Austin Cole selected for ING Discerning Eye 2015

The 2015  Discerning Eye Exhibition will be held at the Mall Galleries, The Mall, London SW1, and will be open to the public daily from Thursday 12 November until Sunday 22 November. Entrance will be free and all works will be for sale.

The SGFA is delighted that Austin Cole RBA, ASGFA has had two piece selected for the show.

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The Discerning Eye annual exhibition is a show of small works independently selected by six prominent figures from different areas of the art world: two artists, two collectors and two critics. Work is selected from open submission and from artists invited by the individual selectors. Each selector’s section is hung separately giving the impression of six small exhibitions within the whole. The 2015 selectors are Emma Bridge­water, Nicole Farhi CBE, Larry Lamb, Stephen Snoddy, Stephen Doherty and Steve Pill.

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Katya by Svetlana Cameron ASGFA

“Katya”, charcoal and conte on paper, 45x35 cm, 2015, Svetlana Camera ASGFA.

“Katya”, charcoal and conte on paper, 45×35 cm, 2015, Svetlana Camera ASGFA.


“Katya” is the first in the set of three portraits that Svetlana is creating for the girls’ family.

“Most people believe that the hardest thing about working with children is to make them sit still. OK, that can be tricky, but is not as impossible as people think. The real challenge is to reveal the character of my young sitter and create a portrait that will make people see beyond the cute little face and feel that there is a deep inner world behind it. I feel I’ve managed to achieve my goal in this work”.

At the beginning of 2015 the portrait “Katya” became a finalist in the ARC International Salon, one of the most prestigious international competitions for realist artists.

In her drawings Svetlana Cameron uses the so-called “three-colour technique”, a combination of charcoal and red and white conte on toned paper, with occasional use of pastel for colour accents. The images are slowly and meticulously built up in layers of semi-translucent veils of colour, which allows the artist to create delicate life-like skin tones and achieve a very high degree of realism in her work.

Profile of the Artist: Svetlana Cameron ASGFA

Svetlana Cameron ASGFA at work in her studio.

Svetlana Cameron ASGFA at work in her studio.

Svetlana Cameron (b.1978) is a Russian-born British portrait artist. Trained in the methods of Old Masters, Cameron specialises in traditional portraiture in the style of classical realism. She is based in the Isle of Man where she works out of her studio in Braddan. A sought-after portrait painter, she travels internationally to exhibit and meet her sitters.

Svetlana’s works hang in many private and public collections. Her portraits of Speakers of the Isle of Man Parliament are now part of the UK National Collection of Oil Paintings and are featured on the BBC Your Paintings website.

Svetlana Cameron was elected associate member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art in 2013.

In September 2015 Cameron’s  “Daniel” portrait won the Strokes of Genius drawing competition. Along with the other winning artworks “Daniel” will be published in the 8th volume of “Strokes of Genius”, a prestigious series of books featuring finest examples of contemporary drawing. It is Svetlana’s second successful participation in this annual competition: in 2013 her work “Girl with the Pearl Earring” stood out from thousands of worldwide submissions and was featured in the 6th volume of “Strokes of Genius”.

“Stroke of Genius” is organised by the North Light Books publishing house in the USA. It is an annual art competition open to living artists from around the world. Each year around 100 works are selected to represent the best in contemporary drawing.

Svetlana exhibited “Manx Folk Dancer” with the SGFA at Bankside in 2015, we are delighted to note that it is now a finalist in the International Artist Magazine “People and Figures” competition and will be published alongside an article on Svetlana’s drawing in early 2016.

You can see more of Svetlana’s work here

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: 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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