'Artists are gnostics, and practise what the priests think is long forgotten.' - Hugo Ball

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

Moon Dance

Moon Dance © Sue Wookey
Another painting which had its birth during September's Open Studios. It is possible to be fruitful while demonstrating and talking about your work! This one grew out of the series of Moon Drummers I painted, but the connection with the drum and the moon is even stronger here. I've tried to use the crater markings on the moon to map out the body of the drummer as she bends over her drum. Around her the Moon dances through all her phases, passing over the Earth and the oceans.

The words I've written around the border are:

Through the shadow, through the light,
sometimes dark and sometimes bright,
round and round to the drum of the moon,
dancing the dance of life. - SW

Prints of 'Moon Dance' will be available soon!

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

My thanks and Christmas wishes to all of you who've supported me through this year, making the journey to various exhibitions and craft fairs, and keeping me busy painting, printing and sticking cards together!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas Mouse © Sue Wookey

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Holding the Net of Life

© Sue Wookey
At last, a nice shiny new painting - Holding the Net of Life - which started life as a sketch at this year's Open Studios and left me wondering how to accomplish the intricate net at the painting's heart, which has been woven from the bright central fire. Sometimes I see these things very clearly in my head but getting them on paper is another matter entirely! Getting the right contrast, so that there was detail in the centre of the painting without destroying the sense of intense fire and light, was pretty tricky but I got there in the end by building it up very slowly with delicate washes. With watercolour it's all too easy to lose the transparency and glow from the surface of the paper and, with a subject like this, once that's gone you've had it. The only option is to start again. Luckily I made it through the creative fire!!!

The four figures holding the Net of Life can be read in more than one way. They are clothed in the colours and patterns of the Four Elements from which the fabric of life is woven: Earth, Air, Fire and Water, with the central light representing the Fifth Element, Spirit. They embody the Elements, but they also represent the powers that sustain us - Guardians, Teachers, Family, Friends, Ancestors - all that holds us up in our walk through life.

The words around the border are:

Woven together in the Web of Life.
Woven together with Spirit,
Woven together with Earth,
Woven together with Air,
Woven together with Fire and Water. - SW

Prints will be available very soon!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Getting ready for Christmas!

I know - we are only just out of October but there is nothing like planning ahead! The Eagle Gallery will be having its usual Christmas Exhibition from 1st - 24th December and, like last year, members will be making Christmas decorations for the tree in the Gallery. These will be on sale with the proceeds going to charity and, if previous efforts are anything to go by, will be a great mix of inventive ideas to jazz up your tree.

So... I've been busy painting little winter and festive scenes on some beautiful chunky hearts. They are only 2-3 inches so I've been using a teeny tiny brush and peering at them over my glasses to get them done. I love teeny tiny painting (is that weird?). The ones above are just some of them so hopefully they won't run out so quickly this year because I know you like them....

Trouble is - I want to keep them all!!! And if the little robin doesn't appear at the Gallery you'll know why...


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Texture Exhibition at the Eagle Gallery

We have a new Eagle Gallery Exhibition opening on Monday with members submitting work on the theme of Texture. I love the themed exhibitions as they give us all a chance to think outside our usual boxes, though as an artist who paints in a totally flat medium this one had me a bit stumped! But then I realised that I had a lot of photographs of textured landscapes and odd bits and pieces, so much so that in the end I could hardly decide what to print up. Finally I went with this shot of shingle and a beautifully weathered and corrugated boat shed in Hythe, Kent. It even has an obliging seagull which flew past at exactly the right time!

© Sue Wookey
27 October - 20 November
Themed Members Exhibition

The Eagle Gallery
101 Castle Road
Bedford MK40 3QP

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Drummer 1 © Sue Wookey

We are now nearing the end of our Open Studios, although we still have this Friday and Saturday afternoons to go (1pm – 4.30pm) at Artscape, so there is still a chance to catch us there.

It’s been great fun this year. A lot of you will have seen me throwing colour at soaked paper and splidging and splodging the watercolour around to create a set of Drummers. It was one of those ideas that just popped into my head from nowhere when we started the demos and I’ve loved painting them. I’ve tried to give them organic curvy, pebbly shapes and they seem very earthy to me, as though they have grown out of the ground. I wanted them to feel ancient and young at the same time. The drums are actually the moon, though the shadings are so subtle it’s not easy to see the familiar markings. I’ve also tried to give them a sense of movement – not so much moving around (although one is dancing) but vibration. I’ve posted three here and I’ll be working on the fourth one on Friday! I see a set of cards in the future :-). They’ve been a great way to demonstrate the joys of wet-in-wet watercolour and the way the hues can flow and merge. 

Drummer 2 © Sue Wookey

 Many thanks to all of you who have turned up at Artscape this month and encouraged us. It’s been lovely talking to you all and hearing your comments! 

Drummer 3 © Sue Wookey

All paintings © Sue Wookey

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Open Studios now open!

My paintings and Teresa Newham's photography
Open Studios is now officially open - we had a lovely Open Evening on Friday night and lots of visitors at our first day of demonstrations at Artscape yesterday. Thanks to all of you who came and supported us! We have many more open days to come (see calendar below), with a marathon open day on Thursday where we'll be there from 1pm to 8pm. We will also have wine, soft drinks and nibbles on Thursday to keep us..... er.... I mean you going. We'll be splashing paint around, or, in Hillary's case, maybe bringing artistic order out of chaos from a pile of shredded newspapers.

