Image of the Month: Beyond Repair by Abbie Phillips ASGFA

beyond repair small


Beyond Repair, 2014, collage, cotton, and netting on paper

In experiencing a sense of distance and lack of control over life, this work was inspired and the sensation fuelled the choice and use of medium. There is no direct mark making involved, only frozen photographic evidence of it, which is pieced together in a reanimated fractured collage. Thread and pins hold the puzzle together to maintain order and prevent the material work and the illusion on its surface from falling apart.
Drawing is a sensibility and action through which I analyse the internal realm and process the external world. A drawing tool is an extension of the fingers, of the body, its movements of which is responsive to one’s state of being. As a form of expression, drawing has an immediacy where marks can suggest sensitivity, boldness, obsession and much more. In understanding oneself, one’s own mind and emotions, it is made possible to empathise and communicate with others. Society consists of individuals experiencing individual psychological and emotional processes, yet we are able to connect like a network which allows society to function.

Ones’ state of being is a reaction to the conditions of one’s personal life, which is affected by the opportunities, restrictions and morals of society, which above all is influenced by cultural issues and political decisions. Although not openly political, this ripple effect triggers a personal response, which in turn inspires the work I create. The drawings are intuitive, are explorations of biological/psychological/philosophical ideas, as well as records of the journey through my existence.

Cultivating this primary resource often leads to drawings that resemble maps, cosmic realms, banks of data, and unidentified organisms. The drawings are often complex, sometimes existing as a history of mark making language which constructs and evolves over time. The working process of application and erasure, of layering and penetration, can lead to a battle between intimate concentrated moments of focus and overall pictorial space.

Profile of the Artist: Abbie Phillips ASGFA

Abbie Philips

Abbie Phillips ASGFA

Born in Gloucester in 1992, Abbie currently lives and works in London. Abbie graduated from the University Of Gloucestershire in 2014 with a First Class Honours degree in Fine Art Painting and Drawing. She was encouraged to submit to the Society after members saw her joint show with Ira Hoffecker at the Menier Gallery, London. Abbie was elected as an Associate SGFA in 2015.


avitarCharlie Kirkham SGFA is Editor of the Society of Graphic Fine Art Journal and a contributing writer. Charlie’s studio is based in London where she draws and paints. For more information please see

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Glenn Fitzpatrick ASGFA wins Passion for Freedom!


“Contextual Restriction Produces an Empty Magazine”, empty pens, Glenn Fitzpatrick ASGFA H 120 x W 140 x D 50 cm.



Glenn Fitzpatrick, Gulf War veteran (1990 – 1991), author (Arts and Mines), Artist. After witnessing the atrocities of war and encountering the devastation that it leaves behind, Glenn would help round up the prisoners of war (P.O.W). He met with one that would change his life forever; P.O.W. Saddam was captured in the desert and had been surviving on thin air, looking frail with malnutrition. Glenn gave him food and water, watching the life return to this person and seeing such relief, he discovered the importance of humanity and vowed if he got home alive he would return to education and put to use what he learned.

After several year of studies and coming close to death himself, having a cyst under the base of his brain on the carotid artery, Glenn picked up a pen and began to document events while in recovery. This is where his art journey would begin. Prolific in drawing Glenn would make studies until the pen ran dry, saving the pens over the years he knew he would make something from them but what? It was not until the Charlie Hebdo incident that Glenn realised there was an association between emptying pens and emptying a machine gun magazine. The irony, emptying a magazine to kill authors of a magazine was a bold and unprecedented manoeuvre. Glenn knew from this he would need to make a sculpture that said ‘As much as we want the freedom of speech, we should also consider the freedom to offend!’

Glenn is an Associate of the Society of Graphic Fine Art. His drawings have won prizes in the Annual Open competition both in 2013 and 2014. The SGFA are delighted that Glenn has won the Passion for Freedom Award for his courageous work.

The annual PASSION FOR FREEDOM Art Festival celebrates freedom. Selected artworks from all over the world were selected via an Open Entry system. The main questions that Passion for Freedom seeks to ask are:

What is freedom?

How easy is it to lose it?

How hard is it to get it back?

The artists involved include those who cannot work under their own name for fear of reprisals. Art in all its forms was celebrated and films, books and journalists accompanied the visual art exhibition. The aim of the festival is to promote human rights via aesthetic expression.

PassionForFreedomFlyerFind out more:


avitarCharlie Kirkham SGFA is Editor of the Society of Graphic Fine Art Journal and a contributing writer. Charlie’s studio is based in London where she draws and paints. For more information please see

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Image of the Month: The Line by Neil Dixon ASGFA

"The Line", Pencil on paper, Neil Dixon ASGFA.

“The Line”, Pencil on paper, 650 x 390 mm (830 x 570 mm framed), Neil Dixon ASGFA.

I no longer recall how this image came about, but I still hear the dark echoes of its tortuous creation. It is the emptiness that both troubles and satisfies me. The lack of substance of the world in which these fellows exist, and wait, in line.

