Monday, 4 August 2014

Beautiful weather for Sinderhope workshops

“ Life in the Landscape” ran over three days of glorious sunshine in July (24th, 25th and 28th). These workshops were not intended as master classes or technical demonstrations, Bridget and Mair wanted to explore ideas with people and encourage them to think about the surrounding landscape in a different way. The publicity they sent out posed the question “What happens when Landscape meets Still-Life?” Nineteen people in total attended the workshops, fourteen on the Thursday, fourteen on the Friday and nine on the Monday. Although Bridget and Mair designed the workshops as three consecutive sessions they invited people to come to whichever days were convenient for them. The atmosphere was relaxed and sociable, plenty of refreshments were on offer throughout. To start off the first session Mair had prepared a short slide show, so after an initial introduction to the project in general everyone settled down to look at images of still life painting and photography both classical and contemporary, followed by imagery of landscape. Through various local networks Bridget and Mair had connected with people who had previous experience of drawing and painting so the level of discussion about this imagery and how it might inspire art works during the workshops was of a sophisticated nature. Participants ranged in age from the 20-30 bracket to the 70-80 bracket and came from as far a field as Newcastle and as close by as Sparty Lea.

There are so many photos to choose from the wonderful three days we spent working with artists at the Sinderhope Community Centre during the Life in the Landscape workshops. However, I felt the one above sums up the time quite nicely.

Food and art, what more could you want??

It did get quite serious at times, honest. An important part of the sessions were the group discussions when the artists took time to look at what everyone had produced and give as well as receive constructive criticism.

After a stimulating discussion participants were invited to draw from a selection of still life set ups. These arrangements of objects incorporated mineral specimens and artefacts from Killhope Museum as well as plants and vegetables from the garden at the centre, which is cared for by Natural Ability a local organisation working with people with learning and other disabilities. Bridget and Mair led these drawing sessions providing specific drawing materials and directing particular tasks, such as time limited drawings, drawing without looking at the paper and so on. These sessions were at times quite challenging and were intended to limber up the aspiring artists. After a much needed refreshments break the group displayed and discussed the work they had produced that afternoon and talked through what they wanted to achieve in the next session.

Day two began with more drawing exercises followed by self-directed drawing sessions both in and outside of the centre. Bridget and Mair guided the participants into incorporating landscape imagery into their still life compositions. After lunch some of the artists explored the nearby Blackett Level mining remains at Holmes Linn, whilst others stayed closer to the centre drawing and painting in the beautiful sunshine. The day concluded with a group discussion and more planning for the third and final session.    

Holmes Linns, Blackett Level mining ruins provided wonderful photo opportunities.

The group provided very positive feedback. One participant wrote that the workshops gave her the opportunity: “to work on a concept I have struggled with for sometime and it gave me the opportunity to work that out.” Another commented that the workshops were a “wonderful opportunity, lovely three days!”

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