the lots road group

Q & A with Colleen Quill

Our next Q & A comes from painter Colleen Quill. She chats with us about her move from the board room to art studio, a recent commission for SOAS and her love of colour and loose brushwork.

Colleen Quill

Colleen Quill

How did you become a painter? Why portraiture? 

As a child, I was always drawing and my interest in figures and faces was sparked by the wonderful hand-drawn animations of the early Disney films.

I started a career in window dressing with a short stint in a shipping office, but found I was sketching caricatures of the directors in the board room rather than concentrating on my shorthand, so the decision was made to follow a career in art and take a fine art degree.

With a portfolio of such drawings I was accepted at Chelsea School of Art where I discovered the joy of working with oil paint and the thrill of using colour.

Colleen Quill

Colleen Quill in the studio

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

Bonnard and Matisse are a huge inspiration with regard to colour and design, but the works of Toulouse Lautrec, Degas, Cezanne and Manet were my early inspiration.

Academic study revealed the old Masters; Rembrandt, Velasquez, Zurberan and Vermeer being favourites for their supreme expertise, and the expressive drawings of Kathe Kolwitz and Egon Schiele which I’m always referring to.

At present, more contemporary painters such as Diebenkorn for example and Sargy Mann fascinate me with their loose handling of paint and exciting use of colour.

The passion for painting has never left me and I approach each new work with a sense of excitement, whether it be new figurative painting, a portrait commission or, more recently, rich unusual and slightly more abstracted still life subjects.

Portrait by Colleen Quill, 100 x 75 cm

Portrait by Colleen Quill, 100 x 75 cm

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

Having just completed a commission of Sir Cyril Philips, for SOAS, I’m now, along with the 15 other members of the Lots Road Group, working on a portrait of a member of the UK International Women’s Forum. The portraits of each of these exceptional women will be exhibited in May in Chelsea Town Hall in celebration of their 25th Anniversary year.

My website is

Thanks so much Colleen, a pleasure to have you on the blog !

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2015, please ask permission before use)


Announced ! Our Next Big Project…

As many of you will know this Sunday 8th March people around the world will be celebrating International Women’s Day and so it seemed only fitting that this is the week we let you all in on the Lots Road Group’s next big project. Our artists have been meeting and researching their sitters, priming their canvases and getting down to the very challenging business of making portraits. 

Portrayed ! 25 Years of Inspiring Women:

Our next show is set to open on the 26th May at the Chelsea Gallery and will celebrate and commemorate The International Women’s Forum UK‘s 25th Anniversary with portraits of 16 of its most inspiring women – its 4 founders and first 12 chairs.

IWF UK is part of the International Women’s Forum, an organisation which advances leadership across careers, cultures and continents by connecting the world’s most pre-eminent women of significant and diverse achievement. With over 5000 women leaders across 6 continents and 33 nations, the IWF has unprecedented global reach to exchange ideas, learn and inspire, and promote better leadership for a changing world.

The portraits have been created by artists in the Lots Road Group – artists who all studied at The Heatherley School of Fine Art in Chelsea, one of the few art colleges that focus purely on portraiture, figurative painting and sculpture. Together they have captured in oils, acrylics, pastel, and print the 16 women who founded or chaired IWF UK during its first 25 years.


Christine Klein painting Susan Young

Christine Klein painting Susan Young



Susan Young, who chaired the organisation during its 25th year and championed the initiative said:

”I am delighted to embark on this special collaboration with the Lots Road Group. This is a wonderful opportunity to capture the essence of our leaders on canvas and represent inspiring leadership in an innovative medium.”

We’re all very excited about the show (details for your diary below) and cannot wait to share what we’ve all been up to with you. Many of our sitters are truly inspiring women, leaders in their respective fields and have been real game changers for business, politics, sports and other aspects of life in the UK. To give you further insight into the process of connecting with these women we will also have a catalogue containing information about our artists and sitters available online and on sale at the exhibition.

We hope to see you at the Chelsea Gallery in May !

Exhibition Venue: The Chelsea Gallery, Chelsea Library, Chelsea Old Town Hall, King’s Road SW3 5EZ

Exhibition Dates: Tuesday 26th May to Sunday 7th June 2015.

