Category Archives: abstract expressionism

Gallery of Art, Curiosities and Treasures


Kate Measham

Music choices give away a lot about a person. It is a shorthand for all sorts of information about a person being interviewed, and often reveal a side you weren’t expecting. Not surprisingly BBC Radio Four’s Dessert Island Discs, and BBC Radio Three’s Private Passions are both hugely popular.

I have started to ask people to create their own personal gallery of favourite art, treasures and objects of curiosity. Again, the answers are not necessarily what you would expect, and there are many reasons for the choices.

This series of interviews starts with me. Hopefully it gives you an idea of what I am aiming at. Each person gets to choose 5 things – pictures, curiosities or treasures, and one bit of information, materials advice, ‘how to’, or whatever to pass on to others.


Lucien Freud, And the Bridegroom

This is a oil painting of Leigh Bowery, a regular model for Freud and Nicola Bowery, his wife.

I first saw this painting at the Whitechapel Gallery in the 90s. It was placed at the bottom of some stairs and you were forced to move towards this intimate scene of a sated couple on their grubby, uninviting sheets. And so drawn to it.

These photos of the two models and the final piece, by Bruce Bernard, look grim and staged, whereas the painting has a luminosity and warmth. I can’t imagine shouting in front of this work – they are so deeply asleep.

Freud has accentuated the bride’s fragility and the macho spread of the husband. The folds of the cloth echo the limbs of the models. The golden light on the wall in the painting contrasts with the dark, architectural feel of the screen and seems to reflect the difference between the man and the woman. They are touching.

I have seen the painting in various different galleries and I am always overwhelmed by it. This series of photographs describe why I enjoy Freuds interpretation of the scene. I love the painting.

Nicolas Poussin, The Triumph of Pan

The Dulwich Picture Gallery had an exhibition of works by Cy Twombly and Nicolas Poussin in 2011. I spent a day at the gallery drawing the pictures and falling in love with the works of both artists. One of my regrets is not having bought the book of the exhibition, Arcadian Painters.

Nicolas Poussin, 1594 – 1665 The Triumph of Pan 1636 Oil on canvas, 135.9 x 146 cm Bought with contributions from the National Heritage Memorial Fund and The Art Fund, 1982 NG6477 https://www.nationalgallery.org.uk/paintings/NG6477

The Triumph of Pan is a masterclass in composition. I have drawn it and painted it a number of times. It is unbelievably complicated. Each new attempt appears doomed to failure, but that doesn’t seem to matter; I learn something new each time. The colour isn’t very exciting but EVERYTHING else is. Because of the trees in this picture I look at the screen in the Freud and see the importance of that structure in the background

The other day I made a trip to the National Gallery to see the picture, and find the second goat. I hadn’t seen it for while, and it wasn’t on display. The Poussin Room had one Poussin. Is he so very out of fashion?


Jackson Pollock, Autumn Rhythm, no 30

This is a great big drip picture. Lots has been written about it. I haven’t read anything about it

One of the things I love to see in a picture is the presence of the artist. Sometimes you can tell whether the artist was left, or right handed, you can feel their attitude to the sitter in a portrait, you can see a battle with composition and errors in a drawing. These things pass to the viewer through time and show the humanity of all involved.

In this work by Pollock you can feel his footsteps as he moves from one area to another, you feel the weight and direction of the paint. It is like a large scale doodle with instinctive marks and composition. And in addition there is the chaos of the paint.

I have seen this piece in different places and I find myself sitting in front of it for great lengths of time, and striding along beside it, trying to match Pollocks steps.


Ivon Hitchens, Pierre Bonnard, Paul Gauguin, Cezanne,

This is a bit of a cheat – there is no one picture from any of the above. I look to some of them for interest in colour or pattern, others for composition, line, and the looser sort of figurative work.

I think Ivon Hitchens would be surprised to represent this basket.

This picture doesn’t have the overwhelming joy of pattern and colour of Bonnard. It seems to lack the narrative and colour of Gauguin, and the apparent lightness of touch of Cezanne. However, I feel the influence of all of them in this work.

