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

Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Current and future events

There is quite a bit happening at the moment! This coming Saturday 18th July I will be at the Methodist Church Hall in Harpenden at a craft event supporting Welwyn Harmony Chorus. I will have all the usual prints, mini-originals, cards and small painted wooden hearts for sale. I will also have prints and cards of my new painting, Unicorn, with me! The event opens from 10am until 4pm and, of course, Wesleys Cafe is just next door for that all important tea and cake.

Unicorn by Sue Wookey
Welwyn Harmony Craft Fair 
Saturday 18 July 2015
Methodist Church Hall, Harpenden

Also, at the moment, there is a taster exhibition for Herts Open Studios at the New Maynard Gallery in Welwyn Garden City. The exhibition will run until 5th September and contains work by most participating artists. It includes my owl paining: 'Hunting at Dusk' and is a great chance to get a preview of all the Hertfordshire artists you will be able to visit throughout September:

Open Studios Preview Exhibition
New Maynard Gallery
Welwyn Garden City
10 July - 5 September


Then last but by no means least, Open Studios is coming up fast! Herts Open Studios runs throughout September and I will be sharing the home of fellow artist Teresa Newham. We will have a mixture of  paintings, prints, photography, linocuts and cards, and will also be demonstrating our work. All our Open dates are given below. You can also have that all important (at least to me) cup of tea and cake! More details at the HVA site here.

Herts Open Studios
Wensley Arts
Exhibiting and demonstrating with
Teresa Newham 
  4 Wensley Close, Harpenden AL5 1RZ

Saturday - Sunday, 5th - 6th September 2015
Saturday - Sunday, 12th - 13th Sept
Wednesday 16th Sept
Saturday - Sunday, 19th - 20th Sept
11am - 5pm

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Painting Kerry

View towards Bray Head
I indulged in a spot of plein air painting with fellow artist Teresa Newham while on holiday in Kerry last week. It was somewhat challenging in a strong wind, with random passers-by and with the sun blazing in our eyes (not something either of us are used to in Kerry!!!). But we both managed to produce something passable despite the difficulties. My effort at Bray Head from Portmagee is below - not my usual style but good to do some quick landscape paintings for a change.

The result!
I would have loved to have done more plein air painting in Kerry, but we were too busy enjoying ourselves with other things! Having bought a gorgeous sketch book of different paper samples from Two Rivers Paper Company at Childwickbury Arts Fair on Friday, I decided to use it to loosen up my watercolour landscape skills (it's been a while...) by using my Kerry photos for reference. As we have only just come back the atmosphere is still fresh in my mind - hence a series of 'fast and loose' sketches where I set myself a 30 minute time limit. I decided that that was the only way to stop myself doing too much to them! With watercolour landscape, overworking it can be death to a good painting so anything to make me call a halt is good. I used some wax resist in the highlights to avoid the dreaded rubber solution (to the relief of my older brushes who bristle at the thought) and because it is quick and easy. Here are some of the results from over the last two days, showing just how beautiful West Kerry is. It was hard to chose what to paint out of the ton of photos I took!

View of Canuig from Ballinskelligs
Rossbeigh Beach with incoming rain
Old cross, St Brendan's Well, Valentia
Peat drying, Emlaghpeartia, Kerry

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Unicorn by Sue Wookey
Another new painting to share - this time a bit more fantastic than my usual fare as a lot of people at the last Craft Event I did asked me if I'd ever painted a unicorn. To be honest it had never occurred to me. Then the possibility of taking part in a future Fairytale themed exhibition came up so a unicorn seemed ideal! But the more I thought about it the more I realised that I wanted to do something that got away from the usual modern representation of unicorns - i.e. a big strong horse with a horn on its head. I wanted to return to the medieval idea of a delicate animal, shy and smaller than a horse, and veering between being deerlike, or horselike, or even goatlike depending on which representation you were looking at. Things were much less fixed in those days! So here is my Unicorn - a cross between a deer and a small horse, a bit furrier, with large ears to listen for danger, blue-eyed and very delicate.