For further information please contact Stella via

** all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2015.

‘That’s why I paint, to find that feeling of satisfaction’… Q & A WITH ELIZABETH SHIELDS

Welcome back to the Lots Road Group blog ! Despite having been rather quiet online, much has been happening behind the scenes and we hope to be sharing exciting news on upcoming projects with you very soon. 

Meanwhile, we have another Q & A post from our very own Elizabeth Shields:


Elizabeth Shields

Elizabeth Shields


How did you become a painter? 

When I was ten I received a packet of chalks for my birthday from a girl called Alice. I used to draw pictures of Tintin! Art scholarships followed at senior school, then I was soon after on to Wimbledon school of art where I did my foundation. For a time I thought I might become a sculptor.

I went on to Glasgow School of Art where I found Karen Kilimnik and I realised I wanted to do colourful theatricle things and then eventually ended up at the Heatherley School of Fine Art. Since Heatherley’s I have been working as a professional portrait painter with a studio in South London.

What drew you to portraiture in particular? 

Alice Neel – she helps a great deal. I found I was really only jazzed up about painting family and friends. I have been painting my brother David a lot and that was the only thing that really made a big difference in the progression of my work and to my satisfaction. When you finally feel satisfied with something it’s a big leap. That’s why I paint, to find that feeling of satisfaction. And getting to know people is quite fun, sort of.


'Dave Shields', by Elizabeth Shields

‘Dave Shields’, by Elizabeth Shields


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

Women artists mostly – Alice Neel as mentioned above,  Artemisia Gentileschi and Celia Paul. Then also Lucian Freud and Augustus John too.

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait? 

Space, good intelligent and sensitive application and handling of paint. Painterly portraits are good.

I like pictures that make me do a double take, that have something noticeable to them. And those that have a human element. Portraits don’t necessarily need to be a rigid portrayal or strict likeness, but must represent something of the connection between the artist and painting.


'Kat Vaughan', by Elizabeth Shields

‘Kat Vaughan’, by Elizabeth Shields


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

I am planning an exhibition with fellow Lots Road member Sarah Jane Moon and currently working on various commissions and self portraits. My website is


Many thanks Elizabeth, a pleasure to have you on the blog !

(all images and text copyright thelotsroadgroup 2015, please ask permission before use)

Q & A with Sarah Richardson

It has been quite a while since we posted here at the Lots Road Group but here we are back with a Q & A with one of our artists and organisers, Sarah Richardson:

Portrait by Sarah Richardson

Portrait by Sarah Richardson


How did you become a painter?

My earliest memories are of watching my father painting murals. He wasn’t a professional painter but did it as a hobby for friends and often took me with him. My interest sparked from there. Life after art school at St Martin’s was the usual struggle to pay the rent and so freelance illustration was sacrificed for a series of ‘nine to five jobs’ in the museum and cultural exhibition world in London where my admin skills came to the fore and rescued me financially and professionally. I never really put my paintbrushes away for any length of time, even resorting to painting the walls of hospitals in the Borneo jungle where my newly married medical husband decided we were going! After my children became less dependent on me I felt free to spend time under the tutelage of a marvellous man and a very gifted painter – Jason Bowyer (president of the NEAC). We painted together for several years until in an effort to get rid of me he suggested I enrol at The Heatherley School of Art and concentrate on portraiture. This led to me completing the diploma and post diploma courses in portraiture and meeting up with a group of friends who together have formed the Lots Road Art Group.


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

This is always such a difficult question to answer as it changes as I discover and understand more. Obviously there are the usual suspects like Rembrandt, Velasquez, Pierro della Francesco, Lucian Freud, Diebenkorn and Euan Euglow whose work is hugely inspirational to me, but for direct influence one looks to the people who are working and teaching you every day. At Heatherleys we are fortunate enough to be taught in the atelier system. This means having a tutor teach you rather like the old masters taught their pupils – by example. And so I would like to mention some of these people who have taught me by example such as, Jason Bowyer, Andy James, Tim Benson, Miriam Escoffet, Atul Vohora, and Alan Ramsey.