That emptiness proved the main battle in creating this piece. The instinct to add environmental context, more detail, more intricacy, whispered then screamed not to leave this much of a void. Even the shadows of the figures have been shunned.

I arrived at the composition with the help of paper cut-outs, moving them around to find just the right position. The precise location of the mysterious solitary figure posing a particular challenge in finding balance yet retaining some tension.

Working in detail threatens to lose touch with the overall tonal balance of a piece. With so much space, tonal balance was much less of an issue than those with heavy coverage, but there is always that final round of adjustments near the end. Blacks are deepened – since they may have lifted a little while working other areas – and highlights lightened. I often only work this adjustment stage after letting the piece rest for a few days, coming back to it with fresh eyes.

I wish I still had the early sketches, the reference material, notes. This piece is a constant reminder that our body of work is more than just the finished item.

neil-dixon-avatar-2015Profile of the Artist: Neil Dixon ASGFA was born in Wales and now lives and works on the North Cornwall Atlantic coast. He began working life as an illustrator for print, media, publishing, and retail. Having spent the past 15 years working in more design-focused and technical fields, he is returning to his roots, rediscovering old skills, and resurfacing his creative side in both writing and art.

Neil’s work stretches between the extremes of highly-detailed, laborious drawings, to expressive abstract paintings: neither could exist without the other. Neil was elected to the SGFA in May 2015.

For more information:





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Image of the Month: The Gaze of the Green Man by Lois Cordelia ASGFA

"Gaze of the Green Man", Scalpel paper-cut, 50 x 40cm, Lois Cordelia ASGFA

“Gaze of the Green Man”, Scalpel paper-cut, 50 x 40cm, Lois Cordelia ASGFA

This scalpel paper-cut design features my reinterpretation of an ancient symbol of Nature, the Green Man, combining references also to another ancient ‘green man’: the legendary archer, outcast, and liberator of the poor and oppressed, Robin Hood, who is often likewise linked symbolically with Nature. The face turns to look away from the viewer with a poignant, wistful expression, rather than directly at the viewer with a level gaze, as the Green Man is traditionally depicted.

The crown of thorns hints at Christ’s suffering, suggesting how biodiversity is destroyed and crucified by humankind. The spider’s web hints at the fragile interconnectedness. Numerous native plant species evoke various aspects of Nature: strength, endurance, beauty, fertility, toxicity. A dandelion clock implies transience, and perhaps the running out of time, but also proliferation. A butterfly suggests rebirth.

Profile of the Artist: Lois Cordelia ASGFA

Lois Coredlia ASGFABorn in 1982 in Ipswich, Lois Cordelia is a prolific artist and illustrator in cut-paper, acrylics and mixed media. She works in diverse styles, ranging from intricate scalpel paper-cut designs to bold and energetic acrylic paintings. Lois took art to A-Level and in 1999 began working as a studio assistant to artist and illustrator Jan Pienkowski which proved a rewarding ‘apprenticeship’ to a master of drawing, graphics, and design. In 2006, Lois graduated from the University of Edinburgh with a First Class Honours degree in Arabic. The effortless beauty and cascading rhythmic line of Arabic script have been another major influence in her artwork. Her intricate paper-cuts have been featured in the ‘BirdBook‘ series (Sidekick Books, 2011, 2012, 2015 and ongoing) and  the German anthology ‘SternenBlick‘ (2015).

After being encouraged by Chris Forsey RI SGFA, Lois applied to the SGFA. She was elected an associate member of the SGFA in May 2015.

For more information please see:

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RBSA Portrait Exhibition


Claire Sparkes ASGFA, “Claire”, oil on canvas.

The RBSA Portrait Prize Exhibition 2015, Birmingham, runs from the 16th July – 22 August.

This year, working in conjunction with Changing Faces’ charity, the prize takes on a new direction. The exhibition shows how portraiture enables everyone to explore their response to disfigurement with confidence, by revealing the richness and diversity of faces. There  will be a specially-selected artwork on show from the Changing Faces collection,
Andrew James’ portrait of Bill Cooper. This year, the selection panel included Simon
Davis RBSA and RP, Nicola Kalinsky, Director of the Barber Institute of Fine Arts and
Alastair Adams RP.
The exhibition attracts many talented portraitists from across the UK.
James Partridge, Chief Executive of Changing Faces said ‘We are delighted to be
collaborating with the Royal Birmingham Society of Artists by supporting its biennial
‘Portrait Prize’ exhibition and presenting the Changing Faces Midlands Prize. We
believe the exhibition will do much to raise public awareness of the issues around
facial disfigurement and why our campaign for ‘face equality’ (like race equality) is so
important. We look forward to congratulating the Prize winner.’
The RBSA holds a number of prize exhibitions each year in order to provide artists with
a platform to show their work and be rewarded for their talents.
Many of the SGFA members produce drawn and painted portraits. Showing at this year’s Portrait Prize is Claire Sparkes ASGFA.


