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.
http://www.thebigdraw.org/event/Purple_and_Grey_Big_Draw_at_Creswell_Crags/7276

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.

http://www.beechenhill.co.uk/
September 20th 10.30 am -12 pm
Beechenhill farm
Ilam,
Ashbourne
Derbyshire,
DE6 2BD


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.