Ian Murphy – Artist in Residence Workshop

On Friday 4th March, 46 Art students in Years 9, 10, 11 and 12 were afforded the exciting opportunity of working alongside a practising artist for the entire day.

Ian Murphy is a world-renowned fine artist from Wigan and was initially due to visit us back in summer of 2020, one of the many opportunities which was sadly postponed due to the pandemic. We have been waiting patiently, eagerly anticipating meeting him and introducing him to our classes for the past two years. It was well worth the wait!

Ian arrived with us early in the morning at Wilmar Lodge having just returned from a two-week residency in Singapore; he was full of enthusiasm for sharing his knowledge and promoting the value and importance of Art with our classes. The workshop began with Ian introducing himself and his incredible artwork which he generously shared from his personal collection. His sketchbooks were jam packed with intricate studies captured from a variety of destinations during his extensive travels across the world. Large scale oil paintings and mixed media studies were scattered around the rooms for students to view in close proximity. Viewing his artwork in person was an invaluable experience for our artists, particularly after being confined to viewing his images online for the past two years. The texture, scale and depth within his work was appreciated by staff and students alike. The practical aspect of the workshop was quickly under way and Ian encouraged students to take creative risks and enjoy the process of making, echoing the ethos we uphold in our own Art lessons.

Every student had their own photographs to work from and Ian shared some of his own starting points with those who wanted to use them. We encouraged Year 11 and 12 to take images whilst with us on their Art trips to London and Edinburgh last term in readiness for the workshop which proved particularly successful. St. Dunstan’s in the East was a stunning piece of architecture in London and a perfect location to visually document texture, architecture and atmosphere; many in Year 11 chose this as their primary source reference. The tasks were kept short and snappy and both rooms were full of creative energy as everyone tried hard to keep up with the fast pace which Ian set from the outset. The artwork which was produced on the day was outstanding across all year groups; we were both impressed with the high level of detail captured in a short space of time and we look forward to all the classes continuing to develop and refine these pieces in the coming weeks and months. We are always proud of our artists and their dedication to the subject but never more so than on Friday, they were a credit to Westholme and to us both. We are certain that the visit has further cemented their passions and curiosity to explore the diverse array of careers there are in Art whilst giving them a plethora of inspiration for future work in school.

To look at Ian’s work in more detail you can view his website www.ianmurphyartist.com and to see more images from the day and a snapshot of our work in Art and Photography you can access our Instagram page @westholmeartanddesign

Miss L Dent and Mrs J Green