Thursday, 25 October 2012

BBC Your Paintings Project & my mother's work

'Your Paintings is a website which aims to show the entire UK national collection of oil paintings, the stories behind the paintings, and where to see them for real. It is made up of paintings from thousands of museums and other public institutions around the country.' (Source- Your Paintings website)

Pennine Road (1993) Vera Lowe (Private collection)
'Your Paintings' is a partnership project between the Public Catalogue Foundation & the BBC. The aim is to catalogue all the oil paintings that are held in the public collections around the UK & make all 200,000 available to be viewed online. Although it isn't just oil paintings that are being included, works in tempera, acrylic & mixed media that includes oil or acrylic paint will also be added. 

Tempera is one of the earliest types of paint  (made by blending egg & pigment), so this means that  some of the oldest paintings in the collection will be included. By contrast, acrylic first became available in the 1950s & so many of the works are comparatively recent.

In the early 1960s my mother, Vera Lowe, began to use the new acrylic paint 'Cryla', fell in love with its immediacy & continued to use it for the rest of her life. The paint was sympathetic to the northern landscapes she loved to paint.

 My sister & I have often talked about making a website & cataloguing her work, but it seems the BBC have beaten us to it! So far, three works have been included, but she also has work in the Manchester City Art Gallery, which has not yet been added.

Here is a link to view my mother's art on 'Your Paintings' : Vera Lowe

Whilst researching this post I found a lovely description of Vera by Sheila Gerrard

'Vera was a vibrant woman, passionate about painting.......her paintings were strong like her character.'

And also this account of a demonstration my mother had given:

'She said, addressing the ladies in particular, "leave the fluff under the bed, it will only come back again, paint instead"

Not only did my mother influence my art, but also my attitude to housework!

My new course for the New Year 2014 - Discovering Watercolour is an exciting new course for those wanting to explore this vibrant & inspiring medium - click here for more info.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

An invitation to experience my new drawing course for free

I have taught art in real life for over 15 years & ran a pilot version of the Exploring Drawing e-course with a group earlier this year, but this is the first time it has run online as a commercial venture.

I can understand that some of you might be hesitant about signing up. The first e-course that I joined as a participant took me around three months to take the plunge & sign up for it. The May version of the course came and went, and it was not until September that I signed up & paid.

I can appreciate your concerns as this is a new course. With this in mind, I have made the decision to invite you to experience the first two weeks of the course free and without obligation. Of course, I hope that you will then want to continue with the rest of the classes.

Everyone, who then signs up for the course, will be offered the opportunity to exhibit a selection of their work in The Watercolour Journals online gallery. As an added bonus I will be extending the opening of the gallery to cover the holiday & New Year period, so that you can invite your friends & family to view your work there too.

You may have been promising yourself that one day you will give yourself the opportunity to develop your artistic potential. I would like to invite you to take the first step toward that by joining me for the first two weeks (and beyond) of Exploring Drawing.

Best wishes


P.S. The course begins on the 15th October & this invitation will be open for two weeks. You will still have access to the whole course even if you join after the 15th.

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Isadora in progress

I have now begun a larger version of the provisional sketch I made last week. I'm enthusiastic about the qualities that using recycled paper can bring to a piece. As the portraits I make are based on early photographs that are now fairly ancient & weathered paper & card  themselves, this use of paper that has a previous life feels like a perfect match.

This is the first stage of this piece. I now need to leave it in a place in the studio where I will see it when I am not expecting it. I find that this process of allowing work in progress to catch me unawares helps me to see work objectively & decide what needs to happen next. I find that this is a really helpful technique, particularly if I feel I am losing my way with a particular piece.

Have you tried this technique? I'd also be very interested to hear of any others that work for you.