Free Art Break

We have a free to enter prize draw for a Four Day Art Break (choice of dates for 3 nights B&B + Studio use for 4 days between Sept 13-30 or Oct 1-30).  Sign up for our Newsletter, Special Offers and Further Information and your details will automatically be entered into the free prize draw . Either return the completed request form via email / post or click on the link below stating your interest in the subject box and leave a message to say where you found the invitation.

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Follow the link to find out more about the affordable Art Breaks & Retreats on offer from Ainetheon Arts.  Art Break and Retreat 2016 2

Free Art Break Prize Draw Terms & Conditions

  1. an email address must be included (your contact details are not  shared or passed onto any third party)
  2. draw will take place on Monday 15 August – winner notified by email within 7 days
  3. the Art Break dates have to be agreed in advance, booked at least seven days prior to start of break and taken within the following dates: Sept 13-30 or Oct 1-30
  4. the Art Break is for one person but a second person can be included for an additional cost
  5. Arrival time on day one is after 13:00 (Studio use from 14:00)
  6. Departure time on day four is by 10:00 from accommodation (Studio use until 12:30)
  7. Accommodation is on a standard Bed & Breakfast basis
  8. draw is open to all UK and non-UK residents
  9. the winner is responsible for their own travel costs
  10. between the hours of 22:00 – 08:00 the Studio will not be accessible, although you may leave your work in situ
  11. there is no cash value in the award – cash cannot be taken as an alternative nor refunded on cancellation
  12. you must provide your own art materials (however we do provide tables, chairs & easels etc)
  13. you are responsible for your own insurance & safe keeping of your art works – no liability is accepted by Ainetheon Arts for damage or loss sustained during your stay
  14. award is not transferable

Outsider Art

2016-03-25-Outsider-Art---BSeems a strange title for any blog or article.  The word ‘outsider’ immediately rouses negative images of not belonging or being outwith the normal expectations or parameters.  So who or what determines the meaning of ‘outsider’?  Who or what is an ‘outsider’  in relation to art?

Let’s look at the first question.  Our social structures appear to rely more and more on managerialism as a defining process of assessment or categorisation.  If we need a tradesperson, we look to his or her qualifications as a measure of the skills attained.  If we wish to contract an employee, again we look to learning outcomes achieved, usually from an educational institution.  Likewise if we wish to apply for a position we complete an application form listing our academic and professional qualifications.  We use our curriculum vitae as our marketing tool.

We, as consumers and employers, want the best value for our money.  Many people would argue that there has to be some form of measurement; and within the measurement continuum there must be a hierarchy of achievement. A certificate will indicate an achieved level of skill and understanding whereas one would expect a diploma to indicate an even higher level.  Likewise the person holding a doctorate would be expected to know a subject in much greater depth than the person who attains a degree in the same discipline.   Therefore it would appear that instituitions and individuals within determine what or who is ‘outside’ their criteria.

As for the second question, then surely if we use a managerialisitic approach to purchase a piece of art then the higher the academic qualification would indication a higher level of skill and knowledge.  Do we therefore need to refer to an artist’s c.v. to determine the quality and value of a piece of art?  If that were the case then a great deal of artists would be excluded from this selection process, making them in some respects an ‘outsider’.  Art, I believe, is more objective in its presentation.

‘Outsider art’ is nothing new however.  The term ‘outsider art’ was first formed by Roger Cardinal (1972) when referring to the art movement ‘art brut’ created by Jean Dubuffet.  Cardinal also used this terminology to include artists who were self taught whereas Dubuffet concentrated more on individuals such as those in psychiatric institutions.

There are many great artists who, for whatever reason, have not followed an academic route but have still managed to be successful in their own right and command a high value for their art.  I refer here to professional artists who are self-taught.  One of the highest profile self-taught artists today, in my opinion, is Jack Vettriano , although I venture to say that he has managed to become an ‘inside artist’ through his talent, hard work and astute marketing skills.  Wander along any high street and you will find at least one shop or gallery where you can buy a Vettriano print.

There are many artists today who fall into the category of ‘outsider art’, whether by being self-taught or marginalised. The Henry Boxer Gallery is a good place to view and learn more about ‘outsider art’ and is UK based.  Another good website to view ‘outsider art’ is Brut Force which is USA based.

As always, I have run out of time to continue writing or edit.  Enjoy the links.




The Little Black Pig


I suspect my Muse is playing around with me.  I want to paint and draw but what does the Muse tickle away at?  She has me writing stories and doing doodles and small paintings of artist trading card size.  And there is only so much one can fit onto 9cm x 6.5cm. Wicked, wicked Muse!! But oh what fun I am having!  It feels good to be writing again after such a long period of abstinence.

