Leith School Of Art Christmas Exhibition

Last week was the final week of my art class this term. I started going to the all day Advanced Drawing & Painting class at Leith School of Art in September this year. It has been wonderful – I’ve been learning so much, developing my abilities and experimenting with new things. I’ve found some areas that I really loved and am now going to explore them further in my own practice, such as print making.

In January I will continue with developing my art practice, as I believe it’s important, but in a different way than what I was doing this term. I’ll keep you posted about that!

As it’s the end of term, Leith School of Art is having a Christmas exhibition of all the students’ work (from other classes and courses as well), and one of my paintings that I worked on will be featured in it. The piece I chose for the exhibition is one where I felt like all I’d learnt in the previous weeks came together – for example, I applied what I’d learnt about colour, how to use oil paint (which I’ve hardly used in the past) and exploring a subject that is close to my heart: my Dutch background and upbringing.

Exploring a Dutch masterpiece to make into my own

During one of the art classes – whilst I was away – the class went to the Scottish National Gallery to view the masterpieces, and chose one or two to sketch / draw there and then. The following week, when I was back again, we worked on developing those drawings into our own paintings. As I’d missed the outing, I got to choose a painting from one of the books in the Leith School of Art’s small library. I spent a bit of time looking at works I love and came across a Dutch painting by Jacob van Ruisdael. I decided to use it as inspiration for my own piece.

First of all I made a sketch of it, and then photocopied it a couple of times so as to work on top of it and explore some ideas. That’s when I decided I wanted to increase the size of the sky and make the painting square (see photo above).

Finally, I decided I wanted it to be a bit more abstract, simpler than the original, and with most of the focus on the sky – as I love skies and Dutch skies are amazing. I played with colours and what colour palettes I could use.

In total, we had three classes to work on our piece (which included the trip to the gallery), though for me that was only two classes since I’d missed one. In between the classes we had to do some research at home for our piece. I have many photos of Dutch skies, especially at sunset, so I used them as reference for my painting.

Here’s how it turned out!

Dutch landscape and sky

If you’re in, or near, Edinburgh, then please feel free to have a nosy at the exhibition! It’s on 10am – 4pm on Friday 18th and Saturday 19th December 2015 at Leith School of Art campus, 25 North Junction Street. Click here for more details.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it as I will have already gone on my Christmas break, but do let me know if you went!

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