Artist Profile: Susie Rotberg
"I never wanted to do anything but paint and draw and was actively encouraged by my father, an enthusiastic and accomplished amateur painter. However when I left Kingston polytechnic in 1977 with a degree in Fine Art I discovered that the world was not waiting for another painter and printmaker! I joined a quilting course and started making and selling batik printed silk cushions and bags from a stall in Covent Garden while based in Sussex. I managed to sell a few 'one offs' into Heals in Tottenham Court Rd. - this was not very lucrative but I met lots of interesting people and soon I was getting freelance work designing logos and other graphic design projects before heading off to spend a few years travelling.
On my return and with my first child in tow, I joined a friend and his wife in their interior design company in Ardingly. They needed someone to provide artist impressions and sample boards. Soon I was helping visualise and design rooms and then sourcing and buying items for clients. It was the time of specialist paint effects and I must have marbled or rag rolled most of the South East of England! We designed some very exciting projects including The Palm Court restaurant on Brighton Pier, the London house belonging to The Mission (an 80’s band ) and a country house and Docklands apartment for the journalist Jean Rook.
It was then that family life took over with the arrival of son number two. To keep body and soul together I spent two years on an Institute of Linguists French course and obtained an advanced certificate. I taught adult beginners French for a couple of years from home while making cartoons and caricatures for friends' birthdays and other events. This idea grew and soon I was being regularly commissioned. Eventually it morphed into a greetings card business, Snooze Design which ran for several years. I also produced cartoons for various in-house company magazines including Virgin Atlantic and then began illustrating for a regular column in Everything France magazine. At the same time I was illustrating campaign material for a London based PR company. I was also commissioned to paint a mural in their offices which led to other murals including two at Cumnor House School in Danehill. My last illustration job was 7 years ago, while I was a working as a teaching assistant. I produced a series of covers for Money Week magazine but the deadlines were terrifying … it wasn’t for me.
On retirement I returned to painting and I am lucky enough to have my own studio in a renovated old outbuilding attached to our house in Ashdown Forest. That is where I now spend a great deal of my time surrounded by the wooded landscape that inspires my work. I think that the natural world has all the best designs and capturing the shift in light and the palette of the changing seasons is what I love to do. I do not miss working to a brief or the deadlines!
I have found it very difficult to stay focussed during lockdown and so have been experimenting with a more ‘fast and loose’ approach to painting. I tend to overwork things anyway so this has been a useful exercise. I've mostly been working with acrylics on heavy paper which are quick drying and so easier to build layers of colour.
By mixing the paint on top layers with a blending gel or retarder you can scrape through to the colour underneath before it dries. I’ve been using big flat brushes, sticks, sponges, an old washing up brush, palette knives and my new favourite toys ..a selection of catalysts. I like to have a few on the go at the same time- that way you can leave one and move on before you start getting over detailed. his technique takes away the control and leads to more expressive work- the trick, as ever, is knowing when to walk away!"
Autumn & Winter Light: New Work from Susie Rotberg (click on images to expand)
Donate Alongside CA to Restore a Very Special Instrument!
We received an appeal from Trudy Harper, on behalf of her father, Roger Taylor, who has lived in East Sussex for over 40 years. Music played a great part in his life; he was a trumpet player, a piano player and a fine singer. For a time he and his late wife lived at Rudyard Kipling's former home, Batemans. Roger is now 85 and lives in High Broom Care Home in Crowborough.
Trudy writes, ‘In my garage is a very special but rather sad and dilapidated pianola which predates 1910. It has been a very special machine in our family and has lived in many different homes. It featured in all family celebrations as Dad peddled like fury to the strains of ‘Daisy Daisy’, ‘Get me to the Church on Time’ and ‘The Dashing White Sergeant’.
Trudy has launched an appeal to raise £2,000 for the restoration of the pianola, so that it can be rehomed to High Broom for the entertainment of all the residents. She says, ‘We would love to see Dad peddle away again … please help us raise the funds to restore a little piece of history and give the High Broom Community a Christmas Gift to remember and get the twinkle back in a rather eccentric octogenarian’s eyes.’
Crowborough Arts is delighted to donate £300 to such a great cause. If you would like to make an independent donation, please go to the GoFundMe page: gf.me/u/y6dwii).
Erica Walks for Children in Need - Update!