I love the combination of spontaneity and very deliberate marks. I love the slightly unusual shape of the canvas, encouraging you to explore. The colours make me think of spring in the English countryside.

Who could not be happy to be greeted by this picture each morning?


Sargy Mann, blind artist

This appears to be another cheat.

The Artist, Sargy Mann, went blind halfway through his life but he continued to paint. He was very keen on Bonnard and curated an exhibition at the Hayward.

There is a short film made by Sargy Mann’s son about him going blind and discovering he could still paint by referring to his internal landscapes, memories and views. The colours he used after he went blind are joyful, vibrant and uncomplicated.

It doesn’t matter if your tree is blue, the edges blurred, the drawing not photographically accurate. It should be true to you, what you see and how you want to represent it. Don’t edit yourself to someone else’s idea of what you should be able to see, but be ruthless, brave and true to yourself.

The British painter Sargy Mann was diagnosed with cataracts at 36, and went on to lose his sight completely. But in his mind’s eye his vision did not fade. Mann found new ways to keep working. Even before he lost his sight, Sargy Mann was obsessed with ways of seeing. As a young painter he was tutored by singular realists – Frank Auerbach, Euan Uglow – who insisted that an individual artist must be exactly true to what he saw…

Tim Adams, The Observer, 2010

The bit of kit I regularly encourage others to use are the wonderful Anilinky, Brilliant Watercolours by Koh-i-noor. They are vibrant, bold, brash, fun and very cheap.


It has been extremely tricky to choose so few pictures – indeed I need someone to tell me to stop faffing about and choose number four and five. I could argue that Hitchens is clearly a product of all those others. And Sargy Mann, whose work I admire hugely, is a reminder to get on with painting and to relish it.

I have avoided the wonderful pictures by friends and relations, and those pictures that trigger memories unconnected to the works themselves.


I would Love to hear about your gallery. Please, please send me the pictures and works that you return to time and again. I am making a series of different galleries of art, treasures and curiosities to reflective different influences on artists and those interested in art.

Advent Calendar for Arty Stuff


Advent calendar fox

Christmas is a magical time of year. It is a slow moving, often supine, spend-time, make-time, time of year. Frost, snow, dark evenings, warm fires and a gathering together of friends and loved ones – occasionally overlapping. A good time, a time for reflection, a time to party, ….and it is just around the corner.

However, it can seem to be something of a burden – too many presents, too much food and so little time. Have a look at our advent calendar for arty stuff; ideas – what to ask for, and what to give. Many of the items barely need wrapping.

A special offer from Cass Art

We’re delighted to offer you a 10% discount on your next online or in-store order with us, plus free standard delivery. To redeem this offer, simply enter the bespoke discount code HAMPSHIRE10 at the online checkout at cassart.co.uk.

*The T&Cs: The offer code can only be redeemed once per person. It can’t be used on special promotional days, in conjunction with any other offer, Cobalt Blue Student Card, Viridian Card or for the purchase of gift vouchers, Wacom products and event tickets. Free Standard Delivery does not apply to Next Working Day Delivery or Saturday Delivery. Offer valid before 23:59:59 on 24th December 2020.

We hope you enjoy your discount!

I am not making you open a door a day…our doors are always open (I am cringing slightly at that line)


Sunday 1st December

  • Q: What do you call a snowman with a six pack?
  • A: An abdominal snowman

The Old Holland Oil Paint Colour Chart

Find out the favourite colour paint of the person who is to receive the gift and give them the best quality version you can afford.

My current favourite is Old Holland Indian Yellow Orange Lake Extra. Even the name sounds exotic. Apparently the original pigment was made from dried cattle urine.

Or a set of Michael Harding Paints.


Monday 2nd December

  • Q. What’s Father Christmas’ favorite measurement in the metric system?
  • A. The Santameter!

