Exercise Three // Tove Barnes

May 13 2020
Hi  Tove,  to kick off exercise one,  where are you? 

I am sat in my garden studio, a shed that I converted with my boyfriend George, listening to the rain and drinking a cup of camomile tea from my favourite mug. George is carving a spoon from a piece of ash behind me and we’re listening to Laura Marling


How has your process changed since staying at home?

Before lockdown, I was living in Plymouth on my own, completing a studio residency. I had my own studio space at a studio collective and gallery, which culminated in my first solo show. I was making enormous paintings with the help of technicians and friends, and had artist critiques and workshops to help me along the way. Now, I am trying to stay busy making much smaller works- mostly illustrations, from a shabby little shed on my boyfriend’s driveway in St Ives. Strangely enough, I feel more motivated than ever. Although I have no set target to work towards, I am feeling so grateful that I am creativeduring this time. I have no idea what else I would be doing if I wasn’t


Whats last or current song you listened to (no cheating, we all have naughty comforts)?

 The song we are now listening to in our studio is Fortune- Laura Marling


and the last or current show/film/video you watched ?

The last show I watched, like many of us I’m sure, was Normal People. (If I’d answered this later on in the day it would be the new episode of Ru Paul’s Drag Race- which comes out this afternoon)


What are you reading right now?

I am re-reading Cider With Rosie by Laurie Lee, which I was sent by a stranger as part of a book exchange I got involved with over Instagram. It’s beautiful and makes me long for a simple life in an old country cottage full of wild flowers and fresh linen hung on garden washing lines. The book before that was I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith- my favourite book I’ve ever read and the one I sent to my stranger


What’s the last thing you cooked? (recipes welcome!)

 The last thing I cooked was a cauliflower, chickpea and aubergine curry for our house of 8


 What's the next thing you are going to cook?

I think it’s my turn to cook again tonight, I’m thinking a tomato and fresh basil linguini with lots of garlic and a squeeze of lemon


If everything in your house was going to be the same colour what colour would you choose? 

At the moment, I’m really enjoying my off-whites and creams. Unfortunately, as an artist, everything I own is stained with paint or ink, so my love of white is truly dangerous. I’m not a fan of monochromatic living, but I suppose I’d choose white (although I’m sure it wouldn’t stay white for long)

Which words or phrases do you most overuse  ?
 I’ve just asked my boyfriend George, and apparently I often describe things as “mad”
Do you have any superstitions?

I wouldn’t have said I’m a superstitious person, but there are definitely a couple of superstitions I partake in. I always salute magpies when I see them on their own, or say “Good day Mr Magpie, how’s your wife?”, a trick George taught me. It prevents the bad luck of seeing a solo magpie, because you are not only greeting him, but also his wife, which brings it back up to ‘two for joy’! Everyone who knows me will also know I believe in St Anthony (Saint of lost things). Every time I lose something I ask him to help me find it and he’s never failed me yet! Try it! (But you have to really believe him, not just humour  the notion of him, which is why he doesn’t work for my boyfriend). I also collect stones with holes in


What makes you laugh (feel free to share any videos, memes, record a joke, your pet)

Something that never fails to make me laugh is my Dad’s favourite joke. It’s too rude to share but it involves Kermit the Frog and Miss Piggy


 Which artist-living or dead would you like to share your quarantine practice with? Why?

This is such a tricky question! I’m going to cheat and choose one living and one dead. For my living, I’ll go with the artist who’s quarantine practice is inspiring me the most at the moment, and that’s Rachel Hodgson. Her drawings are so imaginative and strange. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried to draw a dream, but it’s almost impossible. I feel like her drawings are what successful dream drawing looks like. I absolutely love them and I think sharing a studio with her would give me the excitement and motivation I need to get the most out of my own practice. For my dead artist, It would have to be Henri Matisse. Even through trying times, he found a way to keep creating. I remember I tore a page out of a magazine as a teenager (I can’t remember which now, perhaps Oh Comely), which showed Matisse bedridden and unwell, holding a huge stick with a paintbrush on the end, drawing shapes on his bedroom wall. This is the kind of perseverance we all need during this difficult time


Exercise 2

Write a drawing prompt you would like someone else to receive:

My drawing prompt is something I used to love doing as a teenager: Draw a self portrait in your dream outfit, head to toe, including accessories. For me, it would be the fabulous, beige Molly Goddard dress I saw on her instagram page, the Shrimps Prairie pearl bag, and a pair of Vivienne Westwood A/W 2012 plaid platforms. Then stacks of beautiful handmade jewellery by Roo Bannister. An absolute winner of an outfit


We are probably going to get through a lot of these homework sheets - so write a question for other people that you want to know the answer to ?

My question: If you are keeping a journal or diary, choose your favourite entry and illustrate it. If you are not, write something now. How you feel, what you’ve done with your day, what you’re thinking about in this moment


We are putting together a mixtape -  what’s your go to song for dancing ?

Disco Tits- Tove Lo
being in the studio ?
Aladdin- Future Islands
chilling out ?
Soft Porn- Puma Blue
falling in love ?
Statues- Foo Fighters






For  Exercise Three, we ask our artists to  pick one of the following subjects as a starting point to make some work using an A5 piece of paper/cloth/whatever you like to the size  with no restriction on media. These will be published on our website and available for £110 each.

  1. Still life: pick 3 items from your surrounding and recreate them

  2. Draw the last text you received/Page 15 from a book you are currently reading 7th sentence down

  3. Draw the last exhibition you saw/in style of the last exhibition you saw


 Check out Tove's Exercise Three piece here