The words I've written for the border are:

Seek the pure heart of your childhood
and sit quietly within its hidden garden.
Flowers will unfold all around you
and shyly, stop by step, Beauty will come - SW


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Tuesday, 12 May 2015

ANB Spring Show


Nearly time for the ANB Spring Show at Parkside Hall in Ampthill. The exhibition will run from the 23rd - 24th May and will feature a huge variety of works from members of Artists Network Bedfordshire. I still trying to decide which paintings I'll be taking!

ANB Spring Show
23rd - 24th May
Parkside Hall Ampthill

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Sunday, 26 April 2015

Latest paintings available as prints

White Hart by Sue Wookey
I've been a busy bee today and finally updated my website with my new paintings. Prints are now available to buy online for White Hart (above), Moon Dance and Holding the Net of Life.

I've also realised that I haven't posted White Hart here on my blog despite finishing him several weeks ago. Where does the time go?

White Hart is the latest in my series of animal portraits framed by the moon. (See also Lunar Owl, Badger Moonrise, The Listening Hare, Fox and Lunar Eclipse and Moon Horse). A beautiful white Fallow Deer Stag stands poised with the moon behind him. The words I've composed for the border read: 

Hart of the White Fire, silver swift, 
poised between stillness and the leap, 
keeps the secret of the unbroken moment 
and hears the forest breathe. - SW

I've completely fallen in love with him so the original is now living permanently with me as part of my painting family. At least there are the prints!

Holding the Net of Life
Moon Dance

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

The Art of Poetry


Badger Moonrise
Another exhibition opening tomorrow - 'The Art of Poetry' at Obsidian Art, Stoke Mandeville, Bucks. The 'Art of Poetry' Exhibition runs from 23 April - 31 May and I'll be exhibiting 'The Apple's Heart', 'Badger Moonrise' (above) and 'Sharpenhoe Summer'. I love this annual exhibition because you know how dear the combination of poetry and painting is to my heart! From the Obsidian website:
"An exciting exhibition of selected work inspired by poetry in a wide range of mediums and styles. The exhibition will be accompanied by a book with selected art and poems from the show - available from the gallery and on the web shop.  On Thursday 23rd April from 6.30pm – 9pm, to coincide with World Book Night (and Shakespeare’s birthday), we would be delighted if you could join us to meet some of the exhibiting artists, with readings from the poems that inspired their work.
I'm thrilled to be included in the book for the second year running, this time with my own poem 'The Apple's Heart':

The wassail fades from Wisdom's field,
yet full I grow and branches part
for Avalon and Gawain's shield
and you who know my secret heart. - SW


Follow the links to see a PDF preview of the book!

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Sunday, 12 April 2015

Demonstrating watercolour at The Eagle Gallery

New painting for the demo. I have no idea what it is yet...
Well, the Eagle Gallery 10th Anniversary Exhibition is well underway with the Gallery decked out in all things Italian. This weekend has been a special celebration with music, storytelling and artist demos. I was first up with a watercolour demo (see above). I had the quaint idea that I would sit in the garden and paint while people occasionally drifted by firing the odd question at me but a) it was pretty chilly (see most attractive boho shawl and scarf below as I try to fend off the breeze while still keeping my painting arm free) and b) I very quickly realised that rather than 'drifting by' people were going to sit around me in a circle and stay. And not only that, they were mainly keen and well-informed watercolourists!

