Colour and emotion workshop

29 July 2023, 11am – 3pm
Free & suitable for all ages
SPACE Ilford
Book here

SPACE studio artist Emma Douglas will lead this family-friendly workshop exploring our emotional connection to colour. Using a simple grid layout and coloured pencils and pens you will be encouraged to fill in the grid, thinking carefully about how you see a colour as representing an emotion. Emma will provide a list of words describing different emotions to help inspire you.

Depending on how long you wish to stay, you can then go on to do more precise grids of colours depicting a particular day or weekend which maybe started happily and then got difficult, using the colours and subtle changes in tone to describe intensity of feeling both happy and sad. Coloured paper and glue will also be provided for you to create colourful collages expressing your emotions. This is a free family workshop suitable for children and adults alike.

Emma Douglas is an artist living and working in London, who works with a wide range of media: drawing, printing, painting, photography, sculpture and film. Her work surrounds autobiographical themes, touching on memories and moments from the past, in relation to her son Cato who died in 2010.

After graduating from the Royal College of Art in 1983, Emma exhibited widely in London. In the 80s and 90s she had three children, and carried on her practice in a quieter more personal way after her first child Cato was born, needing life-long care.

Since Cato’s death in 2010 aged 21 her work has become about remembering Cato’s life, and her life without him. She says: “My practice has evolved into a project of recording the marks he made during his life, both physically and emotionally, the places that we visited and the images that linger after someone has left. For example, I am currently working on a group of watercolours, paintings and murals, some of which were recently exhibited at Norwich Cathedral. They share the same visual language and themes, notably a series of linear colour blocks which denote and decode the various moments from Cato’s life, with a colour referencing a specific place or event; for example, the times spent on family holidays, school days and hospital visits. By portraying a life as a simple stream of colours, one can see the tragedy of that life cut short but the beauty and joy as well.”

Emma’s murals can be viewed in various locations across the UK, including London parks, a railway station in Somerset and a playground on the Isle of Barra in the Outer-Hebrides, each one representing a year in Cato’s life, each rectangle of colour a day holding unique events and, ultimately, a single cherished moment. So far ten of these murals exist; there will be 22 in all.

Her sculptural works feature found objects from Cato’s life, which are then recomposed. These are often painted and combined to create structures that are inscribed with works and phrases from Cato’s life. She has used mirrors to help the viewer peek into her world. She is also working on an ongoing project of posting home postcard sized paintings, which record her journeys and have become a conversation with Cato. One hundred and two have been completed so far. Her short films record the temporariness of a moment and show the passing of time and the fragility of life. Her print works are made with multiple plates and subtle colours, overlaid and repeated which represent past thoughts and present feelings.