Artwork of the Week - ‘Coconut Palms’ by Cameron Morgan

It’s time to brighten up your week with Artwork of the Week and this time we are very pleased to bring you this new painting of coconut palms by Aspire artist Cameron Morgan.


Cameron's work isn't a stranger to the feature, he has an energetic artistic output and this painting is no less vividly arresting. Built up from simple forms and spheres the painting combines a formalist approach with a sense of the material painting process. There is a large importance on colour and using a bold palette, the trees have been strictly arranged and boldly built creating depth and impact - a fruitful work from Cameron!


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Tanya Raabe-Webber Visits Project Ability

Tanya Raabe-Webber’s painting masterclass has been a great success thus far, with all those taking part learning valuable new techniques in the art of portraiture.

Tanya delivered an extensive talk on her artistic practices, giving great insight into her work as well as her own artistic inspirations. 

Tanya then gave a live demonstration of the process of creating a fine portrait, which proved a very insightful session indeed. Reconnect artist Norry posed for Tanya, and in a short space of time she demonstrated how to capture a true likeness of the subject. 

We’d like to thank Tanya enormously for imparting her knowledge and skills to those who attended, and remember to watch this space for an update on how our artists are progressing with their portraits! Tanya's recent series of work, The Custodians, is currently on show at Croft Castle, Herefordshire.

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Artist in Residence August 2013 - Lea Cummings

ReConnect multi-disciplinary artist Lea Cummings took some time out from his drawing to share his residency experience with us.

You were part of our first round of residencies in 2010. How do you feel this one went, in comparison to your first residency here?
It’s been good, pretty similar in some ways, and very different in others. The things I’m working on are very different from what I did in my first residency, and the place is a lot quieter (the residency takes place in our ReConnect studios, where workshops run on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays). Mostly I’m just keeping myself to myself, and do what I do. I’ve actually spoken to a few people that I had never spoken to before, even though we’re part of the same kind of workshops, but I usually just focus on the work. It’s not that I don’t like to talk to people, I just try to use the time I have here to make art.

One month is a very short period of time…
Yes, it went very fast. Time usually flies by when I’m working on these pieces. The things I was working on last time didn’t quite play with time as much, because it was more planned out, and I was trying to achieve something, whereas what I’ve been working on for the last few months isn’t like that. Time just speeds up and goes incredibly fast when you’re focussed 100% on what you’re doing. My work now isn’t goal based, I’m not trying to achieve anything, it’s not that kind of focus, there’s no anxiety attached to it. I’m just trying to discard all that way of thinking ‘is it good, is it not good’… It’s just about letting something flow, and covering the space. It’s really nice to work that way, there’s no right or wrong. And usually when I finish a piece I tend to like it a lot more than if I had planned it. I feel more detached and can almost appreciate it as if someone else had done it.

It’s interesting how you talk about filling space, because with your other work –audio work, performances- it’s conceptually also about filling a space, and inhabiting it.
It’s very true. These pieces I’ve been working on since ReConnect started relate a lot more to the audio work that I do, and some of my previous visual work. Most of my audio work is more like a stream of conscious collage, it’s not about writing a song with different parts and an established structure. I try stuff out, see what works and what doesn’t, using random things, it’s more experimental. So yes, it’s very similar to these works on paper. If you let your creativity flow, and don’t box it in by thinking too much, you get very interesting results in terms of what it produces. A lot of people have commented about the work looking like Aboriginal or South American art. If you look at artwork from different cultures throughout history, you can see certain similarities in patterns, colour combinations from people that have no physical contact with each other. It seems that accessing a meditative head state brings out universal patterns.

Talking about Aboriginal work, or folklore, they don’t really have any art history attached to them: the work is completely free, meditative, connected with nature, which seems to be what your work is attempting to do.
Absolutely, that’s exactly it. When you allow yourself that space, it cuts out all this noise, all this consumerist capitalist sh*t, it makes you focus on something a lot deeper that other cultures were closer to. If you can let your head state do that, it seems that universal things come out from it, which is amazing. You seem to tap into something very vast and intangible. I’m very interested in Rupert Sheldrake’s idea of a massive information field all around us that you can’t see but you access it every time you think, and by meditating you can pull things out of it. It explains a lot of phenomenon, and how when you do something creative you can feel things you don’t usually feel and you can express them in that way.

