Month: March 2014

‘Motherhood’ Private View Huge Success

More than 250 people visit the Motherhood private view last night – where Motherhood books were sold in aid of Oxfam’s Mother Appeal.

More than 250 people visited last night’s Motherhood exhibition which runs at The Chelsea Gallery, Chelsea Library in the Kings Road until Mother’s Day (30 March).

Book sales of the accompanying book, with a percentage of the sales going to the Oxfam appeal were brisk.

And the private view included some of those who had sat for portraits, such as Sarah Richardson’s mother-in-law ‘Granules’ and Nichola Collins’ mother-in-law Honor.

There were some starry names too like Lorraine Chase and many teachers and students from Heatherley’s Thomas Heatherley, where the Lots Road Group met, including Susan Engledow, Tony Mott, Linda Nugent and new Principal Veronica Ricks.

The Lots Road Group and tutors

The Lots Road Group and tutors

And, all the way from the States, came Julia Kay who set up an online portrait party four years ago where artists post their photographs for group members to use for portraits and meet around the world to meet and portray each other face-to-face. Now on facebook.

The Mayor of Kensington and Chelsea Councillor Charles Williams and the Mayoress visited the show.

Photographs: David Ingham. (More to follow soon!)

Tim Benson on ‘Motherhood’ (Part Two)

This is the second of a two part video of Tim Benson VPROI talking about the portraits in our exhibition ‘Motherhood’:


Many thanks for your insightful commentary Tim! We look forward to seeing you at the exhibition.



Tim Benson on ‘Motherhood’ (Part One)

Tim Benson, Vice President of The Royal Institute of Oil Painters and brilliant portrait painter, reveals a sneak peek of the Lots Road Group’s first exhibition, ‘Motherhood’.

This is the first of two parts:






Buying An Artwork

If you would like to commission a portrait – or buy a piece of figurative art – from one of the members of the Lots Road Group of artists, you can see their work on their websites and/or contact them individually by email.


Alla Broeksmit       

Martin Burrough  

Nichola Collins     

Katherine Firth    

Christine Klein     

Sharon Low           

Viviana Macchi     

Sarah Jane Moon 

Hilary Puxley        

Colleen Quill          

Lucinda Rendall    

Sarah Reynolds     

Sarah Richardson 

Elizabeth Shields  

Mark Stevenson    

Stella Tooth            


Commissioning a portrait

Prices vary for a medium sized portrait, according to whether it is head, head and shoulders, waist up, three quarters or full length.  It also depends on whether it is an acrylic or oil painting, executed in pastel, a print or a drawing – and how many people are to be depicted.

Some artists work only from life (with up to six morning or afternoon sittings required in your home or in their studios) some from a combination of life and photographs.  Prices are tailored to individual needs and the process is a collaboration between artist and sitter. Typically a head in oil or acrylic might start from £600 and prices rise to around £4,000.


‘I think life is about people and human connection’: Q & A with Sarah Jane Moon

With our first show, ‘Motherhood’, opening this week we take time to chat to New Zealand born Sarah Jane Moon, recipient of The Royal Society of Portrait Painters’ 2013 Bulldog Bursary, about life lived across continents, her transition from curatorial theory to portrait painting and several exciting upcoming projects.

Sarah Jane Moon working on a commission in Scotland

Sarah Jane Moon working on a commission in Scotland

How did you become a painter?

I often feel like the process of becoming a painter is a continuous one, but that stated, I first started painting as a child. I was always ‘good at art’ winning several local awards for drawing and was often accused of ‘copying’ by friends at primary school, which I took as a compliment. I distinctly remember the excitement of finger painting before then at kindergarten and also a peculiar fair ground entertainment that involved squeezing tubes of paint onto a spinning wheel with paper attached to produce a sort of kaleidoscopic pattern. I was always drawn to pattern and intricate detail, my most favourite colouring in books being those that had repetitive designs ad nauseam.

