This project will enable me to spend two months working with professional dancers, producing a series of at least ten large, dynamic paintings on canvas, as well as smaller pictures on panel and paper. It will build directly on ideas and techniques I’ve been developing since early 2015, taking my work in exciting new directions as I prepare for the next stage of my artistic career.
Since graduating from St Martin’s School of Art in the early 90s I’ve been painting the human figure from life. Around five years ago my focus shifted from the nude to portraiture, and more recently I’ve begun to explore more gestural, narrative themes and compositions, and to develop more collaborative approaches to working with models, particularly dancers.
Working with Ballet Cymru in the rehearsal studio and with contemporary dancers in my painting studio, I’ve also been experimenting with a new approach to painting. Producing rapid sketches in oil and charcoal (such as the little paintings of Beth above), I also shoot digital film of sittings which I then loop and project on a screen in the studio.
Using both sketches and film footage projected at close to life-size, I have enough reference material to continue working with the model no longer present. This allows much more time to be spent producing finished paintings, and - especially in the case of particularly strenuous or dynamic poses which can be held only for a short time - means I can attempt more ambitious pictures than would otherwise be possible (such as the large canvas of Angharad above).
Developing this new approach and collaborating with such talented people from another artistic discipline has been an extraordinary experience, and has, I feel, led to a distinct breakthrough in my practice as a painter. I'm very excited to be taking it forward.
This project will give me a two-month period of financial security, enabling me to take time away from primary school supply teaching and other casual jobs to focus entirely on painting. I'll be able to purchase canvas, paint and other materials and equipment, employ dancers to work in my studio, and sustain the kind of creative momentum that would not usually be possible for me.
One thing I'm particularly keen to experiment with is poses involving multiple dancers, which I've very little experience of at the moment, but which suggests a great many possibilities.
Any funds raised in addition to the Kickstarter target will be used to extend the project further and produce yet more paintings for the new collection - a selection of which will be presented to galleries in 2017, and form the basis of future exhibition proposals.
Ultimately, my hope is that this focused period of work will lead to the creation of exciting new paintings and exhibitions that the public will enjoy - building on my current practice and artistic collaborations, celebrating dance, and making a real contribution to the arts.
Updates will be posted via Kickstarter, as well as on my website and social media.
Risks and challenges
There is always the possibility that unexpected issues may arise, but having planned and delivered projects of a similar or larger scale to this in the past (for example, producing my 2014 exhibitions of stage performers), I'm confident that I can manage this project effectively.
I'm very happy at the prospect of collaborating further with some of the dancers I've been working with to date - and possibly others - and know that they will be great partners in this project.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)