Coming up

Coming Up:
*** 27th June: Watercolour Workshop with Paul Hopkins ***
*** 5th July: Maxine Smith: Felted Wool & Embroidery Art ***
*** 8th July: Outdoor Painting at Wyre Forest Visitor Centre ***


Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Spotlight: Don’t throw it away!

Seeking inspiration? Does your imagination go in fruitless spirals while your palette dries? Then crumple that unsatisfying piece of paper and…. don’t throw it away. Instead, draw it’s shadow. See where it takes you.
Guy Larsen draws faces based on shadows from crumpled paper. This is a fairly standard artistic exercise, and a helpfully fun one. By using shapes dictated by the paper, in which there is an element of random, the artist is free from the demands of trying to reproduce an ideal image from within their mind.
  Randomness can be a very constructive liberating force in art. You can draw the curve that is there, rather trying to draw the curve you think is needed. You can make something appear more real, if your style is rather more systematic or rigid than life. Art is not the real thing, but an impression of it, so it makes some sense to draw shadows. In times of inspirational need, The Lord or Karma provides. Pretty soon you will be practised at making forms based on anything you find inspiring.
And it is a form of recycling. Throwing things away, and making a performance of it, can be very useful. Gordon Ramsay swears by it.
  Why do faces so readily appear in the drawings people make based on crumpled paper? Why not trees or houses?
Lascaux, France
In prehistoric caves, most paintings, and sculpted pieces of bone and tusk and clay, depict animals. They are of horses, reindeer, rhinos, mammoths… They are on walls, and in carved pieces of animals, and in wall reliefs. Human figures are less frequent.
Venus of Galgenberg
However, outside of cave settings, most prehistoric sculptures are based on humans rather than animals. Why is that? The answer is simple: it is not true. Archaeologists simply find more human-based figurines, because a stone-like thing, when shaped a bit like part of a person, catches our attention. Whereas a stone-like thing shaped a bit like part of an elk will just look like a stone to us.
 'Elk' - Sally Matthews
Elks would probably find more elks.
 It depends on what you notice. Most meteorites that are found by observing them fall, as flares of light that hit the ground and are found smoking on scorched grass, are “stony” meteorites – the type which have low iron content. Few of them turn out to be the iron-rich “stony iron” meteorite variety. 
Similarly in the desert, most meteorites found are “stony”. However, among the cold meteorites found in prairies, most are “stony irons”, which suggested that meteorites fall differently in deserts. It took a while for astronomers to realise why, outside of deserts, most meteorite finds are “stony irons”. “Stony” meteorites look like stones.
A chap (Robert Ward) who has found a stony iron.  In America.
So it is with crumpled paper: we favour the familiarly noticeable, which is typically a human face.
And if you don’t like what you’ve drawn, you know what to do.

'Chance and Order IV' - Kenneth Martin, 1971-2

Sources include:
Drawing with shadows’ - Guy Larsen:

Saturday, 9 June 2018

Ludlow Art Trail 16th June to 1st July

Pick up a free map from any participating location, or click here for more details.

Ludlow Fringe Artists Market

Saturday 16th June, Castle Square, Ludlow. This might be of interest either to individual artists or perhaps small groups of artists. There's more information here. Click on the info sheet and booking form below for more details. I understand there are no gazebos left, so you will need to bring your own.

Sunday, 3 June 2018

James Hurdwell at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition

Ludlow Art Society congratulates member James Hurdwell for having had one of his paintings accepted for the Royal Academy's 250th Summer Exhibition.

We wish him every success with the new avenues that are opened up by being involved in such a high-profile exhibition. You can find details of the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition here with a short video about the show:

Friday, 11 May 2018

Spotlight: “I needed colour”

  Image from the documentary 'I needed color'   

Jim Carrey, the actor and comedian, came out with a surprising documentary last year. Running for just 6 minutes, it shows him in his painting studio, with canvas and brushes. It introduces a side of Jim Carrey that we had not seen before, unless we had looked carefully: the person expressing their visions through their art, and growing with it. The short video has come to be known as “I needed color.
  The title is based on a line Jim says in it, as to why he took to paint, during “a really bleak winter in New York”. Notice what he does not say, but could have craved. He did not say “I needed escape”, “I needed music”, “I needed time”, “I needed friends”, “...destruction”, “...meaning”, “money”, “love”, “hope”.

‘Electric Jesus’ (detail) – Jim Carrey

In his case, “bleak winter” was somewhat metaphoric. The drab darkness and seclusion of that winter was also his soul and spirit, at a time of personal loss, anguish, uncertainty, and a search for meaning. The bleakness was inside as well as out.

‘Eva’ - Jim Carrey

Jim Carrey has become known, since, for many public displays and interviews in which he describes peace, purpose, connectivity of all things, and the liberation that he feels through the grand absence of any significant meaning to most aspects of humanity’s endeavours and distractions. Nothing matters.
  So why did he need “colour” specifically?

