Ian Rowlands was the course tutor for the day. Ian was going talk to us about mediums, then there would be a demonstration of transfer printing.  The material that Ian presented was really interesting and afterwards  we spent some time talking about materials.



My focus was now to start working on the canvas. Jill Parry, the sharing the space and started to focus on her core interest which was portraits.   Here are some  sketches of the model.



where I started on Friday morning was with the rough oil sketch that I had made.




and by the end of the day, the work of transitioned, with a lot more detail within the body.  O



The 4th day was all about generating new work using the sketches that we have drafted on the previous day. Sandra Smith was our course tutor for the day.  Her tutorial was about colour and tone, she showed some of her notebooks that she made during her undergraduate days.  Nearly her complete notebook was composed of  colour investigations.


The remainder of the day was  left to you to work on your own material.  I decided not to use the image that had I been working on the previous day.   There was an opportunity to book a model.  The model was Rona.   I made 2 sketches, the 1st was in pencil and the 2nd was a watercolour sketch.  My intention was to use the watercolour sketch as the basis for the figure on the canvas, actually what happened is that I focused on the pencil sketch because that was far more interesting.  I really like the abbreviation that I had used.   I then started to think about the background and made some preliminary sketches using watercolours.

Sketches of Rona

Sketches of Rona

At lunchtime, I had a little walk towards the British Museum and took some photographs on the way.  There was a small park with some railings that had been cut down and replaced by an artwork or installation that made a sound when you walk past them.  I also took some photographs of  bicycles that were parked outside Imperial College that I would use later as source material.



That afternoon I started on canvas  using the sketch of Rona as my source material.


Day 3  was the beginning of painting for real, Daniel Preece was again our course leader.

Daniel then asked as to begin developing some strategies for generating images.  He asked us to look at the reference material  that we have brought to the summer school.  Using the reference material the strategy was to develop 5 versions using different materials as a way to explore the reference material.  The project was supposed to take 2 hours and we were asked to consider strategies that we could use to generate the work.  We were asked to work quickly and take one source material and consider many different ways of working from it.  The drawing from the source material should consider mark, scale, structure and light.  Each drawing could be made using different materials like pencil, charcoal, paint or a combination of all 3.  We could then use this image or one of them and repeat it  in paint.  In the painted  version, we were asked to consider limited pallattes to make  a tonal painting, to investigate the use of different coloured grounds, start  the painting using large brushes or even using alternative tools to make a mark for example sponges.

So, I had an interesting photograph of myself taken in the mid-70s in black-and-white.  I have always liked this photograph largely because of the subtle twist and the angle of the head.   I also did not have any reference material anyway, this photograph happened be  on my phone simply because my daughter had taken during the weekend prior to the  summer school.

Portrait 1976

Portrait 1976

Using this image, I made some charcoal and conte pencil impressions of the photograph and discovered within the photograph these strong lateral dark grey and light grey stripes. I had a relatively large canvas that I wanted to use and complete before the end of the summer school  and thought that this image would be quite interesting.  In the beginning and as an exercise for myself, I used the photograph and concentrated on the face to develop 2 images with better definition. Daniel discussed my plan.


I found this exercise very interesting and stimulating.

Day two was pretty much about making a start, Virginia, Provided a very large range of postcards of work by various artists. She made a request to us to look at these cards and decide which cards would be interesting and select one of those to copy.

I selected a painting by Manet – A portrait of Berthe Morrisot That I had seen In the royal academy Earlier during the year. I have spent quite a lot of time looking at the painting, The postcard was not a very good reproduction of the painting, Indeed, Previous users of the postcard And had left their own marks on the postcard as well. The challenge was to reproduce the painting in two hours. But then followed by selecting a part of the painting that was interesting and reproducing that On a smaller piece of paper.

The last two hours of the day consisted of a critique Of each other’s work. It was a very large range of styles, Interpretations and skills. Some of the students had never made images any larger than a small piece of paper. Everyone manage very well and the standard of work was very good.

Actually in the summer heat everyone was totally exhausted.





Well this is the Slade summer painting class, We have two tutors, Daniel and Virginia. Daniel is the course leader.

We spent most of the morning introducing themselves, Settling into our space And generally getting to know Our environment. We spend time with our tutor Defining our objectives And generally discussing our work. The remainder of the time is spent preparing surfaces Ready for painting the following day. I felt that I was on my feet all day and left totally exhausted.




Sunday, hot and humid, train is full of young Italians gabbling like chickens in a coup. People in holiday mode going or returning, difficult to work out. Meet up with Alex at the station, these bags are heavy with art stuff I haver move or need to move – slightly worried someone else will have an interest in them too and they disappear.

I’ve been spending some time reviewing the Slade summer school courses, the first course is called painting which runs for two weeks the second one is called the expanded field drawing that runs for an additional two weeks and the last Course life painting to which is also two weeks. So six weeks In total.
I feel same apprehension and anticipation that I had when I first went to university such long time ago. Some of the course content sounds so vague and inaccessible yet it’s going to take me to a world and experience that I’ve not had so far.
Like many courses they’ve got a list of materials and equipment that we probably won’t use so I won’t go to the first week very well prepared. Anyhow I don’t want to have a big bag to take on the train.
I just looked on the Internet for slade Summer school And found that the Independent And given rave reviews in 1994 So I’m optimistic that the adventure will be lots of fun.

Spending time getting my paintings together for the ‘In Living Colour’ exhibition at the Grant Bradley Gallery in Bristol (England), selection is always a head ache as I didn’t do any specifically for the exhibition. Will Stevens’ Life Class at Bristol GS provided the initiative for the mixed exhibition in August following a successful exhibition called ‘Cornucopia’ where I sold a small life work. Now that my art is no longer funded by the other job, I need to produce more commercially interesting work, get more in the public eye and then for the collectors to buy them! My journey is now about understanding how the Art market works and the Summer School at the SLADE is just a part of that journey.

Here is one of the pieces that I will exhibit, when I have completed the selection I will share with the blog.



The weather is warm and the sun is shining, I am starting my preparation for my journey to attend the Summer School at the SLADE at UCL London next week. I have never kept a diary although I have nearly always dated my paintings and drawings, in this way I could track my artistic development.