This week: Expressive Painting at Higham and Autumn Colours

A few joyful moments from my week.

Higham Hall

I spent most of the week south of the border, at Higham Hall in the English Lake District, leading my “Expressive Scottish-scapes” mixed media workshop. Once again it was a rewarding week, with great results from everyone. My thanks to all participants for your hard work and enthusiasm, and to all the staff at Higham.

Creative solution to slightly misaligned new drain below an old drainpipe

This time I was in room 24 overlooking the courtyard, which may not be ensuite but its bathroom has the hottest shower I’ve ever encountered at Higham. I shouldn’t mention it also has a double bed, reasonable wifi and cellphone signal because then you’ll all be requesting this room.

The studio is in the old stables off the courtyard behind the hall. With my workshop being limited to 10 people (or occasionally 11 if there’s a request to ‘plus one’) there’s room for everyone to spread out.

My workshop is a mixture of activities to explore my approach to painting — layers being a core concept — and favourite colours, mixed with time to paint your own choices with my input. So many inspiring results! One of my favourites was a Talisker Bay piece which wasn’t entirely successful at the end the very first activity but that through the week became more colourful and layered through accidental colour additions and bits of demonstrating/trying materials, ending up with all sorts of interesting mark making.

Heading home was a constant reminder of the colour changes of autumn. I don’t usually include figures in my paintings or photos, but this one gives scale to the oak.

Back in my studio I made a big note to put at the top of my Higham notes that you-know-who-you-are requested I do a session on concertina sketchbooks in next November’s workshop. My next task is to unpack, but what’s the rush?

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