I love choosing books for people, and receiving them. A charity shop discovery is always interesting. Often these are books that are out of print or pre-loved (a bit worn at the edges, or written in etc). If you don’t have time to search but are not sure what to buy a couple of suggestions:

  • The Secret Lives of Colour:  Hardcover – Illustrated, 20 Oct 2016, by Kassia St Clair  (Author)
  • Joan Eardley: A Sense of Place Hardcover – Illustrated, 8 Oct 2018, by Patrick Elliott (Author), Anne Galastro (Author)
  • The National Gallery Hardcover – 22 Oct 2019, by Gabriele Finaldi (Author)
  • Modernists & Mavericks: Bacon, Freud, Hockney and the London Painters, by Martin Gayford 
  • Great Women Artists by Phaidon Editors

There have been a number of good exhibitions this year – The galleries concerned will have produced a glossy book to go with them. They are always a good gift.


Tuesday 3rd December

  • Q. How much money does a pirate pay for corn?
  • A. A buccaneer.

I have a wonderful easel that I was given as a Christmas present many years ago. A vital piece of kit.

This easel from CASS art is on the cheaper end of the studio easels but sturdy.


Wednesday 4th December

Thelma, a farmers wife, prayed to the Lord and asked him, “How old will I be when I die?”

His reply was 96 years old.

Thelma said, “Hot diggity dog, I will have myself fixed up.”

The farmer’s wife had everything lifted and tucked and was in the doctor’s office, making the last payment on her reconstruction. She walked out of the doctor’s office, started across the street, and was hit and killed.

She gets to heaven and asks the Lord, “What happened? You told me that I would live to be 96.”

His reply: “We’ll I just didn’t recognize you!”


Indian ink drawing

Van Gogh used indian ink and dipping pens, or hand made wooden pens.

Daler-Rowney Kandahar Drawing Ink Black is an Indian ink, ideal for illustration and design and for work in conjunction with watercolours.

Flowing easily, and producing a brilliant, rich black, it is lightfast, so will not fade, but unlike other drawing inks is not waterproof when dry.

Get in touch with your inner Van Gogh


Thursday 5th December

  • Q. Why do the French like to eat snails so much?
  • A. They can’t stand fast food

Oil sticks have been around for a while but few look quite as tasty as the Sennelier selections.

They are packaged as gifts in two sizes: one in a luxurious, sweetshop/rainbow combo box of very many colours, the other a more modest introduction set.

who wouldn’t want to find a set of these under the Christmas tree?

Friday 6th December

Why did the physics teacher break up with the biology teacher? There was no chemistry.


the BEST crisps ever

In the mix of Christmas food, drink, and general presents I would like a bumper tin of delicious Spanish ready salted crisps. They stay fresh and crispy for longer than your average crisp – I have to take that on trust…they are so delicious that they disappear as soon as the pack is opened.

.


Saturday 7th December

A man walked into a bar – bang


Acrylics are endlessly adaptable. There are acrylic inks, thick paints, thin paints, fabric paints, pens…you name it, its covered. There are mediums to add to make the paint behave differently and to make the colours behave differently.

We have a talented new tutor, Eve Dawson, who can walk you through all these exciting variations so you can get the best from your materials. She is doing a one day workshop, A Step Towards Abstract Expressionism to start you on your way with both abstract painting and acrylics. It should be very exciting. No experience of either is necessary.



Sunday 8th December

Whenever I’m sad I just read my blood donor ID. It always says “B
positive”.


As a child I was given a set of Caran d’ache pencils in a tin.


Monday 9th December

  • I’ve been really depressed lately. A friend told me I should go to the petting zoo perhaps, to cheer up. 
  • I went today, but not one person would stroke me.

I love to draw and get great pleasure from seeking out unusual materials. Artgraf is a brand that always satisfies. They have mastered anything to do with graphite, and coloured graphite.


Here are a few examples: Black Carbon (SO black), grey and white trio, tailors chalk shaped coloured graphite.

Tuesday 10th December

Two clairvoyants meet. One says to the other: “You are fine, and how am I?


You can’t have too many sketchbooks.

I think Seawhite are the best for me and I like square sketchpads: SEAWHITE SQUARE & CHUNKY SKETCHBOOK 140GSM 190 PAGES


Wednesday 11th December

  • What did the toilet roll complain about?
  • “People just keep ripping me off!”