This is a very different approach from our previous artists in residence, who were very connected with the modern and virtual world, with their work being very organised and planned.
I’m naturally that way inclined, and I battle against it. There can be something very positive about being a planner type of person, it’s a good way of achieving things, but for me personally it’s also very negative, so it’s nice for me to do something outside of that usual way of doing things. It’s very easy to miss the essence of something and get caught in the mechanics of it.

Is the residency a kind of escapism for you?
Kind of, yeah. It’s good because it also has a set structure: for the most part I’m here at 10am and stay until 4pm. I’m always juggling a lot of projects at any one time, trying to make sure to spend enough time on everything so that it all moves forward as a whole, so it’s nice to have a month where it’s kind of suspended: I just have this one thing to focus on.

Where will you go from here?
I’m not sure, I don’t know. I think I’ll just keep going until I’m not feeling that ‘thing’ from it anymore, until it exhausts itself. Which it will do eventually, and then I’ll go on to something else. The way I feel does make a difference to the work as well: there are a couple of pieces that I don’t like, partly because I was overthinking them, and partly because I wasn’t feeling good when I was doing them, and you can really see that when you look at them. I believe emotions affect the physical world, and it’s why art has this sort of mystical quality: it holds something from its creator. That’s why mass-produced things don’t have that resonance.
The last couple of weeks, I have been doing some audio recordings in the stairs of the building as well. I like these hidden public spaces, they are public but very quiet, because nobody really uses them. I’ve been banging on the rails and produced an amazing sound in there, so I am now recording it and I’ll use it as an audio piece in the exhibition.

Lea Cummings will exhibit his work alongside the other artists in residence in our gallery in January 2014. He is currently working on a feature film with writer Sarah Glass, more details about the release coming soon.

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Carol Lee talks about her drawings

Carol Lee is one of the artists featured in our ReConnect Group Show. Here she talks about her drawings, her inspiration and her practice.

The exhibition will run until this Saturday, 31st August.

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Young Talent on Screen - week 2

During last week's workshop, our young filmmakers started working on a 'tips for film' video, due to be released soon: how to plan your movie, storyboarding, editing, etc. Want to know more? Here are a few of their tips:

1) Get a story!
If you don't have an idea for a story, you can't really progress.You can use your imagination or personal experience to develop a story. Once you have an idea you can then decide which style and what resources you need, e.g. props, actors, location.

2) Storyboarding!
Get a visual idea for your film, how will your key scenes look? What will your characters say and do? Make sure these all make sense.

There are plenty more tips, which you will be able to see in their video soon. In the meantime, can you guess this week's movie star??

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Community Champions Awards

On Wednesday 21st August a group of our artists, tutors and staff attended the Glasgow West and Central Community Champions Awards ceremony at Drumchapel Community Centre.  We were runner ups in the Group’s Public Service category.  Congratulations to all the hard working and resourceful groups and individuals who took part!

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Artist Talk by Tanya Raabe-Webber

Artist Talk by Tanya Raabe-Webber – Wednesday 28th August 1.00pm - All welcome.

Artist Tanya Raabe-Webber is delivering a portrait masterclass at Project Ability on the 28th and 29th August.  This is a closed workshop, but Tanya is giving an open talk on her work and the art of portraiture, as well as a live demonstration in Project Ability’s workshop on Wednesday 28th August at 1.00 – 2.00pm. 

Tanya has recently created a series of portraits, The Custodians, exhibiting at Croft Castle and commissioned by Meadow Arts.  Tanya also recently created live portraits of high profile cultural figures who have helped to define a thriving disability cultural identity within a contemporary society. These portraits were created during a series of portrait sittings which were open to the public in the Tate Modern, Tate Liverpool and the Wolverhampton Art Gallery. She is also an associate director of Fittings MultiMedia Arts.

