By guest blogger Hannah Pickering.

Hannah was a student at the Cardiff Metropolitan University Widening Access Summer School and was invited to take part in the Widening Access Exhibition at this year’s festival.  We have invited Hannah to write a number of blog posts about her experience at the WA Summer School and the events she took part in and attended during the festival.

Oh What a Studious Summer!

Photos of me and my fellow students painting in our ‘Arty Party!’ course

You might say, that a summer can’t be studious, because you’re supposed to be resting, exploring, having fun and getting to know people better. However, since having studied a BA Degree in Creative Writing at Bath Spa University, I have been finding it difficult to get work long term, or at all within the Creative Industries and I would like to use my skills as more than just a hobby. So being able to be a part of these Widening Access Summer School courses at Cardiff Metropolitan University, for free, has been a real privilege for me to attend. I would recommend to people from all walks of life, even if you’ve never done any of the subjects properly before, they have a range of courses you can choose from.

I attended the ‘Arty Party!’ course, which was about helping us learn how to put paint brush to canvas, with acrylic artwork, tools and skills. This was a two day course. My Photos above, are of these classes, the bottom photos are of me Painting the ‘It’s A Starry Night,’ work by Vincent Van Gogh. As it is an all-time favorite of mine and I have been longing to paint it for a while. This took me most of the first day to complete. Then I completed the finishing touches the second day. We were given a collection of artworks to choose from, this is what I chose.

Attending the Summer School art courses is as much a good chance to build up your creative portfolio, and maybe to learn a new skill, as it is to socialise and make new friends. It’s fun to meet others who have a similar interest in this field, yet possibly have different points of view on it all, use different artistic mediums, and have different skills and knowledge to share.

Here is some of my work:

Vincent Van Gogh’s ‘A Starry Night’
Pencil Sketch | Painting in Progress | The Final Painting
My first attempt at painting my Nanna’s portrait

This is the work I completed on the course, I am now working on a new version of this painting.

Pencil Sketch | Sketch with Picture Reference | The Final Painting

The other class I attended was How to Construct your Art & Design Portfolio’, which was run jointly with madeinroath and the Summer School. It was really cool to be able to see how we each presented our ideas to the world. We learnt about new ways to help present your artwork in a way that can help you sell or bring new interest to your work, for other people and companies. I didn’t produce anything in this, but I gained some new insight into how to do as I have said above.

I thoroughly enjoyed this experience, and will hopefully be going back next year. I would recommend them to anyone from ages 16 plus, whether you have done a degree or not and if you are looking for work or not.

Also, who would have thought that it would lead me to have my very first piece of artwork in an exhibition? Which is my very first painting in my series of ‘Places in Cardiff and to be able to take part in the madeinroath Festival 2017. It was totally unexpected!

So thanks to madeinroath for giving me the opportunity to gain experience by exhibiting my artwork, writing for their blog and contribute to the festival’s social media documentation. Also, huge appreciative thanks to Cardiff Metropolitan University for the opportunity to do free art courses at the Widening Access Summer School.