The Painting Year: Crispin Dior & Deborah Burnstone - 3D virtual exhibition by The Essential School of Painting

The Painting Year: Crispin Dior & Deborah Burnstone

Fri, 08/14/2020 to Sun, 01/31/2021

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The Painting Year is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by two experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs and Guy Allott. Limited to 12 participants, the course provides artists with a community and mentoring whilst actively engaging with painting language and opening doors to untried possibilities.


I make marks and pictures to communicate words I have no words for.
Within pictures I can express the inexpressible. Pictures allow me to address both sorrow and good fortune, fact and fiction with no specific order. To walk through the studio door is to step into a depository of translucent mirrors where anything goes and joyous battles commence.

The majority of works within this show have been made during Covid, in the case of blossom, working directly from life. Other paintings are created from photographs collected during episodes of travel. I enjoy the play between abstraction and figurative, truth, lies and contradictions.


Lockdown stories
The works that I am showing at the ESOP virtual exhibition were all made in the spring and summer of this year after the UK went into lockdown in late March. They are small oil paintings on paper. Before then I had been making larger works often featuring crowds or big groups of people or multiple buildings and houses that stood in for people and their many individual lives. During lockdown, however, I felt compelled to paint members of my family or people and places I saw during my daily outing. The paintings are in many ways a diary or record of an intense but in some ways magical time I spent cooped up with my family, punctuated by daily bursts of the outdoors which seemed all the more wonderful because of our confinement. They were mostly made over a few hours and that was the ‘task’ I set myself. Some, I have to say, took a bit longer as I had to work back into them. These paintings are selected from a series numbering eighteen in total.

Continuing the Painting Year on Zoom was a godsend. Meeting up with my fellow students and tutors Dan and Guy online really kept me motivated and it was also a lot of fun.

The Painting Year has offered me a fantastic chance to try out loads of different approaches – fast messy life drawings, big paintings in black and white, collages created through chance and to start to understand how these approaches can help to build a painting. I learned that perfectionism can kill a painting, that mistakes are fine and part of the process, that a picture can be salvaged – if it goes wrong you can go back to it and rework. So many valuable lessons.

I graduated in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College in 1999 where I mostly worked in photography, video and sculpture: everything pretty much apart from painting. Since then I made videos and community art projects. I taught myself to paint after leaving art college and have been painting on and off ever since. My intention is to continue experimenting and to work figuratively bringing in abstract elements and non-literal areas and most importantly to try not to overwork things.

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