heatherleys

CONNECTED: THE CHANGING FACE OF BRITAIN

 

Connected PV invite 1 page

The Lots Road Group’s latest exhibition presents a microcosm of contemporary British society through the artists’ own connection to family and friends.

Seventeen members of the group have chosen an eclectic mix of sitters – diverse in age, gender, ethnicity, and nationality of origin. Having connected with each other through our attendance at The Heatherley School of Art we decided to explore through portraiture how our personal connections spread outwards and reflect life in 21st century Britain.

Set against the backdrop of Brexit, a time often described as divisive, our sitters are people to whom we have personal ties, some traditionally British from Aberdeenshire, Cornwall, Oxfordshire, Sussex and Yorkshire, as well as residents who have come here from a staggering array of countries: Bolivia, Brazil, British Guiana, Eritrea, France, Iraq, Norway, Pakistan, Poland and the United States.

Lots Road Group representative, Hilary Puxley said, “We started with the simple idea of painting people to whom we are connected, and have been astounded by the results! The list of countries with which our sitters are associated is astonishing and reflects a sea change in British society. Our artists have come up with a wealth of compelling and sometimes touching stories that evidence a much kinder and more welcoming Britain than you might suspect. I think the public will find the portraits fascinating.”

Our charity partner this year is Children & the Arts whose CEO, Rosie Millard OBE said, “I am delighted that Children & the Arts is partnering the distinguished Lots Road Group in this year’s exhibition, which testifies so beautifully and powerfully that art is an essential expression of humanity. Without it our lives are diminished.  We work with thousands of children across the nation and across all art forms. We change lives and open up vistas. On the threshold of a time when the UK moves away from Europe into an uncertain future, our mission has never seemed more important, and it has never seemed more appropriate and meaningful for us to be connected with this wonderful show which celebrates life with all its diversity and difference.”

As usual, our exhibition has a narrative component which introduces our sitters and explains how we are connected to them.

Several sitters evidence changing tastes, of Britain being more open both to world, to different lifestyles and conscious of the impact all our lives have on our environment:

  • Martin Burrough’s sitter is Thomasina Miers who founded the Wahaca chain of restaurants, bringing Mexican food to our attention and introducing British palates to exciting new combinations of flavours.
  • French-born Laurence Collis’ sitter is her partner Tim Peacock who grew up in Yorkshire but moved to the south of England. They met when he came to fix her motorbike and has had to adapt to her bilingual family.  Tim represents the antithesis of a changing Britain with his passion for conserving and curating things of value from the past.
  • New Zealand born Sarah Jane Moon’s sitter is fellow immigrant Krishna Istha, a US-born performer. Both have fallen in love withLondon’s live art and queer scenes and, through the creative arts actively promote visibility and representation of under-represented people like them.
  • Hilary Puxley’s sitter is her long-term friend Soli Mehta who came here from Karachi and whose import business created new designs for traditional crafts and brought them to the British high street.
  • Lucinda Rendall’s sitter is Brazilian-born Diegos Barros, now a British citizen and her third son’s partner, a personal trainer and body builder who designs and markets clothes.
  • Sarah Reynolds’ sitter is Sophie Robinson, an interior designer, broadcaster and TV presenter of BBC 2’s The Great Interior Design Challenge and BBC One’s DIY SOS, whose mission is to bring colour and optimism to British interior design.
  • Sarah Richardson’s sitter is her neighbour Bolivian-raised Annie Copponex who has lived in Britain for 50 years with her Swiss-born husband Jean-Pierre and made British culture her own without losing touch with her Bolivian roots, turning her house into a living museum of artifacts and cooking and making objects for her regular Bolivian fiestas.
  • Elizabeth Shields’ sitter is her brother John; their shared connection is to their homeland Aberdeenshire, where John is attempting to put a traditional estate on a more environmentally sustainable footing.
  • Stella Tooth’s sitters are Ben and Sacha Bowling who are pictured with their father, British Guianan-born Frank Bowling OBE RA’s, painting. Frank fled to New York after graduating from the RCA to avoid attempts to pigeon-hole him. A Tate Britain retrospective next year will establish the artist who now lives in London as one of today’s most brilliant painters.
  • Ukrainian-born Alla Broeksmit has chosen to portray herself as she feels she personally exemplifies multiple connections. She splits her time between London, with its cultural and artistic opportunities and her family in New York, but looks to her childhood in Ukraine for her artistic inspiration.

