Just to let any artists out there know I’m teaching 2 very short art workshops later this year in Madrid.The courses are 2 days each and take place in mid-October 2019.


The themes I will be talking about are ‘Simplification’ (within the context of producing figurative art) in course 1. In course 2 I will be investigating with the students the question of why artists might use photography or not when they make figurative art, this is a contentious subject with artists and the idea is to investigate the pros and cons in detail .Both courses are aimed at medium to advanced students.

These courses are €310 each and are hosted by ‘The Art Digger Lab’ and more information about the courses is on their website (https://www.theartdiggerlab.com/en/)

The Art Digger Lab hold short courses by a number of internationally recognised figurative artists and portrait painters.

The 2 themes I have chosen to concentrate on are both close to my heart.

Course 1 - The Power of Simplification: I wanted to discuss this because I think how to simplify is one of the most important skills for a figurative artist, and one of the most persistent stumbling blocks for those learning to paint.I have taught many artists to draw and paint over the years and even the best of them needed constant reminding that they needed to simplify what they were trying to depict before they could really get to the essence of their artwork.The interesting thing about simplifying is also that it can be an inroad to both representational painting and more expressive ways of painting.If one’s subject is complex for whatever reason being continually creative about how you simplify it whilst you create you picture, (I’ve found) is one of the fundamental steps to reach one’s artistic aim.

Course 2- The visual reference:working from photos, life and perception.I have chosen to look at this subject in the course because when I was at art college myself the teachers were very strict with us about not painting from photos.Consequently when I was younger I only painted from life, but over the years I began to use more photography as a reference in my work.I use photography for 90% of my references when I paint now and this works for me.But, over the years I have often wondered why exactly were my tutors at art college we’re so strict about not using photos?Were they right?I’m not totally sure they were right because both good and bad paintings get made from life and from using photos all the time.What this course will be examining in detail is ‘what are the pros and cons of either working from life, photography or even memory’ also questions like ‘ how does the experience of painting from life or photography effect the final work?’ and ‘if you do use photography is an exact copy from a photo better than using it as a memory aid?’

In both courses students will be drawing but the emphasis will be the learning of drawing methods that are specifically helpful to painting.

If you are an artist who is interested also in learning how I approach these topics and would like a short trip to Madrid later in the year to attend one or both of these workshops do contact https://www.theartdiggerlab.com/en/ and they can take it from there.I look forward to seeing you there!