Ravilious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery

Ravilious at the Dulwich Picture Gallery: 1 April – 31 August 2015

by Christine Hopkins SGFA

 

The Westbury Horse (1939) watercolour and pencil on paper, private collection, courtesy of Towner, Eastbourne.

The Westbury Horse (1939) watercolour and pencil on paper, private collection, courtesy of Towner, Eastbourne.

 

It has been hard to avoid the recent mentions of the Eric Ravilious exhibition that opened on 1st April at the Dulwich Picture Gallery; every arts/media/culture page of the press has been encouraging us to visit. The gallery’s promotional material explains the bare bones of the show:

‘The first major exhibition to survey watercolours by celebrated British artist Eric Ravilious (1903-42). Well known for his iconic designs for Wedgwood, Ravilious is widely considered one of the key figures in mid-20th century British design but he was also one of the finest watercolourists of the century.

His astonishingly prolific career spanned peace and war. With the outbreak of World War II Ravilious was assigned to the Royal Navy as one of the first Official War Artists producing a uniquely haunting record of Britain and War.

Over 80 watercolours will be on display – including famous works like Train Landscape and Westbury Horse as well as rarely seen works from private collections providing an inspiring look at his work between the mid-1920s and his tragic death in 1942.

Although he died at the age of only 39, Ravilious was largely responsible for the revival of English watercolour painting. He started out under the tutelage of Paul Nash at the Royal College of Art and although hugely versatile it was painting that Ravilious saw as his true vocation; it was this work that he exhibited, and he cared deeply about its reception by fellow artists like Moore and John Piper.

The exhibition is curated by James Russell, a leading specialist on Eric Ravilious whose books on the artist include the popular series Ravilious in Pictures

Ravilious catalogue front

Catalogue front cover, showing The Westbury Horse (1939) watercolour and pencil on paper, private collection, courtesy of Towner, Eastbourne.

The approach to the exhibition is via the permanent collections of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, past vast and highly coloured oil canvasses, so one of the first things to strike you is the muted colour palette favoured by Ravilious. In contrast to the preceding oils, the scale and subject matter are familiar, comfortable and perhaps even a little homely. Beginning with some examples of his earlier wood engravings (and the rare treat of seeing the actual tools used), it becomes apparent that his style of working was to stay with him throughout his short career. Described by Douglas Bliss (his friend and author of the 1928 book History of Wood Engraving) as ‘dot and speck and dash and dab’, his use of pattern and line is visible throughout the works shown here.
Divided into six sections, the exhibition brings together works held in public and private collections, and re-unites many works first shown together in 1939. With the benefit of hindsight it is tempting to see a shadow of the events that were to shake the world and eventually bring about his death, but there is a sense of contentment, a golden summer, and a feeling of place that marks much of the work. Perhaps because of his familiarity with the landscape of the South Downs the colours are pale and chalky and his repeated patterns are reminiscent of ploughed fields or distant seas. It isn’t necessary to peer closely at the works to see his love of cross-hatching and stippling, a very dry brush was often in evidence. Often, there is a curious sense of exaggerated perspective, and in his interior paintings the patterned textiles and wallpaper serve to show this. The rugs disappear off at strange angles, and patchwork bedspreads show the contours of the bed beneath. There is an almost total absence of the human form in his work, and yet the frequent placing of a chair hints that someone was there just a moment ago, and will return shortly. Many of the works have the appearance of stage sets – a backdrop for some action that is yet to happen. Many of the works are presented in a framed but unmounted state, showing the rusty marks left by the drawing pins he used to stretch his paper, bringing us somehow closer to the artist as though we were there watching him prepare to paint.

