Have been so busy producing new work recently (using larger canvases and preparing for a show in London early next summer)… that I realised I hadn’t got round to mentioning the art demo I gave to the Snettisham art group (west Norfolk), a few weeks ago.
'Spontaneity', acrylic/mixed media on watercolour board © Mari French 2011
Unfortunately I was too self conscious (stupidly) to take any photos of the group/demo but some of the (rather raw) works (acrylic/mixed-media on board) that I produced in preparation, plus the one I completed in the demo (main pic above) are included here.
I’d never given a demo before (well not of painting… I’ve done plenty in my former life as a graphic designer hooked up to an apple mac). I’d ‘warned’ the Snettisham group I would be demonstrating various techniques as a way of loosening up, mainly in abstracted mixed-media, (I would guess many of them paint in a representational style). So I was only expecting about a dozen turning up, although the group has a large membership. When I arrived (a little early as I thought), the hall was pretty much full… there must have been about 30 people once all had arrived and settled.
I had been nervous in the days leading up to this, to be honest, and babbled a bit to start with, but once I’d started freely bashing acrylic paint and ink onto the pre-prepared surface (watercolour board with pasted down tissue paper) with a large brush, I felt more in my element.
preparation for demo, acrylic/mixed media on watercolour board © Mari French 2011
They were a very welcoming and responsive group, asking questions, laughing at my feeble ‘witticisms’ (thankfully), so I soon relaxed into it. They appreciated the various techniques on the whole… printing with bubble wrap/corrugated cardboard, splashing and wiping back… so I’m hoping that everyone got at least one or two useful tips to help with their future painting.
It’s amazing how quickly two hours can pass once you hit your stride, and also surprising (useful for any tutor), how we artists can take our own knowledge and experience, for granted. It is satisfying to pass on particularly playful and effective methods to help others with loosening up in their artwork.
minerals (mixed media study in preparation for art demo) © Mari French 2011
Time ran away with us at the end, as the group crowded round enthusiastically asking questions, collecting printouts of notes on techniques, recommended art books, materials etc, and browsing through books, sketchbooks and work examples I’d brought along. (I’ve always find these ‘extras’ are very much appreciated at these kind of events).
I’ve been asked to come back next year when the group have their exhibition at Snettisham. It would be great to see some lively gestures and brushwork in there. I wish them luck with their art… and do remember if any of you are reading this…
have fun and allow yourself to play sometimes!