This morning, after a long walk up Kirrie Hill followed by breakfast, I thought about what I could paint on an artist trading card.  The idea of painting or drawing something each day, however small, is appealing but harder to do than say.  The practical side of my brain, where the Muse seldom wants to go, was thinking about cleaning out my make-up bag.  Earlier I had put on some make-up and thought how cramped my cosmetic bag was, considering how little I actually use.  Time to throw out the old and unwanted bits and bobs.  Time also to do a little housework also before setting off for work, or so I thought.

I got as far as sorting out the old cosmetics and then suddenly the Muse made her presence felt.  Hmmm….. Interesting thought; so how would I go about painting a picture (artist trading card size, remember) with old make-up?  As I made my way into the kitchen my eye caught sight of the little black pig sitting on my table.  I had moved it yesterday but hadn’t got round to putting it back on the window ledge where it has sat since moving into my ‘quirky wee red hoose’ last October.  Also on the table was a few artist trading card size heavy weight paper/card.  Step forward the Muse!  Before I knew it I was getting together a small container of water, another of extra virgin olive oil (okay, I know – should have been linseed or a more suitable oil), some cotton buds and a sheet of heavy duty kitchen roll.

All notion of housework had gone and before I knew it I was working away on a small painting of the little black pig – using only old cosmetics as a medium and the eyeliner brush and cotton bud as a brush/tool.  This is mixed media work making something from throw away materials.

The little black pig was outlined and painted using eyeliner as one would use watercolour.  The pink spots, legs, ears and snout were painted on using an old lipstick and applied with a cotton bud.  I dipped the cotton bud into some olive oil then rubbed the head onto the lipstick, which made the application of colour and tone much easier. The grass was created by using a green shimmer eyeshadow, again applied with a cotton bud and bound with a little olive oil.  I added some brown mascara dry brush strokes to indicate tufts of grass.  The background was a light ivory shimmer eyeshadow applied the same way as the green. The shadow under the pig was created using a watery application of eyeliner.  The final touch was a little ‘lippy’ added to the bottom lip of the pig.

Voila!  The Little Black Pig was born and came with me to the shop.  She has sat on my desk and pestered me from the minute I switched on my laptop to write her story.  And that is what I have spent my morning doing.  I have the first 300 words written and am well on my way to writing up the adventures of The Little Black Pig.  Another children’s story which I hope I can illustrate and complete.

Inspiring Day Out

Yesterday I had a day out and about, the second one over the last few days.  I needed to find that elusive muse and gather new inspirations to get me creating visual art once more, rather than the interior decorating and upcycling that has taken 0ver at present.  I can justify my ‘nesting’ activities as necessary after the many changes to enter my life over this last year or so.  But I digress.  This blog is about inspiration and not diversion.

Reaching 60 one has certain advantages.  The concessionary (free)  bus being one; and one that I am starting to make use of.  With bus pass in purse, and day-sack packed with drawing materials and sketchbook plus lunch including a flask of tea and bottled water, I set of on my adventure.

I took the bus from Forfar to Broughty Ferry, changing at Dundee.  My intention was to draw Broughty Castle and / or some of the exhibits.  It was too raw a day (blowing very cold across the water!) to sit outside so all that got drawn was a stuffed heron from one of the glass cases.  I used Bic ballpoint (fine, black) and my Derwent panoramic sketchbook turned length ways.  I made notes of how to develop the drawing in various mediums but I couldn’t do much more as I had spent a lot of time earlier in an art gallery.

The art gallery though proved to be both exciting and inspiring.  As I headed towards Broughty Castle, I passed the Eduardo Alessandro Studios .  An amazing gallery with an amazing solo exhibition upstairs showing the work of Fiona Haldane .  Fiona is extremely talented in her use of pastels.  Her command of artistic representation of rugged and emotive landscape is second to none in my opinion.  Her pastel paintings, and some are large scale, from a distance resemble luxurious oils.   One has to get closer to discover her choice of medium.  Even then, it can be quite difficult to determine the materials used.  It is only on very close inspection that one can see the pastel application.

There is a richness and a fullness of visual image to Haldane’s art.  Her art can really only be appreciated fully by seeing it in real-time rather than an online gallery.  I would encourage anyone interested in dramatic landscapes or pastel paintings to go and see this exhibition.  You will not be disappointed!  It is also an exhibition worth travelling to see, perhaps to take in a few days away from home or an early holiday.  Haldane’s work has certainly encouraged me to get out my pastels and revisit landscapes.  I may even have to revisit the exhibition for more inspiration and learning.  One learns a lot by spending time looking at other artists work and trying to understand the how, why and what etc of the creative process they have applied.

Do take time to visit the links I have provided and enjoy.