There are also very long-term friendships, touching stories of young people being added to family circles, and of courageous immigrants finding a new life in this country, or helping others acquire skills they need:

  • Hero Johnson’s sitter is Cornish-born, London-based Kathryn Patrick, a friend since infant school, pictured in front of the Botallack Mine, where she sat when her husband proposed.
  • Katherine Firth’s Polish-born sitter, Kasia, is a former employee and now friend who has become a British citizen who lives in Cambridge and teaches female immigrants from all over the world.
  • Stuart Howitt’s mixed-heritage, Norway-born sitter Boris is a graphic designer whom he met at their local gym. Boris’ pose echoes the look of a passport photo, engaging with the viewers in a way that shows the determination and courage it takes to start a new life in a foreign country
  • Christine Klein – Cailliau’s sitter is London-based Sarah Lewis whose African-European heritage is reflected in her different coloured eyes. The youngest of eight siblings, Sarah grew up on a council estate in Poplar, east London and met Christine’s daughter Celine on Channel 4’s Celebs go Dating. She now has a modelling career, as Christine once did.
  • Colleen Quill’s sitter is 28-year-old Eritrean-born Abnet Anday, whose quest for a better education led her to being taken into social care in London and eventually graduating in psychology at the University of Worcester, where she studied with Colleen’s daughter Maria.
  • Maureen Nathan’s sitter is her 92-year-old mother-in-law Victoria, who came to England in 1960 with her husband and children from Iraq.
  • Mark Stevenson’s sitter is his French-born long-term friend Patrick Deguara, who is now a chiropractor in Witney, with whom he shares a love of cooking and golf.

Our charity partner this year is Children & the Arts which works with arts venues across the UK to reach children in communities and hospices who may be in danger of missing out on creative and cultural experiences. Since the charity was founded in 2006, it has given half a million children access to the arts, provided more than 1000 children and families affected by life-limiting illness with therapeutic arts experiences, and created more than 6000 partnerships between schools and arts organisations in the most deprived areas of the country.

Our sponsor is The Heatherley School of Fine Art. Founded in 1845, it is one of the oldest independent art colleges in Britain and is among the few art schools in the UK that focus purely on portraiture, figurative painting, sculpture and printmaking. The college offers both vocational and part-time courses to students aged 18 years and over.

The Lots Road Group accept commissions.

To see a copy of our catalogue visit http://www.blurb.co.uk/bookstore

and search for Connected: the changing face of Britain from Friday 30 November.

 

CONNECTED EVENT Connect2018:A5 PV inviteConnect2018:A5 PV invite

OSCAR NEMON, PORTRAIT SCULPTOR

An illustrated lunchtime talk by his daughter Aurelia Young

Thursday 6 December 1-2pm

Tickets £5  Waterstones 

From her unique viewpoint, Aurelia, whose mother, Patricia Villiers-Stuart attended courses at Heatherleys in 1939 and 1949, talks about her late father Oscar Nemon, a genius who sculpted the crowned heads of Europe, Sigmund Freud and Winston Churchill, and who, against the odds being a Jewish refugee, brought us close, through his art, to those who shaped the 20th century.  Aurelia will be happy to sign copies of her newly published book ‘Finding Nemon’.

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Heatherley’s at the Bankside

Some Lots Road Group artists – including Hero Johnson and Sarah Jane Moon will have work on display in the annual The Heatherley School Of Fine Art Staff Exhibition which is taking place again next month at the Bankside Gallery.

This is Heatherley’s fifth excursion to the Bankside Gallery and always proves a diverse and interesting show and opportunity for friends and students of the school to get together.

The exhibition runs from Thursday 25th January to Sunday 28th January 11am-6pm.

Bankside Gallery
Thames Riverside
48 Hopton Street
London
SE1 9JH

The art of reading kicks off at Heatherley’s

The art of reading completes its tour with a visit to where it all began – Heatherley’s!

A big thank you to Principal Veronica Ricks and her team for hosting our exhibition and to all those who turned out to last night’s private view of the show, expertly-curated as usual by Phil.   And a big thank you to BookTrust, our partners this year.

 

 

 

The Art of Reading heads for Heatherley’s!

If you haven’t yet seen the Art of Reading exhibition that opened at Waterstones in Bloomsbury last year, and toured to the Cambridge Literary Festival, you can catch it as it completes its tour at The Heatherley School of Fine Art at the end of this month.

