I recently joined the Association of Animal Artists and am currently exhibiting at their latest Exhibition. A well organised and dedicated group, I look forward to working with them more in the near future
I’m relatively new to the SAA, (been a member for nearly two years) but already I have had a spot on their Introducing…page in their magazine, then a two page article in the latest mag. I am a PA- Professional Associate, and in that capacity I was asked if I would like to do a short live demo with other PAs at one of their big events around the country. Even though it is my habit now to say yes to everything, I didn’t hesitate. It was a good day. I was first up in the slightly daunting and under-attended early 9.30-10am slot. I worked from a photo I took of the old bull on the crater rim in February’s art safari, prepping the canvas the day before and having a couple practice runs at it. The time zoomed by and I was reasonably pleased with the demo and how I did. Always room for improvement but important to enjoy it and be enthusiastic!
It was good to meet other PAs like Louise Bourgourd and Mike Skidmore. Also great to see popular wildlife artist Vic Bearcroft (who is always very encouraging) and meet Haidee-Jo Summers and Fraser Scarfe for the first time. Possible TV project work with the SAA in
the near future…
Well, our first Art Safari in Africa has just finished – and what an incredible journey we had! All the careful planning paid off, ensuring that everything went smoothly. One thing we couldn’t predict of course was the wildlife, where it would be and in what quantity. No problem on this trip! We saw so many elephant at close quarters in Tarangire National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater was full of the herds you would expect; zebra, wildebeest and cape buffalo, plus gazelle, antelope, hippos, warthogs and a beautiful family of lions. We also saw thousands of flamingo on our tour of Northern Tanzania, and other birds like ground hornbill, raptors, bustards, crowned cranes and countless other species. Thanks to a good zoom on my handy cam I even got some reasonable shots of black rhino! The wallowing hippos were quite hilarious, with the baby ones comically popping their heads up in between their mother’s rolling over antics. We sketched busily, and took photos by the hundreds. I was particularly pleased to get a photo of me sketching elephant nearby, a shot Ive been after for a while now.
At camp we were able to rest and indulge in more leisurely artwork from photos we had taken earlier that same day. I demonstrated various techniques in pencil and watercolour, and in Atelier Interactive acrylics that can be reactivated when sprayed.
Wonderful sunrises and sunsets provided time to look forward or reflect on all the beautiful landscapes, skies and wildlife of Africa. Inspiration on inspiration for more paintings back home in the studio! Can’t wait to return in October, the dry season should see even greater concentrations of wildlife at water holes and rivers.
Special mention must go to our driver/guide Tumaini who was excellent. Warm, friendly, sensitive, informative, he was an integral part of our art safari and we hope to see him again next time.
You don’t have to consider yourself an ‘artist’ to safari with us! All abilities are welcome, as are non-painting partners who will never feel left out, watching and photographing wildlife as others sketch is never dull! There are options for extra activities too, like walking and canoe safaris.
So good was February’s Art Safari that I barely know where to begin! So many amazing things, beautiful lands, incredible wildlife, lovely people and thousands of subjects for paintings. I’m still trying to get my head round it all! I think a steady number of posts highlighting the best bits will work, but it’s difficult to decide as there are so many!
Wow, a lot has happened since my last post. Lots of commissions, filming a webclip with the Society for All Artists, one of my Maasai portraits (Mister Thinker) being short listed in Artists & Illustrators Magazine competition Artist of the Year and an amazing trip to Tanzania! What a fantastic ten days it was. Shirley and I went out in advance of February’s Safari preparing, maintaining contacts, meeting new associates and running art workshops and demonstrations. We rarely rested! Jacqui, who heads Nordic travel, our safari operator in Tanzania, did an amazing job arranging venues and people to meet. Being Africa it wasn’t the usual venues such as art clubs, village halls and galleries…more polo clubs, sports bars, coffee lodges and a recycling business!
On one amazing day we spent time game watching and painting on location in the bush near Arusha, attended the Polo Club Annual Ball, and I received two portrait commissions! At Braeburn School I spent two days running workshops and talking to the students about their work. I painted demos for them with speed, energy and enthusiasm- remembering how I loved that sort of thing when a visiting artist came to my school. The response from students and staff was amazing. Shirley ran some drama and dance sessions too!