Teenage years saw my interest in art continue and I was very keen on New Zealand painters such as Toss Woollaston, Rita Angus and Colin McCahon. I had one particularly memorable teacher who was flamboyant and bohemian and used to refer to colours as ‘flavours’ and seemed to be viscerally affected by tone and line. She was fabulous and her enthusiasm infectious. However I was also fascinated by other subjects and a rather pragmatic upbringing encouraged me to choose Japanese language and English literature to study at university. Having to choose extra courses to fulfil points requirements I soon added Art History as a third major and looking back it was obvious that I had probably just wanted to paint.

On graduating university in New Zealand I then travelled for a decade or so, living and working in countries such as Japan, Malaysia, Australia and, by roundabout route, the UK. A break in my nascent career in Arts Management led me to take a short course in drawing at Central St Martins (after having not drawn a thing for 12 years) and that soon led, by chance to a late application and enrolment on Heatherley’s Portrait Diploma. I was very very amateur in the beginning but many of the tutors were kind enough to encourage me anyway and I soon gained some degree of competency in drawing. Since finishing the course in 2011 I have been painting and drawing professionally.

What drew you to portraiture in particular?

The week long course I took at Central Saint Martins was tutored by a fabulously enthusiastic young woman by the name of Alice White. At the end of the course she was astute enough to suggest that my inept scribbling, which she kindly referred to as ‘mark making’, would potentially suit portraiture. Being rather adrift in all other areas of my life at the time and searching for something to invest myself in, I was off to google ‘portrait courses london’ immediately and thus ended up at Heatherley’s.

Although I like to paint landscape and still life, I continue to be seduced by portraiture and find it a rich vehicle by which to contemplate intimacy and distance, presence and absence and the things that constitute the identities of our selves and others. I think life is about people and human connection and so feel fortunate to have my profession reflect that in some way.

'Tamson, Kilburn', 140 x 146 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2013

‘Tamson, Kilburn’, 140 x 146 cm, acrylic on canvas, 2013

Which other artists or painters do you look to for inspiration and why? 

There are so many. Some that come to mind immediately: Lucian Freud, Alice Neel, Henri Matisse, Paula Rego, Vincent Van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, David Hockney, Maggi Hambling, Frank Auerbach, John Bratby, Euan Uglow, Leon Kossoff, Colin McCahon, Egon Schiele, Oskar Kokoschka, Laura Knight, Francis Bacon, Tai-Shen Shierenberg, Hokusai Katsushika, Amedeo Modigliani and Georges-Pierre Seurat.

Also many of the tutors I have been fortunate enough to study with (Atul Vohora, Andy James, Linda Nugent, Khan Holly, Susan Engledow, Susan Wilson) and many poets and novelists too.

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait? 

I think there are many definitions of a ‘good’ portrait, but when making work myself I like it to, as a given, have something of an accurate likeness, and then to further go beyond this and convey something of how a particular person IS in the world; to state something about their presence or demeanour or character. It must then function as a good and interesting picture formally, that is, to be harmonious in terms of composition, colour, detail, content. I like portraits of people to be set in environments that are particular to them and that tell part of the story of who they are.

Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about (exhibitions, articles, websites, commissions, personal projects)? 

I currently have a painting in the Lynn Painter Stainers exhibition at the Mall Galleries which runs until 22nd March, and I shall be exhibiting again in May with The Royal Society of Portrait Painters in their annual exhibition (8th- 23rd May) as recipient of the Bulldog Bursary.

There is a short article on my work in the current issue (2) of Muff magazine.

I am working on several commissions, one for Jesus College at Cambridge, and also have several personal projects ongoing. One that I’m particularly excited about involves two very large (250 x 200 cm) group portraits that will be set in a late 17th century house in Stepney Green.

My website is and I have a facebook page here.

Many thanks Sarah Jane! 

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2014, please ask permission before use)

Q & A with Mark Stevenson

Between helping install our next group exhibition, ‘Motherhood’, Mark Stevenson catches up with us to share a few words about painting, life and inspiration.