Catalogue rear cover, showing Train Landscape, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collection

Catalogue rear cover, showing Train Landscape, Aberdeen Art Gallery & Museums Collection

Upon the outbreak of WW2, Ravilious volunteered for the Observer Corps, scanning the skies waiting for enemy aircraft. Later he energetically seized the opportunity of a contract working for the War Artists’ Advisory Committee. He was sent to serve with the Royal Navy, initially at naval bases within the UK, but latterly posted to an RAF station in Iceland. During the war years he painted some of his most recognisable work including the chalk figure of the South Downs used to illustrate the front cover of the exhibition catalogue. He still painted his characteristic landscapes, but with the inclusion of the signs of warfare. Beaches were now festooned with barbed wire, fields became landing strips for light aircraft, and distant convoys and gun emplacements appeared in the coastal images. Domestic interiors were replaced with scenes of operations and map rooms. A series of lithographs recorded his time spent observing submarine operations. It was during a search-and-rescue patrol off the coast of Iceland that his plane disappeared.

It is interesting to speculate on a possible connection between Ravilious and the SGFA – he is of the generation that would have been part of the Society’s early history, and some of his contemporaries and inspirations were certainly known to have exhibited with the SGA, as it was then known. It is entirely possible that without his untimely death he would have been one of our 20th century leading members. However there is a great deal of our early documentation which is missing or was destroyed, so it is impossible at this stage to claim him as one of our own.

The exhibition is accompanied by a beautiful catalogue by James Russell, published by Philip Wilson Publishers,

©2015 Dulwich Picture Gallery

 

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Image of the Month – Low Tide, Putney by Wendy Winfield ASGFA

"Low-tide Putney",  Wendy Winfield ASGFA,                    charcoal on paper, 55x76cm.

“Low-tide Putney”, Wendy Winfield ASGFA, charcoal on paper, 55x76cm.

Ever since I moved back to Kingston more than twenty years ago the urban Thames has been a constant draw. An attraction generally as a motif and specifically an opportunity to get down onto the strand at low-tide with  an  A1 drawing board and a stick of charcoal. It’s a situation where you have to get a drawing done as quickly as possible – tide and weather dominating. Spontaneous direct mark-making delivers freshness and vitality. Low-tide appeals as I am able to get up close to the motif and also draw the debris left on the wet mud and sketch any passing mudlarkers.. The large drawings stand alone as finished works and the observations may be used later in oil paintings made back in the studio. Putney has been one of the best places for me – skidding down the slimy concrete under the roadbridge and onto the mud with the railway bridge close and dominant. Sadly most of these drawings have been sold unrecorded, but this one got away.

I have not been able to lug a large drawing board about for the last two years, so nowadays my outdoor work is smaller, more portable and the favourite medium is Indian ink which still allows for strong mark making and lively contrast.


Profile of the Artist: Wendy Winfield ASGFA

wendywinfieldWendy was born in London and studied at Kingston School of Art and the Courtauld Institute. Later she became a pupil of the abstract expressionist painter Abraham Rattner in New York, then the Bomberg school with Roy Oxlade, Tunbridge Wells. After a career in advertising Wendy became a full-time artist.

Previous solo shows have been held at The Piers Feetham  Gallery in 2003, 2007 and 2012.

Plein Air work is important to Wendy and she has spent over twenty years working from outdoor observation in the UK, France and Italy.

Wendy Winfield is a Associate SGFA, she was elected in 2014. For more information see Wendy’s website www.wendywinfield.com and www.drawinglondon.org.uk.

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Image of the Month – A Silhouette of Michael Herbert by Charles Burns SGFA

Charles Burns "Michael Herbert"Charles Burns SGFA "A Silhouette of Michael Herbert"

Charles Burns SGFA “A Silhouette of Michael Herbert”

This is not exactly a silhouette, but what is known amongst us silhouettists as a portrait ‘en grisaille’. This started life as a freehand cutting – cut from laid white paper with scissors – which was then embellished using a fine graphite pencil and a magnifying glass. (The cutting measures about 2.5 inches high, so the drawing is quite small scale).
The whole process took about 30 minutes I guess. The subject is my friend and fellow silhouettist Michael Herbert, who is forever willing to listen to my slightly obsessive ramblings about the technical intricacies of cutting silhouettes.
I created a whole series of these cuttings, but have not yet found occasion to exhibit them. Being small they get rather lost in groups shows and large gallery spaces. This cutting has been mounted on blue paper for photography, although part of me prefers such cuttings unmounted; in this state one can hold them up to the light like a tiny miniature head, modelled in pencil. Viewed this way it seems like it might almost speak.