Artist Katherine Firth portrayed Dame Gillian Beer DBE, ex-President of Clare Hall and King Edward Vii Professor of English Literature and a distinguished author and literary critic.

If you would like to learn more about her reading habits – and those of others portrayed – go to http://www.blurb.co.uk/b/7438580-the-art-of-reading to find The Art of Reading Catalogue.

The exhibition at Thomas Heatherley 75 Lots Road SW10 0RN (closest tube Fulham Broadway) runs Tuesday 26- Saturday 30 September 10am – 4pm. It is staged in association with Book Trust.

‘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 sarahjanemoon.com 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)

‘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 (www.justgiving.com) 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 www.hilarypuxley.com

 

 

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) 

A Chat With Alla Broeksmit

We catch up with the Lots Road Group member Alla Broeksmit below:

Alla Broeksmit

How did you become a painter? 

I am a London based figurative artist, specialising in portraits. My studio is just off the New Kings Road. Four years ago I began a journey, mid-life, that has allowed me to build on my extensive experience supporting fine art, to become an artist myself. My association with art institutions, coupled with my background in interior design, have allowed me to develop an artistic eye. Design work helped develop my sense of composition and colour. From that grew a desire to construct my own art forms and explore my instinct to create.

What drew you to portraiture in particular? 

Ukrainian born, and steeped in the vibrant contemporary art scene of New York, I studied art in the British figurative tradition at The Heatherley School of Fine Art and at the Prince’s Drawing School. Studying portraiture at Heatherley’s, I became interested in painting portraits that are not a direct reflection of reality but communicate my painterly observations and style. My technical training in figurative art allows me to be produce compositions that are present, immediate and impactful.

‘David’ by Alla Broeksmit (oil on canvas)

I experiment with the texture of oil paint in capturing the fleshiness of faces and nudes, since paint is, quite literally, the canvas’ new skin. I focus on capturing human figures to communicate layers of experience – both my own relating to my history and my artistic education – and that of my sitter. My studies have firmed up my belief that drawing is essential to map out one’s work.

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

A hybrid of three cultures, my art aims to fuse their influences – from the religious iconography found inside Russian and Ukrainian churches, modern constructivism and social realism to American contemporary and UK figurative art.

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait? 

Tutored by members of the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, I express myself through the language of art, seeking a dialogue with the viewer through my gaze to the sitter, and then to the viewer.

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

Currently I’m taking the figurative aspects of my work and inserting them into more abstract forms. I am also fascinated by the immigrant experience and am exploring how to incorporate my life experience and family photographs into my art. My website is www.allabroeksmit.com

Many thanks Alla! 

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

Katherine Firth on Painting

 

Another Heatherley graduate, Katherine Firth, who has a previous career as a Picture Editor, answers our questions about portraiture and painting below.

Katherine Firth

Katherine Firth

 

A Chat With Katherine: 

How did you become a painter?

I have painted most of my life, but studied History of Art at University and had a career in publishing as a Picture Editor before I had my children.  Once they were born, I made a concerted effort to take classes when I could, culminating recently in my studying for the Portrait Diploma at Heatherley’s.

What drew you to portraiture? 

I have always been compelled to capture likenesses, from my schooldays when I used to illustrate my exercise books with caricatures of my teachers, and it’s a fascination which I never seem to tire of.

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

Sargent for his drawing skills, genius at catching light effects and his virtuoso brushstrokes, Degas for his sense of drama and mystery, Rembrandt for his apparently effortless drawing and wonderful ability to capture character, Andrew James for his honesty, colour and vigorous brushwork.

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait? 

A good portrait is one which of course captures a likeness, but one in which one can sense the personality of the sitter.  It should ideally say something about the moment in which it is painted, which is possible if painted from life, but rarely achieved if done from photographs.  I want also to be interested in the surface of the painting and in the composition; both of which need to be complex enough to keep my attention over a long time.

Lisa

‘Lisa’, 2013, 10″ x 12″, oil on board

The painting above was painted as part of an ongoing project I’ve set myself; to do a number (I’ve done about 12 so far) of quick sketches in oil, mostly taking about 2-4 hours.  I was particularly interested in capturing the moment with this young girl (18) as she talked about what her plans were for her future, but also to make a painting about the surface; keeping brushstrokes lively and immediate.

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

I don’t have a website.  My father and I will be holding a joint exhibition in Cambridge in the Spring (date t.b.c.)

Many thanks Katherine! We look forward to seeing more of your work soon.