Erica Adams writes, 'I have attached a video of part of my sponsored walk for Children in Need shown on BBC SE lunchtime news today (13th Nov). I thought you might be interested to know that it will also be on their evening news tonight as well as the main BBC 1 programme at 7.20. So far I have raised £530 and am hoping tonight's exposure will add more. Many thanks to those who have donated.'
Below is Erica's account of her feat:
'Saturday 10th October, eleven o’clock, time to set off on my Children in Need sponsored walk. Disappointingly the weather is fine. It would look more heroic to trundle my walking frame through gales, rainstorms or snow, but it is not to be so I don my Pudsey ears and drive to Goldsmiths with husband, Maurice, by my side.
Outside the Leisure Centre my daughter, Jan Moffitt, is waiting so, with a cheery wave goodbye to Maurice, we set off on the upward path skirting the left of the building and I wonder if the carpet of acorns will speed me up or crash me down. But I negotiate them without a hitch with Jan spurring me on and making jokes which make me laugh proving that it’s possible to walk, breathe and laugh all at the same time even at my age.
I puff my way up the long sloping path until at the top it turns right and a beautiful panoramic scene bursts into view. I fling out my arms and sing ‘The hills are alive with …’ but my Julie Andrews moment is curtailed by the need to stop my walker sailing away. Now it’s downhill until we turn right at the bottom onto the not-quite-flat path that always sets my ankle off, but I bravely limp on until reaching the outdoor gym equipment where I wonder whether to have a go. However, this challenge is to walk for half an hour, not waste time keeping fit, so we turn left onto the circular path above the running track and continue trudging around whilst young people zip past on the track beside us. It is like travelling on a donkey with Tesla electric cars speeding by.
Eventually a full half hour has passed. In my head music plays and fireworks explode. I dash to our car and my man leaps out waving a St George’s flag. We kiss. And that is that.
I had aimed to make £88 for Children in Need. Currently the total is £485. Whoop whoop!'
Turning Memories into Memoirs
Some years ago when I was studying for my MA, I wrote down a series of family stories - stories I'd grown up with from my grandparents and parents. Some were funny, some recalled their childhoods and some brought home their experiences in the East End of London during WWII. What I found repeatedly was that as we spoke about the past, more and more memories would emerge. Reminiscing unlocked a past that would otherwise have been lost forever.
Now I want to help others preserve their own stories for their families and friends. During a series of relaxed, informal interviews, we will capture the stories and periods of your life that you want to preserve.
Please get in touch for an informal chat either by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 01892 853294/07799842244
Catch Up With Stan
Gaye Jee and Mary Harris have just taken delivery of their second children's book, 'When Stan Came Back', written by Gaye and illustrated by Mary. Gaye says, 'Last year, our cat Stan went missing in the middle of the night. When he came back three days later, he wouldn’t say where he’d been, so this is his imagined story.’ She goes on to explain, 'Our first collaboration, 'Seven Sardines for Stan' has sold out, so that gave us the encouragement to print this one.'
24 pages, full colour, £5 per copy. Contact Gaye to reserve a copy on 01892 853294, or email email@example.com.
Rebecca Lindsay, who has just completed her PhD at the University of Reading, was awarded a CA bursary in 2017 to assist with expenses to attend the world’s largest children’s literature conference.
Rebecca writes: “With the support of the Crowborough Arts Bursary, I was able to go to Canada to present my paper on ‘The Real and the Ideological Child’ at the International Research Society for Children’s Literature Congress 2017. This was such an incredible experience as a first year PhD student, and I could not have done it without this bursary. Thank you so much!
I have now submitted my thesis, ‘Psychoanalytic Readings of Language, the Unconscious, and the Desire for the Object’, which looks at various critical theories, literature and psychoanalysis. I have included a special thanks to Crowborough Arts in my thesis acknowledgements page for your generosity.“
We send Rebecca many congratulations, and look forward to addressing her as Dr Lindsay!
The King Lear Prize: Success for CA Members!
Gong Therapy with Angela Mason
On her 'Touched by Sound' website, Gong Master Angela Mason writes, "The Gongs bring many people a sense of deep relaxation, rest and renewal when they relax into the sounds, let go, and allow their soundscape to unfold." I knew immediately that this was something I had to experience!
Angela, a CA member, welcomed me into the soft golden glow of her treatment room. Lining the walls were about a dozen large gongs; countless other percussive instruments stood on shelves and tables.
