While we may not be able to run our Generate sessions, for people with dementia and their Carers, at the gallery right now, we have still been continuing to work with our participants remotely.
Before we closed our doors, the Generate team got together to put together bespoke materials packs for each participant. We wanted to still provide access to the materials and equipment they are used to using at the gallery, so that every Friday during session time they can set up their work space in the same way and use the time to be creative. These packages were sent out by post or hand delivered (some were very large and included table easels!).
We have also set up a WhatsApp group for participants and/or their Carers to communicate with us. Every Friday morning, Roy and Abi, our wonderful workshop leaders are there, sharing ideas of activities people can try, showing work they are creating in their own homes and also encouraging our participants to share what they are doing too. We've already seen some fantastic watercolour paintings in people's gardens, focused drawing time and even some musical performances! It has been so lovely to see and I know it has brightened up my Friday mornings, so I hope it is bringing joy to others too.
We are going to be working on the development of our Generate at Home project over the coming weeks, and hope to be able to showcase more of our participant's work, as well as activities that you can try at home too. Watch this Space!
Generate Participant Showcase: Barbara Bessant
by Roy Eneas, artist & Workshop Leader
Barbara Bessant, is one of the original members of the Generate group and had limited art experience during her working life. Barbara initially started colouring with felt tip pens, then tried a bit of pencil sketching, drawing sea shells and still life subjects.
Always someone to try something new, Barbara discovered her love of oil paints, "painting like proper artists do" as she said, starting with painting her own take on her favourite paintings, then going on to producing wonderful expressive portrait paintings. In 2016 Barbara was offered a placement as Artist in Residence at Aspex, a placement that Barbara excelled at, producing a large body of work.
Barbara has become a very prolific artist, producing at least one oil painting a week in our Friday workshops, continuing to interpret in her own unique style, paintings of the Impressionists and post Impressionists, as well as her much admired and coveted paintings of flowers.
Try it at home:Create an artwork like Barbara by choosing a favourite artist or painting and making a copy in your own style, or try using a medium which is different to the original. Show us your creations on Instagram @aspex_takepart with the hashtag #AspexatHome.
Generate Participant Showcase: Roger Day
by Abi Wheeler, artist & Workshop Leader
Roger Day has been a regular member of our Generate group since 2015. Roger produces detailed line drawings using fine felt pens. Although the work often begins without a predetermined outcome, the mostly abstract drawings often reveal personal references as they are developing such as the faces of Roger’s grandchildren. This is a drawing exercise inspired by Roger.
You will need: 1. Some twigs (but try anything else you have to hand like kitchen utensils, knitting needles etc) 2. A light source. Strong sunlight is great but if it’s cloudy, I’ve used an angle poise. 3. A sheet of paper 4. Something to draw with.
Step One: Set up your twigs in a pile on the paper. You might find it easier to use some string or wire to hold them in place but I have balanced mine.
Step Two: Direct your light source and/or adjust the distance from the light to get some defined shadows.
Step Three: Choose a pen, pencil or whatever you prefer to work with and trace the shapes made by the shadows.
Step Four: Remove the twigs! Now you have the basis for adding colour with pastels, paint, felt pen or coloured pencils. You could also try cutting old magazines or newspapers to fill the shapes in the drawing. If you have watercolour pencils or pastels, try using those to trace the lines and then adding water after you remove the twigs.....lots of possibilities!
Generate Participant Showcase: Sylvia
by Roy Eneas, artist & Workshop Leader
Sylvia has been a long term member of the Generate group. Before retirement, Sylvia spent her working career as an Art Teacher, her teaching covering most art medium, on her retirement Sylvia continued to produce watercolours and sketches as a record of her holidays and travels, producing completed paintings from her sketch notes and reference photographs.
Sylvia has kept many of her art work and paintings produced over her long art career, ranging from her Art College days, through to her last holidays and travels before her illness. Unfortunately, Sylvia suffered a Stroke a few years ago, this effected the right hand side of her body and her right hand, Sylvia thought her painting and drawings days were over. Sylvia joined the group initially to find a way of continuing to paint and draw, maybe by using her left hand. Never one to give up, Sylvia was determined to continue to improve her right hand dexterity. Sylvia now produces the most wonderful painting in watercolour and gouache, retraining herself to use her right hand to hold a paintbrush and pencil.
Now, apart from producing new paintings from her own photographs as reference, she has been revisiting many of her old sketches and paintings from her Art Student days in the late 1950s, producing new versions of her original paintings. Sylvia's student work shows a snapshot of a period of time in the late 50s, in a style so very evocative of that period.
Sylvia's paintings these days show a lifetime of artistic competence, her style now, almost Impressionistic, showing a maturity of colour and brushwork that can only be obtained over a long art career.
Try it at home: Dig out your old holiday photographs and try recreating your favourite places in paint, like Sylvia. Annotate them with memories from your travels.
Generate Participant Showcase: Raymond Philpott
by Abi Wheeler, Artist & Workshop leader
This week's inspiration comes from our regular Generate participant, Ray. Ray spent his professional life in the Royal Navy as a chef. Ray has travelled the world since he was a young man and has seen places and people that have clearly shaped who he has become.
Ray spent his downtime onboard ship engrossed in drawing despite lots of ridiculing from his peers. Ray's subjects come straight out of his imagination. He never refers to a photo or a sketch but always has an incredibly clear idea in his mind's eye of what he wants to get down on the page.
Ray's work mostly celebrates the British countryside and often in a hyper-pastoral way. Mock-tudor buildings are surrounded by abundant flower borders, rivers meander through picturesque villages and tiny families can be spied playing with their dogs or kicking balls in the park. After experimenting with different media, Ray now typically uses a combination of black fineliner pen and acrylic paint, often undiluted. This brings a real intensity to the horticultural elements of his paintings. He experiments with using sponges for foliage and trees and often uses the wooden end of the paintbrush to create the flowers in his work.
Try it at home: Using your garden as inspiration or just your imagination, try experimenting with painting a group of plants using anything but a paintbrush. See how you could use a cotton bud, a corner of a sponge or a toothpick to dab or drag paint on the page and try using it straight out the tube.