It’s All About The Process…

Inspiring, thought provoking, enjoyable, challenging, immersive, creative…some words that describe the two-day ‘Abstracted Landscape Workshop’ run by artist Caroline Chappell that I recently attended..

In a village hall, down a leafy lane, eight workshop participants (including yours truly) were gently encouraged by Caroline to concentrate  on the process rather than the outcome. She quoted Bruce Mau, ‘Process is more important than outcome. When outcome drives the process we will only ever go where we have been. If process drives outcome, we may not know where we are going, but we will know we want to be there.’

I found this a liberating thought, having found myself in an artistic rut lately, doing the same things, with the same results, staying firmly within my comfort zone….

Through discussion and demonstration Caroline inspired us to think about the materials, the marks and our feelings…to move past our ‘default’ habits…to focus on the process of making rather than on a desired outcome…


I seem to have no problem filling a sketchbook (mostly rubbish…) but with no idea how to develop the doodles…so it was fascinating to watch Caroline’s process…and to then have a go myself…

Although used to the materials employed on day one, (inks and charcoal being my go-to media), the day was thought-provoking and at time, intense…the endless supply of tea and coffee was much appreciated!!

Day two was definitely challenging for me…I hadn’t used acrylic paint since my Grantham College days, many moons ago, hence the reason some of my paints were ‘solid’ tubes….

Thinking about colour and creating palettes were first order of the day…

..I’m obviously a ‘muted’ kind of girl!!!

Using the studies from the previous day, the idea was to develop them into paintings..

…I must admit to feeling a little ( no make that a lot) out of my depth… but with Caroline’s suggestions, support and encouragement, managed to produce two ‘paintings’…

…not sure they are ‘Abstracted Landscapes’… but for my first attempts at acrylic landscapes I’ll take them…

The whole experience was fabulous…it was great to be part of a small group, to have lots of room to work…

…to discuss art…have inspirational books available…

…and Caroline’s support and encouragement….

If you’re finding yourself in a rut, needing an artistic ‘shake-up’ I would definitely recommend the workshop…. where’s that catalogue…in need of some more acrylic paints….


Sweltering Summer Sketchbook Workshop…

Saturday saw me, along with 10 other ladies, attend a super, if sweltering, Summer Sketchbook Workshop run by Helen Hallows at the Long Eaton Art Room.

First time I have been to the Art Room and I can’t tell you how lovely it was to have a space where you felt totally free to cut, glue, splash ink and paint around without worrying about any mess… different from the tiny back bedroom I have at home!

The Workshop was something different for me…not my usual style…but I like Helen’s work, her bold use of line and colour….as well as her art/life philosophy.. so I thought ..why not give it a go..!!

The Workshop concentrated on how and why we use (or not) sketchbooks, ways to overcome ‘New Sketchbook Syndrome’ and some drawing/mark-making/collaging techniques you could use for any subject, not just the still life set-ups in the Room..

I was familiar with some of the techniques….i.e. continuous line drawing, non-dominant hand drawing.. but Helen provided lots of other information, tips and ideas on how she prepares sketchbooks and how she utilises them…

Although the Workshop was pretty full on – Helen stated from the outset that she had a lot information and tasks to go through – I never felt particularly rushed…which was just as well considering the heat…

I did some pretty dreadful drawings in my newly prepped sketchbook…(in my defence they were non-dominant hand, continuous line-drawing not looking..)

…but Helen was full of advice and encouragement… something that’s hard to come by at home, on your own…

A variety of materials was provided and I really enjoyed using the stick and ink – again, this wasn’t new to me having worked with these on my Foundation Course at Grantham College – but that was many moons ago and it’s amazing how you forget these things…..

…and I finished the day with a rather bold take on the peppers….

…so not like me at all…but sometimes it does us good to have a change and try something different…

As far as Helen’s outlook on art and life….well it certainly made me think…and that’s a topic for another post…..

Would I recommend the Workshop – certainly – not only was it wonderful to spend time with some lovely, creative people, I came away with lots of ideas and a new found enthusiasm……and surely that’s the point of a workshop!!

Launch of a dream…blog update

Last night Peter and I went along to the launch event of Blue Owl Art, a new artistic venture based at Grantham Tennis Club, Lincolnshire. Blue Owl Art is owned and run by Jette Rasmussen and Belinda Thomas, two very talented ladies whom I met at Grantham College where we all studied for our Foundation in Art & Design (that seems a long while ago ladies!). Whilst completing their Fine Art Degrees at the University of Lincoln, Jette and Belinda were asked what they were going to do with this ‘arty qualification’ and that’s when the seeds of Blue Owl Art were sown! Their aim was to have a gallery space where they could hold exhibitions, sell art and craft based work and run art events and workshops.

Blue Owl Art

After months of hard work and determination, Blue Owl Art opened its doors for business last night with an exhibition supporting emerging artists Chris Bagnall and Kate Robotham. Like Jette and Belinda, Chris graduated from the University of Lincoln. Working in oils and charcoal on canvas, Chris is ‘concerned with the notion that a stranger is an abstract ideal’. Sketches of strangers form the basis for paintings that focus on the ‘form and presence rather than the identity’ of the figures portrayed. I found that the longer I stood in front of the paintings the more I was drawn into them – appreciating the juxtaposition of the fact the figures were represented as shapes, but to me, they seemed to be having a conversation – really thought-provoking!

Chris Bagnall

Chris Bagnall




Kate graduated from Loughborough University. Her interests lie ‘within the cross-over between nature, colour and painting, seeking to express the beauty of nature through the medium of paint’. Taking her inspiration from the landscapes around her, she produces semi-abstract paintings using vibrant colours to portray the abundance and profusion of nature – to such great effect that you feel like diving right in, taking a deep breath and inhaling all the wonderful perfumes the paintings capture!

Kate RobothamKate RobothamAlongside the art exhibition, Blue Owl Art also sell craft based items including jewellery by Sheila Kerr, Gill Pottle and Rachel Jones, (got my eye on some beautiful ear-rings), porcelain ware by Perin Towlson and Katharina Klug, hand printed items by Andrew Berwick, wonderfully quirky objects by Helen Russell and items such as lamps made from re-cycled objects as well as hand-made greetings cards by Carrie-Ann Coupe to name but one of the talented designers . If I’ve missed anyone off the list I apologise – you really need to visit Blue Owl Art to see the whole range!!!

The opening night of Blue Owl Art was a great success; lots of people attended the event and equally as exciting – sales were made!!

Blue Owl Art launch event

This first exhibition runs until the 5th September 2014. Jette and Belinda are planning a programme of exhibitions, events and workshops in the future; see their website for more information – or follow them on Twitter – @BlueOwlArt or Facebook – BlueOwlatGTC – well worth a look!

Well ladies, you’ve done it! Huge congratulations and every success in the future – Blue Owl Art has certainly put Grantham on the artistic map!