What to expect on our Contemporary Masterclass

I learned today that my next contemporary masterclass on Joan Eardley sold out – but that the demand for places is so high I’ll have to take a slot out of my studio diary and find another date for the School.

So if you missed out on my first class,  there’s still an opportunity to explore the thrilling techniques of this increasingly popular artist.

Eardley, Joan Kathleen Harding; Summer Sea; Royal Scottish Academy of Art & Architecture; http://www.artuk.org/artworks/summer-sea-186560

The appeal of Joan Eardley is as obvious as it’s enduring. Her work is punchy, creative, expressive and authentic – yet it has all of the traditional  visual rigour of tonal ebauche.

Like many mid century British artists Eardley’s work has slowly gained the wider recognition she deserves for its visual power,  originality and humanity.   I first saw Eardley’s work a decade or so ago in one of our regular visits to Scotland.  Despite the show only having one of her works in it, Eardley’s work stood out for her bravura use of paint.


Children and Chalked Wall.

Having noted her as one to watch, I cleared my diary for the Scottish Contemporary Gallery retrospective of her works in 2017 and have been itching to devote a serious workshop to her memory since.

The masterclass will cover all of Eardley’s subjects , landscape, seascape, interiors, townscapes and of course, figures.  During the course we’ll look at her aesthetic and technical choices, her amazing use of colour, bold use of line, and the way she knowingly exploits depth -. But more than that, all masterclasses are ultimately about how technique serves artistic vision. When Eardley visited Paris in the 50’s she remarked that all of the painters she met were producing work after Matisse, Picasso or Rouault, rather than themselves. She learned to take the best of other people’s styles, and  bend them to her vision. It’s a big ask, but such understanding starts with technique; skills facilitate creativity.

This then this isn’t a class about learning to copy her work, but much more usefully to understand how its was made, analyse her decisions and learn to put those principles into your own original style.

Active Study like this is a cornerstone of the Norfolk Painting School, and why our students learn to improve their own styles, rather than simply copy how their tutor paints.