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Blank lined note pad with a pencil, sharpener and pencil sharpenings.

“Writing from Paintings” with Helen

Activity One: 3 warm-up list ideas:

A – list colours with names e.g. sapphire, crimson, azure…
B – list artist’s paint names you may find in a paintbox e.g. ultramarine, umber, viridian,
C – our own ‘Suffolk ‘ palette – (5) shades of grey e.g. Orwell Bridge Grey, North Sea,
Storm Cloud, Seagull, Pillbox Defence Grey…

The following paintings are only a starting point – they may spark a memory, an
idea, a thought (you don’t have to write exactly what you see, you don’t have to
stick to the precise historical period – just see where your thoughts take you!)
Anything goes: poetry, fiction, life-writing, memoir, description, whatever you feel
moved to write.

Activity Two: the First Painting

A fanned out selection of coloured paint charts.
Painting showing a woman standing on a balcony pegging out washing between two buildings.

John Sloan, a member of the ‘Ash Can’ school (1871-1951) A Woman’s Work (March
1912) Cleveland Museum of Art.

The Second Painting: 

Painting showing the driver and two women, a man and a dog sitting in a coach.

The Felixstowe to Ipswich coach (1939) by Russell Sidney Reeve (1895-1970)
Christchurch Mansion, Ipswich

Reminder – a prompt is only a starting point.

The Third Painting

Painting of two men and a woman at a bar with a barman, viewed from outside. .

Nighthawks (1942) by Edward Hopper (1882 – 1967) The Art Institute of Chicago

The Fourth Painting

Artwork showing bold black lines with white, red, black and yellow sections.

Tableau No. IV: Lozenge Composition with Red, Grey, Blue, Yellow and Black (1925) Piet Mondrian.

This work is thought to be a reaction to the disharmony of the First World War.

Helen has also created a YouTube video for this workshop which you can view by clicking the screen below.

Content by Helen Chambers

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