Profile of the Artist: Charles Burns SGFA is a silhouette portrait artist who based in Reading He travels to events all over the country taking his specially made studio with him. Differing from most artist studios Charles is able to take his wherever he travels as his studio is a specially-made jacket with secret pockets to hold scissors, paper and card: enough to cut 60 silhouettes without pausing to reload

Charles was born in London in 1961 and educated at Ampleforth, in North Yorkshire. Here he was taught by the sculptor John Bunting. Later, he attended art colleges in Exeter, Wolverhampton and Lyon, France, graduating with a 1st class Hons degree in Fine Art (painting) in 1984.

On leaving art college he worked for many years as a street artist in London’s Covent Garden, initially drawing 10-minute portraits in pencil and later cutting silhouettes. This evolved into working in entertainment and corporate events.  Charles has cut over 150,000 profiles, including two portraits of the Queen, President Clinton (while visiting the National Portrait Gallery) and the Duke of Edinburgh.

In addition to this Charles is also author of “Mastering Silhouettes” and is currently working on the documentary film “Silhouette Secrets”. Charles will be opening his studio as part of the Caversham Arts Trail: http://www.cavershamartstrail.co.uk

Further information can be found by visiting Charles Burns’ website  http://www.roving-artist.com/ or by following him on twitter @roving_artist or  facebook.com/therovingartist

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Royal Society of British Artists at the Mall Galleries, London

The exhibition highlights the best of contemporary painting, printmaking, drawing and sculpture from the representational school. Artists include members and open submission artists, there is also a section dedicated to A-Level students. Showing some of his prints is SGFA Associate Member, Austin Cole RBA, ASGFA. Austin will be demonstrating Drypoint print techniques on 17th March, 12-2pm.

"Beijing Hutong 3", Austin Cole, 16.5x6".

“Beijing Hutong 3″, Austin Cole, 16.5×6″.

The RBA exhibition is opening on Wednesday 11 March and runs until Saturday the 21st of March at:

Mall Galleries
The Mall
London SW1 

The private view is on Tuesday the 10th of March from 11am to 8pm, the exhibition will be opened at 6 by  The Right Hon Keith Vaz MP.

Download a Private View Invitation 

"Beijing Hutong 5", Austin Cole, 19.5x7".

“Beijing Hutong 5″, Austin Cole, 19.5×7″.

Six of Austin’s Beijing Hutong prints will be on display during the exhibition.

Valerie Warren RBA, FSIA, BAS, SWA, Hon SGFA will also be exhibiting her bright, architectural prints. Valerie won the 2007 prize for “Best Monochrome Work” at the SGFA Annual Exhibition, Menier Gallery.

Other RBA and SGFA associated artists include Adrian Hill, who was an official War Artist on the Western Front from 1917 – 1919 later presenting BBC’s “Sketch Club”.

 

 

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DRAW 14 – Our award winners and why they draw

By Pat Harvey SGFA

Andrew Marr at SGFA's DRAW 14At the private view for DRAW 14, the Society’s 93rd Annual Open Exhibition, we were signally honoured by the presence of one who, at first glance, is a stranger to the world of art: broadcaster, journalist and television presenter Andrew Marr. But, as became obvious from his short but pithy introduction to the exhibition, Mr Marr is no slouch when it comes to drawing. In fact he’s written a book about it, A Short Book about Drawing, which vanished like hotcakes at his signing session after he presented the prizes.

It is these that we are concerned with here, kindly sponsored by leading manufacturers of art and drawing materials, and selected for us by award-winning artist Jeanette Barnes. The Very Reverend Andrew Nunn, Dean of Southwark Cathedral, assisted by choosing the winners for our optional exhibition theme of Remembrance.


 

The Strathmore Artist Papers Award for the Best Work in the Exhibition went to Dr Susan Poole SGFA UKCPS for Prawn.

