Alan Cotton teaches at Sidbury Mill

Aritst Alan Cotton’s expertise rubs off on youngsters at Sidbury workshop

SOME of artist Alan Cotton’s expertise brushed off on a group of youngsters at a morning’s workshop at Sidbury Mill on Saturday.

But it was not brushes they used to paint. Colaton Raleigh’s internationally renowned artist showed the 10 to 15-year-olds, how to work in oils, using a palette knife.

John and Judith Stephens made their mill available and canvases and paints were provided.

The young artists chose a photograph of a landscape, then sketched an idea of their projected painting. With Alan’s guidance, they transferred their drawings on to canvas and, learning how to mix and blend colours, began their paintings.”

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Using an impasto – thick, textured paint – in his work, there was plenty of oil paint to clean up after the session, which ended with a lunch of bangers, mash and beans for the 11 students.

The finished paintings were excellent and an exhibition evening is being planned for family and friends of the young artists before they leave the mill.

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Alan’s tuition was inspirational, said Judith, as was the extra help and guidance of Sadie Medway, a Devon local authority art consultant, and Alan’s daughter, Rachel, who primed canvases and offered help to those on the course.

Sidbury Mill owner Judith said: “I am hugely enthusiastic about encouraging young people to paint, not only in art classes at school, but at home by self-motivation.

“I was aware that because of the nature of oil painting, being fairly messy, many children would not have had the opportunity to really work, mix and experiment with oils, especially using a palette knife, and I hope that Alan has inspired them not only to have a go, but to continue.

“The group we had on Saturday displayed considerable talent and I am looking forward to their exhibition.”

She hopes this is the first of other youth art mornings at the mill.

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