I was invited to lie on a heated couch in the centre of the room and close my eyes. Angela began with light strokes on a selection of Tibetan singing bowls, before moving onto the deeper, more sonorous resonances of the gongs. Very quickly I was immersed in a blissful connection with the sound and was enjoying the variety of the different instruments, some of which had sweet, plangent notes that lasted only for a moment, and others whose resonance lasted for many seconds. I lost all sense of the passing of time and it was only when Angela returned to the lighter sounds of the singing bowls, sea-sounds and tiny five note tunes on thumb pianos that my eyes opened. I was amazed to realise that the whole experience had lasted well over an hour.
Afterwards I felt refreshed and peaceful, but the real effect of the gong bath took some hours to manifest itself. I became aware that the knot of anxiety I’d been holding in the pit of my stomach for months – at least since the beginning of the pandemic – had completely dissolved. By 10 pm I felt exhausted, but in a good way, and I knew I would sleep well (usually a challenge for me). This morning I still feel grounded and peaceful, and a little light-headed. The gong bath experience is not one that can adequately be described; all I can say, is try it for yourself. I shall certainly be returning!
We are hoping to invite Angela to demonstrate the gongs and talk about her work at a CA evening as soon as possible.
More Contributions Please!
These stunning Crowborough sunsets were captured this week. The first is looking towards Crowborough from Rotherfield and the second, by Jeannette Towey, is at Goldsmiths. Do you have any recent photos of our lovely countryside, or special garden pictures you'd like to share? And remember, we'd love to read your poems and stories and see any artwork you've created over the last few months. Just click here to send them in.
Members Collaborate to Produce Children's Book
Gaye Jee and Mary Harris have collaborated to produce a children's picture book entitled 'Seven Sardines for Stan'. It's based upon the real adventures of Gaye's cats, Stan and Dweezil, and their love for catnip sardines. Gaye says, 'I wrote Seven Sardines around eighteen months ago. I've always admired Mary's work and when I saw one of her pictures in a more illustrative style I asked her if she would be interested in working on pictures for my book - I was so pleased she said yes! I hope both children and adults will enjoy the humour and of course Mary's delightful drawings'. Seven Sardines for Stan is A5 size and 20 pages long. It's available to buy from Gaye at £4.50 a copy. Click here to contact her.
A New Commission for Caroline
Crowborough artist Caroline Hobbs was commissioned to paint this lovely double portrait of Arthur and Benjamin Pearce. She writes: "I have spent the greater part of my working life teaching art, first in London, then at Beacon Academy in Crowborough and then for 20 years as Head of Art at Temple Grove Prep school. While there I did the sets for all the school plays, including "Ruddigore", in which 6 portraits come to life! Some of the parents then asked me to do portraits of their children. I found that this was something that, although challenging, I loved! Where possible I like to paint people in their own surroundings with objects that tell you about their interests, as can be seen in my portrait of the Pearce boys. I hope that in years to come it will remind them of this time in their lives."
Life Drawing Live!
Over the past couple of Fridays (31st July and 7th August), we've been running Life Drawing Live sessions at Ghyll Farm in Crowborough. Taking advantage of the fine weather, up to five artists, plus a model, spent the day drawing and painting outdoors in the beautiful setting of Julia Ball's garden. The sessions were run by our model, Alice, who has sat for many life classes in the past, both for Crowborough Arts and other artists. The morning was spent drawing and painting quick and moving poses, while longer poses took up the afternoon session. Artists were able to book for one or both sessions, on each of the scheduled days and both were pretty much sold out.
Special thanks go to Julia for allowing us to use her garden! If you are interested in hearing about future sessions, please do get in touch here, and we'll put you on the list.
It's a Sign!
CA People: Erica Adams
Another long-term CA member, Erica is probably best known to us as a visual artist. However, here she tells her story of how she came to publish her first novel:
Part 1: The Conception of The Pig and I
In 1994 a friend gave me the book Writing the Blockbuster Novel by Al Zuckerman. Eagerly, I had read every word and made copious notes. At that time I was writing a novel set one hundred years in the future and I incorporated what I had learnt from the Blockbuster book into its planning. I had written a detailed synopsis and the first seven chapters and, full of excitement, I sent Twenty Ninety-Five to Al Zuckerman’s Writers House Office in New York. Surely he would be interested: I had followed all his guidelines.
Read the rest of Erica's story here.