Prawn by Dr Susan E Poole

“Prawn”, Susan Poole SGFA

“Making a drawing has always retained a strong sense of magic for me. I see drawing as a mark-making dialogue between myself, the objects I am looking at and the visual ideas they inspire. My favourite medium is the humble pencil, because so much can be achieved with a couple of these, a sharpener and a bit of putty rubber. I also like working with coloured pencils because of the intensity of their colours. Animals have often been my inspiration. They offer an extraordinary variety of forms, surface textures and patterning. I have travelled widely to view animals in their native habitat”.

Prawn combined my two directions of interest. It has a very personal meaning, and it is of an animal. I am profoundly deaf in one ear and moderately deaf in the other, as the result of a condition I’ve had since my thirties. Although I wear two powerful hearing aids, I frequently fail to fully hear, or I mis-hear, what is said. Deafness is not an attractive condition, but I wanted to make something visual from it. I experimented, first by making a drawing of a cochlear, the part of the inner ear that is the root of my problem. Then I made drawings of my hearing aids. Their shape and pinkish colour reminded me of prawns. So that’s how I came to make first drawings, and then an etching, of the prawn”.


Watercolourist Chris Forsey RI SGFA chalked up two prizes: the Derwent Award for a Highly Commended Work in the Exhibition for Blue Boat, Blue Sky, Port Isaac, and the Dr Ph Martin’s Award for a Work in Colour for Meet at the Slipway, Port “Isaac.

Blue Boat, Blue Sky, Port Isaac

“Blue Boat, Blue Sky, Port Isaac”, Chris Forsey SGFA

“I have drawn for as long as I can remember. My granddad encouraged me to draw on blood-spattered meat wrapping paper when I was a four year old! And any project at school would be an excuse to draw — even maps and diagrams filled me with excitement. I have a compulsion to draw in my sketchbook, capturing the world around me and translating it into a painting, but in recent years I have enjoyed the combination of drawn, spontaneous mark-making combined with a fluid, expressive painting approach.

“My sketchbooks have become a launch pad for exploring new approaches. Pencil is now combined with graphite stick and wash, felt-tip with water-soluble graphite, crayon and watercolour. My more painted work usually combines acrylic ink, oil pastel, watercolour, and possibly acrylic paint. This technique gives me the opportunity to create a fluid and expressive combination of media.

Meet at the Slipway, Port Isaac

“Meet at the Slipway, Port Isaac”, Chris Forsey SGFA

“I enjoy painting coastal scenes, buildings, dramatic compositions and atmospheric weather and light. I rarely work completely from a photo, usually combining this with a sketch and a lot of memory and imagination. My landscape subject matter however relies on a lot of imagination, but based on a memory of certain lighting, weather, and colour, often taken from another experience and added to the work in hand.

“I followed a coastal village theme in my DRAW14 work, and all was executed in the same media combination mentioned above. I wanted a strong colour palette and expressive line, and this work seemed to combine lively line, simple fluid or expressive paint and strong composition.

“The SGFA seems to me to have a very contemporary view of what a drawing can be, and my use of painting and drawing fits in with its broad scope. Quality of draughtsmanship is a prime consideration for me, and for the Society, while also promoting modern approaches, technique and vision. It gives me the ideal opportunity to follow a more ‘drawing- led’ approach in the work I submit for exhibitions.”


Angela Williams Hon. SGFA secured the Jakar Caran d’Ache Award for a Drawing with Summer Garden Afternoon.

Summer Garden Afternoon

“Summer Garden Afternoon”, Angela Williams Hon. SGFA

“I have drawn for as long as I can remember, starting with wax crayons on greaseproof paper at infant’s school. It has always been a compulsion, a delight and a pleasure; sometimes a struggle and often a failure, but always fulfilling. I use any media to hand — I enjoy experimenting — but enduring favourites are charcoal and graphite. I am very interested in mark-making and losing the ‘edge’, and both media —  soft and gentle, or strong and bold — lend themselves to this.

“Recently my garden as well as local fields and building sites have been my favourite subjects. I admire and am influenced by many artists, but Pierre Bonnard, Richard Diebenkorn, Joan Eardley and Sargy Mann are always there at the top of the list. In this drawing I wanted to explore the way light dissolves edges and to escape ‘outline’. I hope that it has energy and light.

