Sketching at Chickenshed Theatre

go site On Saturday the 24th of May I went to ChickenShed Theatre, together with some fellow artists from the North London Artist Network. Chicken Shed is an inclusive theatre company, with a permanent base on Cat Hill, near Cockfosters. Their website says this:

Our vision is a society that enables everyone to flourish and our mission is to create entertaining and outstanding theatre that celebrates diversity and inspires positive change.

Where difference can divide, at Chickenshed the difference makes the art.

Chickenshed is an inclusive theatre company that first began in 1974. Primarily based at our own purpose-built venue in North London, we create theatre for all ages and run successful outreach projects, education courses and membership programmes throughout the year. Read more about our aims.

You can find out more here, but it is a fantastic place with a great vibe.

The sketches are all, of necessity, done quickly, but it is a wonderful experience; seeing the show, trying to catch the moment, sketching away in the corner. We all enjoyed it and we will be doing it again!


Child watching

9 and 10 and Stop

Mother and Baby

Big Big welly Boots

Church Passage in High Barnet, and the Hyde Institute

I was recently drawing in High Barnet, and focused on a beautiful small Victorian building close to the church and the high street, called the Hyde Institute. I have since become curious as to how the building came about and what the Hyde Institute is – here’s what I’ve found out so far:

The Hyde Institute and Reading Rooms.

—In 1888 Mrs. Julia Hyde by her will, proved on the 23 October, bequeathed £10,000 to the rectors and churchwardens of Monken Hadley and Chipping Barnet to be applied by them in trust to establish a library, institute, and reading rooms for the use of the two parishes, and to furnish the same and provide a library of books for use therein, and to set apart and invest part of the legacy and apply the income in hiring a building or rooms in one of the said parishes for the purposes thereof. The sum of £1,000 was spent in books and furniture, and the balance was invested as to £5,000 in £5,063 5s. 4d. India 3 per cent. stock, and as to £4,000 in £4,107 16s. 1d. consols, the annual income amounting to £264 16s. 8d. The institute was maintained in a house in Barnet held at a rent of £80 a year, until 1904, when a suitable building was erected in Church Passage, by private generosity.


Now I need to see if I can discover who the architect was and what happens in the building today – that’s phase 2!

Church PassageThe painting is now showing at the Camden Image Gallery, close to Camden Road tube station, till the 1st of March.

Judy Gilley’s Private view

Off to Judy Private view and gallery opening this evening – an excellent evening. There are very few photos and they’re not very good because I was so busy chatting to all the NLAN artists, admiring Judy’s work and stuffing my face with the excellent food that kept coming round! It was really inspiring to see how well Judy had converted the front room into a fully fledged gallery space, with excellent lighting as well as a very tidy hanging method. The work was beautifully framed by our favourite Sally Mead and the whole evening was thoroughly charming! Thank you Judy and congratulations! (And who were your caterers! Fantastic food!!).




More Winter painting in High Barnet

Out again in High Barnet painting local scenes. There are always a number of people who come and comment when one paints outdoors and today was no exception: several shoppers, a Japanese student, a local historian and assorted children. I like it. They nearly all offer advice and, what I like most, they often look up at the scene you’re painting with fresh eyes, as if they hadn’t quite noticed it until then. So generally, I find it charming.


The Private view at the Framers Gallery

The Private View went remarkably well! We had a full house, I saw lots of people, friends, clients, fellow artists, it was a wonderful evening. The food, provided by the Camisa brothers, was fantastic and well received, and the wine didn’t run out! On top of all that, I sold 20 paintings, so I was very pleased with that too. Here are some pics, taken by Elisabeth.

The new Invitation to Tuscany brochure was also well received – if you didn’t get one on the night you can order one here:

Tuscany Brochure







Affordable Art Fair

I finally made it to the Affordable Art Fair, in Battersea Park, with a free shuttle service from Sloane Square tube. I think it’s a great concept, and it’s great to see so much art all in one place, and a further pleasure to see price tags that I think I might be able to afford. I jotted down the names of artists that I found interesting – it’s curious to note what, in the midst of such a wide grouping of works, catches your eye and keeps it. For me, it seems to be beautiful colour balance, an immediacy of touch, so that one can sense the timing of the work, and a freshness of view, so that the subjects are not too mediated, meditated or sophisticated. Anyway, for better or for worse, here’s my list, together with the names of the galleries showing them:
Artists at Affordable Art Fair

Artist. – Gallery
Helen Tabor – Art Amatoria

Samantha Sands-Holmes – Columbia Road Gallery

Addy Gardner – Jenny Blyth Fine Art

Gareth Hugh Davies – Turning Tides ca

Adebanji Alade – Jack Fine Art

Ivan Lapper – Island Fine Arts

Paul Fry – Badcocks Gallery

Peter Monaghan – quantum contemporary art.

James Cowland – recent graduates.






And of course, Mick Kirkbride. I forgot to write his gallery down but he had a fair few pieces there, of which my favourites were some small square vignette type oils:


Sketching in St. James’ Park

A great day out with Mick Kirkbride – a morning round the National Gallery and then an afternoon sketching in St. James’ Park. I found a quiet place above the cafe and did 2 quick sketches trying to capture the light filtering through the trees above the pond:

People by the pond in St James' Park, London
People by the pond in St James’ Park, London

Summer Art School at ISOA

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Still life of bicycle wheels

I’ve just a spent a week (nearly – had some time off) with Lara Sparey and a bunch of lovely artists at the Insight School of Art’s Summer school. Life drawing, Cardboard figure building, mono prints, watercolours – we had a crack at all sorts of things and it was great – a really helpful and enjoyable experience!

Trees in Trent Park
Trees in Trent Park

North London Summer Arts Fair

I recently participated in the NLAN Summer Art Fair, in Barnet, London. Though only a weekend long it was a great success, and I sold 4 paintings, including a large one of the City of London school!