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Artwork of the Week - Untitled by Carole Lee

We are pleased to announce that Untitled by Reconnect artist Carole Lee has been chosen as our Artwork of the Week.  Carole’s growing body of work continues to impress and excite, with this piece being no exception.

The visceral energy of the scene is almost overpowering, producing a truly intense experience while also bringing a sense of fun and playfulness to the disparate variety of characters and their individual stories. The use of a flattened perspective of this saturated scene adds to the agitated nature of this group of consumers, further strengthening the engaging atmosphere of the work.  It would be easy to lose yourself in the intricacy and detail, and the ability to experience something completely new on multiple viewing makes it a very stimulating and affecting piece indeed.

You can see a selection of Carole’s work at the Reconnect Group Show currently on show in our gallery. The exhibition runs until the 31st of August, so make sure to catch this before it’s too late – you certainly won’t regret it!

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Project Ability is part of Visual Arts Glasgow

Visual Arts Glasgow is a new website that allows you to follow the stories and conversations from the city's art venues as they happen. They draw in image-based social media posts from museums, galleries, heritage and craft venues to keep you up to date with the latest news. Project Ability is one of the many vibrant venues featured on the website, where you can browse through photos, blog entries, Twitter and Facebook feed, and plenty more! 

A great way to discover more about Glasgow's art scene!

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Short film about Project Ability by Felix and Yvonne Dubourdieu

Last June, Arthouse Productions director Yvonne Dubourdieu and her son Felix Dubourdieu-Greig came over to Scotland from Alberta,Canada and stopped by Project Ability. During their visit, they filmed a short documentary about our workshops, and met with a few of our artists.

The result is this great little film!

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Lea Cummings tells us more about his drawings

Lea Cummings, who is currently in residence at Project Ability for the month of August, takes a few minutes to tell us more about his three drawings exhibited in ReConnect Group Show.

The show runs until Saturday 31st August.

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Young Talent on Screen - blog series

The Young Talent on Screen workshops started again on Friday, and the young film lovers are continuing their research on different films, as well as working towards the newly launched Young Talent on Screen Film Festival. Every Monday for the duration of the block of workshops, we will post a blog entry letting you know what the group is up to. 

The young artists have also started a new game: they have drawn famous movie stars, and want you to find out who they are. You will find this week's mystery actor below, but first have a look at this week's blog entry, by Michael Earll.

"It was great to see the trailer for Young Talent On Screen posted onto Youtube. I’ve posted it onto my profile page on many social networking sites, just for that extra coverage around the web.

The time off from the first block of Friday class gave me an opportunity to check back on some of the movies I watched and took some mental pointers on. Most of the ones we watched were full length mainstream films (Dark Passage, The Thief and the Cobbler, Juno), a couple of independent short films and a well-loved short film during the second week of the block which I think was called “Las Palmas”. (It’s the one where the baby tourist gets “drunk” to the dismay of the customers in the bar!)
During the time off, I watched a few new movies and they were rather good. The first one was “There Will Be Blood”, this was great as it kept me on edge at how greed and power can influence and how the film had created a dark atmosphere. The second was “Skyfall”, which was great fun to watch, as it had Javier Bardem as the villain who was in No Country For Old Men, which I loved. The other one was “Juno” which we watched as a “mini screening”. It  was pretty good to watch, but I thought the overall movie felt a bit plain, as there was plot and character development but nothing much else, although the soundtrack was alright.

There are a few others to look back on, plus I’ve got two movies I’ve seen before and enjoyed and will be checking them out again. One’s a short film called “Mama” which Guillemero Del Toro made into a full movie, and I’ve heard good things about and “The Illusionist” which is an animation set in Scotland, so hopefully that’ll be interesting."

-Michael Earll

As for this week's Guess the Movie Star, can you tell who this American actor specialised in action movies is? (Drawing by Euan Stewart) 

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Gartnavel ‘En Plein Air’ Workshops

Last week a group of ReConnect artists spent three days at the Common Wheel in Gartnavel Royal Hospital. As the weather was fine they spent the entire time outdoors in the gardens painting 'en plein air'

Some of the artists chose to make drawings and paintings from their observations of the surroundings whilst others drew on their imaginations and enjoyed exploring the materials.

