These are strange times we are living in, and for many artists, it’s very frustrating having to work in a different space. Luckily our studio residents have structured a timetable that suits all, and we have been able to enjoy the creative space effectively without any chance of cross-contamination.
Finding an area where you can work well is a must for writers and artists. Isolation is often essential for times when you need to free your mind from distraction. However, stimulation from different environments or other artists is also invaluable to most artists creative practice. One of the hardest effects of the lockdown has been the loss of social interaction with like-minded individuals.
Luckily help is at hand. If you have access to the internet and are tech-savvy, or know someone who is, then more and more tutorials are coming online every day. Most are now free and give the user access to courses which would have been expensive, sold out or difficult to access in more normal times.
One of our personal favourites has been the Sky Arts Portrait Artist Of The Week which features a celebrity sitter posing live so you can sketch or paint alongside a previous winner of the competition. Like the yearly programme, it’s fascinating to watch the process other painters use to capture a likeness. This invaluable extension of the programme now takes place every Sunday and allows viewers to take on the challenge too. The four-hour time restriction from the original programme still applies, so it’s a challenge to see what you can produce during the same period. Broadcast live on the Sky TV Facebook page, the best thing about this tutorial session is that you don’t need a subscription package to enjoy and take part in the session.
As a consequence, this has drawn in a wider audience than ever before. It truly is a global session. Viewers can post questions for the judges to ask during the session to both the celebrity sitter and the master painter. Participants are also invited to share their finished work on Instagram via @artistoftheyear using the hashtag #myPAOTW. Judges Tai Shan Schierenberg, Kathleen Soriano, and Kate Bryan also chose their favourites each week, which makes you feel part of a community.
As many arts organisations migrate to an online presence, more and more resources are becoming available. Art-based activities, talks and projects to either consume or join are at your fingertips, and most have creative to communities attached which encourage sharing work and ideas.
The artist’s network has a wide variety of painting & drawing tutorials of all levels to allow you to try something new or take an existing skill to a higher level. Designed in a step by step format, they also offer troubleshooting tips. So if you want to venture into portraiture and need a bit of tuition first, or want to brush up on your perspective, pencil sketching or watercolour techniques. Or even gain some insight into running a successful art-based business, you can find what you need.
In Cornwall, we have access to some fantastic art-based educational facilities and galleries which often host inspirational talks from world-renowned artists. The lockdown has unfortunately brought these events to a halt. However, if its knowledge rather than practical skills you are missing in isolation, the Arts Society have moved many of their regular lectures and meetings online to a fortnightly schedule of live talks, followed by Q&As and community forum discussions. There is something for everyone, and as long as you the right technical capability, there is nothing to stop you from expanding your knowledge or skills during these tough times - who knows where it may lead.