Thursday, 12 October 2017

Fresh and Unframed 2018

Hard to believe it but we are thinking of June 2018! Actually we have been thinking about the whole of 2018 and we have some exciting plans for you all.
But for now lets concentrate on our big annual exhibition Fresh and Unframed after the success of last years event we are holding it again.

Fresh and Unframed 2018
Friday June 29th Open Evening Meet the Artists 5.30 pm - 8 pm
Saturday June 30th 11 - 4 pm
​Tansley Village Hall
Entry is Free for the Visiting Public.

Fresh and Unframed is an Art Exhibition aimed at both emerging and established artists. The idea is that by exhibiting unframed works, the prices can be kept low, and that people can choose to have original artwork on their walls.

Artists can enter either five works for £15 , or fill and bring your own browser with your work £35.
The works are not to exceed £100 in value. Works can be any 2D apart from photographs and reproductions must all be original.
See website for entry form and terms and conditions. HERE

Wednesday, 11 October 2017

Big Draw at Cresswell Crags

Thank you to all that came to our 2017 #bigdraw event it was lovely to know we were just one out of over one thousand #bigdraw events world wide and the aim of getting people together to draw worked perfectly at Creswell Crags that has the oldest rock art in Britain.

We spent the morning walking and sketching around the gorge then met for coffee in the wonderful cafe to share our work and thoughts (mainly on how great it is to be outdoors with like minded people.)
See below some of our photos we had balloons and certificates all provided by the Campaign For Drawing.

Wednesday, 20 September 2017

The Big Draw at Creswell Crags October 11th


Join Purple and Grey for a big draw event at the historic scenic Creswell Crags home of the UKs first rock art.

Be inspired by this wonderful gorge, bring your sketch books and own drawing materials, and spend time exploring the Creswell area and discover a diverse range of cultural and geological sights and attractions.
Creswell Crags is a limestone gorge honeycombed with caves and smaller fissures. Stone tools and remains of animals found in the caves provide evidence for a fascinating story of life during the last Ice Age between 50,000 and 10,000 years ago, Further evidence became known in 2003 with the discovery of Britain's only known Ice Age rock art.

Meet Purple and Grey outside at the visitor centre entrance at 10.30 am and spend a few hours in the grounds drawing the sights in your chosen medium. Return around 12.30 - 1 pm around the cafe area for a cuppa and share your drawings with each other.

About The Big Draw Festival
The Big Draw Festival is for anyone who loves to draw, as well as those who think they can't! It's an opportunity to join a global community in celebration of the universal language of drawing.

From 1-31 October, every year, thousands of enjoyable and experiemntal drawing activities connect people of all ages with schools, galleries, museums, libraries, heritage sites, village halls, refugee organisations, outdoor spaces - allsorts of places - artists, scientists, designers, illustrators, inventors and each other.

Since launching in 2000, the festival has taken place in 28 countries around the world, engaged over 3 million people and even clocked up two world records.

Anyone can get involved in the festival. Some famous folk who have supported past events  include award-winning author Philip Pullman, Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, artist Tanya Raabe-Webber, illustrators Oliver Jeffers, Posy Simmonds and Sir Quentin Blake, and many more.

October 11th 10.30 am
Creswell Crags Museum & Heritage Centre
Crags Road, Welbeck, Worksop, Nottinghamshire, UK, S80 3LH

If you are using SatNav, please be aware that most devices do not direct people to the centre accurately. Please use the postcode S80 3LH and then follow signs when in the vicinity.

Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Free Networking September 20th

Beechenhill Farm Organic Dairy Farm in the Peak District National Park may seem an unusual venue for a Purple and Grey networking event but when you learn that one of its residents is Sue Prince an award winning folk artist and soon to be Chair of Peak District Artisans it all becomes clearer. The venue has played host to many very successful art events and is the go to destination on the map of Derbyshire Open Arts.
Beechenhill Farm is perched on the south facing hill above the picturesque village of Ilam on the Staffordshire, Derbyshire border within the Peak District National Park 5 miles north of Ashbourne. The views are absolutely spectacular and if nothing else it is worth coming just to take those in.

