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July sketches

I have been making the most of our changing British weather, although I love a clear sunny day, for artwork purposes, the moody changes can also be exciting. My mobility has been poor for a couple of weeks, so I have been grabbing moments outside, working in my sketchbooks direct from the landscape, rather than the long sessions in my studio.

It is always good to return to source as an artist, but I feel this is even more important when your art is used for more than expression. I talk a lot about the therapeutic quality of creating art, but also getting outside, experience nature first hand and embrace the clement and the stormy weather. This is surely a good metaphor for life in general and it’s the reason I love Landscape painting.

Turner used the drama of nature to explore the turbulent nature of man, and I believe that our relationship with the seasonal changes is deep and systemic. I use it both as expression and as a holistic management of my mental health, and subsequently, my physical health tends to follow.

I have trips and holidays planned to explore our wonderful country, as well as more typical family holidays. No doubt they will take some toll on my energy and mobility, but ultimately the payoff will be enormous for my long term wellbeing.

Please fisit my Facebook page, where there are more of my recent sketches. I shall also share some on the DAO Facebook page.

Thank you

Posted by Alan Hopwood, 4 August 2015

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 August 2015

Creative processes

As I mentioned in the last blog, I have a condition that effects my joints and muscles causing varied amounts of pain and fatigue. This meant that each day was unpredictable and limited what I was able to do. I knew that I needed to try to remain mobile, so walking was vital; this is where the interest in photography developed, it made a slow walk much more interesting if I was looking and taking photos.

It also had the effect of making me appreciate the changing world from day to day and as trees were becoming a regular subject, it triggered an interest in trees and boundaries.

Naturally these subjects began to inform my drawing, and eventually painting, on days when I was unable to paint, I began using digital techniques and this is where a new visual language developed.

As you can see in this image, I have layered various images to create the desired landscape. It uses peeling paint, frosted stains on glass and other elements that build up to give the contrast of the picturesque and the decaying that I like to use, hopefully communicating the difference from one day to another, and one outlook to another.

For those who are interested in specific techniques, I often paint small images on A4 so that I can scan it; then in Photoshop I make various adjustments and use the blending options in the layer tools, under the Layers menu.

I have chosen this image as I think it clearly shows this process. My recent work is more subtle in its uses of digital technique, and I am focussing much more on larger paintings onto canvas; paper or board, these works wait for my more mobile days and I will talk about them in my next blog.

Thanks for reading and please leave any comments or questions. I will monitor them as often as I can to reply. As always, if you would like to see more of my work visit or send me a friend request on Facebook.

Posted by Alan Hopwood, 21 March 2015

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 August 2015

Combining traditional painting techniques with digital manipulation

I am a visual artist who has studied Fine Art at Masters’ Degree level as well as lecturing in Fine art for some 12 years. In 2014, my muscular skeletal condition escalated to such a level that I had to stop work and register myself as disabled. Since then I have been, as we all do, finding a life balance that enables me to manage my condition whilst still having some fulfilment and family life.

In the Autumn I was able to find a small space to use as a studio, and now, as and when I am able, I get to paint and be creative, finally doing the thing that I studied for all those years ago.

This has proven to be a very positive stage for me, after an initial low after stopping full time work, I have settled into a good routine that allows me to balance my pain levels and still be productive as an artist.

I have my first solo exhibition on (until 15th April ’15) at The Landscape Gallery in Market Harborough, and I am taking part in a group show at the Atkins Gallery in Hinckley Leicestershire from the 13th March.

I have also just been accepted into the Leicester Society of Artists (LSA) so it has been a busy month.

Anyway, that's the score so far, I would rather talk about what informs my painting, both in subject, concept and creation.

I use a wide variety of images that explore the diverse outlooks people have across the UK, from picturesque countryside to city streets. I find aesthetic interest in all sorts of things, and I often use elements of graffiti, peeling paint and litter alongside more traditional landscape subjects.

I aim to explore my own emotions through my work and hope that this also engages others and connects to their experiences too. As I have lived in various towns, cities and villages across the UK, my work also celebrates the social and cultural diversity found within our country.

"TOXIC" 2013  Digital print stems from conceptual ideas about emotions, and I hope it serves as an introduction into my thought process and visual language. I use traditional painting techniques in mixed media as well as digital manipulation to create the works, sometimes both methods in the same piece.

Posted by Alan Hopwood, 9 March 2015

Last modified by Colin Hambrook, 10 August 2015