“The SGFA has been a wonderfully supportive and encouraging group of friends and colleagues, all devoted to drawing in all of its forms. I was honoured to serve as a vice president before I took on full time work as a lecturer.”


Not content with nailing the Award for a Highly Commended Drawing sponsored by Cult Pens for Sun Boots – City on my Table, Claire Sparkes ASGFA also carried off The Associate’s Award sponsored by Jacksons Art for Neil – in addition, of course, to being one of last year’s prizewinners.

Sun Boots, City on My Table

“Sun Boots – City on My Table”, Claire Sparkes ASGFA

“Drawing is fundamental to my artistic practice. I love the smell of graphite, the feel of good quality paper, and, if it is a large piece, the scale. For me drawing is an intuitive process which, as it often requires a great deal of time, also becomes a meditative focus. It is a process of recording my surroundings, relationships and experiences. The drawings are uplifted moments.

My favourite drawing material is graphite. I like the simplicity of working with it on paper, my focus being the subject, the material, and the poetry of mark-making. However, I also enjoy using coloured pencil, inks and mixed media. I also paint with watercolour or oils. For me, drawing and painting are very closely related. I have experimented with various media over the years, but ultimately my choice of media is dictated by the subject. My work is about people, and the experience of living in the world.”

Neil

“Neil”, Claire Sparkes ASGFA

Neil is a portrait of my brother. I was trying to describe something of the many aspects of a particular person, and how people in general are in a state of continual movement. The inspiration for Sun Boots – City on My Table was contemplating notions of Britain today. This directed my attention to my yellow Dr. Marten boots with iconic images of London. In contrast to the robustness and vibrancy of the boots, I chose the delicacy of the tea cup and saucer (carefully borrowed from my mum!). The image is a celebration of two great traditions.”

“The focus upon drawing led me to the Society of Graphic Fine Art. I had admired the drawings of SGFA members in the Rye Art Gallery, and then read an article in The Art of England magazine about the Society’s 2012 annual exhibition. I was delighted to be selected for membership in May 2013.”


The Award for a Highly Commended Work in Colour, sponsored by Dr Ph Martin, went to Sally Wilson for Sheffield Remembers.

“Drawing is the foundation of all that I create,” Sally says. “I always keep a sketchpad or notepad close at hand, as ideas and concepts often emerge as I work on other pieces, and it is essential to capture thoughts as they occur. First-hand findings are the most fruitful, and I visit a multitude of locations, from urban to natural environments, and the wildlife

Sheffield Remembers

“Sheffield Remembers”, Sally Wilson ASGFA

that lives there. My work is two- and three-dimensional and mixed media based: graphite, ink, textiles, free machine embroidery, watercolours, acrylic and welded steel, to name a few media”.

Sheffield Remembers was produced after a visit to Sheffield on a miserable rainy day in April. The fountain water had been dyed lime-green-yellow to celebrate the forthcoming Tour de France, and looked incredible against the contrasting red of the architectural structures and the poppy wreaths surrounding the war memorial. This effect was heightened by the reflections on the wet surfaces and glass structures of the buildings.” Sally discovered the SGFA through a National Event website. “It was refreshing to find an organisation which promotes such high standards and versatile work. I felt that membership of this prestigious organisation would challenge my own practice and skills, and feel very honoured to have been accepted as an Associate member.”

Editor’s note: Sally’s Sheffield Remembers was our October 2014 Image of the Month. To read her story please click here


London Bridge is Not Falling Down
“London Bridge is Not Falling Down (v)”, Sumi Perera SGFA

When she was asked, “Why drawing?”, Dr Sumi Perera RE FSDC SGFA, whose London Bridge is Not Falling Down (v) earned her the Award for a Print sponsored by Arqadia and Intaglio Printmakers shared her thoughts.

“Drawing is an integral part of my daily routine. It helps me to think and re-evaluate what I see. I use pencil, ink, monoprint and stitch. I use free-hand stitch to complement drawings, as it offers a certain degree of distance and makes it possible to draw more random trajectories. Monoprints are often generated as a whole-body gestural exercise, allowing greater freedom in mark-making. I am interested in the way the human mind designs, and how the body occupies and navigates through the built environment.