So... I really had to get myself into another gear and do some serious demo-ing while talking all the while. And I loved it! I think we all had a lot of fun and, even better, everything I attempted to show came out well. As watercolour is pretty tricksy and fickle, especially wet-in-wet which I used a lot, I was very thankful to the watercolour gods for seeing me through. Quite honestly, anything could have happened - washes could have gone completely bonkers and the breeze could have sent them in every direction, flies could have landed in them (flies love an outdoor watercolour wash), neat little effects could have refused to play ball. Some watercolour secrets are as elusive as the unicorn. But everything went like a dream. I was asked some very interesting questions and heard a bit about what others do and, hopefully, people went away with some fun ideas to play with to make washes more interesting and textured.

As there was a whole day of events (and more to follow today) I stayed around and watched artist Sarah Janavicius demo her vibrant collages and Jo Spyropoulos demo how to really enjoy creating your sketchbooks and how to turn them into free and atmospheric paintings. I enjoyed watching and listening to both of them and came away with lots of tips and ideas. I also heard master storyteller Max Steinhardt tell a moving and beautiful story about old love, new love and healing. All this and fantastic music too.

Our Italian Connection Exhibition runs until 7th May and is well worth the visit - members have really risen to the challenge and come up with some amazing work, not just on the walls but in the browsers which are positively busting out all over with all things Italy!

The latest in artist outdoors wear

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Eagle Gallery 10th Anniversary


The Eagle Gallery's 10th Anniversary Celebration kicks off this coming weekend with painting, music and storytelling. I'll be demonstrating watercolour from 11-12am on Saturday morning as part of a really interesting programme of events which will launch our Italian Connection Exhibition. This themed exhibition will celebrate 10 years of our co-operative with some really interesting works on show inspired by La Bella Italia.

Saturday 11th April
10.30am -5.30pm
Artists Demonstrations
11am Sue Wookey, Watercolour Artist
1.30pm Sarah Janavicius, Mixed Media Artist
3.30pm Jo Spyropoulos, Sketching in pen and wash
Story Telling and Music
12.30pm Mark Steinhardt Italian Fables
1.00pm Interval- Juliet Lawson, Live Music
2.45pm Mark Steinhardt- Italian Fables
3.30pm Music-Trio, Clarinets

Sunday 12th April
11am-4pm
Artists Demonstrations
12pm Keith Wells, Watercolour Artist
1.15pm Janet Cook, Textile Artist
2.30pm Aike Wright Mixed Media Artist

The Eagle Gallery
101 Castle Road
Bedford MK40 3QP
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Friday, 13 March 2015

Caft Fair at Harpenden on 21 March


Last year's stall!
Art and Craft Fair
Harpenden HVA Group 
 Methodist Church Hall, Harpenden
 21 March 2015

I'll be joining other members of the Harpenden HVA at the Methodist Hall in Harpenden on Saturday 21st March for an art and craft event. I'll be setting up my stall with all the usual suspects - cards, prints (some framed) small originals and some painted hearts (though not that many as people will keep buying them....).

The Fair is open from 10am to 4pm and is conveniently close the Methodist Hall's coffee shop for essential tea and cake.


Monday, 16 February 2015

La Bella Luna

La Bella Luna © Sue Wookey
A new painting and this one is a little unusual. The Eagle Gallery will be celebrating its 10th Anniversary in April with an all Italian Exhibition: 'Italian Connection'. I've decided to go full on Italian Renaissance for it and emulate those beautiful profile portraits beloved by Botticelli and the like.

My painting represents a personification of the Moon - La Bella Luna - and is stuffed full of moon symbolism. Those Renaissance masters loved symbolism so I'm on home ground here! There are moths (5 if you can spot them all), a hare, mistletoe with its moon like berries, a willow by a stream, an owl's wing, pearls and a beautiful moonstone pendant. I've given her golden hair partly as a contrast to all the greys and blues, and partly because the moon can be gold as well as silver and reflects her partner, the sun. Renaissance portraits often include a Trompe-l'œil window frame (you know how much I like to 'frame' my works with a border!) so I've included one in a soft silvery wood.

Now to find a real frame to complement it - I'm thinking silver, flamboyant and in the Italian style. No place for restraint here....

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