In November I was really pleased to be invited to come and work with the year 11 pupils at Quintin Kynaston School in St John's Wood. I created a day workshop based on a series I made in 2006: '30 Paintings in 30 Days'; pupils kept 7 day diaries, collecting images and snippets of text for the duration. We used these diaries as the starting point for a series of 7 paintings which would be a kind of self portrait, a visual record of thoughts, feelings and inspirations experienced over the 7 days.
It seems like ages ago since I painted '30 Paintings in 30 Days' and my work has changed alot in 6 years, at the time I was interested in showing the mundane and everyday things in life as an essential part of the art making process. I wanted it to be a spontaneous visual description of those 30 days, which tied in to my interest in making work which was immediate, honest and direct. At the workshop I encouraged the pupils to do the same with their 7 day diaries, the exercise was a way of exploring the theme of identity in response to my painting.
I absolutely loved running the workshop, the pupils really responded to the idea and had worked hard creating their 7 day diaries the previous week. They made a really good start to the first of their seven paintings. I was really touched when some of the students asked to come back afterschool to do an extra lesson working on their paintings. I was even more touched when I looked through some of their sketchbooks to see they had created versions of some of my other paintings too!
Things like this are far more rewarding than selling a painting at an exhibition, perhaps one of the ultimate goals for any artist is for their work to inspire or make a difference in some way, and for me it was so wonderful being able to see the response of the pupils and experience this first hand.