Inspired by Art
Brighten Up with a Mini-Shawl!
Introducing Winnie & Truff
Mary Harris and Gaye Jee have collaborated once again to produce their third book for children. Based upon real events and two very real dogs, they say they didn't have to make up much at all! Perfect as a little gift for anyone who could do with cheering up as we plod through the (hopefully) last knockings of the lockdown! Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07799842244 to reserve your copy.
Zoom in to a Life Session
Mary Harris has set up a tutored Zoom Life Drawing session (partially clothed) in collaboration with RTW Art Society. It's open to our members for £10 for the session, and the tutor will be long-term CA member Jan Moffitt. The session will be on Friday 26th March 10am -12noon. Please contact Mary at email@example.com if you would like to take part.
Check Out Sue's Website
One of CA's founding members, Sue Petszaft, has launched her own website. Sue creates a wide range of artwork including necklaces, papier mache bowls, original artwork, cards and much more, all of which are available to buy. Click on the image to go to her site.
Ray Hennessey, one of Crowborough Arts' founder members and former treasurer, sadly died on Christmas Eve aged 90.
Ray was an antiquarian bookseller and his particular love was miniature books. He and his late wife Deanna helped to found Crowborough Arts, and their energy and contacts helped the organisation to grow into what it is today. After Deanna’s death Ray decided to step down as treasurer but always offered to help at events and particularly enjoyed checking tickets and taking money at the concerts in Green Cottage because he could have a glass of red wine and chat to everyone as they came in.
We shall remember him with great fondness and he will be sadly missed when we are able to resume our activities.
Christmas Card Competition Results
Our competition for the Crowborough Arts Christmas card design had over 30 entries, which was brilliant! What a creative lot you are! Thanks to everyone who took part.
The Steering Group shortlisted the designs, and then we asked an independent professional designer to make the final choices. The three selected are shown above and our congratulations go to Mary, Angela and Karen. Each winning artist received 10 cards of their own design, and mixed or single design packs were available to buy. These proved very popular, so we're planning to hold another competition next year.
A VIP Visit for Jeannette
Nus Ghani, MP for Wealden, has visited the Crowborough Community Centre which currently exhibits the “Home & Away” landscapes by local artist and Crowborough Arts member Jeannette Towey.
The exhibition hosts more than thirty paintings of landscapes from Wealden and Sussex, as well as landscapes, seascapes and nature paintings from all over the UK and from abroad.
Ms Ghani said: “It is fantastic to see the work of a local artist exhibited at the heart of Crowborough and I particularly enjoyed the beautiful landscapes of the Ashdown Forest and Wealden’s countryside."
A selection of Jeannette's work is available to purchase here.
That's Life (and Portraits)!
We're delighted with members' enthusiasm for our life and portrait drawing sessions which have resumed at The United Church. This is possible as they fall under the banner of ‘education’ and so are not subject to the ‘rule of six’. Full health precautions will be in place, however, and details of these are available here.
The dates are as follows:
Monday 2nd November - Portrait
Thursday 12th November - Life
Monday 23rd November - Life
and thereafter the same pattern ie 1st Monday of the month, 2nd Thursday of each month and 4th Monday of each month.
Sessions cost £10 for members, and £15 non members.
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 01892 852681 to book a place, or for more details.
Help Erica raise £88 on her CountryFile Ramble!
Artist, writer and CA member, Erica writes: "The Countryfile Ramble in aid of Children in Need has ACT YOUR AGE as its theme this year. Well, I am 88 and cannot walk 88 miles and 88 metres is not far enough, and to walk for 88 minutes is about 58 minutes too long, even with my trusty walking frame. I am therefore making it my aim to raise eighty-eight pounds by walking the whole way round Goldsmiths Leisure Centre grounds (Crowborough) which should take me about 20 minutes, unless it is raining. However, to push myself to the absolute limit, I will continue walking until 30.8 minutes have elapsed, which is 88 divided by 4 = 22, plus one tenth of 88 which equals 8.8, giving 30.8 minutes in total, by which time I will need a stiff drink. This event will take place on Saturday 10th October at eleven o’clock unless it’s too cold, too hot or ... no, cancel that, I WILL do it.
Donating through JustGiving is simple, fast and totally secure. Once you donate, they'll send your money directly to BBC Children in Need, so it's the most efficient way to give - saving time and cutting costs for the charity. Thank you - Erica"
If you're having difficulty with donating, please email email@example.com and we'll help you out!
