden.co.uk/has been finished. Some rusty old iron stripes and some fragile bubble shapes add to the glorious Mediterranean colours that were such a part of the summer of 2018 . It was a great place to contemplate War and Peace.

Falmouth Intensives, a personal view.

A collaborative painting- Abstract Intensivists 2018 I recently completed a five day intensive course in abstract painting at Falmouth University.I’ve done art courses most of my adult life, many of them at established, well-regarded art schools. Some on-line and some that would be regarded more as a leisure pursuit than as an intellectual expansion of artistic knowledge and skill.The Falmouth Intensive was the best organised course I have attended.At £500 for five days, it is not cheap but is certainly in line with other courses that are available.What did the Falmouth Intensives Course do to make me rate it so highly?The campus itself is eclectic and beautiful,especially with weather that was perfect. Falmouth is a dream destination for artists.Students/course members were treated as valued clients/customers. Our working accommodation was a large Victorian villa on Wood Lane, a leafy suburban street that merges town with gown. We were a group of 9 course members, with a choice of 11 well prepared studio spaces. Within the studio space area there was a communal kitchen that was stocked with complimentary tea, coffee, milk and biscuits, all branded products, that were topped up every day. The communal kitchen was shared by all the intensive course attendees, there were two other courses running the week I attended. This gave us the chance to mingle and share experiences. Food based ‘ break-out’ sessions happened nearly every day, not compulsory, they enabled artists from all three courses to meet whilst enjoying food, drink and some valuable time away from their artistic endeavours. This was a brilliant idea, artists can be insular creatures, to lure us out of our studios with the promise of free food was a genius plan. Falmouth Uni also wins a food diplomacy prize for serving scones a bit like a Victoria Sponge, (Scone-Jam-Cream-Scone). A simple flip made the scone ‘Cornish’ or ‘Devon’, keeping the scone purists happy.So, as they always say at the beginning of courses “that’s the housekeeping done”.The abstract course was not afraid of taking all participants back to basics. Our first morning was spent doing drawing exercises indoors and making observational sketches outside. Our two lecturers for the week were Simon Averill and Glad Fryer, a fabulous tag team of enthusiasm and knowledge. Both working three of the five days we were given the chance for ample informal conversations with one or both of them in addition to time-tabled ‘crit’ sessions and seminars. Both held sessions in which they shared their own working practices and experiences as active artists in the abstract genre. They also made the effort to bring in a good selection of their work and published materials. It is so helpful to understand other artists viewpoints and creative endeavoursWhat participants never know on these ‘selective’ courses is whether everyone who applies gets selected or whether there truly is a selection of suitable candidates. Either way, due to serendipity or selection, our group of students worked well together. All with a similar work ethic, we were surprisingly productive over the 5 days. Our one experience of working on a collaborative piece of art exposed us all to a new, to us, and unique way of creating art. With no rules or instructions it was left to the group to devise a way of working cohesively. That’s a tricksy ask of an established group of people let alone virtual strangers. I can’t say it was all ‘peace and love’ but the character and texture of the individuals in the group found a way to create an image together that gave us all something to think about.The Simon/Glad tag team, was an inspired choice as course leaders. Significantly different in character yet matched in the quality and style of their teaching, it is hard now for me to remember which one taught me which of the learning nuggets I have taken home.Their enthusiasm carried me through when my paint was recalcitrant and my technique shoddy. I’ve been home a day, had some sleep and time to reflect, undisturbed by swirling thoughts of ‘resolution’. I’m nearly ready to unpack the car and return my stuff to the studio. Next week I will paint abstracts again in a whole new way and with a lot more confidence.Thanks to everyone who plays a part in organising or delivering Falmouth Intensives. Thanks to my fellow intensivists. It was great to meet you.An abstract of this blog is not available.A feather that blew into my studio on the last day. I wonder who was visiting? #creativespirits #abstractthoughts