Fallen Log (Oil on canvas, 40 x 40 cms)
Have I mentioned the Painters' Group before? No, perhaps not. I began my painting studies in 1989 with the OCA and continued with them for quite a few years before taking a leap of faith and going to Newcastle University to study for a BA in Fine Art. In the last few years of being with the OCA, the tutor was William Varley. At the time Bill was also in charge of First Year Studies at the University and wrote exhibition reviews for national newspapers such as The Guardian and The New Statesman. He still writes some critical pieces, I see.
Anyway, Bill proved very influential in my development and, indeed, was instrumental in encouraging me to think it might actually be possible for me to undertake the degree course. Unfortunately, he retired from the University in 1998, a year after I started there, and frankly the quality and direction of the teaching moved away from what I had gone there to find.
Bill also gave up his role with the OCA but continued an informal critique session every month with former students. For some time it didn't seem to be something that would meet my needs, but recently one or two friends of mine, including Maureen Stephenson and Elizabeth Talbot, joined what had come to be called The Painters' Group. That made the difference for me and I joined Bill's group again in October (in time to be included in the XIV Show, in fact).
The most recent meeting was on Saturday and I made a special effort to get this Fallen Log painting completed on Friday night. Inevitably this posed problems in carrying the wet painting on the bus to the session, but it was worth it. It's always good to get other people's input and on this occasion not only Bill but some of the other painters had interesting comments and questions. The questions, I find, are particularly helpful because they make me think about the painting and articulate my thoughts more clearly than might otherwise be the case.
The painting was well received and as has been my experience of the group in the past, I came home wanting to get straight back in the studio.