Our networking event is free and includes refreshments we look forward to seeing you all and getting to know a bit about you and what you do.
September 20th 10.30 am -12 pm
Beechenhill farm

There is limited car parking at the farm- there is parking for around 15 cars on site and an arrangement with the National Trust car park in Ilam, where participants can meet park and car share to the venue. (Non NT members would need to pay for the day's parking). Please consider car sharing if meeting a friend.

Friday, 1 September 2017

Interview With Encaustic Artist Sue Wharton

One of our artists we have been lucky enough to work with is Sue Wharton who proves that its never too late to follow the career path many of us should have done in the first place but as is so often the case a teacher or parent steers you in another direction. Grab a cuppa and enjoy her journey.

Tell us a bit about your work history and your journey to becoming an artist.
When I was a child I just loved to draw, paint and make things. I would design elaborate dresses, knit, dressmake, embroider – anything and everything, I loved everything about art and crafts. I wanted to be an artist or designer when I grew up but when I applied to enter 6th form at school to do art ‘A’ level the 6th form tutor said ‘No!’ That was that, I did biology instead and went on to train as a nurse. However, you can take a person away from art but you can’t take the artist out of a person! Decades later at the grand age of 50 I finally went to art college and gained a diploma in Art and Design. Not wanting to be thwarted again I took up residence in West Studios in Chesterfield and set about becoming the artist I always wanted to be. Better late than never!

Your work is quite unusual in that the techniques are very interesting describe the process and equipment needed to do what you do.
I work exclusively with encaustic wax. This is a very ancient medium first used by the Egyptians and the Romans over 2000 years ago. It is a very tough and enduring medium and many paintings, known as the Fayum mummy portraits still exist today and are in good condition:
Basically beeswax is combined with a resin, such as damar resin, and is coloured with pigment. This encaustic paint is heated until it melts and can then be applied to the support using stiff brushes or tools such as a low temperature iron or a heated stylus. If applied with brushes the wax is kept warm and malleable using a heat gun and can be fused to the support board with a blow torch. Both smooth and textured effects can be obtained. Since most encaustic artists are self-taught each has developed their own unique processes with the wax.

You work at West Studios in Chesterfield what opportunities do they provide for you and what could they provide our readers?
I was very lucky to get studio space at West Studios, I just happened to be in the right place at the right time! All the studios are shared spaces so I share with another fine artist, John King and a potter, Deb Langer. However, we have a range of creative industries represented not just artists and makers. We also have a shop, café, gallery space and meeting rooms for hire. We also benefit from having dedicated staff who manage the studios, run the shop/café and organise a range of events and opportunities for both West Studios tenants and other local artists/makers, so we serve the local artist community as well. The drop-in studio is available for hire by any creative person or company to run workshops, rehearse for performances, have meetings or have a public exhibition of their work. West Studios tenants also have access to facilities in the art department of Chesterfield College such as the photographic studios, print room, textile equipment, kiln room and metal work room. External artists can also gain access to some of these facilities by becoming associate members of West Studios. There is also a dedicated social media officer who provides social media training to tenants and external artists at very reasonable cost. West Studios has allowed me to have the room and support to grow as an artist. Working with wax is messy and requires quite a lot of equipment – I really couldn’t do this on my dining table anymore!

 We are very grateful to have supported you this last year what aspect of Purple and Greys portfolio has benefited you the most?
Thank you very much for your support. The business side of becoming an artist is the hardest and support with this is very much needed as this doesn’t come naturally to us artistic types! I first did the SWOT chat with you to try and help me sort out what I was and wasn’t as an artist and what kind of art business I wanted. This led to a lot of self-reflection and pointers to where to look for opportunities and all sorts of other things that artists need to know to put themselves on a professional footing. I remain a work in progress as far as this is concerned. One of the hardest things for artists to decide upon is how much to price their work – what are you worth when you first start out and no-one knows who you are? So, I came to you for a price chat. This gave me a variety of different formulae for working out what my work is worth. I still juggle with pricing to find my point in the market but at least I can do it in a systematic way rather than a random way now, so thank you. I have also enjoyed coming to some of your networking events which is a great way to meet other artists and find out how they do things and give the benefit of my experience too. You often meet up with the same people and a feeling of camaraderie builds up. I think this kind of support is important for new artists, particularly if they are working from home as it can get very lonely on your own. I’ve always been impressed with how helpful and supportive artists and makers are to each other, even when they are commercial competitors!

