What an inspiration it was to have an Artist in Residence at school in November!

Contemporary painter Julie Oldfield worked alongside students and staff in the Art Department, inspiring us all with her stunning landscape paintings on metal and canvas. Enthusing about the Jurassic Coast, she shared with us the secrets behind her stormy skies, radiant seascapes and expansive works on copper and brass.  She led talks, shared her travelling stories, ran hands-on workshops, life drawing sessions and one-to-one tutorials. We were privileged to see her working on live work in the studio, which she builds and develops over time.  We were fascinated by her decisions to leave paintings outside to face the elements; she embraces the weathering process and the unexpected, allowing erosion and exposure to open up surface possibilities.

All togged up with face masks, goggles and lab coats, Julie gave some students the opportunity to work with spray paints on fragments of copper, treating the surface with salt and vinegar concoctions to leave us with crusty blue/green hues a few days later after oxidation.  Scratching and rubbing into these with glass paper and pearlescent paints was challenging and exciting, leading to some beautiful creations. As a professional yoga instructor, Julie had our L5 classes stretching out and finding their ‘inner calm’ before drawing from her fossil and pebble collections.

It was a week full of action and artistic enquiry and we would all like to thank Julie for her generosity of spirit and for sharing her valuable methods and processes with us. Since her departure, a number of exam students have responded to her work with superb outcomes and we now all officially LOVE spray paints!