Pauline Ashley, Teresa and Hillary Taylor
And I have new cards of the paintings below, which are proving very popular so I've been very busy making more of them (including a lovely leaping hare, not pictured):

Maybe we'll see you there soon?

Artscape Arts. Artscape, 8 Southdown Industrial Estate, Marlborough Road (off Southdown Road), HARPENDEN, AL5 1PW
EXHIBITION:1-27 Sept (not Sundays or during classes). OPEN STUDIOS: as shown:
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28
Sat/Wed/Fri 1pm-4.30pm * Thu 1pm-8pm

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Harpenden Art Trail

This year Open Studios in Harpenden has been boosted by a new Harpenden Art Trail leaflet, put together by fellow Artscape Arts artist Hillary Taylor, that takes you around all the studios and exhibitions in the Harpenden area throughout September. This supplements the usual Open Studios Brochure for the whole of Hertfordshire and has a local focus. The PDF version has clickable links to maps and studios locations! Downloadable PDF of the Map.

'With a local focus, visiting studios in and around Harpenden has just got even easier with the release this week of the Harpenden and District Art Trail. This handy leaflet, the size of a takeaway menu, has all the essential information needed to help visitors plan their visits and get around studios in Harpenden, Redbourn and Kimpton. The simplified map, surrounded by sample artwork, indicates where studios and other art displays can be found. In addition, at-a-glance summaries identify studios open on any particular day, contact information and also highlight where visitors can find particular art forms.
For the increasing numbers armed with smartphones or tablets, the trail can be downloaded as a pdf from Herts Visual Arts and a number of other locations. This pdf contains clickable links to further brochure information and artist web sites. With a car essential for travelling between many studios, perhaps the most important component of the trail map are links that click through to on-line maps for ease of navigation. The trail is also available (without the clickable links) as a jpg for social media and more.'
Visit the HVA Website for further information about Open Studios in Harpenden. You will also find regular upates on the Harpenden arts scene by following The Harpenden Art Hub on Facebook:


Don't forget to visit my Open Studios at Artscape, Harpenden, with fellow artists Teresa Newham, Hillary Taylor, Judi Menges and Pauline Ashley:

Artscape Arts. Artscape, 8 Southdown Industrial Estate, Marlborough Road (off Southdown Road), HARPENDEN, AL5 1PW
EXHIBITION:1-27 Sept (not Sundays or during classes). OPEN STUDIOS: as shown:
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28
Sat/Wed/Fri 1pm-4.30pm * Thu 1pm-8pm 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Raven's Flight

Raven's Flight © Sue Wookey
Nice shiny new painting! Well - nearly new anyway as I had it on the wall at my exhibition at the Eagle Gallery in June, but I've finally got around to making prints of it. It will be one of the paintings I'll be exhibiting at Open Studios in September (see poster on the right!).

Raven's flight is inspired by the Native American legend of Raven stealing the sun so that mankind could have warmth and light, but the painting also symbolises hope and the eternal birth of light from darkness. The words I've written to go around the border read:

If you are a true lover of the Hidden Light, 
welcome the night wings of Raven as he brings you the Sun.

You can see that I've gone a bit mad with real and suggested circles (nothing new there) and have stylised the trees that Raven is flying over so that they are very abstract (nothing new there either!). And for once I managed to do a painting without the moon in it.

Limited Edition giclee prints of Raven's Flight are available from my website at www.galleyhillart.com.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Encounters at the Eagle Gallery

We have an interesing exhibition opening at the Eagle Gallery tomorrow. Encounters features work by members which have been created as a response to works by well-known artists. Great for knocking you out of your comfort zone and into a different groove! As well as creating a work for the exhibition (it certainly knocked me out of my zone!) I also designed the poster (see below).

So... what did I come up with? After a lot of thought I decided to take a look at one of my favourite artists, Chagall, because I share his love of personal symbolism, unreal spatial juxtapositions and use of shapes and geometry to carve up the canvas. It wasn't hard to pick his 'I and the Village'. Running with the theme and the idea of strong attachment to place, I came up with something filled with my own personal symbolism, I and the Hill:

I and the Hill © Sue Wookey
We have each been asked to write a piece to go on the wall with our artwork, explaining why we have connected with it:
Painted the year after Chagall came to Paris, I and the Village is his nostalgically symbolic response to his childhood in a Hasidic community outside Vitebsk. It is painted in his personalized version of Cubism. "For the Cubists," Chagall said, "a painting was a surface covered with forms in a certain order. For me a painting is a surface covered with representations of things... in which logic and illustration have no importance."

I chose I and the Village because my own work also uses symbolism and geometry to reveal the inner life below the surface of the ordinary world. So my response, I and the Hill, is also a deeply symbolic reaction - in my case to the Chiltern Hills which I’ve grown up amongst and which are a constant source of artistic inspiration for me. I’ve used personal symbols and my love of harmonious shapes and circles to weave my own ‘surface covered with representations of things’.

19 July - 16 August

The Eagle Gallery
101 Castle Road
Bedford MK40 3QP