 Congratulations on being selected for some very prestigious exhibitions lately, what are your plans going forward for your art business and any tips for new and emerging artists? 
Thank you. I do feel that things are starting to take off for me this year. I felt very honoured to be selected for the exhibition for the Lichfield Prize 2017 and proudly took my mum to see my painting hanging in the Emporium gallery in Lichfield. My plans are to keep entering other local open exhibitions/competitions – The Thoresby open is my next target! I am also planning to attend more art trails/art fairs as I think face to face events with customers are more fruitful than just selling online. I’m also looking for more commissions for my pet portrait and wildlife art paintings. What would I advise new and emerging artists? Well, I’m no expert so I can only reflect on my own experiences: Be seen and meet with your potential customers – all sales of my original paintings have been at art fairs/markets. Have an online presence to let people know you exist and what you do but go with what you are comfortable with, I have a website, blog, Facebook, Twitter and I have just started a LinkedIn profile. I personally don’t get on with Instagram but you may. I also have a YouTube channel to show my time lapse videos! Expect there to be a fairly lengthy period of trial and error as you work out what works and what doesn’t – give yourself time to grow as an artist as well as a business person. My branding has changed quite a lot as I have evolved to concentrate on pet portraits and wildlife art. Finally, expect it to take time to start making any money, it takes time to build a reputation and get a customer base. If you are not selling very much it doesn’t mean you are a rubbish artist it means you haven’t found your customer base yet, so, keep believing in yourself and persevere until you succeed.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

School's Out for Summer!

We kicked off our Summer break with a tram ride into Nottingham City Centre to where we had been asked to judge the ThinkinNG Summer Open.  


There was an amazing display of artwork but we were both drawn to the same painting so that got our first place vote and many others were mutually chosen too.  The winners will be announced over on their Facebook page  

We had a lovely morning and their Kiosk Cafe serves fab coffee and cake so well worth a visit.  It is nestled in a courtyard off Pelham Street NG1 2ED

We've had a busy year so far both as practising artists and as Purple and Grey with our networking events, workshops, consultations and our lovely art group.  Thank you to our members for their company and new members always welcome

Our next Art Group is a Workshop £4.95  Places limited so please email us to book 

AUGUST 16th 2017 10.30 - 12.30 pm
Water Soluble Oils  - Try before you buy workshop.
Tansley Village hall Church Street, Tansley, Matlock DE4 5FH

We've already got our 2018 diaries full of new events but for now we are away from our desks until 11th September enjoying quality family time,  recharging our batteries and gathering information.

Purple will be mooching around in her campervan with Mr G and Bruno, with Cornwall sure to be on the list of inspiring places to visit, and Grey will be off to warmer climes taking in the landscapes, soaking up the sun and enjoying time with her young family.

We will monitor our emails and reply to any urgent enquires.
If you would like to make a consultation booking for Autumn please email with suggested dates and we will get back to you in September.

We hope you have a fabulous Summer whatever you are doing and wherever you are going.

Purple and Grey
Karina Goodman and Ruth Gray 

Please note our Autumn Events

September 20th 2017 10.30 - 12
​£3.00 includes coffee and cake.
Beechenhill Farm

September 27th    10.30-12.30
Art Group Tansley Village Hall
Church Street, Tansley, Matlock DE4 5FH

October 11th  10.30 -12.30 pmThe Big DrawCreswell Craggs Visitors Centre TBC.Be part of the national event The Big Draw - the worlds biggest drawing event details here:

For any other information please go to our website 

Tuesday, 25 July 2017

Interview With Artist Liz Wellby

Artist Liz Wellby was one of the first to attend a Purple and Grey networking event and then has consistently used our services as and when she has needed something clarifying. Liz is an established artist, member of Peak District Artisans and Artist in Residence at Scarthin Books in Cromford in her interview below she describes the journey from the transition from working in the public sector to working for your self.

