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Katherine Firth’s portrait of Dame Gillian Beer unveiled at Clare Hall, Cambridge

Congratulations to Lots Road Group’s Katherine Firth on the unveiling recently of her portrait of Dame Gillian Beer, which featured in our Art of Reading exhibition at Clare Hall, Cambridge.

 

Katherine Firth with Dame Gillian Beer at unveiling at Clare Hall

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Lots Road Group announces latest exhibition: Connected

And we’re off!

The Lots Road Group’s next exhibition will be Connected: the changing face of Britain.

At a time often described as divisive, our new show will explore how people who live in Britain are connected, using ourselves, and our meeting at The Heatherley’s School of Fine Art, as the starting point.

Against the backdrop of Brexit, our aim is to produce an exhibition that presents a microcosm of contemporary British society.

As usual, the narrative component of our show will introduce the diverse and eclectic mix of sitters, explaining their background, connection to the artist and views on Britain today.

Lots Road Group founding members meet to plot next exhibition.jpegThe exhibition will go on show from the end of November to January in Waterstones’ dedicated exhibition space at 82 Gower Street in Bloomsbury.

Watch this space for more details!

A chat with Maureen Nathan

Maureen Nathan is joining the Lots Road Group for its next exhibition – Connected – which will go on show later this year.  Watch this space for details.

We catch up with Maureen, who studied portraiture at The Heatherley School of Fine Art, to find out about her art.

How did you become a painter? 

I have drawn and made artworks all my life.  Painting became a natural progression of that creative urge.
What drew you to portraiture in particular?  
I love people. There is an exchange of energy when painting a portrait between the painter and the sitter which I find very exciting. Attempting to convey something of the subject’s character invariably leads on to discovering more about them and about oneself. We are always in our paintings and portraiture is no different.

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

That’s a big question and there are so many! If I had to pick from the past they are  Piero della Francesca, Brueghel and Vuillard. I’m smiling because now that I’ve started thinking about it that’s just the tip of the iceberg but  looking at their paintings often answers my questions about colour, composition and character. Modern painters that I admire include Celia Paul, Jennifer Pochinski, Chantal Joffe, Catherine Kehoe and on and on because there is so much good painting out there right now.
 

What, to you, constitutes a good portrait?

A good portrait has to be a good painting as well.   Likeness, of course, but also something indefinable  that makes me want to know more about the sitter/s and to see more by the painter who painted them.
 

Do you have any current projects that you’d like to tell us about?

I have recently been awarded a fully funded two week artist residency in Ireland at the Cill Rialaig Foundation. A marvellous opportunity of time, peace and space to explore and develop work outside of my usual studio practice, which I look forward to in November.   A recent painting is on show in Bristol in the Royal West of England Academy annual open exhibition 7th October until 25th November and I will be participating in Park Studios Open weekend in May 2019.

News from Sarah Jane Moon

Congratulations to Lots Road Group artist Sarah Jane Moon who has a full schedule ahead both exhibiting and teaching.
Queer Artists’ Versions of Themselves, Salisbury
‘In Your Face’ is an exhibition of differing approaches to portraying a sense of self and interpreting identity and sexuality. It coincides with this year’s 50th anniversary of the Sexual Offences Act, the landmark moment when private homosexual acts between men over 21 in England and Wales were decriminalised in 1967.
Sarah’s self portrait ‘In The Studio’ 2015 will be on display along with others by various artists including Roxana Halls, Matthew Stradling and Michael Petry.
Curated by Sadie Lee, the exhibition opens at the Salisbury Arts Centre on Saturday 23 September and runs until 4 November (10am – 3pm Tues – Sat).
GFEST
Gfest is London’s Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Intersex (LGBTQI) Arts Festival that champions equality in all walks of life through visual arts, film, performance and other events.
Sarah will have three paintings on display at the Menier Gallery from 13-18 November as part of GFEST, including a portrait of ‘SJ Weston’, the creator of androgynous tailoring label Thomas Thomas.
DIVERSIFYING PORTRAITS AT OXFORD
Sarah has painted Army Medical Officer and Olympic bobsledder Dr Henry Odili Nwume for the Diversifying Portraits initiative at Oxford which aims to broaden the range of people represented on the University’s walls.
The initiative includes over 20 other photographic & painted portraits of people connected to the college who have disabilities, come from minority ethnic backgrounds, or identify as LGBTQI, including director Ken Loach, journalist Reeta Chakrabarti, and author Jeanette Winterson.
The new portraits will be shown in Oxford at an exhibition later this year.
ART FOR YOUTH
Sarah will be exhibiting with Art For Youth in their London exhibition taking place at the Mall Galleries this 13-15 December.
Art For Youth are celebrating their 30th year supporting artists and changing the lives of young people across the country. Over 1000 works of art between £200 and £5000 are offered for sale from 130 artists with 35% of sales going to the charity.
Always a very special event, tickets are available via the Art For Youth website.
PAINTING COURSES
Sarah is continuing to teach at The Heatherley School of Art next term (from 25 September) at both beginners and advanced level. She is also taking the Open Studio classes for portraiture (Tuesdays & Thursdays) from 17 October-2 November.
You can also book now for Painting People, a two day Masterclass at Trinity Buoy Wharf with The New School of Art on 2&3 December.
PAINTING AT COTEGRANGE FRANCE 2018
Sarah’s first residential painting course in May of this year went amazingly well with brilliant weather that made the colours of the landscape really come to life.
The food, accomodation and atmosphere at Cotegrange are second to none and she is already looking forward to the next week in May 2018 with brilliant chef Stephanie Dean on board.
All painting levels welcome. Places are limited to just seven participants so if you would like to join us please do get in touch with Sarahfor more information and to book.
Sarah Jane Moon

Alla Broeksmit – MFA New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture

Lots Road Group member Alla Broeksmit has gained her MFA from the New York Studio of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture.

