A TYPICAL WORKSHOP AS DESCRIBED BY A SIXTH FORM PUPIL
'Paul took the Lower Sixth A level artists for a weekend workshop. The workshop had begun with a preliminary talk by Paul on his work, which included slides and a short performed sculptural piece. The slides gave a general impression of frequently recurring themes: religion, poverty, food, travel, and abstraction. We now started to observe aspects of various pieces in more detail. He encouraged us to have the courage of our convictions to form our own opinion of his work, which we then discussed.
He did not pre-empt our ideas, but allowed us to talk informally about our responses. He encouraged us to think about the symbolism and meaning behind each theme, and told us that his intention was to make the observer use her imagination. An example of his work is his depiction of the Last Supper - a large table with fourteen loaves of bread on it, each in a different medium and intended to symbolise different biblical events and characters; here he was concerned to explore the idea of bread as a metaphor and imaginative stimulus.
Following this, we then developed our own ideas for a sculptural project on the proposed theme of old age. Initially this seemed rather limited, but we soon got going, after doing some preliminary studies in our sketch books and brainstorming our ideas with him. He talked to each of us individually, making us question our thoughts and the most appropriate way of trying to visualise them.
We were encouraged to use a wide variety of materials, to develop a symbolic language to express the issue about old age that we each chose to represent. It was hard work, mentally and physically - but a great challenge. By the end of the weekend we felt quite exhausted, but we had also accomplished something worthwhile.'