Painting in St Remy and Avignon

For the last fortnight of October, Dick and I travelled to Avignon and St Remy de Provence; we drew every day. We visited was the Asylum of St Paul de Mausole, where Van Gogh was a patient for a year in 1889-90, and where he completed over a hundred paintings. This was an extraordinary and moving experience.

We saw the Alpilles from afar in Avignon, these steep limestone crags rise steeply from behind the Asylum; from our hotel window we looked straight up at them.  Since coming home I’ve developed a number of paintings on this theme.

Les Alpilles, sunset

Les Alpilles, sunset

The Alpilles from St Remy

Les Alpilles from St Remy

 

St Paul de Mausole

St Paul de Mausole

Persimmon tree in the Asylum garden

Persimmon tree in the Asylum garden

 

The Asylum garden

Olives at St Paul

Olives at St Paul

 

Provencal Landscape

Provencal Landscape

Far Mountains

Far Mountains

Olives under the Alpilles

Olives under the Alpilles

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Drawings and watercolours of the Wakhi shepherds

I must have watched the first episode of Kate Humble’s Wild Shepherdess at least a dozen times, so absorbed did I become in the story of these heroic people. I sometimes think that a Preseli hill farm is wild in the winter – in January the Highland cows had icicles hanging from their ears – but that was nothing to the hardships endured by the Wakhi in the High Pamir.

So I began to draw and paint them from images on the screen, using a sketchbook as I would have done on the spot; here are a few of the results. I’m hoping to show more of them at MOMA in September.

Approaching the Wakhan Valley

Approaching the Wakhan

 

The valley

The valley

 

The sheep

The sheep

The yaks

The yaks and a small child

A shepherd

A shepherd

A dealer

A dealer

 

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Bakht Begum

 

By the lake

By the lake

 

The High Pamir

The High Pamir

 

Philosophy through Art Workshop at the Dragon School

Workshop with the Dragon School post exam group, April 23rd 2013

The theme of this workshop, in my series Philosophy through Art, was the question ‘What is an Artist?’

We started by asking the question ‘What is Philosophy?’ ‘It’s about asking questions to which there aren’t really any answers….’ was one immediate response; then, in answer to ‘What is an artist?’ there were several interesting comments, which included observations on music and poetry. We talked about how all the arts are in a tradition, new generations either developing or reacting against their predecessors, and whether or not art is a language.

We then looked at a set of images of animals in art from 30,000 years BC to the present day, and the children put them in order, working in groups. All kinds of interesting topics emerged as we did this – do the arts get better – is a Stubbs horse ‘better’ than one from Lascaux? How has the artist used the material? What about the patron (if any) as opposed to having a free hand? Where does self expression come in?

Then we sat very still, relaxing completely, and everybody looked at one picture. They made a copy of it in pencil. Then a copy from memory, then one with eyes shut and lastly one with eyes shut and using the ‘other’ hand. This was a fascinating experiment in visual thinking, and it was interesting that almost everyone preferred their last drawing.

These youngsters were a treat to work with, very bright and enthusiastic.

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The “Philosophy in Art” workshop was both highly informative and revealing. It was delivered in a very calm but authoritative manner, where the children felt empowered to offer their ideas and thoughts on a range of concepts around the history of art and the evaluation of artworks. The practical element was also excellent and really made the pupils consider their own concepts and perceptions about their own and other people’s art.

Luke Osmond, Head of Art, DragonSchool

 

Exhibition ‘The Rocks Remain’ at Tabernacl, Machynlleth

Exhibition The Rocks Remain will run from September 9th  to October 19th at Tabernacl, Machynlleth.
It will include paintings and sketchbooks of mountains in Wales and abroad.

Directions to the Tabernacl, Machynlleth are at http://www.momawales.org.uk/?page_id=75

LLechog Llanberis

Llechog, Llanberis

Drawings made at a Concert by Chamber Philharmonia Cologne

Members of the Chamber Philharmonia

 This was an electrifying concert at St Mary’s Church, Cardigan, on 19th July. I’ve drawn musicians for many years, mostly at rehearsals, but here I was able to draw at a concert under cover of the people in the row in front. Afterwards, the group had a standing ovation – hear them if you can! These are some of the drawings I made.

 

 

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