Alla Broeksmith NYSS Opening.jpgAt her thesis exhibition earlier this year, Alla said, “Memories are central to how I create images. In this new series of paintings, I am referring to incidents from my past as a mean to dissect my own identity as an immigrant. I was among the ones who have lost everything, the disinherited, the poor, the abandoned. Forty years ago, I escaped the repression and totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. I left my people behind, members of my family, my friends.

“Before I paint, I keep my eyes closed and they appear again, as clear as it was when I was lost in Vienna, my child in my arms. These images are behind each stroke of paint. I utilise this particular psychological content and emotion, embedded in my origins, to feed me and to develop — visually — my new iconography within the layers of paint in my paintings.”

Biljana Sykes by Laurence Collis

 

As Laurence’s portrait of Biljana Sykes has joined us mid tour, it was not included in The Art of Reading catalogue, which can be found on Blurb.

As The Lots Road Group’s motto is Our Portrait, Your Story, words that accompany our work is equally as important as the portraits themselves.

Here is what Laurence had to say about her sitter, and what she, in turn, has to say about reading.

My sitter

I have painted my friend Biljana Sykes who is a yoga teacher and she is reading her father’s first novel, published last year.  She’s originally from Macedonia but has lived in London since 2000. Biljana is currently working on her biography which is about how her life has evolved since her divorce and the discovery that she had cancer.  She reassessed her life, she changed career, and with the help of many people she met on her journey, she is now happy and in remission.

Biljana Skyes on reading

In Laurence’s painting I am reading my father’s novel which has been published in his native Macedonian: Life: thoughts and wisdom. I like to read at home on my sofa, and occasionally on the plane – in fact, whenever I have a spare moment. I enjoy a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and if I had to choose a Desert Island book I would select Paolo Coelho’s ALEPH.

I like it because I can relate to both his voyage of self-discovery and his discovery of the world, which is relevant to the writing of my own biography. For me, reading means travelling into another person’s reality – their world.

Laurence Collis

Based in West Ealing, Laurence has a BA from Oxford Brookes University, studied portraiture at Heatherley’s and continuing studies at The Chelsea College of Art.  She has exhibited locally twice with the Ealing Art Group and twice in the Ealing Open Exhibition at the PM Gallery.  Her latest group exhibition was at the London Oratory School.  She also takes commissions.

New portrait for Art of Reading

We’re thrilled at the Lots Road Group to have Heatherley’s trained Laurence Collis join our Art of Reading exhibition at the Cambridge Literary Festival with a portrait of her friend Biljana Sykes reading.

CLF_logo B&W finalLaurence Collis portrait Lots Road Group Art of Reading Cambridge Literary Festival

The art of reading now on tour at Cambridge Literary Festival!

Lots Road Group members Hilary Puxley, Mark Stevenson and Katherine Firth (and her daughter) selflessly turned their backs on the glorious Spring sunshine yesterday to set up our latest exhibition The Art of Reading at the Cambridge Literary Festival.

Festival Organiser, Anna Millward, said, “We are delighted to be supporting Lots Road Group The Art of Reading Exhibition. The portraits are exquisite and will make a lovely contribution to the festival vibe.”

And we’re just thrilled to be at such a festival, which runs from today until 23 April and celebrates the subject of our show.

The exhibition, created in association with BookTrust, celebrates the pleasure of reading. It is exhibited in the hub of the Festival, The Old Divinity School, St Johns College, where book signings and sales will take place, and where visitors can relax and socialise.

The portraits depict readers from two to ninety, some of whom are well known authors and academics, including Dame Gillian Beer, Honorary Patron of the Festival. Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and Caroline Dawnay, doyenne of Literary Agents are amongst the sitters, as are other authors, students, friends and family members of the artists and children taking their first steps as readers.

CLF_logo B&W final

Lots Road Group at the Cambridge Literary Festival!

The latest exhibition by the Lots Road Group, ‘The Art of Reading’ will be shown, appropriately, at the Cambridge Literary Festival, which runs from 18 to 23 April inclusive.

The exhibition, created in association with BookTrust, celebrates the pleasure of reading.  It will be exhibited in the hub of the Festival, The Old Divinity School, St Johns College, where book signings and sales will take place, and where visitors can relax and socialise.

The portraits depict readers from two to ninety, some of whom are well known authors and academics, including Dame Gillian Beer, Honorary Patron of the Festival.  Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and Caroline Dawnay, doyenne of Literary Agents are amongst the sitters, as are other authors, students, friends and family members of the artists and children taking their first steps as readers.

CLF_logo B&W final

Cambridge Literary Festival booking info - The Art of Reading