Peter Lanyon Solo Flight new Copy
Peter Lanyon 'Solo Flight'


 ‘It is impossible for me to make a painting that has no reference to the very powerful landscape where I live’ 


Last October, when I announced that the next Freedom in Painting workshop would be 'Looking at Lanyon', the fact that the course filled up very quickly, as did a second workshop put on to fulfill demand, pays testament to the enduring popularity and influence of one of the leading lights of the post-war St.Ives School. And so, recently, there was a remarkable gathering of thirty Lanyon enthusiasts (including myself) at Creek Creative in Faversham, Kent.....

On these 2-day workshops, the aim was not to produce a pastiche but to look at Peter Lanyon's work, ideas, passions and methods as a springboard into another way to approach painting. Using his painting 'Solo Flight' (above) as a start-point, the artists were asked to bring to the workshop evidence and memory of a recent journey, including their own unique 'journey-line', printed off from AA Routefinder....

Both workshops began with a talk about the concept of flight and an in-depth review of Peter Lanyon's life, work and influences. Then, in a replication of one of Peter Lanyon's innovative ways into painting, the artists were asked to make a construction/sculpture, with the theme of 'movement', from card, perspex, string, clay, dowel and anything else to hand, using their 'journey-line' as a key component. Thrown in at the deep-end and with limited materials, the artists responded to the challenge with an array of playful and inventive constructions.


L13 Copy


In the afternoon session, the artists painted from the constructions, considering them not as a still-life but as 'experiments in space to establish the illusion and content of space in painting'. Adding to the complexity of the painting, into the mix went drawings, image, colours, ideas, memory from the artists' journeys. The aim of all the Freedom in Painting workshops is for the artists to explore the possibilities in painting and have in front of them something they have never made before. With a new beginning to a painting.....

The artists worked on this painting until mid-morning on Day 2. Then I gave a demonstration of frenzied mark-making and decision-making, using motifs from my own recent journey to Looe, as encouragement for the artists to make a freer, quicker second painting in a squeezed amount of time.  During the introductory talk, I had inevitably referenced Peter Lanyon's 'Porthleven' (1951) and the story of how, because of the disintegration of the original painting that had taken 14 months to make, Peter Lanyon painted a replica in four hours - the painting hung in the Tate. 


L1.1 Copy
in the studio


As always, the workshops ended with an invaluable group critique. The exercises were challenging - full credit to the artists for their response. The paintings from the workshops can be seen on The Freedom in Painting Group page on Facebook. This was an experimental workshop and many of the paintings in the galleries are works in progress but I hope all the artists can take away from the workshop ideas and inspiration from Peter Lanyon's own journey, life and work. If there was ever an artist that personified Freedom in Painting it is Peter Lanyon.


Very instructive and informative. Really felt I achieved going over my edge. Ashley works really hard for us.   Margarita Hanlon

Stimulating and challenging. Very useful - expanded my perception.  Mitzi Delnevo

 Absolutely great course, talk was fascinating and construction idea was great - even if i went off brief!   Heather Johnston