Reminding Us All of Holidays ...
... this lovely view of Lindisfarne by Jeannette Towey
I am sorry to report the death of one of our oldest members, Pat Maurice who has died at the age of 97.
Pat was always interested in the theatre and was a great supporter of Crowborough Arts, especially the talks and music events at Green Cottage. I will remember her, sitting on the end of the front row, a glass of red wine in her hand, smiling with pleasure at whatever event was taking place just a metre in front of her.
This seat was reserved this seat for her, as it was easy for her to get to and there was room for her to park her trike walker at the side. I shall always think of this as “Pat’s seat” and shall miss watching her genuine pleasure and delight in all that was going on.
Angela Vernon Bates (Quinn)
Robin Jeffrey & Alessandra Testai in Concert
On Wednesday 22nd July at 6.30 pm, CA Favourites Robin Jeffery and Alessandra Testai performed a mini concert of Summer songs by John Dowland, Tromboncino, H. Lawes, Frescobaldi and Henry Purcell. You can catch up with the concert by clicking here.
Paintings from the Lockdown
Jeannette Towey writes: "Attached is my most recently completed painting. It's the stream in Crowborough Country Park, oil on A2 sized canvas. I love painting streams as I'm captivated by light on water, especially where the water is trickling over rocks."
Susie Rotberg sent in two new paintings. "The first is an acrylic painting of a cherry blossom Tree that I found randomly blooming in the woods near me on Ashdown forest - I have never noticed it before on my walks and I thought I knew every nook and cranny. The second is an oil painting in the bluebell wood behind our house - the bluebell colour makes a very tricky palette and I spend a lot of time every spring experimenting with colour harmony. Those very first vibrant Spring greens are hard to capture and they only last a couple of weeks. My favourite time of year ..."
Take the Painting Challenge!
Mary Harris, who facilitated our life and portrait sessions for many years, has shared an idea for a series of art projects first suggested by Ros Plumley at RTW Art Society.
Part 1 was a challenge to paint a scene of your choosing in your kitchen, BUT only use art materials that are from the back of your cupboard, gathering dust, that you haven’t used for years. You can repeat the same picture using your favoured medium if you like.
Part 2 is to produce a picture in a Surrealist style, in any medium or subject. Think lobster telephone, inflated lips ... let your imagination run wild! Mary has done just that, with her 'Tangle in Trafalgar Square'!
Please photograph and send pictures to Mary: firstname.lastname@example.org
We will allow a fortnight for each challenge, before giving you the next one, and submitted pictures will be featured on the CA Home Page.
'Inspired by Art' - an Online Course by Christine Roberts
Twenty years ago I’d had the chance to go on a course at the National Gallery which did just what the title of this piece suggests - and I’d really relished the opportunity to bring two of my favourite things together. That’s how I came to produce the current course on Ekphrastic poetry which is the term used to describe poems inspired by art.
The six-week course is structured to look at different genres in painting and different approaches by poets in response to paintings. The first week focused on the need to observe paintings very closely and, for those members who wanted to write their own poems, to do so and to get feedback. Following that first week where we looked at paintings by Breughel and Van Gogh, we moved on to look at portraits and life drawing, still lifes, and historical, narrative and genre paintings. Still to come are landscape, seascape and nature paintings, and to finish we’ll look at some abstract and, maybe, surrealist works. We’ve already looked at poems by Walter De La Mare, William Carlos Williams, Carol Ann Duffy, Paul Durcan, Michael Longley, W. H. Auden and others responding to works by painters including Braque, Lowry, Giacometti, Uccello, Morandi, Cezanne, Picasso and Vuillard.
What have been tremendous are the poems participants have sent us in response to the material. You may already have read some on the website and here are links to all the poems written so far. I’ve been delighted with the writer’s imaginative approaches, the freshness of their language and the skills on offer. The only thing I regret is that we are not meeting face to face to read our poems and enjoy each others. Let’s hope for a future live running of this programme.
If you'd like to contact Christine, click here.
