Photos: Trees at Higham Hall

Being at Higham Hall in April for my workshop meant it was a bit early for most flowers (sorry daffodils, don’t meant to ignore you), but it did mean fewer distractions from beautiful trees like this:

There was a splash of non-daffodil yellow by the pond:

I won’t be sharing my spot-the-red-squirrel photo, but here’s something else I saw in the garden that’s much easierto photograph:

higham Hall Dickinson poem quote garden

My next workshops at Higham Hall are:
4 to 9 November 2018 and 31 March to 5 April 2019.
Contact Higham here…

Higham Hall Workshop: Capturing Skye #3

Higham Hall Class of May 2017 painting

A few last photos from my recent painting workshop at Higham Hall, and my thanks to everyone — workshop participants and the team at Higham — for an inspiring week.

Higham Hall Class of May 2017 painting
Class of May 2017
Higham Hall Workshop: Studio
“The Circle of Creativity” aka tables in the main area of the studio.

Higham Hall Workshop: Studio Work

Higham Hall Workshop: Sunset painting
Colours that came out of us exploring “interesting greys”, which then proved perfect for a painting inspired by one of my sunset photos.
Higham Hall Workshop: Student Work on Orange Ground start
Painting on an coloured ground, and focusing on painting faster, not considering every single brush stroke too meticulously but trusting the process.
Higham Hall Workshop: Student Work on Orange Ground
The painting above, a bit later on Thursday.
Higham Hall Workshop: Gold paint
To any art groups out there with members who suddenly arrive with tubes of gold and bronze. Yes, it’s all my fault. Once you’ve got over the shock, you might ask to try a bit yourself.
Higham Hall Workshop: Detail from Painting
Tiny detail of a painting that “rewards close looking”.

I’ll be doing another “Capturing Skye in Expressive Acrylics/Watercolours” workshop at Higham Hall next April, and possibly something in October/November 2018 too. Contact Higham Hall to ‘register an interest’ and you’ll be amongst the first to know the details.

You can read feedback on this workshop on my Higham profile page here.

Higham Hall Workshop: Capturing Skye #2

Mixing interesting greys

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard photographers bemoan grey days because grey is supposedly uninteresting. Grey days are beautiful in a different way, sometimes for the gentle gradations in tone, sometimes for narrowing the range of tones, and sometimes for strong contrasts between dark grey skies and sea.

When painting, grey doesn’t mean simply “black + white”. We’ve a bounty of “interesting greys” at our colour-mixing fingertips, which is one of the things we’ve investigated during this week’s workshop at Higham Hall.

Mixing Interesting Greys

Mixing Interesting Greys

Mixing Interesting Greys

Mixing interesting greys

We’ve also looked at using coloured grounds, such as orange beneath a seascape (which plays on the fact orange and blue are complementary colours):
WOrking on an orange ground

And, of course, the joy of splattering paint around to add that final layer of energy to a painting:
Just add a splash of paint

Higham Hall Workshop: Capturing Skye #1

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

The art studio at Higham Hall is off the courtyard at the back, a bright, quirky space that’s got an area for group work and lots of nooks for individual working.

Higham Hall courtyard

Higham Hall view from studio into courtyard

Higham Hall Art Studio May 2017

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall May 2017

The first full day of my “Capturing Skye” workshop started with an activity designed to put the focus on colour and shape, as building blocks for a layered painting. As always, it’s fascinating and inspiring to see what 10 people do from the same set of instructions, how our individual inclinations, preferences, hesitations influence us. And how it changes and develops when repeating the activity once you know what the elements of it are, rather than following an instruction without knowing where it’s leading. Great work, and inspiring pushing with the concept to develop it individually.

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1 g

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

In the afternoon we explored ink and stick (aka “st-ink”) using a bamboo pen/brush that is cut to a nib on one end and has a brush at the other (buy here: affiliate link). I find black ink dramatic to work with, easily overdone and all too easy to drop a bit where you don’t want it. But it can be oh so beautiful and expressive. Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

My new long-handle big brush was also inaugurated, used to add drama to a sky in a few big sweeps across the top of a painting.

Expressive Skye at Higham Hall Day 1

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Anticipation in the Gardens at Higham Hall

Higham Hall art workshops with Marion Boddy-Evans

It was one of those perfect sunny days when I arrived at Higham Hall on Sunday: bright blue sky, crisp light, and greens upon greens in every direction, often even overhead as lanes twist and turn beneath trees. Wandering through the beautiful gardens was filled with patterns of light and dark and colour, reflections in the pond that make me feel like I’m channelling Monet, and punctuated by a vibrant splash of brightness that will bring joy to any colourist’s heart.

Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall Garden May 2017 Higham Hall

I’ve been to Higham before as a student, in 2011 and 2012, doing life drawing and then pastel/acrylics landscapes with the inimitable Patrick Oates. If was from the latter workshop that my tree paintings started to develop. It’s a delight, and also nerve-racking, to be back again this time as a tutor, with 10 students. Happily, as I’m writing this on my second morning here, I can report that the first day’s teaching was a joy. Photos will follow.

Join My 2017 Workshop in the Lake District

Now it’s on the upcoming courses list (and thus all official) I’m excited to be able to announce that at the end of next May I’m going to be doing a workshop at Higham Hall in the Lake District titled “Capturing Skye: Vibrant & Atmospheric Acrylics & Watercolour”. So if you like the idea of painting expressive landscapes and seascapes but Skye’s a bit too far north for you to travel, how about heading to near Cockermouth?

Minch Seascape painting