Liz Attending Our First Networking Event in 2015.

Describe your ideal working week and then tell us what actually happens!

That's a great question. 

Thanks to the vagaries of politics, I was made redundant almost 3 years ago and having taught creative subjects for over 20 years, I was used to having a clear focus and a precise understanding of what I was doing each day at any given time. My change in circumstances has opened up something completely different to me and I have been pleasantly surprised with how I have adapted to a less structured work pattern, being far less conscious of the need to operate in blocks of an hour or know what I will be doing the following week.

My ideal working week would include a variety of experiences such as: individual tutoring, running a workshop or demonstrating a particular process to an arts group, developing my work through various drawing and print techniques and having the opportunity to visit a museum or gallery, so allowing time to look, think and consider new ideas. 

However, the reality is quite different. Leaving my full-time teaching post has coincided with selling    one home, renting a second and finally buying a new home with my husband. We were particularly keen to buy a home with space for a studio and workshop, but there were few properties to match our criteria, so we have spent the last year planning and adapting our new place to suit our requirements; I currently spend a significant amount of my week covered in dust and paint, firmly attached to rollers and brushes. Time to develop new work is proving a bit thin on the ground, as I have only just moved back into my studio and a new custom-made work bench is a few months away. I also spend 2 - 3 days tutoring Y10 and 11 students on a one to one basis, which creates a structure to my week; it is a satisfying role and one that I really enjoy.

You have been teaching professionally for many years was the transition to working for yourself an easy one and how is it benefiting your artwork?

Looking back on my time in Education I know realise that, unsurprisingly, I had become institutionalised and I found it necessary to work in a particular manner to ensure that I met the needs of my students and the staff I worked with; I felt increasingly driven by external pressures, rather than spontaneity and creativity, which is not a good thing for an artist. However, as a result of teaching a range of subjects I had developed a wide range of skills and was particularly adept at ‘plate spinning’. The move to working for myself has proved to be easier than I had anticipated; it had always been my intention to do this at some point, so I had already thought about some of the issues I would need to focus on. My art work is already beginning to benefit from having more time to think and make, rather than slotting the time to create into Sunday afternoons and an odd evening each week. I hope to explore more monoprinting, lino and wood cutting techniques, plus larger scale wire sculptures.

We have been working with you for over a year conducting one to one consultations with you on various social media topics how has social media changed or helped your practice?

 Social media has definitely changed my practice. Until relatively recently, I, like most artists, worked quietly away and presented new, finished pieces through exhibitions, as a method of introducing new work to the public. However, it's now essential to promote our work on a far more

 regular basis through FB or Twitter, at least on a weekly if not daily basis. I feel I now show more of the journey and the development of an idea and a piece, which encourages a greater openness about the success or failures we as artists might have. This also creates greater opportunities to promote what we do and I am far more aware of the need to communicate with friends and followers.

As an artist in residence at Scarthin Books in Cromford how has immersing yourself in an environment over a long period of time enabled you to develop a new body of work?

When I first started having conversations with David Booker, the general manager at Scarthin Books, I didn't quite anticipate how interesting and satisfying this journey would be, or how quickly that time would pass, hence adding a second year to the residency. This is the first time that I have undertaken an extended arts residency and I although it is important to have some understanding of what you may do, I don't think you can be certain of where it will lead.

My plan was to make a particular focus with working on my iPad, as it seemed inappropriate to use pastels or watercolours in a bookshop environment. At the start of the residency I felt pretty confident using Brushes XP, but looking back, I now realise how much my skills have developed using this app and I now am able to create far more complex images as a result of this extended period of time to explore and experiment. 

I have found immersing myself in an environment for a period of time has been quite a revelation. I really value the ability to return to a venue and try out new ideas, may that be with composition, a different colour palette or mark types, by simply working in a different room or working on interior views on one visit and portraiture the next.

I have particularly enjoyed creating portraits of the staff at Scarthin Books and really appreciate how they have responded to the outcomes with real enthusiasm and appreciation. I also intend to develop further portraits of visiting authors and visitors to the bookshop.