BBC Radio Kent played another of Gaye Jee's monologue's on 12th May. If you'd like to listen to the story of a woman fulfilling her mother's dream, click here to listen to 'White Horses', at approx 3.43. Her previous monologue, 'After the Dream' which was played on 6th May, is available here. The monologue is at 3.46.40
A Look Back to 2019
At this time when none of us are going out, it seemed like a good moment to have a look at what we achieved last year. We put on around a dozen talks, music, performance and arts events. Highlights included our celebration of our county, 'A Sussex Salmagundi', that featured over 20 performers; a talk from the well-known author Simon Brett and the fascinating 'Sound of Paint' with music historian Peter Medhurst, plus around 50 hands-on sessions including regular life drawing and portraiture, and our Booklovers and Playreaders meetings. 2020, our 10th anniversary, would have been just as busy, but never fear, we'll be back with a vengeance as soon as we possibly can!
As the first of a series of mini-features on Crowborough Arts people, we begin with our Chair, Angela Vernon Bates. Click here to read about her life as a singer and artist before CA!
Earth Day: 22nd April
"Trees exhale for us so that we can inhale them to stay alive. Can we ever forget that? Let us love trees with every breath we take until we perish." - Munia Khan
I took this photo of an oak tree near Rotherfield first thing in the morning. When I awoke that day, everything was shrouded in mist, with just a hint of golden light that told me the sun would break through. I threw on my clothes and walked through the fields to photograph my favourite tree.
The Hidden Life of a Social Girl ...
Margaret Sayer (this is NOT Margaret pictured!) has shared the following poem - we don't know who wrote it, but it certainly hits the nail on the head at the moment!
I'm normally a social girl
I love to meet my mates
But lately with the virus here
We can't go out the gates.
You see, we are the 'oldies' now
We need to stay inside
If they haven't seen us for a while
They'll think we've upped and died.
Click here to read the full poem.
Decorative Face Mask Competition
CA Chair Angela Vernon Bates says: "Throw your creative energy into this unusual competition - you don't have to draw or paint, just let your imagination soar! Make a simple face-mask (click here for details) - it only takes a few minutes!" This mask is for decoration so it doesn’t need to be germ proof but can be if you prefer and you can decorate it in any way you like, though please don't use bought masks - the NHS need all they can get.
Take a photo of you or someone else wearing the mask and send to Gaye -email@example.com. She will put them on the website for us all to see. - There will be a virtual prize for the winner. Closing date 1st June.
CA People: Todd & Todd
Barbara and Justin Todd have been great supporters of CA since the early years and are familiar faces at most of our events. Both practising artists, we asked them to tell us a little more about themselves.
Barbara writes: We have both spent the last 62 years living in a world of all things creative, on Justin’s part as an illustrator, very well known for his amazing powers of imagination and exquisite technique. He has an enormous body of work under his belt, ranging from History books, Science Fiction, Children’s books, to magazines like Men Only!
His first commission was for a large mural for Morley College, London; the subject: The Canterbury Tales. Recently restored, it looks as fresh and bright as it was sixty years ago. Always working at home, he took on one day-a-week teaching at Brighton College of Art which kept him sane and in touch with the outside world.
Justin is best known for his interpretation of Children’s Classics and won Prizes for his versions of the two Alices and his delightful Wind in the Willows. He had two major Exhibitions at the National Theatre, one for his Book covers, very collectable, and one covering all the original artwork for his many children’s books. The University of Brighton gave him a large retrospective exhibition on his retirement from teaching. Now in his late eighties, he continues to produce charming and amusing paintings which have a narrative quality but can stand alone as Fine Art. They have the exquisite finish of his illustrations, but now he can choose his own subject.
My own career took a very different direction. Realising that it would not be easy to make a living as a Fine Artist, I turned to teaching and spent 38 years teaching Art & Design, the last 30 years as Head of Art at Wimbledon High School. I taught Fine Art and History of Art up to A level, supporting the latter with regular trips to Italy: not for the faint-hearted, but a good time for all!
Other activities which came with the job were designing sets and costumes for drama productions and organising outings to London Galleries for the whole school – a very busy life, which left little time for my own work. Despite this, I found the students very stimulating and felt they taught me as much as I taught them!
When I finally retired, I began to develop my own work, so long neglected, and have struggled to persevere with this to date. This can be a mixture of frustration and satisfaction, (sometimes), but always interesting. So, every day is a working day for both of us; apart from friends, holidays etc, what else is there to do?
Pictures from the Lockdown
Hot Off the Press
Mary Harris has shared a beautiful new woodcut. She writes: "This new woodcut is completely different from others I have done, but reflects the domestic viewpoint and smaller horizons during the lockdown. It is printed on a fine Japanese paper and pink watercolour added on the reverse shows through."