Everyone agreed it was a wonderfully relaxing few days and a pleasure to have the opportunity to spend some time outdoors making art and enjoying nature.


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Artwork of the Week - Rocky Mountains by Martin Sloss

After careful deliberation, Rocky Mountains by Aspire artist Martin Sloss has been chosen as our Artwork of the Week. Well-deserved too; the artist's brave use of bold areas of block colour to frame the piece pulls the eye towards the tranquil wildlife in the painting's centre. Painted in calm, pool-like blue tones which contrast with the surrounding arid landscape, this work highlights the harshness of nature, but also the flourishing of life within. 

Martin's painting is currently on display as part of the Aspire at Platform exhibition, which is running until the 29th of September - don't miss out!

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Create classes are back!

The new block of workshops is starting this week.  If you have not already booked a place, make sure to get in touch as soon as possible.  We are very much looking forward to what our young artists will produce over the next few months!

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New trailer for Young Talent on Screen

The young filmmakers involved in th Young Talent on Screen project have produced a great little advert to encourage people to send us their short films.

The YToS workshops will resume this week, so feel free to start sending us your productions now! For more information on the festival and how to submit your film, please click here

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Norman Wallace tells us about his painting ‘Big Cat & the Lights’

Norman Wallace is one of the artists exhibiting currently in our ReConnect group Show. Here he talks about his painting 'Big Cat & the Lights', and where he found his inspiration.

The show runs until Saturday 31st August.

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Call out for Pet Portraits!


Would you like your pet’s portrait painted by a Project Ability artist? We are now accepting your pet photographs!

At Project Ability we like our pets: stories of cute and cuddly cats and naughty but nice dogs abound. To celebrate our pets we are inviting Project Ability artists to paint their portraits!

If you would like a unique portrait of your pooch send us their picture*. We are looking for action shots, pets at home, head and shoulders, cheeky grins, full length portraits... Our favourites will be selected and painted by our artists and exhibited in the gallery in December 2013.

Capture your pet on film and send their picture, along with their name and pet profile (maximum image size 1MB) to

The closing date for submissions is the end of September and our favourites might be published on our website or social networking platforms.

* By sending us a picture, you accept for it to be published on the Project Ability website and/or Facebook.

Image: Paddy 

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Simon McAuley Returns from his Residency in Celf O Gwmpas Gallery, Wales

Artist Simon McAuley has returned from his month-long residency, Celf O Gympas Gallery Wales, the abstract painter has rediscovered his aptitude for his degree subject; photography and has gathered lots of source material for painting on his return. Here are some photo highlights from his last few weeks in Wales...

26 July ~ "Pausing for a break at a track on Cefnllys Lane (a very quiet road). I took this route on three separate occasions."

27 July ~ "Collecting source photographs from the local park with practice support artist, Kumar Saraff."

29 July ~ "A long day cycling. Following a circular route through the village of Nant - glas."

"With exceptional warm weather and equally warm welcome from exceptional artists, my residency was a great experience. I have many memories to treasure."


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Aspire @ Platform - Opening Event!

We opened our Platform show with a number of the twenty seven exhibiting artists on Monday 5 August. Artists John Cocozza, Edward Henry, Robert McCamley, John McFlynn, Jonathan McKinstry, Cameron Morgan, Martin Sloss, Gary Sorbie and Fiona Stack made the trip to Easterhouse and were delighted to see their work on show in Platform's viewing wall. The work collectively demonstrates the preoccupation with painting in the Aspire workshops throughout the year and brings them into a real lived space where the paintings can interact with Platform's everyday activities; browsing the library, having a coffee or attending a workshop. 

John Cocozza below his painting 'Zebra in the Snow'...

Robert McCamley with his landscape painting...

Edward Henry and his painting 'Hoarfrost'...

Installation view

Edward gives the exhibition a thumbs up!

The exhibition continues at Platform, The Bridge, 1000 Westerhouse Road, Easterhouse until 29 September - not to be missed!
Project Ability would like to thank Platform for the opportunity to present an ambitious exhibition and for all their work on the installation.  


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