Thursday, 4 December 2014


On the 15th/16th November 2014, I attended an intriguing painting Masterclass Weekend run by artist and curator Chris Stevens at the Sainsbury centre for visual arts, Norwich. 

The day kicked off with a talk from Chris about his work and practice and that ever awkward transition from student to being faced with scary word - reality. Strange word that - it so happens Reality is the name of the painting exhibition currently on the Sainsbury Centre. Curated by Chris Stevens and featuring some examples of recent paintings, it was great to not just see his work on a projected powerpoint slide but in the wonder of the flesh. 

There was a strong emphasis on how to get stuck into a painting, starting with that void of a white canvas. By figuring materials on the surface the key was to throw everything, even the kitchen sink (metaphorically speaking) at the canvas to create a ground on which to build. 

Now, it seems any artist worth their salt has at some point in their career attempted that strange phenomena of a self-portrait. Cringe. There was no time for awkwardness, a camera with a lens large enough to see into the future snapped my profile which left me with some source material to work with. (See above for photograph I chose to work with). To start any painting the key was to map out elements through drawing to later be worked in/over with paint - however I got into my drawing and has left it as is in fear of loosing its essence under layers of acrylics (see below for drawing). I've never particularly worked figuratively, I've always seen representational drawing as quite mimetic, however I was pleasantly surprised if not slightly weirded out by how relaxing it was drawing myself in an unfamiliar studio environment stuck in the centre of the Reality  exhibition with the occasional exhibition viewer being intrigued by our activity.

All in all it was a great experience, with the cherry on the cake being free entry into the Reality: Modern & Contemporary British Painting exhibition, thanks go to the Sainsbury Centre and to Chris Stevens.

Emily Godden (2014) Self Portrait in progress

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