100 Things to do in (and around) Bournemouth 51 – A Brush of Genius

Having not done any painting since I put down my brushes after my O Level art exam in 1982, one of my lockdown hobbies was pebble painting. Today, I’m taking it one step further; I am going to take on a Hockney painting . A Brush of Genius, aka artist Stuart Faulkner, offers art classes where participants attempt to replicate a masterpiece.

David Hockney - The Diver
David Hockney – The Diver

Today’s class, at The Red House Museum in Christchurch, will be on David Hockney’s The Diver; a piece commissioned to promote the 1972 Munich Olympic Games. As a student, I lived in the Olympic Village in Munich, so this painting and I go way back.

Starting painting

Its a bit of a stressful start to the afternoon. It’s a sunny summer’s day, so the traffic is heaving and finding somewhere to park is a nightmare. I finally find a spot but arrive ten minutes late. The remaining class members have already finished sketching the torso and I am playing catch up.

Original and Copy

Stuart helps me get started. I soon have something looking vaguely like a man’s body on my canvas and can start on the water, which is therapeutic. Throughout the class, Stuart demonstrates technique step-by-step, interspersed with telling us interesting facts about Hockney, his life and work.

Starting on the water

Once the water is painted, back to finalising the torso. I have a bit of a problem with the shading of the muscles. My diver looks like he’s had very recent open heart surgery, but Stuart helps me to improve my shading. I finish with putting the details into the face. He asks me if I am going for a Japanese Manga effect with my diver? I say yes.

Group Photo with final paintings

Final task is to outline the water splodges (technical term) in white. The class is three hours long, which passes amazingly quickly. I need to leave ten minutes early as my parking slot has a three hour time limit. I don’t quite manage to get the water finished, but I really enjoyed my afternoon and am quite pleased with the results.

Finishing off at home

The three hour class cost £22, including instruction, materials and refreshments. A Brush of Genius classes take place with different paintings for inspiration over a variety of locations in and around Bournemouth. Some include alcohol and nibbles. I shall definitely be back. Next up, in September; Jean Metzinger’s Paysage Coloré aux Oiseaux Aquatiques and Monet’s The beach and the Falaise D’Amont. A career as an art forger is not on the cards!

Jean Metzinger - Paysage Coloré aux Oiseaux Aquatiques
Jean Metzinger – Paysage Coloré aux Oiseaux Aquatiques
Monet - The Beach and the Falaise D'Amont
Monet – The Beach and the Falaise D’Amont

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