Thursday, 17 May 2012

Oil Paintings 15 and 16 - Water study at Etruria Industrial Museum

These paintings were produced at the same time, flitting between the two small studies whilst both on the same easel. I was at Etruria Industrial Museum leading a workshop with the Orme Group of Artists, a group of artists who meet from Staffordshire and Cheshire. This is the second workshop I have ran with them, last year I met with about 12 of the artists and we painted on the platform at Crewe Railway Station, after I had given a small talk on the themes of movement and transport in my work.

Crewe Station 2011

This year Etruria Industrial Museum was chosen as it offered various subjects which I have explored and could encourage with confidence, the obvious being the canals and this current Year of the Boat project. The museum sits on the junction between The Cauldon Canal and the Trent and Mersey, it is a British Waterways office, hosts a fantastic canal festival and is surrounded by deep dramatic locks and some beautiful victorian Industrial architecture. I painted this subject when I had first started self employment as an artist -

Etruria Industrial Museum 2007
The other exciting subject at this location was the opportunity to paint a female blacksmith, a good friend Charis Jones, at work in her atmospheric Victorian forge. Charis is more an artist working with the medium of steel rather than a commercial blacksmith producing horeshoes and swords etc. You can see her website 'Sculpted Steel' here.

Last October I exhibited a body of work of small local North Staffordshire creative industries, painted at work, entitled 'Vis Unita Fortior' the motto of the city of Stoke on Trent. This included a painting of Charis. You can see all the work from the show here

The Female Blacksmith 2011

After a brief introduction talk about these bodies of work I left half the group with Charis pelting metal and ventured outside for some more water study in the sunshine. I knew I would be limited on time to produce refined oil paintings but fancied attempting bashing out some expressive studies. I am pleased with the results and the comparison with the work painted from exactly the same location nearly 5 years previously (see Etruria Industrial Museum 2007 above). When we all met at the end of the day,the Orme Group had produced some startling results, the entire group seems to flit between different mediums easily, rapidly exploring all forms of representing the canals and the moving subject of Charis.

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