Saturday Art Club – Paint as Walter Price

October is Black History Month and here at GoMA we want to promote and celebrate Black history and the contributions of Black people to our society, as represented in our collections and programmes. As part of our programme, we will present highlights from our collection focused on Black history and art. We know there is still much work to be done, but we want to play our part to embed Black History in our mainstream programmes, all year round.

For this Saturday Art Club, we are going to be inspired by Walter Price, now on show at GoMA. Price is an American artist, born in 1989 in Georgia. Today, he lives and works in Brooklyn, New York. His colourful, dreamlike paintings are often scenes from inside the home such as the living room or garden. Figures appear, often lounging about on sofas or at the kitchen table.

He served in the United States Navy for four years and perhaps this is what gave him the discipline that he now has in his daily painting schedule. He normally gets up every day at sunrise (4:30am!) and exercises rigorously, stretching or playing basketball. He then goes to his studio to start painting straight away. 

He produces many drawings and sketches before working on a canvas in colour. With some of his large-scale paintings you can see the energy and enthusiasm that has gone into producing them. Sometimes he paints with both hands at once, he can use both his right and left hand equally well (the word for this is ‘ambidextrous’).

He was inspired at a young age to become an artist by the black American painter Jacob Lawrence (1917-2000). His paintings were drawn from the African American experience as well as historical and contemporary themes, such as war, religion, and civil rights.

You can see one of Walter Price’s paintings in GoMA’s Domestic Bliss exhibition. Merge Sort is a wonderful image of a comfortable green sofa sitting in a green, blue landscape almost as if in an outside park. Why not make a sketch of the favourite part of your house and colour or paint it with bright colours? It might be your bed or your kitchen table. You can also have a go at drawing with both hands to see how it feels.

Method: You will need flat cardboard, pencil and either paint, oil pastels or crayons. First of all use a camera phone to take a photo of the area of your house that you want to make an image of, then sketch this onto the cardboard.

We used a pencil to make the sketch of our bedroom and then coloured it in using oil pastels.

Take another look at the way Walter Price plays with vibrant and bold colours and try out similar colour combinations yourself. Have fun!

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