Expressive paintings

I did these paintings in a class a few years ago and when I looked back at the photos for this post I very nearly decided not to share them.  But then I reminded myself that part of my motivation for starting this blog was to document my creative journey, warts and all! So, as this class was an important step in my journey into painting, it needs to be included!

The class was Expressive Painting with Ewa Gargulinska and lasted four days as part of the Central St Martins short course schedule.  I’d actually wanted to enrol in an introduction to painting class, but it was last minute and that was full so was recommended this one instead.

We weren’t taught very much around techniques for applying paint as that wasn’t the focus of the class, but it was pleasantly surprising what you could figure out just by way of experimentation over the days.  Instead, each day we were given a theme for our painting and then effectively set free.

There were no reference materials, so what we created was all from imagination.  It was fascinating seeing what everyone was able to produce and there was amazing variety in the reactions to the same theme.  So, here’s what I did:

Day 1 – “Simple and Complex”

Expressive painting "Simple and Complex"
Acrylic on paper

This is my least favourite.  Think the main problem was that I had an idea in mind of the image I wanted to create but then struggled to actually produce that.

Day 2 – “Sadness”

Expressive painting "Sadness"
Acrylic on paper

I was quite pleased with how this turned out as it is a personal representation of sadness and I actually got quite emotional at times.  It was the first time I’d used glazing in a painting.

Day 3 – “Vivid and obscure”

Expressive painting "Vivid and obscure"
Acrylic on paper

I’d just come back from a trip to Jordan and my original idea was to do a representation of Petra.  However after a discussion with the teacher that got scraped except to influence the colours.  The influence of the trip continued tough, as I ended up thinking of this as the red sea.  This one was quite fun to create and I was experimenting with different layers of glazes and wiping away some paint to reveal the colour below.

Day 4 – “An Imaginary Being”

Expressive Painting "Imaginary Being"
Acrylic on paper

For the final day we were given a theme that we could have a bit more fun with.  With this piece I was also finally starting to use the methodology we were being guided down of reacting to and letting the painting evolve rather than having a plan in mind from the start. I was quite frankly shocked that I was able to produce this purely from imagination/memory!

This course was great for giving me a completely new way to approach painting and while it was not focused so much on painting techniques I think it is a good style of course for a beginner because once you get into the frame of mind that Ewa was teaching it starts to feel impossible to get the painting “wrong” – so really proves that anyone can paint 🙂

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