“London Bridge has had several previous incarnations, from Roman timber bridges to a nineteenth-century stone structure. While the attacks on the Bridge and the shambolic attempts to fix it have been well documented (most notably in the eponymous nursery rhyme), the current box girder structure is exceptionally strong. My artwork contains various human viewpoints from the Bridge, including a worm’s eye view of No.1 London Bridge, and a distorted panoramic view”.


Jagdish Chowk Udaipur
“Jagdish Chowk Udaipur”, Will Taylor SGFA

 

Rye artist/printmaker Will Taylor SGFA won the Award for a Highly Commended Print sponsored by Great Art for Jagdish Chowk Udaipur.

Asked why he draws, Will replies, “It’s an illness. I can’t help myself. Andrew Marr’s excellent book on drawing strongly resonates. We should all get back to making.” Defending his chosen medium, printmaking, and particularly etching, he says, “Using a needle on metal constrains one to use pure line.” In 2014 a painting trip to India broadened his horizons. “It forced me into different media and was an extraordinary way of looking intently at this amazing place.”

Editor’s note: Read about Will’s painting trip to India in our Sketchbook Series story here 


Wendy Winfield ASGFA, winner of the Award for a Work in Monochrome sponsored by Stabilo International for Lavender Field, Provence.

Lavender Field Provence

“Lavender Field Provence”, Wendy Winfield ASGFA

“Drawing has always (well, since I was four) been a natural form of expression for me. It is the most direct hand-eye descriptor I know. I love using ink, Indian, with nib, bamboo, hogshair brush or any old stick or twig I find when working out of doors. Charcoal, too. Big screen painters’ sticks, so long as they make really black marks and shatter under pressure. If I need to make quick colour notes I use soft pastels — not practical, but delicious. I draw from the observed image, be it life, landscape, whatever. I could be out looking for a landscape, I may entice someone who looks interesting to be drawn in the studio, I might find something domestic in the house. It could even be a car, bus or train journey, when I draw at speed the passing scene. With Lavender Field I was in France with a chum, it had been raining all day, and we were obliged to draw from the car, which is frightfully inhibiting. I walked down the lane and saw the lavender. When I returned the next afternoon, light shimmered on the grey-green bushes not yet in bloom, and the contrast between the light-flooded orderly rows and the shaded bushes and woods behind was great, and perfect for ink.

“I was invited by Les Williams SGFA, who knew my drawings, to apply for Society membership and, aware of the prestige and professionalism of the Society, was delighted to be accepted. And so I look forward to working with the SGFA in the future.”


The Award for a Highly Commended Work in Monochrome sponsored by Stabilo International was won by Vincent Matthews ASGFA for Rye Harbour Pill Box.

“I have loved drawing from a very young age,” says Vincent. “It is a major factor in getting me through life. Being profoundly deaf since birth, and tongue-tied until I was five years old, I was drawing before I could talk.”

Rye Harbour Pill Box

“Rye Harbour Pill Box”, Vincent Matthews ASGFA

“Etching and aquatint suit my style of work. I enjoy using simple lines and the abstract, velvety tones of aquatint. I often add intaglio engraving lines, a 14th century technique.” His principal theme and inspiration is “the stark, barren landscape and vast sky in and around Dungeness and Rye, near where I live. Dilapidated sheds, skeletons of old boats and the thought of what must have been fascinate me. I love the way drawing can make the mundane interesting. I was inspired by the Rye Harbour Pill Box as a subject when I saw it with strong cast shadows. The sense of it being abandoned added to the interest. ”

As for the Society of Graphic Fine Art, Vincent feels he has found his spiritual home. “I love our members’ Drawing Days, and never fail to be amazed by the range and breadth of media my colleagues use. I have been criticised at times for drawing in an obsessively digital world of throw-away ideas, so it’s great to be part of an organisation that promotes drawing.”


Sally Friend’s Despair won her the John Purcell Paper Award for a Work on the Exhibition Theme of Remembrance.

