Recently with all of the teaching I have been doing and as I embark on creating a fresh, new body of work (more on that later) I am ever more mindful that I need to feel fed, inspired and full artistically. I have a desire to see and experience more art, to sit and gaze at the work of our master artists, to wonder at their inspiration and their interpretation of their chosen subject matter. I want to lose myself in the emotions that their work makes me feel and to be inspired enough to try to bring the smallest fraction of those feelings to my own work.
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So I am seeking out exhibitions to go and see as there are just some things you can’t get from the pages of a book. It isn’t always easy. Even though I live in a city there are not always opportunities to see the kind of work that I crave but perhaps that means I need to look harder or perhaps I need to be more open to different kinds of art and creativity.
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But sometimes an event comes almost to your doorstep that is a must-see and I found myself at such an exhibition a couple of weeks ago. I had an ulterior motive for seeing this exhibition anyway which I shall share in my next post but off I toddled, on a week-day, to see the Elisabeth Frink (1930 – 1993) exhibition at Lakeside Arts in Nottingham. My plan was to sketch and take lots of photos but I also know how important it is just to look, to see and to pause. The camera is great tool but for me they also can create a bit of a barrier between me and whatever I am viewing and I am training myself to look first, for more than a few moments, in fact for as long as I can and then take photos second and my viewing experience is richer for that time taken. (Please excuse the quality of the photos – the lighting made it difficult to get decent shots)
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You can read more about Elisabeth Frink here but I have to admit that her work was quite new to me. She was a British post-war sculptor best know for her bronze outdoor sculptures which featured men, birds, dogs, horses and religious themes. It is described as being the work that not everyone knows of, but many have seen. So many of her life size sculptures adorn public spaces and are the sort of thing folks can walk by every day without knowing the artist or much about the work. On reading the description of the exhibition I knew I would love it and the more I read, the more I wanted to go. Her themes of struggle, vulnerability, aggression in an ever changing world are as relevant today as they were in the years after WWII.
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The first image you are faced with on entering the gallery is this one – Horse (1978) ….. and it truly is awe inspiring. I am not sure if it is life size but if feels bigger somehow – more commanding but with a peaceful countenance nonetheless. There are grand sculptures, smaller scale sculptural works, prints, a few paintings and drawings. All with such an energy and emotion to them that I could not help but be drawn in by the emotion, the questions I feel she is asking about humanity and our place in the world.
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After a long time just wandering and looking and reading I spent some time sketching (the images above and below) – again, for me a much more intimate experience than simply taking a photograph – it is in this slow way of looking that I could truly appreciate the impact of the work, the textures that you don’t see on first glance and the emotion of each and every piece. All I need is a pencil and paper. These are worked in my largest moleskine (32 x 40 cm’s) – I would not normally work in such a big sketchbook in a gallery but really wanted to be as expressive as I could in my drawings. They describe my own feelings in response to the work and I really could have spent many more hours there – of course I will likely go back again. Too good an opportunity to waste when it is so close. Go if you can!~
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My expressive drawing e-course – Drawn to Expression begins a new session on 4th January 2016 and there are only a very few places remaining. If you would like to find out more then you can do so here.