Thursday, 18 December 2014

Self portrait

A day at home painting. 
We are planning an exhibition in the New Year based on self portraits. There will be two portraits of each of us, one done by ourselves and the other by one of the other artists. Should be fun ! We are tossing a coin as to who we get to paint so that there is no favouritism. The object of the exersise is not to produce a likeness but more of an interpretation.....
Anyway, here is my self portrait. An intuitive painting that took about five hours or so. I really had no idea what I would do when I started and just let it evolve. I think there is probably quite a lot you could read into this !

The day started like this

 Detail. I can see a day of the dead mask in here. Three faces, where do they start and end ?

Thursday, 11 December 2014

The whole world is medicine

I was going to do a post on the koan ' The whole world is medicine' but I wouldn't have explained myself as elequently as John Tarrant. So read his article HERE

''Koans have a status as luminous fragments, little stories that are doorways. The phrase ‘the whole world is medicine’ is a short form, convenient and portable, that opens into something beyond itself.'' JT

I was going to talk about how this new style of painting is a medicine. This whole process of being involved in an artist's community is medicine. Step by step I have lived my way into a healing process and discovered something beautiful as a result. But I think I will alow the viewer to weave their own story around these latest works !

Sunday, 7 December 2014

'Aint bad for December 7th

The forecast threatened storms today but by 9am the sky was beautifully blue and the sun was shinning. Taking advantage of the sun, caught the 9.45 ferry and drove to Little Armier, not ten minutes from Cirkewwa.
It's a beautiful walk around the headland and at this time of year not a soul in sight. 

A collapsed cave at Little Armier. People tombstone off this in the Summer.

Looking back to Comino and Gozo

This what Sundays are about. Dog walk followed by a picnic and a bottle of wine on the beach in 19c. You may notice I'm wearing a thick jumpeer but the wind was picking up as the storm slowly moved in and your blood thins when you live in a hot country !

The storm finally reaching Gozo in the distance/

Raffi not wanting to get his feet wet.

Saturday, 6 December 2014

Red Shoes

I am sure you all know the Hans Christian Andersen fairy story 'The Red Shoes'. Briefly: A child covets a beautiful pair of red shoes. She persaudes her mother to have the shoemaker make her a pair, but she is forbidden to wear the sinful shoes to church as people will gossip. The child finally disobeys her mother's wishes and wears the shoes to church. A strange soldier comments on the red shoes and how they are beautiful dancing shoes. The shoes start to twirl and whirl uncontrolably and the child cannot stop the dancing. She becomes desperate as the shoes dance endlessly into the night and the next day. She is forced to plead with the executioner to cut off her feet. Which he does. The shoes continue to dance away with the severed feet inside. The child is repentant and dies.

To continue with my recent obsession, intuitive painting, I have interpreted the story in this piece.
The painting is full of whirling and twirling as I dance and paint through my subconcious. In the story it is not the joy of life that kills the spirit of the child, but the lack of it. Perhaps the moral of this tragic tale is that if we deny ourselves our true creative soul, we too will dance in addiction, whirling and twirling uncontrollably in the red shoes. The lives of many creatives have, through suppressing their true psyche, ended in tragedy !

Still whirling and twirling !

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Result !

Our Intuitive workshop was a great success and I think everyone, including me, learnt a little more about paint application and working with colour. What became very obvious was that one should try to work on a large canvas. Anything smaller than 50x50cm rather limits the possibilities and lines become restricted. The wildly colourful paintings were a cheery sight inspite of the torrential rain outside. I would have liked to have taken this course out of the studio and into the sunshine but the weather wouldn't allow....typical as we are back in tshirts again today.
It was very rewarding to see the results when some of my students had never painted before. After a wary start everyone soon got the hang of layering paint on the canvas in a bold and confident way. 








Dance music on and away we go.

I think we will try and do these workshops once a month, Not only are they great fun but the donations go towards improving our studios and work spaces at The Mill Room. We have such a lovely atmoshpere in which to work and our little community of artists means we can constantly seek advise or bounce ideas off each other. It is a really energising place to work. 

Our next event is Winter Tales - our arty take on folk and fairy stories-starting on December 3rd. We will be open on Wednesday 3rd 6pm onwards for an evening viewing and to listen to the tales being read by Penny Evans. It will also be the start of our Christmas studio opening times. Everyone welcome.

Tuesday, 25 November 2014

There are no mistakes

 Expressive Painting Workshop
Wednesday 26th November 10am – 3pm
One day workshop. For novice and experienced painters alike. A chance to spend a day painting in a spontaneous and fearless way, using basic painting techniques in an innovative and self-expressive way. Sarah Baird will facilitate throughout and give a short talk at the start on use of colour, mark making and encouragement on exploring the process. Sarah will also give a handout sheet with the basic principles so that you can continue with this exciting work at home.

Donation to The Mill Room
To book a place call into The Mill Room Studios. Or find us on facebook:  The Mill Room Studios

What you need
Bring a large canvas or board to work on. The bigger the better. 70cm is a good size to start ! No smaller than 50x50cm.
A good selection of acrylic paint colours.
A selection of cheap brushes inc a fine brush.
A sense of fun is essential and please leave all preconceived ideas of what a painting should look like at home !


This is where it all began a few weeks ago. Faith and I spent a very lovely day painting intuitively. (There was some angst that needed exorcising!) People wandered through the Mill Room as we painted, some more interested than others at our mad workings. The general census of opinion was that we should hold regular workshops there and encourage painters and non painters alike to have a go. 
So here we are holding our first workshop of this kind, tomorrow. I will be facilitating and am looking forward to it. We already have 8 people signed up but can take a couple more. Alternatively wait for the next one in a month's time.

Our Mantra:    There are no mistakes.

After 5 hour's work we have propelled ourselves into a whole new way or working. Things will never be the same again.

We  will offering workshops once a month which will include mixed media and collage, paper making and much more. Keep an eye out for what's going on at our facebook page. If anyone is interested in learning wood turning techniques let us know. We may be able to offer this in the New Year.

Friday, 14 November 2014

As The crow flies

How time flies... back again into November and the weather is still warm. It feels like a blustery English summer and I am dressed as if I was holidaying in Cornwall. Big warm jumper, scarf and shorts !
The light is fab at this time of the year and I just can't help taking pics on my evening walks.

A very lovely footpath that leads from Mgarr Harbour and along the cliffs to Xatt l-ahmar.

Numbers are growing at The Mill Room Studios and we now have a proper little community of artists, dreamers and healers. The next exhibition we are working on is called 'Six Winter Tales' Our art works will be based on folk or fairy tales and how we interpret them. I shall be working on a triptych on canvas....any guesses as to the cautionary tale ?   The exhibition will begin on 3rd December @ 6pm everyone welcome. 

The usual building up of layers to give texture then a layer of gesso before I start to paint.

Not yet finished, a few cautionary words to be added and some more detailing to be done.

I am itching to do a big abstract piece and have been trawling through a couple of books sitting on my shelf for inspiration. Both these books inspire to get out of a creative rut and just let the paint flow. So that will be my next project and I can't wait to get started. My 'unlocking creativity' workshop I ran in UK was loosely based on these ideas and I think I may revamp that workshop to fit in with my studio at The Mill Room. If you are interested just msg me on my facebook page.