Despair

“Despair” Sally Friend ASGFA

“All my work begins in a sketchbook. I draw with sticks, feathers, pens, carbon, whatever will bring my ideas to life. The inspiration for Despair came during a visit to the National Portrait Gallery’s exhibition of World War 1 portraits, when I discovered the powerful prints and drawings of Käthe Kollwitz. When researching images of soldiers in the trenches, I was struck by the despair in their eyes, and how much mud they had to contend with. It was as though they were made of mud. I began my drawing with an acrylic wash on Bockingford paper, drew initial marks in graphite then layered another muddy wash, then charcoal, then another wash, building the image and finishing with highlights in Conté crayon. I tried to put all the emphasis into the emotion, and to avoid making any extraneous marks. I was very pleased to have been selected for DRAW14 because I had enjoyed the experience of taking part in DRAW13, and had met some lovely members while stewarding.”

Sally’s Image of the Month for February can be seen here.


Noli Me Oblivisci (front view)
“Noli Me Oblivisci (front view)”, Glenn Fitzpatrick ASGFA

 

Glenn Fitzpatrick MA ASGFA won the Award for a Highly Commended Work on the Exhibition Theme of Remembrance, sponsored by Rosemary & Co Brushes, with a highly original piece, Noli Me Oblivisci.

“I drew on a serviette because I had run out of paper, and I used a gel pen and a pointillist technique so as not to tear the fragile surface. I felt compelled to draw an eye which bore an uncanny resemblance to that of an old friend. I brought up a picture of her on my mobile phone, and for an hour and a half I drew the rest of her profile. Held up to the light, the image showed on both sides, and I realised I could sandwich the drawing between two panes of glass. And

Noli Me Oblivisci (rear view)

Noli Me Oblivisci (rear view)

when the sun shone through it I was reminded of a fire guard. For me the fireguard is a metaphor for our vulnerability. When we are exposed to heat — or danger — we endeavour to find solace and comfort in something like this ghostly presence. The spiritual quality of the image reminded me of friends past. It seemed to me to belong to all generations, a reminder that we are not infallible, and for me it resonated as ‘remembrance’.

“I constantly feel inspired by the Society, and am always learning something new from my colleagues. I consider them to be the perfect mentors and peers”.


Finally, the President’s Choice Award, sponsored by the Society of Graphic Fine Art, went to Annie Ridd SGFA for Goodnight, Sleep Tight, Mind the Bugs… In Annie’s words, “I use drawing as a tool to make visible my thoughts, to invite the viewer to get up close and really look, and discover the interwoven layers of intimate detail that convey the themes of my work. The work is autobiographical; my moods are reflected in the absence of colour, black and white works that combine the abject and grotesque.”

14 RIDD ANNIE Goodnight, Sleep Tight, Mind the Bugs...

“Goodnight, Sleep Tight, Mind the Bugs…”, Annie Ridd SGFA

“I use the most basic of tools, applying pencil to paper. I consider drawing to be a way of exploring the past which in turn enables discovery of the inner self. The act of drawing directly from personal objects which some people may regard as junk, for me holds magical qualities. Just as objects of the past retain their memories — imprints of the body, a sense of ‘havingbeenthereness’ — so do my drawings. With each piece I have the ability to recall the circumstances of its making. They become my diary. “


DRAW 15, the Society’s 94th Annual Open Exhibition, will take place 5 – 17 October 2015. For details please visit our web site www.sgfa.org.uk

 

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Image of the Month – Dancing Teddy by Sally Friend ASGFA

"Teddy Dancing" by Sally Friend ASGFA.

“Dancing Teddy” by Sally Friend ASGFA.

Dancing Teddy was originally inspired by life drawings in my sketch book. I thought it would be fun to mix them up with found images and collage. It’s great fun to play with figures and put them in strange imaginary landscapes. I enjoy adding “tongue-in-cheek’ History of Art references of classic Fine Art poses. I don’t start with a fixed idea about the composition – just a drawing. When the integral collage pieces are glued, I’ll draw into the work with whatever comes to hand. I like to experiment with whatever materials will bring my subject to life. I love juxtaposing, layering and interweaving imagery. Serendipity is definitely my favourite word!

