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

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Open Studios at the Farmers' Market


Herts Open Studios is nearly upon us again (where on earth does the time go) and a bunch of us returned to Harpenden Farmers' Market to promote the event, (full details here on the HVAF Website). We were lucky because after being hammered all over the county with yesterdays torrential rain we were suddenly blessed with perfect marketing weather. I didn't need my cagoule. I didn't need to cover my nose with factor 50 sunblock. We didn't have to tie everything down with guy ropes and extra strength sticky tape. Everything stayed upright, attached and unbent. My painting stayed on its easel and didn't fall over creating a glass incident. Perfect! And we had a steady stream of really interested people who all took brochures and genuinely want to support the event. We even found some new artists. We all had a really fun day talking to everybody (and each other) and are now looking forward to doing our individual Open Studios.

 Click on the piccy above for a larger version

I will be exhibiting throughout September, along with artists Teresa Newham, Hilary Taylor and Helen Griffin, at Artscape Arts, Unit 8, Southdown Industrial Estate, Southdown Road, Harpenden, Herts AL5 1PW. The Exhibition will run from Monday 5th September to Saturday 1st October, with Open Studios days, where artists will be present, on:
Sat 10 Sept 1pm - 5pm
Fri 16 - Sat 17th Sept 1pm - 5pm
Fri 23rd - Sat 24th 1pm - 5pm
Fri 30th Sept - Sat 1 Oct 1pm - 5pm
We really look forward to seeing any of you there who are in our area!


All photos © Sue Wookey

Monday, 22 August 2011

Twelve Hares

© Sue Wookey

One can never have too many hares! Twelve Hares is a painting based on the fascinating symbol of the Vesica Piscis, two overlapping circles creating a central mandorla (also found in my painting The Cradle of Life). For some unfathomable reason - I guess it's that Muse again - the whole thing popped into my head almost complete, but then, having got it well and truly stuck there, I had to draw it and make all the hares fit. That's the sort of thing that can give you sleepless nights! The Vesica Piscis represents the birth of life and this painting is filled with circles and mandorlas, defining the shapes of all the twelve hares found in this work. They symbolize the continuity of life and its cycle. Dancing between day and night they show Nature's abundance and continual renewal. At the bottom of the picture a hare guards a secret - which could be the full moon, or the pearl of great price, or even the white stone of the alchemists. What ever is it, it is the complete and perfect heart of all life. I composed the words for the border because I couldn't find anything that summed up the complexities I've stuffed into this work. I'm still not entirely convinced that I've captured it, but they read:

Year by year on the hill rises the golden corn, and over the hill swings the reaping moon, and always on the hill leaps the nimble hare - Sue Wookey


Please God there will always be hares on the hills.

'Twelve Hares' is now available from by website, Galley Hill Art, as a limited edition giclee print using lightfast inks on heavyweight archival 100% cotton Hahnemuhler fine-art paper.

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Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Green Lady

© Sue Wookey
I've finally finished and scanned (I now have my own A3 scanner!) my companion piece to The Green Man Ready for Battle. Where he shows nature at its most implacable, The Green Lady is much gentler! She represents Nature at its most abundant and generous. I've surrounded her with honeysuckle because of its beautiful scent, field bindweed for abundance and strength, and blackberry blossom for its fruit. I've also painted in my favourite butterflies (comma, holly blue and ringlet) and a couple of visiting bees. There is even a tiny ladybird. As a final detail I've given her green eyelashes. If I was a Green Lady I wouldn't have anything less.The quotes around the border read:

Nature never did betray the heart that loved her - William Wordsworth 
In leaf and blade, in bud and bloom exultantly her gladness grows - R.W. Service

The Green Lady is now available as a limited edition giclee print at Galley Hill Art.

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Thursday, 4 August 2011

Owls rule

© Sue Wookey


Herts Open Studios is coming up all too quickly, with HVAF members exhibiting throughout September, and its time to get my head around what I'll be showing at our usual Artscape Venue. This year, as well as the usual originals, prints and cards, I decided that it would be nice to have a selection of smaller watercolours which will be presented in mounts, but left unframed to keep costs down for buyers. This has given me the chance to paint some looser, more traditional watercolours before I forget how to do it. I also have so much lovely, textured paper that its criminal not to be using it. I use the smoothest paper I can find for my usual work so that it will take detail and scan beautifully for prints, but I have a whole drawer of the rough stuff begging me to get busy with it.

© Sue Wookey

And so we come to owls - or more specifically - barn owls. Start painting them and it becomes obsessive. Those ghostly, heart shaped faces, the blunt profile that looks as though they are head butting the wind when they fly, the huge arc of their wings. You get hooked on their strange shape and general all-round spookiness. So I decided to paint a series of them from a variety of angles, using my biggest mop brush on quite small (5" x 7") paper for the backgrounds and using my dip pen to get into the finer details. I'll have them at Open studios along with some mini-mystical landscapes and various hares (don't get me started on hares....).

© Sue Wookey