Book tickets for the Lucien Freud Self Portrait exhibition at the Royal Academy followed by a leisurely stroll around the National Gallery and supper somewhere memorable.


Thursday 12th December

  • What should you do when you see a spaceman?
  • You just park in it, man.

Antony Williams is a particularly fine artist working in egg tempera, best known for his portraits. He has been on the short list or a placed prize winner in the BP Portrait awards many times.

Antony is coming to HAMPSHIRE ART studio to teach a masterclass in egg tempera, using a still life as reference. This is one I don’t want to miss.

advent calendar picture

For more information about the weekend see Antony Williams


Friday 13th December

My friend was planning to get a Labrador. Is he mad?! Hasn’t he seen how many of their owners go blind?!”


Derwent Inktense Blocks are sticks of vibrantly coloured water-soluble ink.

  • Draw with them dry to create dazzling colour effects, or add water for translucent ink-like results.
  • You can use them on both paper and fabric, especially silk, and the colours are permanent once dry.

CASS sell Derwent Inktense Blocks in tins containing either 36 or 72 blocks in assorted colours.


Saturday 14th December

Where do we get virgin wool from? Ugly sheep.


advent calendar spain hol

This photo was taken at Casa Rosa in Spain in spring 2019, during our tutored painting week. I can’t think of anything more cheering after a cold day in mid winter than the prospect of a week painting in Spain, in the sun, in the spring. I often look at the weather in Andalucia just to see what it is like there when it is grey here.

If you want to find out more try Andalucia in the Spring, or Artists take over Casa Rosa, an untutored week.


Sunday 15th December

One twin to the other: “You are ugly.”


Watercolour sets are always so attractive. Buy the professional sets for better pigment quality.

This half pan set is very good value.

WINSOR & NEWTON PROFESSIONAL WATERCOLOUR SET OF 24

I think you should include a special brush too.


Monday 16th December

What would you call a very funny mountain? 

Hill Arious”


If you are an artist beginner, or rusty and lacking in confidence, how about a course designed just for you?

The course is based around a combination of drawing and oil painting. It is on a termly basis, with a pair of days each month (always a Thursday and Friday combined). There will be suggested home study in between the classes. Have a look at this link for much more information Beginners class


Tuesday 17th December

  • What would Bears become without Bees?
  • Just ears.

The MUST HAVE item on everyones Christmas list is a HAMPSHIRE ART studio art apron, with a zipped pocket for valuables (no paint on them!) extra pockets, long ties, altogether excellent.


Wednesday 18th December

  • What do you call an alligator that’s wearing a vest?
  • An investigator.

The Beginners Oil Kit from CASS art is a very good starting point for people wanting to learn about oil painting..

You can top up this kit with any number of goodies…including the beginners guide to drawing and oil painting

All painters need a palette. There are loads to choose from. This is a traditional wooden one.


Thursday 19th December

Two drummers jump off a skyscraper – Boom Boom.


One of the products always on sale at CASS ART, and always a welcome addition to any oil painters stocking is their double pack of Winsor and Newton, Titanium White, 200ml. A sure winner.


Friday 20th December

  • How did Moses cut the sea in half?
  • With a seasaw.

Drawing is the way into thinking visually, the first step to everything, from painting to architecture. Part of the secret to drawing is learning to look. The next step is to take it in the direction YOU want to go.

Come along to a Learning to Look, drawing taster day. It may well whet your appetite for more.

Drawing Taster Day


Saturday 21st December

  • Doctor: You’re obese. 
  • Patient: For that I definitely want a second opinion. 
  • Doctor: You’re quite ugly, too.