Sally’s work normally begins with sketches, often life drawings. The influence of other artists and their inspiration can be seen in Sally’s drawings, “Despair”, her prize winning entry to the Draw 14 exhibition, for example, was created after seeing Kathe Kollwitz WWI portraits, with the powerful marks and emotions.

 


Profile of the Artist: Sally Friend ASGFA

Sally Friend with her Prize Winning Draw 13 Work "Bathers".

Sally Friend with her Prize Winning Draw 13 Work “Bathers”.

Sally was born in Calcutta and came to the UK when she was 4yrs old. She graduated from Brighton College of Art with a BA(hons) in Graphic Design. Following this she worked as a Layout Artist, Senior Designer and freelance Graphic Designer. She was elected to the Society of Graphic Fine Art in October 2014.

The design element is a strong influence on Sally’s work and she has not only won prizes at the SGFA’s Annual exhibitions two years on the trot  but also exhibited with the Society of Women Artists (Mall Galleries) and the Chelsea Art Show. Sally also takes part in Art House Open Studios Richmond and works in painting and printmaking from her Thames-side studio in Middlesex.

Forthcoming Exhibitions:

RK Burt Gallery 13- 24 April 2015

Sunbury Working Artists Art Trail 19 – 21 June 2015

Art House Open Studios, Richmond  3 – 5 July 2015

For more information:

www.sallyfriend.co.uk

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Image of the Month – The Modern Alchemist by Elizabeth Barton SGFA

"The Modern Alchemist" Elizabeth Barton SGFA.

“The Modern Alchemist,” 94×75 cm, Polychromos pencils on Saunders Waterford HP Paper, Elizabeth Barton SGFA.

The Modern Alchemist was originally inspired by a conversation about a chemistry lecturer, who was afraid of women, and his girlfriend, who had a phobia about birds. It all started as an ironic joke. The dancer is a figure from Swan Lake, a tale about a woman transformed into a swan by an evil magician. The bird headed men thronging about her are Thoth, the Egyptian god of magic, and Horus, who, in his lab coat, has become the Modern Alchemist. A smaller version of it had been created in 1984, which featured in a solo show I held at The Moray Gallery in November of the same year.

In 2013 I had this version shipped out along with 16 other art works to feature in my solo show, Dreams and Myth, which was held at Pumpkinheads Studio in Matamata. The picture is on show at The Palace Hotel in Te Aroha; where the proprietors liked it so much they want to have it!

I draw much upon the natural world, and work from life where I can. Figures appear in dream like settings – The Modern Alchemist is typical – and I owe certain influences to my art heroes Gustave Moreau, Eileen Agar, Samuel Palmer, Paul Delvaux, Harold Hitchcock and Leonora Carrington, who were inspirational lights in the French Symbolist movement, and among the English Romantics and Surrealists.

"Crysanthemums", Elizabeth Barton.

“Crysanthemums”, Elizabeth Barton.


Profile of the Artist Elizabeth Barton SGFA was born in Auckland and raised on a dairy farm in Waikato. Elizabeth lives and works in Te Aroha when not travelling to the UK to work in her Sussex studio.

She has a NZ Commercial Pilot’s Licence and worked as a pilot and flight instructor in SE England until 2009 when she returned to fine art. Elizabeth studied at Dunedin School of Fine Art focussing on printmaking (1982). She has illustrated for companies including  Penguin and Hodder & Stoughton.

Elizabeth’s forthcoming show The Painted Word, will be held at The Wallace Gallery in Morrinsville (NZ) from 9 April – 5 May 2015.

Elizabeth Barton, "Shoe Sheriff", watercolour, 37.5 cm x 25 cm.

Elizabeth Barton, “Shoe Sheriff”, watercolour, 37.5 cm x 25 cm.

For more about Elizabeth’s exhibition see the Wallace Gallery website: www.morrinsvillegallery.org.nz

Further information about Elizabeth’s work can be seen at her website www.musewave.co.uk

 

 

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