What do you think constitutes a good portrait?

Gosh this is also another very difficult question because so many things make a good portrait and they are not always the same thing. For instance styles differ enormously over time and its not always easy to compare like with like but essentially every good portrait has to speak to you on an emotional level first and foremost. Economy of brushstroke, capturing the person with a confident mark and not overworking it. Always leaving the viewer to complete something in their own eye for themselves. All things which I am constantly struggling to achieve in my own work.


Sarah Richardson

Sarah Richardson


What current projects are you working on?

I mentioned earlier about the Lots Road Group – sixteen of my fellow Heatherley students have come together to support each other in their artistic endeavours. We have just completed a very successful joint exhibition on Motherhood at the Chelsea Gallery and I am now working on securing our next project with the International Womens Forum for next year.


Many thanks Sarah & we look forward to hearing more details of forthcoming exhibitions.

£500 raised for Oxfam Mother Appeal

The Lots Road Group have, together with your support, raised £250 for the Oxfam Mother Appeal! Which the government will double to £500.
Many thanks for your generosity and support!
This was a combination of a percentage of every book we sold at the exhibition plus postcard sales plus other donations.
If you would like to find out more about where your money is going and what it will do, please go to Oxfam Mother Appeal.

‘Motherhood’ moves to Bloomsbury

Motherhood, the exhibition, has now moved to The Child and Family Practice  in Bloomsbury, Camden, for the benefit of clients visiting it:








8 Ridgmount Street,

0207 637 7697

Monday – Friday: 8am – 8pm
Saturday – Sunday: 9:30am – 5:30pm



What you thought of Motherhood!


The Motherhood exhibition closed at The Chelsea Gallery on Sunday (Mother’s Day) and began a short tour which sees it move today to The Child and Family Practice in Islington.

The 16 artworks by the Lots Road Group will be on show for two weeks for clients of the practice, before they are exhibited at  Heatherley’s w/c Monday 12 May for staff and students..   

We artists would like to say a big `thank you’ to all those who visited our Chelsea exhibition and would like to share just a few of the supportive and encouraging comments  you left in our Visitors’ Book:

“Lovely touching exhibition” – S Cheshire/J Richardson

“So touched by this exhibition – and inspired too.” J Wahnick

“Touching and inspiring to do my own portraits ” – S Taukolonga

“Super, super, super!  So poignant.  Huge talent!” – R Harding

“One of the most competent displays seen here for a long time.” – M Gladwin

“Lovely idea: we all love our mothers!”  – Mo Quill 

 “The mother-daughter `thing’ is very personal  and it was interesting to see so many interpretations.  So moving.” – J McKenzie

“Wonderful paintings and an incredibly important subject matter.  Mothers forever!” – J Dreyfus

“ A brilliant portrayal of the progressing stages of life” – Harriet

“Very interesting and moving stories of children talking about their mothers” – L Lobianco

“Well timed exhibition and wonderful to see the celebration of motherhood” – Sajidorarhid

“A well timed and themed event” – S Kent

“It was the most marvellous exhibition.  So moving.  And wonderful painting.” – C Normand

“What a lovely and well curated exhibition” – R Williams 

 “An excellent exhibition” – R Marker

 “Very enjoyable.  Very well laid out.”  M Carpenter

“ A really touching and talented exhibition” – S Blackett

“Great exhibition.  So much love and skilfully executed.” –  T Russell Smith

 “Very good exhibition. Nice paintings.”  J Hill

 “Hugely enjoyable.  I applaud you all.” – J Kerr and T Leslie

 “Really lovely exhibition.” – P Withon

“Lovely, timeless, interesting”-  S Bonner

“ So insightful” -M MacKenzie

 “Inspirational work” – A Fergusson-Cunningham 

“A wonderful and powerful exhibition” – L Eccles-Williams

 “What a combination the portraits and relationships! “ – C Grant

“Really interesting to read the artist details – it expanded the experience”   – M Nott

“Much emotion and great memories for the artists” – P Nuesink

“A wonderful, heartfelt exhibition” – M Cocco

“Thank you for such a beautiful show” – Halou

‘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.