'Flinging Paint' Workshop

On 6th May I took a slight detour, on my way to teach a textile sculpture workshop at the WI College - Denman, to take time to learn some new painting techniques in Oxford.

The 'Flinging Paint' workshop was run by Peronel Barnes, an award winning artist who I had originally met through The Oxfordshire Project Networking Group. The workshop is designed around the principles of Mark Making & letting go of the conventional confines of thought when creating art.

Peronel started by getting me to make marks of varying strength using charcoal (a medium I've never worked with before), rubbing half out, making more marks of different thicknesses, rubbing half out again & so on. The idea was to experiment with depth of colour, shapes & line types without thinking too hard about what I was creating. By the end of this part of the workshop I had produced a picture that reminded me of a stormy sea with cliffs. It seems that I'm drawn to curved lines rather than straight ones - maybe as a result of growing up by the sea as a child?

We then moved on to using two sets of pencils - two in each hand to make marks with my eyes shut. After 2 mins, I was told to open my eyes & look at what I'd drawn - a tangle of random scribbles. Peronel then handed me three crayons - red, yellow & blue - & asked me to find 10 different shapes to fill in each colour. This exercise was to assess spacial balance across the page. Turns out I had a good eye for balance - always helpful as an artist!

We then moved out of the studio into the garden for the really messy bit of the workshop. I was given some A2 paper on an easel & a selection of 'tools' for mark making - a palette of acrylic paints, some squeezee bottles with watered down paint, a stick, mini tennis balls, bits of wood, an old credit card, sponges.... Peronel invited me to play. Anything goes. And so I began...

I don't think my efforts will be seen in a gallery anytime soon, looking more like an explosion in a paint factory than a serious piece of art, but that is (kind of) the point of the workshop. Its about learning to let go, have fun, & see what happens. Its about mark making like we did as kids, experimenting with different effects (I particularly liked the wet tennis balls dipped in multiple paints & rolled across the paper), getting covered in paint & not caring. A very liberating & enlightening workshop.



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