Mark Stevenson

Mark Stevenson       

How did you become a painter? 

It took a while! At school I went down the science route – even though I wanted to do art I couldn’t – and after university I spent 17 years in the oil industry, exploring for oil and gas.  Just after my 40th birthday I decided to take a break.  It started as a year out but I never turned back. I was inspired and encouraged to paint by my mother, a watercolourist, and by an elderly architect friend.  I joined his life class – pencil, charcoal, pastels – but soon realised I wanted to paint.

I studied first at Lavender Hill Studios, where they take a traditional approach to portrait painting, and then the diploma at Heatherleys where the project based course run by practising artists helps one find one’s own style – eventually.

In painting from life, whether a nude or portrait, it is such a challenge to compose and produce something worth looking at. So initially it was this challenge, and the thrill of composing and developing a painting, studying the landscape of the body or face and getting it on to paper or canvas.  Later it became more about what I get back from painting, expressing myself and getting lost in a painting.  It can be very fulfilling, and very frustrating.

Marta, oil on canvas, 24 x 30cm, 2011

Marta, oil on canvas, 24 x 30cm, 2011

Which other artists do you look to for inspiration and why? 

I like painterly works, where there is movement and plasticity in the way paint is handled. I’m not keen on photo realism.  It’s no surprise then that I’m inspired by Van Gogh, Lovis Corinth and Freud. Freud is incredible, I like his challenging compositions, relatively limited, subdued palette and bold juxtaposition of colour temperature in his flesh tones. Corinth is just amazing in his virtuoso handling of paint.

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait? 

A likeness is only important to the sitter and people who know the sitter. Any portrait that moves you is a good portrait and far more important. A portrait that draws you in and says something about the inner life of the sitter is a successful work.

Do you have any projects that you would like to tell us about ( exhibitions, articles,websites, commissions, personal projects?)

I don’t have any big projects or themes I’m working on. I have a few portrait commissions coming up and I’ll continue my urban landscape painting when it stops raining.

Many thanks Mark! We hope to see more of your work soon. 

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2014, please ask permission before use)

MOTHERHOOD: Our first exhibition

The Lots Road Group is very pleased to announce that we will be exhibiting together next week at The Chelsea Old Town Hall with our very first show ‘Motherhood’. 

Motherhood A3 poster

Motherhood is a Chelsea portrait exhibition and book that celebrates mothers, grandmothers and mothers-in-law.

The exhibition features 16 portraits by figurative artists who met when studying portraiture at The Heatherley School of Fine Art in Lots Road. It runs at The Chelsea Library, Kings Road, SW3 from Thursday, 20 March until Mother’s Day (30 March).

The book contains all the portraits featured in the exhibition which are executed in a variety of media from oils, acrylics and pastels to print. Some were completed from life, others after death from studies and photographs.

It also provides a fascinating insight into the craft of portrait painting: from the artist who set aside her oils for speedier pastels to portray her mother with life-long back problems, to another who describes the quick work required to capture the likeness of a mother-in-law, suffering from Alzheimer’s, who would ‘forget’ her presence, to another who listened to the music she used to share with her mother to help her complete the portrait begun before her death.

It also features a foreword by Heatherley’s Principal Emeritus, John Walton RA, who writes about the portrait he painted of his own mother.

All portraits show the acute powers of observation and attention to detail instilled into students at one of the few art colleges in Britain that focuses purely on portraiture, figurative painting and sculpture.

John Walton said, “I am happy to think that this bunch of fellow artists derived a positive benefit from their studies at Heatherley’s and have used these as the vehicle for an imaginative project.”

The Motherhood book is available for £16.69 from (Some sales of the book will see a percentage given in aid of Oxfam’s Mothers Appeal

Exhibition Details: 

Thursday 20 to Sunday 30 March 2014 (Mother’s Day)

The Chelsea Library, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Rd, London SW3 5EZ

Mon, Tues, Thurs, 9.30am-8pm

Wed, Fri, Sat, 9.30am-5pm & Sun, 1- 5pm

Closest tube: Sloane Square

The exhibition is FREE to attend.

