Over the course of five days Colin demystified both artists' sketchbooks and mixed media for me and provided clear demonstrations of practical techniques I wasn't familiar with. He was encouraging and supportive throughout but also gave constructive criticism and advice, without which I simply wouldn't have progressed or improved my work. Immensely enjoyable and very worthwhile.
Claire Stevens 22.7.18
I came to art late and had been doing very little for two years having become pre-occupied with some sad family stuff. I booked the Mixed Media Sketchbooks summer school with Colin as I knew him slightly and wanted to try and get going again. I wasn't disappointed, finding Colin's explanations and demonstrations very accessible. He created a relaxed and encouraging atmosphere, getting us to 'just start' - sketching something in the docks area that caught our attention. Each of us homed in on something different and were helped to explore associations that were personal to us. Gradually, through playing with viewfinders, photographs, colour (chalk and oil pastels, acrylic paint), words, collage, photocopier, monoprint we developed ideas as well as noticing 'happy accidents' that arose during the making. While there was no focus on creating a finished piece, we each found that we had produced some pieces that were 'finished enough' to display, learning to cut out simple mounts. And of course we had each produced a sketchbook documenting our process and discoveries of what did and didn't work. For me the associations of canal boat holidays, water ebbing and flowing in constricted spaces led to embedding a simple poem in some of the pieces; reflections on the water under two very different bridges began to represent moving from a darker to a lighter, more open space emotionally. Colin was helpful throughout with practical aspects as well as supporting us to stay with and work through frustration and 'not knowing' with a light and reassuring touch. I'd warmly recommend his courses as he has a wealth of experience and skill to share, and I'm hoping, for myself, that this will prove a bit of a watershed.
Claire Wilson 22.7.18
Colin first gave me advice on my portfolio at an open day. I was working in another field and had little experience in the art world. He quickly understood my needs and gave me advice that led me to put together a strong portfolio for application when I had the time a couple of years later. On joining the school Colin remembered me from that interview and even some of the work I had shown him years prior. On the Foundation course Colin’s teaching was completely individualised to my needs. As a mature student I had different experiences to others, and Colin was immediately sensitive to this. In his tutor discussions he got to the heart of every project, understanding what I wanted to achieve and guiding me to do so in ways far more sophisticated than my initial, clumsy efforts. I have worked with tutors in the past who try to make their students create something that they would, but Colin helped me to create my own vision, better. His constant reminders to distil my ideas, keep it simple, take away what you can; profoundly affected my work for the better, and I still repeat these mantras with regard to every project I tackle. I think it is safe to say that they will stay with me forever.
Martin Crawford 14.8.18
I had the fortune of having Colin as my art-tutor during my Foundation Course 2017/18. As I am from Denmark, I often had a lot of language-barriers and sometimes needed some extra explanation for the tasks we had. However, that was never an issue for Colin as he was always very patient and definitely made me feel more relaxed in a different environment than I was used to. Moreover, he was good at giving feedback in a constructive way, focusing on what could be improved yet also telling us what was good about our work. I have come very far from where I started having Colin’s support as a tutor and even though he would (sometimes causing me great frustration) push me out of my comfort zone, I am very grateful that he did today. He is a lovely cheerful teacher and always good with a smile and a dad-joke. I would recommend him as a tutor at all times.
Kristina Sahlholdt 15.8.18