There are still a couple of places open on both my November 2020 and March 2021 Capturing Skye workshops at Higham Hall. The one in November is limited to eight participants, and the one in March to ten.
While I imagine it’s going to feel a bit strange at first because of social distancing and face coverings, I’m sure we’ll get into the rhythm of it all quickly enough and settle into the fun to be had with paint. I’m really looking forward to it.
Info on Higham’s protocols for covid can be found on their website: “Please do not expect to see floor stickers or distancing signs all over the place, we credit our Highamites will some intelligence. You will, however, notice some sanitising stations (and our new, nifty, no-direct-touch water dispenser), some screens here and there, plus a few different layouts. Numbers on courses will be limited, we are only using bedrooms with private bathrooms, communal seating arrangements and some aspects of service will be sensibly controlled in line with guidance without crushing the ambiance.” Face coverings are also to be worn in company, and the tables/easels in the studio will be arranged to allow for social distancing.
If you’ve any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to email me or Higham.
And remember, you can ask Higham to go on the advance notice list for my November 2021 and April 2022 workshops.
My thanks to all participants in my workshop at Higham Hall for your enthusiasm and to everyone at Higham for all you do to make it happen in such a special venue. I thoroughly enjoyed the week, and look forward to next time.
The week started and ended with blue sky, with beautiful sunrises, hail, storm winds, and snow inbetween. Felt just like Skye!
It’s up to tutors to decide how to use the space. I like to set the studio up with an area with tables where we work together as a group on specific activities I set, and then use the three alcoves as areas where people work alone if they wish. All those hours playing Tetris came in useful to fit in 10 of the high-adjustable tables so everyone could have one to themselves.
As I look ahead to Sunday’s workshop at Higham Hall, I’m excited and nervous, wondering who’ll be on it, who I’ll be meeting and working with, travelling with on a painting journey for which I’m the guide, whether the last spots will be taken by a last-minute booking, whether anyone will be wearing perfume that makes me sneeze, and what breakthrough moments there might be and what surprises. It’s both a joy and an anxiety.
Thankfully the latter is relieved and the former enhanced by having some participants who’ve done workshops with me before, and I look forward to travelling together for a few days again. I’ve some new worksheets, so don’t think you know exactly what to expect! To those doing a workshop with me for the first time, I hope you’ll be reassured that there are other participants who’re coming for the second and third time, so I must be doing something right. It’s going to be a fun, rewarding week, with time for hard work and relaxation, plus all the delicious food that Higham puts in front of us, thinking about which is making me hope it’ll include Pavlova one evening again.
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.
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.
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.
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):
And, of course, the joy of splattering paint around to add that final layer of energy to a painting:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?