Our time at Shanga River Lodge was also great fun. I chatted to visitors, met a local artist called Emmanuel and ran a pencil and paint workshop with a group of disabled workers. This was really delightful, and we shared a lot of laughs together. During my well attended demo at The Players Bar Arusha, my 45 minute demo stretched to just over an hour as I found one part of the painting trickier than expected! I talked openly about the snag and Linda from the International School made a suggestion – it helped, and the picture was soon completed. Artists, leave your ego at the door!
Shirley and I were introduced to the world of polo – Africa style. What a fantastic opportunity for future paintings! Colour, energy, power, sunsets, dust and sweat, and of course the horses themselves. I have a memory card bursting with great images and can’t wait to get stuck into some work with those. I may have to book a few extra days either side of February’s art safari as requests were made for more demos, possible commissions and a mural!
Click here to read my Article in issue 85 of International Art Magazine
Great news! My article Striving For That Extra Something is in the latest issue of International Artist magazine, and with lots of photos. The team at IA have done a great job with the graphics, and have got everything in exactly as I wanted, including the information on my Art Safaris in Africa. I have already had some professional interest from this and will keep this blog updated with any developments! Have a read and let me know what you think by replying below.
I really threw myself in at the deep endand did a LIVE PORTRAIT DEMO for Tiverton Art Society’s monthly meet. Not having the time to indulge in all my usual methods to obtain accuracy was painful at times!! But I persevered and hope I inspired some with my dogged spirit and enthusiasm! I do think its important to push yourself, and do it honestly so that others can see a real person at work, warts and all. Thanks to Susanne for volunteering to model.
I’m really looking forward to Tuesday’s Portrait workshop at the Hartnoll Hotel. Then on Wednesday more tutoring, and in the evening I am doing a live portrait demo for Tiverton Art Society. With the latter I have a feeling of nervous anticipation. I enjoy the intensity of being in the moment during demos. No nipping off for a quick coffee or making that phone call. It’s so compelling and immediate. Sometimes during demos I get a momentary blankness generated by self -consciousness. A decision about something I am painting is almost impossible to make. If this happens, I have faith and move on to other parts of the work. By the time I come back to the ‘problem’ it has either resolved itself in relation to others things I have painted or I can now clearly see what needs to be done. These occurrences balance with moments of inspiration, happy accidents and energetic brush strokes that are partly the result of the speed at which you have to work when demonstrating. It’s important for me to enjoy ALL the moments, the concerns, the thrills, the pressure, and of course the interaction with the people watching. It has to be fun, for everyone. I make an assumption that everyone watching wants me to do well, as if they are friends and family (which sometimes they are). I avoid trying to impress, as this fuels fear of failure. I cultivate the ‘just do it’ attitude, which has served me well in so many things, especially my art. Commit to something fully, and your mind naturally tends to ignore insecurities, and starts working on the solutions. When you’re working on the ‘how’ it’s easy to ignore the ‘but what if…?’ that leads us to doubt ourselves. Use your human capacity for faith, and believe that you will do well. Tell your mind often enough and it will eventually say. “oh all right then, it MUST be true.”
It’s going to be a great week.
Just finished my Introduction to Painting Wildlife workshop with SAA member and artist Stuart Fowle. Stuart’s pencil work is excellent, and he wanted me to help him learn to translate his type work into paint. We worked on basics like fur, eyes, the value of tone and brushwork. Had a great day!
If you would like to book a workshop with me, or have any questions, just email me. You may be the lucky recipient of one of my Limited Edition prints – for free!
See Stuart’s work at http://www.artonthehoof.co.uk/
Thanks to The Hartnoll Hotel, Bolham for hosting this workshop. http://www.hartnollhotel.com/
Next workshop is May 8th, and then I am doing a live portrait demo (gulp!) at The Tiverton Art Society on Wednesday May 9th.
Here’s what Stuart Fowle said about the workshop INTRODUCTION TO WILDLIFE PAINTING, last Friday:
“Was a fantastic day, great tuition all clearly explained and I came away feeling that I had learnt everything I’d wanted to achieve from the day. Also to see Gregory’s work in person was inspiring.”
The April May edition of bi-monthly magazine International Artist magazine features one of my paintings in its landscape competition. I entered online and was delighted when the editor contacted me to say that I was one of the finalists in their latest competition. If you buy the magazine its on page 11. Look out for my article in the next issue.