Ah yes, it is my favourite place.  West Dean College is where it all started for me in 2005 when I attended the “Sculpture with Wire”  Course tutored by David Farrer and Cordelia John.  My sculpture “Articulation” hangs in my studio as a beautiful reminder of a kind of birth… I nearly sold it a couple of years ago, but I am quite glad I still have it for now.  That course worked as a kind of take-off pad for me I think… to suddenly have a whole week to be creative made me realise how fundamental my creativity is to my existence.  And one course turned into several more over the years, mostly involving working with metal, but two in painting.  Short but sweet.

I am playing it safe this year and attending an excellent course by John T Freeman.  I know it’s excellent because I did it a couple of years ago.  (I say “playing it safe”  because I have attended a course which just wasn’t the right kind of thing for me before, and this is a very discouraging experience.)  The painting course is only for a week,  but I just cannot wait.  

Image is one taken at West Dean Gardens in the Spring.  My heart’s gone out of making photographic images right now, but I take a little time now and again to fiddle around with past images with Adobe Photoshop.   And it is a very handy skill to have as an artist.  Good for putting work up on the internet, sending it here and there, entering competitions and all that stuff.  However, I worry at times that there may be glue on the stool that I sit on in front of the computer.  You sit down, thinking you are just going to check your emails, and then look up one hour later, and realise you are still there!  So I presently work as little as I can on the computer, and as much as I can with paint. 

Having said that, occasionally I am tempted to play around on screen.  Hence  “Morning River, West Dean”, which was an image originally taken in 2007.   It’s a nice little game, but I would not claim that my current photographic images are anything special in themselves.  They are an artistic product without any great craftsmanship.  Some knowledge, a limited tool in the shape of my  distinctly unprofessional camera, and the computer magic of software.  Yet there is value in it for me all the same.  But I am not a photographer, no, I am not.  The beauty of it, for me, has all drained dry.  I am pleased with what I have done in the past, and I am keen to continue some threads started in the past,  but I don’t see much future in it for me. 

This type of black and white image ” Morning River, West Dean”  IS something I will continue with, and rather interestingly, it is something in the vein of which I started with. Stuck all over my “Articulation” sculpture (2005) are black and white photocopied images of the branches of a tree in my garden.   I was struck so by the patterns of the branches of different trees, by the whole system of a tree, by the relationship between the overarching pattern or design and that of each unique individual tree.  So it appears I have come full circle!

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Just put together a little video of a selection of my drawings from 2008 – 2010.  Do take a look: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DQnLHf8qlJ4 

I have much to explore with drawing, and I am rather taken up with painting at present, but I am planning to use my sketchbook more, and I am hoping that over the Summer I will produce many more sketches and drawings which hopefully I will at some point put to use in a painting or two.  Drawing interests me in that it is one  way of developing visual awareness and sensitivity and it is  an extremely valuable discipline.   I learnt lots of different approaches during the time I spent life drawing, and I want to experiment with them over the Summer, out of doors, at West Dean Gardens, where I am repeating the excellent “Landscape and Figure Painting in Oils – The British Tradition” tutored by John T Freeman.

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