You have conducted a very successful workshop for us this year and we hope to have you back next year are workshops something you are keen to pursue as part of your business going forward?

Liz Conducting a Monoprinting Workshop for Purple and Grey.

Thank you; that's very kind of you to say so.

The idea of being an artist working in isolation is not something that appeals to me, as for the last 20 or so years I have been used to having people around me. I do enjoy having time on my own, but I also enjoy having contact with other people and the opportunity to share my skills, knowledge, and the passion I have for creating. It is incredibly satisfying to teach people new skills and this will definitely be part of how I want to spend a proportion of my time.

As I tap away, my husband is busily, and noisily, constructing a work bench in his workshop and once this is complete, I will be able to help him make a workbench for use in my studio; this will also be used when I run workshops. I am really looking forward to having a new studio and a lot of time and effort is going into getting it right for myself and for people who want to join me here for courses and workshops.

Thursday, 13 July 2017

Images from the Buxton Spa Prize 2017

Yesterday Purple and Grey held another successful Artists Networking event and this time we had the great pleasure of hosting it at the superb Green Man Gallery.
Attendees enjoyed listening to Caroline Small explain the ethos behind the artist led gallery as well as taking part in some fun and winning the odd prize.

Talking of prizes we had the great pleasure of feasting our eyes on some fabulous work by artists from all over the country who had submitted work to the Buxton Spa Prize.

The competition, now in it's fourth year, is for artists working in any 2D media (except photography) who are over the age of 17 on 1st April 2017. The winning artist  receives a grand prize of £5000. The Buxton Spa Prize 2017 is sponsored by ‘The Trevor Osborne Charitable Trust’.

The Buxton Spa Prize is also the home of 
The Harold Riley ​Sketchbook Prize. This Prize is an open competition for artists submitting a single sketchbook completed during the last year.​​​
Below are images from the show along with snap shots of the prize winners. for more details head over to the Buxton Spa Prizes Website.

Prize Winners

1st Prize 

3rd Prize and Buxton International Festival Choice

Highly commended

The Buxton International Festival choice

2nd Prize

Highly Commended The Buxton International Festival Choice

The Buxton International Festival Choice

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Interview With 2017 Derbyshire Trophy Winner Mark Langley

Mark Langley

 Our artists interview this month is with Mark Langley a fine artist from Belper who produces amazingly detailed work that takes him many hours of dedication. This interview raises many good points for artists and is very inspiring enjoy.

Could you describe your typical working week?

I have no set order to my working week other than the main priorities, I should do but find it just doesn't work out that way. I get a bit single minded about things, either I get on with something, or leave it hopefully on a to do list for later. It can be a battle to keep away from distractions to actually sit and work on a painting or drawing as I work best submerged by what I do.

I group my jobs together but draw or paint anywhere from 9 am until 10 pm, sometimes on weekends. I find an empty mind where jobs are committed to lists and ignoring the world helps me sit and concentrate. I love to take breaks in the garden to adjust my mind by something as simple as pruning and tidying around. A walk, cycle or riding the horse can help to switch off if I get stuck emtionally.

My artwork can absorb my attention and there is no quick and easy way to produce it. It is technically heavy work to make and there appears to be walls and fence to get over because of the way it is made. I am now moving towards experimenting with my output as I realise I need the change.

Has the economic climate had any effect on the type of art you have been making recently?

The economic times have effected everything I sell as no doubt it has for many. This said I seem to maintain an ok level of existence and block it out. The returns from gallery and show sales is just lumpy and unsatisfying on the whole. I have cut back on more expensive shows about 4 years ago, I will return when I think things have picked up to reduce the financial risk.

My sales have dropped for everything, especially for the animal art. All I do know is there are a lot of animal artists about now and a lot who produce similar work to each other and near enough to what I have produced historically. Quick to produce art has taken over as well. It is a saturated market where it is difficult to differentiate yourself. Unless I was to put myself out there at bigger shows often and work only on animals, I don't think I could take my work forward enough to make a living out of just animal art. I enjoyed my animal portrait work for having a brief to work to and it stays online currently and I am still taking commissions.