Motherhood book: Price £16.69+p&p from

‘It’s all about light, shadow, space and colour’: Q & A with Lucinda Rendall

In our next post we briefly catch up with Lucinda Rendall, member of the Lots Road Group and another alumnus of the Heatherley School of Art. She lets us in on current projects she has ongoing and her inspiration for painting portraits.

Lucinda Rendall

Lucinda Rendall

How did you become a painter?

Having always had an interest in drawing and painting from a young age, I took up painting seriously when I had more time after having bringing up a family and dealing with other commitments.

What drew you to portraiture in particular? 

In 2006 I went to an exhibition at The National Portrait Gallery to see the portraits by David Hockney. I was fascinated by his work and decided that I would like to concentrate on portraiture and figurative painting.

'Ellen by her Aga', Lucinda Rendall, oil on canvas, 50x40 cm, 2012

‘Ellen by her Aga’, Lucinda Rendall, oil on canvas, 50×40 cm, 2012

Which other artists do you look for inspiration and why?

Cezanne and Bonnard as their paintings have a great sense of colour, light and space.

Richard Diebenkorn, Linda Christenson and Melinda Cooksona as they are all figurative and abstract oil painters that I admire. Their colours are inspiring.
What, to you, constitutes a good portrait?

A good portrait in my view should be atmospheric. There should be something interesting in the composition or expression that draws you in. It’s all about light, shadow, space and colour.

Do you have any projects that you would like to tell us about ( exhibitions, articles,websites, commissions, personal projects?)

I am working in a converted cowshed studio on the outskirts of the picturesque village of Alfriston in East Sussex. I continue to be interested in figurative painting. I am currently working on a series of portraits of people in their kitchens and making studies of people grape picking and pruning the vines on a vineyard under the South Downs. I am planning to revisit my special subject of cows and poultry.

My website is

Many thanks Lucinda!

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2014, please ask permission before use)

‘It’s hard – try it!’: Hilary Puxley on life, painting and other artists

Hilary Puxley is next up on our list of members of the Lots Road Group to interview. Here she chats with us about juggling family life and a career as a shipping solicitor and entrepreneur, her love of making and collecting portraits and the many artists she looks to for inspiration, including Degas, Rembrandt and Jenny Saville.

Hilary Puxley in her studio

Hilary Puxley in her studio

How did you become a painter?

By the scenic route!  My mother was an art teacher and I spent much of my childhood drawing and painting.  I particularly drew portraits and, shamingly in retrospect, ran a cash-for-drawings enterprise at school.  That was the end of my artistic career for a long time though, as academic subjects took priority.  I managed evening classes at the Ruskin School of Art when at university but that was about it until I emerged from other careers – working for an African charity, being a shipping solicitor, helping to set up an internet business ( and not least being a wife and mother. All the time though, if someone had asked me what I really wanted to do, I would have answered “Paint portraits”.  So I was delighted to sidle onto the Portraiture Diploma at Heatherley’s, via part time courses.  I’ve now been painting commissioned and other portraits for a number of years and continue to feel very lucky to be doing what I most like to do as my profession.

Why portraiture?

I am so irritated by the glib idea, quite often expressed, that portraiture is an inferior art form.  It’s hard – try it!  I’m not sure why, except to state the obvious – that I like to observe the infinite variety of the human form and face.  I have always been gripped by portraiture and the portraits are the first thing I look at in art books or exhibitions.  I collect 20th century portraits in a very minor way – only from minor auctions, junk shops, even eBay, and I’ve had some interesting and successful searches for the identities of artists and sitters in unattributed (cheap!) works.

Which other artists inspire and why?

This is a moveable feast – enthusiasms come and go, but some artists I keep in mind when painting are as follows:

Manet, because his figures and faces are bold, quite simple and direct, and he can make the viewer’s eye do the work, for example in “Luncheon in the Studio” recently at the RA, he conveys the information that the boy’s jacket is velvet, though it is almost featureless black.  I looked very carefully.

