A collective project with another 6 artists, COURANTs D'ART is a visual arts project situated in La Tannerie, a renovated tannery in Morlaix with 3 floors, rented by us to run visual courses for adults and children, to provide a space for an artists' gallery, as well as a meeting place for collaborative projects with other artists, be they local, regional or international.
We opened on 1st September 2020, started our courses on 14th September and will be launching our first exhibition on 1st October 2020! Exciting times!
For daily news updates, check our Facebook page ( facebook.com/courants.dart.morlaix ) or email us on email@example.com
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Launched by the portrait artist Tom Croft, the Portraits for NHS Heroes on Instagram was a fantastic community initiative, which brought artists and NHS workers closer. It helped showcase the hard work and dedication of hospital workers, at a time when hospitals were overloaded with COVID-19 cases and staff were facing very challenging working conditions. A great showcase for artists too who offered a free portrait to any NHS worker who contacted them on Instagram. I am not a confident portrait artist, but thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity of painting the portraits of three NHS angels: Maddie -a neonatal nurse, Sarah - an ICU nurse and Vanessa - a senior midwife. A humbling experience....
A global pandemic in 2020..... Following the announcement of the French government on lockdown restrictions and being on my own in Brittany at this time, I decided to catch the last but one ferry from Roscoff to Plymouth on 17th March and to spend what was likely to be a long period in the company of John in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Despite separation from loved ones and a strange paranoia settling into our very reduced freedoms, lockdown was for me a time to reflect, a time to think about how to reconnect with self and how to imagine a different world, one in which we learn to appreciate each other and to feel more connected with nature and above all to appreciate the gift of small things : birdsong, a garden in spring, a meal prepared slowly and with love, time to be creative and with the inability to plan, a welcome release from artificial time constraints. Time became elastic and keeping a routine was an important part of preserving a normality in times which seemed very uncertain and anything but normal. For me, a sketchbook was part of this, both as a private activity but also one where any interaction with others was a lifeline. Social media and virtual communications became the norm between friends and family, but also many inventive projects to help artists showcase and sell their work were born. Matthew Burrow's Artist Support Pledge and Tom Croft's Portraits for NHS Heroes on Instagram were two fantastic initiatives. Urban Sketchers groups, unable to meet in life took to sketching their interiors and their domestic life, as well as creating Virtual Sketching meetings on Zoom. We discovered a love of gardens and growing things from seeds, to mark the slow passing of time and to sow hope for the future; we clapped for the NHS and posted rainbows in our front windows; we chatted with neighbours at a safe distance over garden walls; we rediscovered what makes us human.....
I enjoyed taking part in this daily challenge using Gwen Sharlipp's list of themes (see Instagram @gweninktober). An illustrative style mostly completed in the studio with some starting points for paintings in the future, with ten of the better ones below:
URBAN SKETCHERS MORLAIX - JULY 2019
A new USK group right on the door step! Wanting to get back into drawing after retiring from teaching and to meet like-minded people, I first joined an Urban Sketchers group when living near Stoke-on-Trent in 2017 (follow them on Facebook @Urban Sketchers Stoke-on-Trent). When I moved to north Brittany in 2018, I looked for an Urban Sketchers group near me and found another friendly group of people in Brest (@URBAN Sketchers Brest), however Brest is almost 50 mns away from where I live, so I wasn't able to make regular meetings. Delighted to announce that as from summer 2019, a new group based in the Baie de Morlaix , of which I am now an administrator, was set up by Renata Coach Dessin (follow her on Facebook @Renata Coach-Dessin) . We had several successful meetings this summer and continue to meet at least once a month. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram @USK La Baie de Morlaix.
BARN / STUDIO CONVERSION - JULY 2019 (ongoing)
Back in the house after our sailing trip and with some time to spare before the house was rented out from late July to the end of August, we set about improving the barn to provide a bigger studio away from the main house. In the space of an epic 3 weeks, we made and painted doors for the barn, built a new staircase from scratch together with a bannister, laid 50 square m of flooring boards and 70 square m of waterproof membrane between the rafters!! A new window was made by Sébastien Kerbrat, a local carpenter / joiner and installed at the end of September. Already the space is in use and enabling me to produce bigger and messier paintings, which I have been craving to do! Work on the barn is ongoing and may involve a new slate roof at a later date, rather than the existing clay pantile roof, which is too heavy for the rafters. This will then incorporate some additional Velux windows to provide further light. I would also like to install a woodburner, electrics and some built-in storage..... TBC
TRAVEL SKETCHBOOK - BRITTANY SAILING - MAY 28th / JULY 3rd 2019
Setting off from Roscoff on 28th May aboard Ceilidh, we day-hopped around the north coast of Brittany (Finistère) to the south coast (Morbihan) and back on 3rd July. Rarely sailing more than 60 nm each day (about 10 hours), we stayed for a few days in a location if we liked it or hadn't visited before, either anchoring, picking up a mooring buoy or going into a marina. This was my 3rd year of keeping up a regular sketchbook of the locations visited. More of a travel diary than a sketchbook of preparatory drawings for paintings, these sketches are done in situ and are a better way of remembering a place than a photo.
Very excited to be exhibiting with another 45 artists in this pop-up space at 8, Ayston Rd in Uppingham, Rutland, UK. See work by Maxine Greer, Jane Hindmarch, Gillian Durno, Jennie McCall, Nita Rao and Thierry Miquel amongst others.