Claire Sparkes ASGFA “Bowie”, Oil on canvas

For more information please contact Sophie Rycroft, Gallery and Marketing Assistant,,
0121 236 4353.
RBSA Gallery
4 Brook Street
St Paul’s
Birmingham B3 1SA
T 0121 236 4353

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Image of the Month: Lesley Bower ASGFA

"Landscape with Trees", Collage, 22x17", Lesley Bower ASGFA.

“Landscape with Trees”, Collage, 22×17″, Lesley Bower ASGFA.

I was recently commissioned to create a site-specific work for my friend’s house in Puglia. The work could feature the olive tree growing in the wide courtyard facing the owners’ olive grove below. My friend suffers from macular degeneration and described to me how she could see sharply defined images and shapes while softer, less defined shapes appear as undecipherable fragments (an extreme example of the former would be Magritte, of the latter, Renoir or Seurat).  Whether a picture is in colour, black and white, abstract or naturalistic, large or small was immaterial.

The required dimensions were 22” x 17” (56 x 43 cm) to fit a space you see when you enter the house. These are not the dimensions I normally work in. The image needed to be clean, simple and immediate. A collage of cut, not torn, pieces would make an interesting, easily visible image that would be recognisable as a landscape but with abstract textural elements. I often paint up pieces of paper using different paint effects with acrylics. I used a few I found in a shoebox full of coloured foil sweet wrappers and found objects (I collect these because they’re eye-catching and sometimes useful). With absolutely no preconceived idea about how they should look in the composition except that they should go on the bottom, I cut them into rough shapes which turned out to form a jigsaw hill. The tree shapes were also just random, earlier pieces of water-colour playfulness on large rectangles of paper.

"Landscape with Trees", Collage, 22x17", Lesley Bower ASGFA.

“Landscape with Trees”, painting after the collage, 22×17″. Lesley Bower ASGFA.

LesleyBowerProfile of the Artist: Lesley Bower ASGFA is a mixed media artist based in West London. She has drawn all her life and as a child produced endless images of colourful clothes. She began taking evening art classes in Richmond in the 1990s which triggered a career change. Lesley went to Camberwell to study Paper Conservation as it had a more practical approach, including the history of drawing and printmaking, than the Fine Art degrees on offer. Following her time at Camberwell Lesley studied under David Wiseman (London Group). Now living near the Thames Lesley exhibits with West London Artists and takes inspiration from Kew and Richmond Park. Her work is interested in intricacy and structure.

Lesley Bower was elected an Associate of the Society of Graphic Fine Art in May 2015.

For more information see:


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Georgia Webber Draws Silence

Drawing is often used as a way to distract oneself from physical or mental anguish. It’s used in the rehabilitation units of various hospitals and community centres and our Draw 14 opener Andrew Marr, published his “A Short Book About Drawing” which explained how drawing helped him recover following a stroke. Georgia Webber’s  drawings in her series Dumb  explore her struggle with unexplained voice loss.

Image from "Dumb Comics" by  Georgia Webber

Image from “Dumb Comics” by Georgia Webber

Webber’s comics belong to the increasingly popular genre of personal medical journey works. Doctors dealing with paediatric epilepsy have been using David B’s “Epileptic” (L’Ascension du haut mal)  in order to explain seizures to families for years. In this vein Matila Tristram’s “Probably Nothing”  confused bookshops everywhere by blurring the boundaries between graphic novel, pregnancy guide and cancer advice. Tristram’s comic was written in short notes during her pregnancy and cancer treatment, when the ending was unknown (thankfully it was a happy one with a healthy baby boy and an all clear). With the immediacy of social media and our culture of sharing every moment, drawing offers a chance to reflect on the situations we find ourselves in.

"Splitting", from "Dumb2" by Georgia Webber.

“Splitting”, from “Dumb2” by Georgia Webber.

















In Dumb Comics we’re taken along on the journey, where, like when Tristram wrote her strip, the ending is unknown.

Georgia began drawing as a child, working for hours on end and complaining the her parents that she didn’t have enough time to draw. This work ethic has stayed with her and she manages to squeeze a large amount into her days. I asked her a few questions about her practice:

Have you found the combination of drawing and writing about your experiences more helpful than simply writing?

 Writing is great, but it’s limited. Drawing is great, but it’s limited. The combination of writing and drawing has under-appreciated power that I’m just beginning to explore, and it’s been thoroughly healing in my experience of injury and recovery, of understanding myself and how to communicate my insides with others.

Images are deeply evocative, so I love how immediate it is. But it’s also something that I find gives away the creator in so many ways they don’t expect — for example, how I draw myself tells you an awful lot about how I feel about myself, about storytelling, about what’s significant and what can be left out. I don’t mean for it to tell you these things, but I have no choice; I’m creatively working with what ability I’ve got.

What advice would you give to other people who are thinking about drawing their stories?

I’d say you have to do it to discover how YOU do it. There are many great ways to convey a story, and trying to be like the people you admire is a great start, but ask others to help you shape your work, as them what they see in it and what needs improvement. It’s the best way to find the ways you’re revealing yourself in it, and which parts are unnecessary detours from your voice and your idea.


The rest of Dumb Comics are set to arrive in the UK in July 2015. For more information about Georgia’s work

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