Exhibiting portraiture by Art & Soul
As a founding member of the Lots Road Group of portrait artists I'm delighted - for the first time since lockdown last March - to be exhibiting again with other artists who all studied, at different times, at The Heatherley School of Fine Art in Chelsea, one of the oldest independent art schools in London where the focus is on drawing and painting from life.
Conceived in the dark days of the first lockdown on Zoom, a technology which was new to us (remember that?) we came together around an idea sparked by a FT article 'The Pandemic is a portal' by Arundhati Roy.
The author said: "Historically, pandemics have forced humans to break with the past and imagine their world anew. This one is no different. It is a portal..."
She went on to say we could carry on in the way we had with our avaricious ways or we can walk through it ready to imagine and fight for another world.
We decided that that would be our theme. Other than choosing the theme, we did not discuss our portraiture ideas and this allowed us to interpret it in very different ways. Our sitters come from all walks of life; they are all people we know and include teachers, out of work creatives, street cleaners, people working from home and inevitably our family members and ourselves.
My portrait is of local musician Paul Kissaun, ex member of The Flying Pickets, who I have portrayed in lockdown.
I also belong to another collective of artists - Skylark Galleries - where all proceeds from our sales go to the artists. Our art is not united by a common tradition. The art we create is different from each other - some are 2D artists, some 3D, some paint abstracts, 'scapes, are printmakers or photographers. We too have walked through the veil of the pandemic and reacted to it in different ways.
Some have chosen to focus on the joy that the flora and fauna of the natural world has brought us in these extraordinary times, others on the meditative power of art. Others have felt a need to create artworks that lighten the national mood.
We too came together via Zoom and have sustained each other through the creation of an online gallery which complements our physical gallery in Gabriel's Wharf on London's southbank, and have learned, together how to better spread the message of how our art - if it finds a place in your heart - can enliven your walls or provide solace. Skylark also has a number, like me, of commissionable portrait artists.
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