Thanks to ever popular artist Stephen Ashurst for our workshop in February. He is best known for his vibrant portraiture, however this workshop took inspiration from some of his less known abstract and semi-abstract pieces. In his typical softly-spoken and engaging way, he took the group through ideas about abstraction. Using his own and others work, he tried to to try show how people already use colour and design to express themselves in everyday decisions about what they wear, and how we also interpret the abstract that we see around us.
He then led us through a short demo using a simple still life setup. Starting with an initial sketch, he proceeded through layers of gesso, acrylic and pastels using the sketch and the starting colours in the still life itself as a frame on which to build a variety of tone and colour.
Once we all got started on our own pieces, Stephen progressed around giving pointers and constructive feedback. The feedback on colour I found particularly useful, a couple of times he suggested marks in a colour that I would not have considered.
At the end of the day Stephen gave a short, supportive critique, picking out the best points in all the pieces. The paintings showed enormous variety in how people had responded, and it was generally agreed to have been an excellent workshop.
Check out Stephen's work by searching Google for Stephen Ashurst Artist.