Jenny Saville, paints flesh with extraordinary virtuosity, verve and generosity, using a delicious palette, even when the image is ostensibly challenging – so much better than Lucian Freud’s khakis. I wish.

Rembrandt, not for the psychological profundity – that comes of decades of thought and practice – but because despite his power, he also has extreme delicacy of touch.  A portrait I know well is that of his mother reading, at Wilton House, in which tiny flicks of paint convey exactly what he intends.  Be bold, but also be careful, subtle.

Degas – master of composition, often extremely unconventional (thank you Japanese printmakers).  A favourite is “The Dance Class”, which has the legs of the dancers coming downstairs in the top left.  A moment of casual movement is captured, but the geometry is there and the intellect is working hard.

I have recently been in Vienna and resumed my admiration for Klimt, Schiele and their contemporaries, after a lull of 20 years or so.

Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about (exhibitions, articles, websites, commissions, personal projects)? 

I’m working on what is turning out to be a series of portraits and drawings of Margo, a fitness instructor with a fantastic physique – and face.  On the drawing board (literally) is a group portrait of actors on stage in a period comedy performed by a young theatre company called “Let Them Call It Mischief”, who very kindly allow me to draw at their rehearsals.

My website is



Below is one of Hilary’s portraits, entitled ‘Toby’. Many thanks for sharing your thoughts on painting with us Hilary. 

'Toby', oil on canvas, 75cm x 60cm, 2013.

‘Toby’, oil on canvas, 75cm x 60cm, 2013.

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2014, please ask permission before use) 

Q & A with Christine Klein

Christine Klein, pictured below, is another alumnus of Heatherley’s portrait diploma (and post-diploma!). She chats with us here about her background and inspiration.

Christine Klein

Christine Klein

How did you become a painter? 

Painting was always a favourite passtime from early childhood. My mum loved art and was a very good artist; she inspired me.

I used to paint posters for events to earn pocket money as a student and went to art evening courses as well. I then worked as an international model, traveled the world and was always looking forward to exploring art everywhere I went. Japan opened my eyes to Japanese art and this later led me to porcelain painting for many years.

While raising my family I went back to acrylic and oil painting through adult education and The Shepperton Art School.

What drew you to portraiture in particular?

Even though I liked landscape painting I became very interested in Portraiture. A teacher of mine, Wendy Balkwill-Clouse, recommended I join Heatherley’s School of Art. I took Portraiture courses with Allan Ramsey and then undertook the Portrait Diploma and Post Portrait Diploma.

I find it fascinating to paint people and to have this direct, mysterious and engaging exchange. I do not only try to represent them physically but I try to capture a sense of them and their feelings.  This is of particular interest to me. The translation of what your eyes and feelings capture to an image is a wonderful process.

'Florencia' 72X93 cm, 2011, Christine Klein

‘Florencia’ 72X93 cm, 2011, Christine Klein

Which other artists or painters do you look to for inspiration and why?

My favourite artist for many years was Van Gogh. His paintings say more then what they show. His feelings and poesy are brushed like a musical movement. His colours lusciously applied. The image that results is beautiful and intriguing. Lucien Freud, Gustav Klimt, Picasso, Rick Wouters, Kees Van Dongen also inspire me  with their beautiful colours and brush strokes.

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait?

A good portrait has to be captivating, enigmatic and moving. The style isn’t important but the colours should talk.

Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about (exhibitions, articles, websites, commissions, personal projects)? 

I took part in the Pintar Rapido exhibition  ( land-cityscapes) and Parallax International Art Fair recently and I’m working on a very unique exhibition project ‘Motherhood Portraits’ with a new formed group of  artists !

 That would be us, the Lots Road Group. There will be more information about our first exhibition ‘Motherhood’ in the next post. Many thanks Christine for sharing your thoughts on portraiture.

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2014, please ask permission before use)