"Twisted Realism" A visual artist, creating moody black and white tonal drawings in charcoal, pastel and graphite. Inspired by the human figure, story telling and Europe.


VESPERTINE VISIONS - Woodford Folk Festival

New Years Eve at Woodford, and I was invited to create one of my drawings in situ. In Artisania, a very public display. One of my large works can take up to 4/5 weeks to complete, so in order to do anything meaningful in a two hour evening performance, I got myself organised.
  • The first day of Woodford, I went along with camera in hand, and photographed things that I thought captured the spirit of the place.
  • The next day in my studio, I collaged the images, and drew them with a 7B pencil, onto a large (200cm X 120cm) sheet of brown Kraft paper. The drawing was allowed to be free and distorted, to add to the drama and accentuate feelings about various objects in the work. Fluid, menacing, whimsical etc.
  • In the studio I then toned in all the grey/black areas with Extra Soft Pitt Compressed Charcoal, using my photos as references. 
I took this to Woodford and on the evening began to render all of the white areas with Art Spectrum Soft Pastels (Titanium White, which is very sharp on the brown paper)

After a couple of hours I had crudely filled in about a quarter of the area, then headed home. There was a lot of passer-by interest, lots of questions and photos, and often people standing two or three deep watching. Even a couple of interested buyers.

I've decided to complete the work at home. 
It's the first drawing I've commenced that doesn't have a European theme and I've found it really interesting to work on. Below is where it's at at the moment, but there's probably another couple of weeks work involved. I will post further photos of it's development.

The public performance was daunting.

Visual Art is somewhat unique amongst the Arts.
Rarely collaborations, so vital to other disciplines. 
We tend to squirrel ourselves away in very private studios, 
preferring isolation, 
loud music and particular rag-tag clothes that become our uniform of intent. 
Puts us in the mood, all necessary to create.
No phones, no visitors. 
The world can, and often does, disappear for hours.

ARTISANIA at the Woodford Folk Festival 2013

It's always been my mission as an Art teacher, to debunk the myth that being able to draw is left to a gifted few who are born with an almost divine trait. You can teach anyone a few simple tricks and ways of seeing to enable them to create something they thought was beyond their abilities.

 Woodford affords me an opportunity to do that in a unique environment. It seems to be a place of bravery, where it is OK to have a go at anything; eat untried things, wear what you want in a time-warp heaven, dance even if you're awkward, sing out loud though you may be tuneless, all without being judged. 
In fact it’s encouraged. 

Within Woodford is the village of "Artisania", a place that allows people to try arts and crafts that they wouldn't normally. Usually due to fear, self doubt, or a lack of time in their daily lives. Lots of people in the classes say they did art back in school and really enjoyed it, but had to move on in their lives, but the art kept niggling at them, leaving a lasting impression that they often wondered about.  

And in the non-threatening Woodford environment, where time slows down, where you can explore and are encouraged to have a go, they feel safe and comfortable enough to reconnect with those nagging questions. 

You get young kids and grandparents, practicing artists, mums that finally have time, stick-figure beginners, men who have wanted to try but felt it was effete, all end up creating works that delight and surprise themselves.

Unemployed and globe trotting professionals work side by side in a common camaraderie and engage in all sorts of conversation while creating their work. 
In the workshops everyone is an equal. 

And at the end of a class, there is always gratitude and appreciation for what they have learnt. A number of people tell me they are going go back to their communities and enrolling in art classes, that they have discovered a confidence that was lacking a few hours ago.

Thank you to all the great students who took a risk, and became artists for a few hours. May you continue to work on your creativity and develop what lies within.

I love Woodford!


"Peter Hollard" 

Produced by
John Perrigo and Nasim Fakhry