Arts Challenge

My Arts Challenge

The Arts Challenge I chose was to prepare for an art exhibition of my work. I worked for two years on making my paintings better and then for the final piece, I did a 16 x 4ft panoramic landscape. Then I organised the event.


  • Landscapes – I live in a town called Alston. It is the highest market town in England. I enjoy walking in the mountains spending much of my free time completing Wainwrights. The views I see give me feelings and I want to capture these feelings in my paintings.
  • Site specific painting – The 16ft x 4ft painting that I completed was an opportunity and a challenge. I pushed myself to meet my deadline. I explored different ways of painting; using sponges, brushes and rollers rather than only my fingers. I layered the painting from light to dark. I hoped to get a ‘feeling’ from the painting.


  • Preparation for paintings – I completed a lot of drawings in my sketch book. I often did many sketches before I chose a final one to paint.
  • from photographs – I completed a ‘Intermediate Photography Course’ at Haltwhistle Adult Learning centre. During this course I learnt more about fore, mid and background and about the rule of thirds. This helped me  to compose a photograph better but also helped me think about my painting, for example I will only sketch or paint a part of a photograph or image that is interesting to me.


Researching other Artists

  • Sketchbook – Whenever I visit an gallery or exhibition I tried to get a flyer because you often can’t take photographs. I always try to put down want I like and don’t like about each artist. I research artists on the internet (via Google, You-tube or social media). I don’t tend to include these in my sketch book but I do take on board what I see/ hear.


Visiting Art Exhibitions

  • Glasgow – I travelled to Glasgow by myself and stayed over for a night with Alistair. I visited the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum on the first day. On the second day I went to the gallery of Modern Art and the Lighthouse architecture and design centre.
  • Amsterdam – I spent a few days at Amsterdam. I visited the Van Gogh museum. I found his colour pallet very interesting and I liked his abstract style. I also went to the Rijksmuseum. I think there was too much to see in one day and I got tired. I studied the ‘Nightwatch’ by Rembrandt. It was interesting how he showed the more important people by painting them in more colour and light.
  • London – I went London a few days. Whilst I was there I visited the Tate  Modern art gallery. There was not a lot that interested me. I did like the work by Mark Rothko. I liked the way his paintings drew you in as if you were stepping through a door.
  • Local – I visit local art gelleries often especially when the C-Art event is on. I visit the Baltic Flour Mill art gallery about once a month. I document art I like in my sketch book which is listed on this blog

Working with an Arts Organisation

  • Working with the Whistle Art Stop –

I worked at the Whistle Art Stop at least twice a week. I travelled there by myself. I found that it was a good place to work because I was freer and didn’t get distracted by other stuff. It was good to have a one to one mentor who gave me feedback and helped me think about my work. I sometimes helped out running workshops on a weekend. I enjoyed helping other people and it was interesting talking to other artists. I think this helped my own art development.

How my art has developed during my Silver Arts Award

  • What I learned – I learnt a lot of practical skills like organising my an exhibition, using public transport, preparing a work space for myself and others. I learnt how to break things down, for example I learnt how to identify the fore, mid and background and the light sources of a photograph I wanted to paint. I also learnt about composition and the rule of thirds.
  • What I achieved – I  learnt how to respect my own perspective and learnt how to let it flow. I think that is why much of my work is quite abstract.
  • What I could do better – I still have difficulty in knowing when to stop/ know when a painting is finished. I still think that I am being too ‘safe’ in my painting and need to learn to let go

You can see my full portfolio here