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I had begun to get a little concerned that I was starting to loose sight of the reason I had desperately wanted a studio. By taking on pupils to teach which helps me to pay the rent on my new studio, my own personal work was beginning to suffer. I do enjoy teaching but invest a lot of time preparing worksheets, thinking about, and preparing what to teach. This results in my thinking less about my own art.

I went to the house of one of my students recently, to give her a list of instructions and things to do during my 6 weeks absence from March 17th. We’re going to Australia – coronavirus permitting!!!  She was anxious to show me some of her older work in oils. At her request I have been encouraging her to spend time drawing and learning about acrylic paint during her lessons at my studio.

It struck me that I hadn’t used oil paint for years and so today I decided to dig out my oil paints and have a go.

I immediately loved and remembered the wonderful buttery feel of the paint and being able to manipulate it for much longer than it is possible to push acrylic paint around. It was a revelation. See above. I reworked this acrylic painting which has been worrying me for some time. It just wasn’t working before. Also I found the oil colours  so vibrant, especially the cadmium red. Could it be that the symbiotic relationship of teaching and doing has revitalised my own art practise? I’m quite sure it has. Teaching forces you to analyse every part of art making. This is a classic example.

Below is  a second acrylic which I also reworked with oil paint.

This swimmer painting was  going nowhere and becoming too figurative and stiff. The fluidity of the oil paint rescued it.

I so enjoyed doing my own stuff this morning but am sure I would not have attempted oils had I not spent time with one of my pupils.

This episode has made me extra conscious of the need to keep blogging too. The routine I began whilst at Uni. was so valuable in forcing me to think more deeply about actions and I have let it slip lately.

That and the visit to the Picasso exhibition which prompted me to be more consistent with drawing are valuable and timely lessons. Painting and Drawing are symbiotic activities as are Teaching and Doing. So, another step forward I hope.


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