Painting People and Portraits: Elizabeth Richardson, Lucy Hensel & Luka Vardiashvili - 3D virtual exhibition by The Essential School of Painting

Painting People and Portraits: Elizabeth Richardson, Lucy Hensel & Luka Vardiashvili

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

curated by:

Painting people: the figure and portrait taught by Alison Harper and guest artists explores the elements of portraiture and figure painting and drawing in both systematic and creative ways. During the course students work from a combination of the live model and other sources including photographs, film stills, drawings, memory and imagination exploring traditional and experimental approaches to making images of the human form and presence.

Life Drawing and Portraiture are what I am attracted to. I begin with little to no plan and simply watch what emerges in the moment. Once I have started, I then get a feeling about the painting/drawing and develop it from there.
The interpretation, I leave to the eye of the observer.

I grew up in Montreal, and except for eight years in Germany and Switzerland, I have always lived in Canada – until ten years ago when I started to split my calendar year between Ottawa and London.
My curiosity about the process of painting, and my desire to learn to express myself through painting began in earnest 12 years ago. By accident, I was introduced the absolute thrill of moving wet, smooth acrylic paint across a surface and the surprises that happen moment to moment with each different colour, mark and brush stroke.
Determined to see where this eye- and heart-opening discovery might lead, I attended the Ottawa School of Art for two terms. Since then, for the last ten years on a regular basis when I’m not abroad, I have been painting with a small group of women, guided by a local/Ottawa artist, Vanessa Coplan.
From 2010-2016 in London, I attended numerous painting and drawing classes in London, all excellent in different ways. For the last four years, I have been a student at ESOP, taking various courses in the autumn and winter terms. This year, after returning to Ottawa in March ‘just in time’ before The Lockdown took effect, I was able to Zoom into the ESOP classes for the third term of classes taught by Alison Harper and Dan Coombs. Surprisingly and interestingly for me, it has been a very positive experience to learn/paint/discuss in a group, online, from afar.
When painting, I’m on an adventure. I am happy with a big canvas stapled to the wall and seeing where my imagination takes me, but equally happy and challenged by a live model in front of me and a smaller canvas to work with. Colours and shapes are what excite me most. Attempting to get ‘a likeness’ or sticking to ‘a plan’ can sometimes quell my enthusiasm but I do also welcome those opportunities; there is always a lot to learn! A non-judgmental risk-taking exploration of what my brush with wet paint can reveal and express is my current, albeit enormous and hopefully never-ending, project.

Luka Vardiashvili has been working with the Essential School of Painting for the past 5 years and feels very fortunate to be part of this community of artists, creatives, intellectuals, art therapists, makers and doers, people who catch you when things feel at their utter worst.

I explore painting, movement dance, poetry as a way of channeling parts of my inner psyche when faced with either rocky paths or clear waters. I mostly work in oil, pastel with the use of the body, more recently video. I take a lot of joy in observational drawing, painting through movement and physical dance which is directly affected by my environment, even if it is sometimes a rapidly shifting space.

After a tumultuous 2 years of feeling the lowest I have ever felt.....I became lost. Reaching the lowest... I emerged from this time and created these paintings without thinking too much. They celebrate life, the mystery of existence and the unknown.

When denied freedom, basic rights or possessions a person might be forced to look internally for the more difficult answers to life. If however we gaze too deeply some of the experience that makes us human can be made blurry, however it is always temporary and clarity can return.

I think now more than ever conversation, listening and really hearing another's perspective is the only thing that can pull people out of rough times. It's mindful clarity or at least needing to be awake, alert and proactive that can spark really important debate, conversation and expression.

For a while I felt I did not have the right to create however I feel this is the wrong approach to take, it is more important to give a person who may be in the depths of a painful experience unconditional positive regard as this is possibly the only thing that can reawaken some form of self-belief and an urge to keep fighting and most importantly failing.

I feel that I received this kind of support and understanding and feel humbled for it. if we fall over we have to get up again and try once more. It's admitting to a release of the ego when it can get the worst and an acceptance of the way that things really are.

I have a deep sense of gratitude to old friends and new for pointing me towards a path out of hell. Now it's up to me to continue on that journey

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