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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!