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

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
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

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....


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