There are lots of bits and pieces that fall under the heading ‘drawing equipment’. The following are things I always have in my pencil case (! mostly anyway)

  • Koh i noor retractable pencil, 5.8mm with a selection of leads. There are any number of different refills for these (other people make them too). I like to have a box with compressed charcoal, chalk, coloured chalks, sanguine. Find a pencil body shape that pleases you.
  • TomBow erasers and refills. I LOVE these. They are retractable, thin, thin rubbers in two shapes. Get both. I draw back into charcoal and pencil with them and they give my pleasure.
  • a scrappy little piece of chamois leather
  • a couple of very cheap disposable plastic retractable pencils. They come in a bag of 10 from TESCOs. I always have a sharp pencil. Not very ‘green’. I have had proper thin retractable pencils that you can refill but I prefer the cheap version.
  • a Tortillion, a roll of tightly wrapped paper for smudging
  • a big plastic rubber
  • three drawing pencils, 3B, 5B and 7B


Sunday 22nd December

  • Policeman: I’m very sorry, sir, but it looks like your wife got hit by a bus.
  • Man: I’m aware of that, but Karen has a wonderful personality.

christmas lino print
Going home

Lino cut is a great first step into printing. There is a one day introduction class, Learn about Lino with HAMPSHIRE ART studio on 30th January.

Combine it with a Beginners Lino set


Monday 23rd December

  • Did anybody ever consider that cannibalism would resolve both overpopulation – and world hunger?
  • Jonathan Swift

This is one of my very favourite presents – an annual subscription to the Art Fund. You can still buy one today and hand over something as a gift.

National Art Pass - 50% of entry to major exhibitions

National Art Pass

Experience over 240 museums, galleries and historic places for free and enjoy 50% off entry to major exhibitions, including those at Tate, V&A and National Museum of Scotland.

Annual membership includes:

Membership card – Show your card to gain free or reduced price entry to participating venues 

Art in your inbox – Email subscription – your guide to great art across the UK, news and special offers

Art Quarterly – Subscription to Art Fund’s magazine with insightful and exclusive features 

Art Map – Comprehensive annual guidebook on using your pass at over 700 venues

Purchase direct https://www.artfund.org/national-art-pass


Tuesday 24th December

Finally an arty joke:

  • What is blue and smells like red paint?
  • Blue paint.

At this stage in the game you have to buy vouchers. What were you thinking of leaving it so late? Don’t worry; these vouchers cover all our classes and will delight all who receive them. They come in different values to match your budget, from £20 – £100.


CHRISTMAS DAY (a bit late for present buying really!!)

Happy Christmas and Best Wishes for 2020


Expressive Mark Making


Expressive Mark Making, Van Gogh, Cy Twombly and You

February 12th  to 14thFebruary, 10.00 – 4.30

£270/3 days or £90/day, some materials provided

The Studio, Bransbury, Winchester SO21 3QJ


Contemporary communication is varied, quick and easy, whether by by email, text, Whatsapp or whatever. If post arrives with a hand written letter it is an intimate experience.  If you recognise writing on the envelope you will be transported, for good or bad. 

Just as handwriting is personal to an individual so are brushstrokes and drawn marks to an artist.

Over the three days you will look at two masters of mark making, Van Gogh and Cy Twombly. You will be working on different Still Lifes and references to help understand their style, and then to develop your own expressive response.

You will be encouraged to explore different approaches to making a mark, recording an object, an event, an emotion. The work you produce will take you beyond a straight forward facsimile of the still life.

You will work towards expressing what you think about the still life, how it works for you, whether you like it, or not.

This is a thoughtful and thought provoking experience.

For more information contact me kate@artdrawpaint.com

Yoga, Mindfulness, Mark Making


Monday 11th February, £90/day

The Studio, Riverside Cottage, Bransbury SO21 3QJ


You will start the day with a yoga class.

This will be appropriate for any standard, from total beginner to regular practitioner. If you have aches and pains that prevent you from doing certain moves these can be accommodated.

Throughout the class you will be made aware of your body, which parts are being stretched, how you feel when relaxed etc.

After the yoga class you will be experimenting with many different sorts of marks. Particular attention will be paid to how your body feels when making these marks. Gravity, physicality, noise and irritations all play a part in what happens when you start to draw.

After these exercises our yoga teacher will become the model for the day. She will repeat the exercises from the morning class. You will have experienced the tension, pull and release of these poses. These memories will inform the drawings as you work through the day.


Some materials will be provided. Coffee and tea are available but please bring your own lunch