A Song for the Times
Singer/songwriter and CA member Alice Barnard, who has performed in many of our shows, has written a song about the way Coronavirus has affected us all: Click here to watch her video on Youtube.
As you know, one of the events we had to cancel was the amazing folk dance band, Stepling. Click on the picture to watch their brilliant video of 'Allen Water'
Elizabeth Wood and Christine Roberts have collaborated to set up art projects which they then both interpret. We think this is a brilliant idea to stimulate creativity while we're all cooped up - why not give a friend a call and give it a go?
Week 1: 'Dying Tulips', 'Lemons' (in the style of Mary Fedden) and 'The Corner of My Conservatory'. Originals are on the left, followed by Elizabeth's interpretations in the middle and Christine's on the right.
For their 2nd week, Elizabeth responded to a collage by Christine.
Week 3 saw them interpreting David Hockney's monochrome drawings.
Week 4: This week Elizabeth set the challenge which was to do a collage using decorative papers and then to use it to make some gift tags!
For week 5, Elizabeth and Christine took their inspiration from some fossilised items and some rocks that came from the desert near Riyadh in Saudi Arabia. Elizabeth interpreted hers in pencil, enlarged it and added some digital strokes in the background. Christine drew hers directly on her iPad on a background of a beach in Southwold, using an Apple pencil and Procreate software.
Week 6: Christine writes, "Elizabeth had two flat felt pouches that she was given on a long haul flight to New Zealand. Inspired by various
bits of fabrics I had we decided to embellish them with a Japanese theme."
Week 7 - their final week - was inspired by line drawings by Matisse (top). Elizabeth's response is on the left and Christine's on the right.
Peter Jeffery has sent us six of his poems so far - thank you Peter!
You can read all of Peter's poems here.
Chapel Porth Postcard by Peter Jeffery
"Just as back ground, Chapel Porth is a tiny almost deserted group of cottages on the North Coast of Cornwall that you can get to at low tide or by a little footpath."
Picture a narrow tranquil track
Beside the dancing ringlets of a tumbling stream
Close roofed by a thousand mad maypoles of spring blossom
Then to be fanned as you pass by wild flowers
Each bursting for the attention of a droning throng
That scatter hither and thither
Confused it seems by the heady scent of grass fresh mown
With all things so bright and beautiful
The Sunday school innocence of childhood is pleasantly recalled
And the spirit is lifted in contentment
The valley now broadens to a vast swathe of soft sea washed sand
Beyond the eyes reach
Margined by a looming curtain of mist that veils the mighty surf
But not its mighty roar
A mighty roar echoed by the soaring granite cenotaphs to long gone miners
That sculptured by the elements of time
Rise and rise again as if to touch the sky
It is here you can gambol like a mad March fool
Amongst the dunes with your loved ones
More likely though you will stand transfixed
And gaze and gaze in trepid awe
At the ever changing splendour of nature's imagination
Reflection here will ask about your faith
Did he who made the lamb make this?
Think well before you answer.”
Sue Whatley sent in her lino cuts of 'Phases of the Sun' - 'just to remind us that the sun will come out again.'
In Memory of Times Past by Anne Schifler
This poem was sent to us by CA member Anne Schifler. It perfectly expresses the nostalgia of looking back on a happy childhood.
Oh England how I miss you though many years apart,
the memories of my childhood stay ever in my heart.
The scent of new mown grass, the first cuckoo call in spring,
the hedgehog I had for a pet - oh so many, many things.
Those happy days with Grandma in Notting Hill Gate;
I was only five but still remember all the love she gave;
the places that she took me, and which I’ve not seen since:
Kensington Gardens, The Palace, the Changing of the Guard -
I can see myself a little child peering through the bars
and getting lost in Selfridges, and remembering what Grandma said
’Stay where you are if you are lost and soon you will be found.’
What little things when we are young remain within the mind,
and now so many years have gone, and many loved ones too,
but still I have the memories…
And if today I forget what happened yesterday,
they say the memories of a happy past are the last to fade away.
When Stan Came Back
by Gaye Jee
Last summer, our cat went missing for three days. We put notices all around Rotherfield and were offered no less than four grey cats during the time he was missing! This story is an imaginary version of what happened. It was written for children, but I hope everyone will enjoy it! Click on the picture to download the pdf.