We are back....sort of. I thought it was time to start the blog again after a break since March due to the Coronavirus. Whilst the artists are back working in their studio spaces, unfortunately we have to wait a little longer before we can accept visitors again on mass. We can have individual visitors if arranged by the artist, just contact them if you want a private visit.
Covid-19 completely closed everything down, but it didn't stop the artists from working in other locations, and this post is an update of what we have been doing during the downtime imposed upon us.
Personally I took my studio home and decided that I just couldn't sit in front of the TV until this went away, so for my own sanity, and as a way of improving and experimenting with techniques, I planned to produce at least one piece of art a day. This ended up being a very popular daily account of my thoughts and sketches as we went around the local area on the walks we were allowed to take. I was also lucky enough to be in the local newspaper three times and I also made the front cover of the Society for All Artists (SAA) magazine for July. This was a very proud moment for me. Since returning to the studio, my focus has been on painting subjects I want to, and gladly this has developed into commissions and requests for pieces of art.
My next project is to put all my 130 social distancing sketches into a book, which is already written and is now in the proofing stage before printing. I did this as a record for myself of a very strange time. More on this in future posts as publication gets closer.
Below is a collage of a small number of paintings and sketches done over the past few months.
One other exciting thing that happened over the lockdown period was that I entered the 'Paint the Town at Home' competition, where artists were invited to paint images of Blackburn but from their homes. Normally this event takes place with artists painting live around the town. I entered the digital category and won with my interpretation o Blackburn Cathedral. I even had the painting displayed on the huge screen in Blackburn town centre.
Finally from me, I was delighted to be asked Landlord Jon White of the Castle pub in Accrington if I would like to have a wall in the newly refurbished bar. He's done a massive amount of work during lockdown to decorate the whole pub and my paintings are displayed in their own little gallery.
The virus has hit Catherine hard as all her classes stopped in one fell swoop. Teaching people to paint and draw is her passion and all her sessions had to stop and have not started back up as yet. It may be a while before they do. However, being a resourceful lady, Catherine started running online classes for her students, and these have continued right through lockdown. She has also been extremely busy with her portraits, and commissions have come in from all over the world. Unfortunately a couple have become the victims of the fragile USA postal system and two have got lost on their way to their forever homes. One in New York and the other in California.
One amazing piece of work Catherine did over the lockdown was to participate in the 'portraits for heroes scheme', where NHS and frontline workers were nominated to have their portraits painted, and Catherine produced what I personally think is one of the best I've ever seen her do. You can see this in the Haworth Art Gallery opening exhibition. More of that later.
Catherine is also a lover of the life drawing class, and whilst she hasn't been able to attend live sessions, there have been opportunities to sketch from the Internet and even on the TV with the life drawing and Portrait Artist of the Year programmes. Her Mary Beard portrait is another Gem. This is shown below along with some of her other work done recently.
Just Imagine UK
JIUK have been hit hard due to the industry they are in. Their work requires them to perform to live audiences at parties, events and home visits for birthdays etc. However, Danielle isn't one to sit around and let this virus beat her. She and Sam quickly established online material and began delivering lots of content both individual as birthday messages, bedtime stories and they even ran virtual parties for groups of children. Their online school also faired well with subscribers enjoying regular online content in a number of subject areas.
They are now right in the middle of their Summer School which is running very successfully at St Nicholas RC Primary School in Accrington. This is always well supported and if you want to get a space, please visit their Facebook page for full details. I am sure this is an amazing club as I saw it in action last year in their studio. Loads of diverse activities and creative content.
Here are a few images from this week.
Permission granted for use of the images.
Leo has been as active as ever during lockdown. Like the other artists, he took lots of materials away and continued to paint from a home studio. He, like lots of others has been walking a lot, and sketching his way around his exercise sessions. One of the spectacular pieces he did is from a quick sketch he did on the Greenway path from Accrington to Baxenden. The final piece he produced gives a true sense of space and is a lovely painting. To see Leo's work, you can visit his Facebook page as he enters the world of Technology. I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning this, but Leo turned 80 a few weeks ago. Lets hope we get a chance to celebrate it with him once the social distancing rules are relaxed.
Andy was just about to run his first course on calligraphy at the Haworth when the virus hit. This hasn't stopped the preparation though and I'm sure he will be running it as soon as the rules allow. Andy has been back in the studio with great enthusiasm and has created some excellent example work in a range of materials including his superb glass guilding pieces. He has been busy sign writing too, and has just completed a large commission for a local farm. He has also begun to create on everyday objects. Nobody dare put anything down in fear of it being painted!
Here are a few images of some of his recent works.
You can contact Andy via the studios if you want to discuss a sign writing commission.
Becky has been doing a real juggling act over the last few months. She continues to complete her portrait commissions and sign writing projects along side her work towards her final Masters Degree piece. The image shows the concept for her submission and Becky says about the piece......'This is a project to focus on environmental sustainability in creative manufacture of art works. And that Artists need to consider closed loop and semi closed loop production when creating installations etc. She goes on to say that....'This is my concept focussing on the non duality of duality and non duality'.