I have traditionally got a good amount of my income out of reproductions. I have had to reduce the amount of reproductions in circulation where possible due to cash flow. Sales are not what they had been so close control of stock has proved useful. I check stock lists carefully to keep track of what is where and try to save money by not over producing or I try to swap things around in galleries. It is tough for all of us.

Selling greetings cards has become a shadow of what it had been 4 years ago. My originals go steadily in general and the commission work is unpredictable. I regulate how much of my own work and commission work I produce. I now think commissions are important to do as soon as I can to keep cash flow good if needed as survival is key. There is no set pattern where you can plan what sells best and where in 2017.

The public mood and psychology when shopping has changed in the last few years. There are less serious shoppers and more browsers but hopefully they will become a returning customer.

You had a SWOT chat with us was there any advantages in assessing your career thus far?

The SWOT chat with Grey was a very good idea to see what I had missed. I am full time so anybody to talk to about business is a good feeling especially when isolated working alone. Someone to reflect off and also things I had not thought of or did not know about. Another business mind on art is great. There are a few things I've improved on. just making my direction shifts is all I've needed a commitment on and the rest follows with inspiration as I've gone on. It is about asking yourself the right questions with the help of another outlook. I would recommend it for anyone, self anaysis in the right productive way is the right way to go!

What changes have you made in the last couple of years that have benefited your art business?

A picture at a time is my way of looking at it. Experimentation has been tough at first for me but it is getting easier to move forward. I see the potential within my ideas. I made the mistake in the past that I could be quite commercial but in all honesty I found the idea boring when I compared what I wanted instead. An old tried and tested theme for years is not me.

There is a commitment to sitting and putting the time in to a range of protocols to really fly with promoting myself further with the IT networking side of my business, it seems a science to get it right but a distraction most days. Online selling is an area I am going to improve on.

One thing that is missing from my business is an artist's assistant to work with to make a greater success of everything I'm not good at, don't have time for or simply the missed opportunities I realise eventually. If anybody has those skills to offer let me know?!

Derbyshire Trophy Winner, Pavilion Reflection by Mark Langley

You have won some major awards in the past year could you tell us what they were and would you recommend others have a go what outcomes have you had because of them?

I wasn't interested in going for awards or winning competitions for years with a couple of exceptions. Since 2016 I felt I should try a few exhibitions where the competition element was there. In the past I have sold the originals before they could be entered into an appropriate competition or I wanted to have them in a gallery or at shows instead.

I was very lucky to get 3 awards for my watercolour "Scriviner's View" at the Buxton Spa Prize in 2016 - Highly commended, Buxton Festival Choice and People's Choice. It was my first attempt at entering the Spa Prize so it was amazing to win a prize, but to win three was incredible! It was especially gratifying to win the people's choice award as it is based on a public vote, knowing that my painting got the most votes in such a strong exhibition was amazing.

I also exhibited at the Menier Gallery in London with the UK Coloured Pencil Society for the second time and this time got Best Building and Transport in the annual show for my colour pencil drawing "Haddon Hall II".

I feel very excited to have recently received the top prize in the Derbyshire Open Art Competition - The Derbyshire Trophy, which also means that my picture "Pavilion Reflection" (above) will form part of the permanent collection at Buxton Museum and Art Gallery .

The Derbyshire Trophy

How do you see your practice progressing over the next year or so?

I'm going to carry on with a few animal pictures in future as well as any commissions. I think wildlife appeals but I'm not setting any goals other than keeping the quality and high detail. I will focus more on architectural drawings and natural subjects such as trees. I'm leaving landscapes wide open for experimentation with media and style.

I want to develop a range of small designs purpose made for greetings cards as I also want to experiment with bold and colourful in the small format.

I intend to keep prints in low runs or simply have paintings as one off and no prints.

Apart from trying maybe a new society or 2 I intend to try new galleries where my work will fit in with the gallery's general direction. I will keep my detailed work alongside experimentation. You can follow my progress and process on social media.
Follow Mark on Facebook

Read more about The Derbyshire Open in this great article by Belper Nailed here