GoMA Workshop and Fife Art Exhibition

GoMA

On the 16th of October I went to a workshop at GoMA (Gallery of Modern Art in Glasgow) called Deform. The description was: "You will construct, deconstruct, formulate and compose."

The first thing we did was go to an exhibition in Gallery 1 called You, Me, Someone Else - it's an exhibition of contemporary sculptures by various Glasgow artists. We were given paper and pencils and asked to draw the work which we found most appealing. I choose to draw a tall construction made of a variety of lightshades which were actually lit. It made me think of a tall totem pole of light or the guiding light of a lighthouse. The variety of colours and shapes was also intriguing. Here are three of my sketches of it.

I spent a while drawing then we were asked to go to the back of the gallery for the next activity. This involved creating temporary sculpture from whatever materials we were given, which included: Plastic wrap, straws and coloured paper squares; ropes; a selection of mirror pieces; a stack of plastic cups and funnels. I didn't have the energy to take part as it involved a lot of moving about, so the learning assistant - Anna - suggested I draw what other people were creating instead. I really enjoyed watching what the others were doing with their materials and drawing quick impressions of their progress. By the time they'd finished I had quite a collection of sketches, mostly of the mirror parts as they were fascinating with all their reflections - it was hard to tell what was mirror and what was a reflection.

One of my drawings of the mirror pieces, which I have called Confusion:

My drawing of plastic wrap, straws and coloured paper squares; I called this Explosion:

My drawing of plastic cups and funnels, which I called Dominoes:

The next stage was for everyone to draw each piece in turn, and give it a title, and we were only given a couple of minutes for each. Then we were asked to stand next to the piece we liked the best and initially, being a magpie, I chose the shiny mirrors. However, I changed my mind and went for the ropes instead. This was an intriguing one as the woman working with it showed great imagination and it really sparked off my own creative flow. She had circled the ropes around a huge stone pillar, draped them over her shoulder, and was holding them in both hands; she was leaning forwards slightly as if she was pulling the pillar. In addition, she had used a smaller piece of rope around her head. The whole effect made me think of a goddess from Greek mythology, with the draped ropes imitating draped fabric; it was like a scene from an old illustration. I gave my drawing the title Goddess of Strength. My drawing of this is below:

After that there was another sculptural exercise, this time involving modelling balloons! Again, I felt unable to take part so I drew what other people were creating. Drawing them required being able to adapt almost constantly, as people kept moving or changing their sculpture when I was in the middle of drawing it. I just kept going and drawing whatever was in front of me, so the drawings became ongoing works of versatility and change.

One of my drawings of someone's balloon sculpture:

All of these activities had taken up a long time and so we only had half an hour left in the studio. Anna asked for volunteers and allowed them to cast their hand in plaster, first by creating a mold using a special kit then mixing up the plaster. It was quite time-consuming, not to mention very messy! Some of the results were very impressive and watching the hands being cut free from the molds was, at times, like watching a very strange kind of birth.

On a side note, Anna mentioned the possibility of the workshops for adults being cancelled, as they were looking for ways to cut funds. There are 11 childrens workshops per week and only one adult workshop per month, so it seems quite ridiculous to look at cutting out that one. I have my fingers crossed it doesn't come to that.

I have another workshop on the 6th of December called Creative Woman, and the description is: "Part of the UN 16 Days of Action to end violence against women. Learn more about women artists currently on display at GoMA." I'm really looking forward to this as it sounds fascinating, and hopefully more workshops will be announced for the new year.

Fife Art Exhibition

On the 22nd of October I visited Kirkcaldy Museum and Art Gallery in Fife, to view an exhibition calle Fife Art which was only on for less than a month. There were three rooms filled with works and an impressive variety of mediums used - paint, sculptural pieces, glass, textiles, photography, wood, even needlework. I found the variety, and a number of individual pieces, creatively inspiring. In addition, it was open to people of any age and there were a number of works by children; as naive art is something I am interested in, I found this to be an unexpected bonus. Unfortunately the catalogue had no images of works in it, however I can still remember a number of pieces that particularly impressed me.

One was made from driftwood, a thick layer of sand, and fragments of shells and sea glass. Into the sand the artist had carved the words 'Truly, Madly, Deeply'. I would be interested to find out how they were able to set the sand, perhaps by mixing it with glue.

A second piece I liked was a table or desk which had been painted to look old yet charming. The artist had used a soft turquoise paint, painted flowers and other details, distressed the painted wood, and used crackle glaze on the surface.

Another work I particularly felt drawn to was a beautiful watercolour and mixed media painting of an underwater scene. It reminded me of what I wanted to achieve with my healing wall, and I found it inspiring in that sense - particularly as the amazing effects were achieved using watercolour, which is my main medium. It actually looked a lot like a scene from space with stars and nebulae, so in a way I was surprised to find out it was underwater.

The exhibition was as good as I'd hoped and I would like to find out if it's an annual event. The only criticism I have of it is with their numbering and hanging of the paintings. It was clear that someone had numbered all the paintings and THEN decided where to hang them, the result being that the paintings were not hung in numerical order. I spent quite a while flipping between pages of the catalogue, to find details of the work I was looking at. Despite that, I came away with inspiration and that's what matters most.