The first Summer School (August 2016) got off to a great start. We ran two weekend workshops in oil painting and drawing. Taking advantage of the fine weather we packed our backpacks and grabbed our camping stools to walk, talk and draw outdoors. Just a few minutes walk from the studio, the canal path in Chalford provided a great setting to study the apparent complexity of a lush summer scene. Guiding our attention away from detail and towards a broader view of the whole scene, we were able to reconstruct in charcoal what we saw in terms of a simple pattern of light, dark and medium tones. Our drawing paper was pre-prepared with a mid-tone charcoal ground to enable us to see and capture the light (using an eraser) and dark very quickly. Speed was important in the rapidly changing, dappled light. You can see participants preparing their mid-tone grounds in some of the photos. The outside sessions served as a balance and break from studio work. In the studio great work was made with all participants producing a well resolved still life in oils. The atmosphere in the studio was one of calm, relaxed focus. Here too we looked at the importance of light - participants were involved in the careful arrangement and lighting of objects before putting brush to canvas. For a number of people this was their first attempt with oil paints. The results were good all round. I am so very pleased that this new teaching venture got off to such a positive start. Thanks to all who participated.
Here's what some of the participants said of the experience:
"The teaching was excellent with plenty of individual time and opportunity to learn new skills and processes. Dan was very patient."
"Very enjoyable learning experience.
Though the pace and style of instruction was relaxed and informal, I feel like I gained a wealth of knowledge."
"I think the practical tips were so useful (they have probably saved me 10 years of doing things the hard way!)"
"Outstanding – thoroughly enjoyable – it’s brilliant to be taught by someone with passion and enthusiasm for the subject! The summer school offered a good balance of practical, theory and space and time to think and observe".