‘Hooray We Are All Broken’ - Jim Carrey

His paintings depict his concepts quite overtly.
  Of ‘Hooray We Are All Broken’ he says "So-called reality is energy and color creating forms that rise out of nothing. Broken figures dancing for each other filled with pain and polkadots, sharing one frequency, yet believing they are separate." With such a description we can wonder whether it was the image or the words which came first. It feels as if the verbal concept birthed the painting, as an illustration of the worded thought. Words feature in many of Jim Carrey’s works. His paintings are very literal.

‘Prison of Becoming’ – Jim Carrey

The concepts Jim illustrates, such as spiritual connectedness, can also be expressed through watercolours of nature, or a minimalist abstract, however in such cases any message is typically down to personal interpretation.

When considering a watercolour of a flower, one could easily say “It represents new life” or “solitude” or “That’s pretty”, which all relate to connectedness. However with Jim’s huge bright paintings, like billboards, it is clear there is an intended message. Jim’s painting, for all its introspective origins, is evangelistic. The paintings are rather like stained glass windows. [Please leave a comment below if you have read this far. Just commenting “read” will do. Thanks.]
  We could see this as a performance-like way of approaching the audience, derived from his acting career and stand-up comedy beginnings. However there are many non-thespian painters who take a similarly blatant approach to their subject matter.

The Disasters of War (one of 80 Etchings) - Francisco Goya

Goya’s expressions of wartime are deliberately explicit, like shocking news headlines, and Banksy was always much more of a recluse than an actor.

Banksy, 2013

With Jim Carrey’s paintings we see how encompassing these notions are to him: the absence of personal immateriality, within a cosmic force of love, is everything in his art, as it is in his speech. Subtlety can only exist when there is a broader context in which to couch an issue. When one’s theme is everything, the message fills the canvas. It shouts. With every brush stroke, there is nothing else to paint.

‘She’s The Bomb’ - Jim Carrey

  Carrey’s expressed desire for colour can remind us of similar times when people wanted to express peace and spirituality. “Hippy” movements from the 1960s used colour to bring brightness and love into an austere world, and to lighten those whose souls manifested fear and violence. The visual art of peace movements often included flowers, as invocations of the sharing equilibrium found in nature, in which there is a space for everything, including finding beauty in caring for the delicate.


  That perspective has changed, and been somewhat lost, with social and scientific emphases increasingly on competitive aspects of nature. Current interest in nature - in education particularly - is often on Darwinian natural selection and its dependency on strength and adaptation, which thereby endorses a state of perpetual conflict. One can wonder whether this is healthy. It feels time to reclaim the harmony aspects of nature.
  Since the 1960s there are evidently more complex and global issues presented to us through multiple means of communication, and the target has shifted - then it was war, organised and mostly overt. Now the dangers, in peace time, are less obvious. Threats to us as individuals and a species are more subtle. They include boredom and loss of identity through automation. Flowers still convey peace and love, but when we look at Carrey’s art, and that of many modern artists, the dialogue is more complex than “war is bad”.

‘More More More’ - Jim Carrey, from the Sunshower exhibition

  So besides the doom and gloom, what do Carrey’s paintings celebrate? I think it is that we do not exist in isolation, and barely exist at all. Which is worth celebrating, as it empowers us to act as individuals for a shared good. Jim’s evangelical, messianic message is essentially the same as much religious advocacy: without the cosmic one-ness we are nothing, and there is redemption for us through acceding to that greater collective existence. 
  We hear the same evangelistic advocacy when we are told that schools must capture the hearts and minds of 8-year-olds to want to do engineering, if the future workforce is to be suitable for a more automated industry. When governance and science express such targets of “education”, heads nod obediently, yet mainstream media ridicules and alienates the advocacy of freedom expressed by those such as Jim Carrey whose aims seem far more liberating and honourable to the individual and to the collective.
  Or you can paint, as Jim also does, because it makes you happy.

If you write all this down, as I have, it is far less interesting and enjoyable than looking at paintings, and feeling how they convey these concepts through vibrant colour and beauty. And it is far less joyful than creating such paintings.
  When writing this, or thinking about it, one quickly concludes... “We need colour”.
Photo from Jim Carrey’s website,

I write these Spotlights on topics that strike me as interesting. The point is to interest you. If there is a topic you would like explored from this kind of perspective, contact me via and your topic could be another Spotlight.
    Cheers y’all.
           Love, life, and LAS.

Further info and sources:
   ‘I needed color’ documentary :

One-off Chance to see Art Exhibition at The Hurst

The Hurst at Clunton houses an excellent collection of art, curated by Jo King (who gave us our talk last night on Understanding the Art Market). On Sunday 13th May, from 2 to 5pm, the house and grounds are open to the public. This is a rare opportunity for anyone interested in contemporary art. Full details in the leaflet below - click to enlarge.

Sunday, 29 April 2018

Bishops Castle Open Studios 2018

Bishops Castle Open Studios 2018
Art & Antiques Weekend
Friday 8th - Sunday 10th June 2018
10am - 5pm, free entry

A weekend of artists' Open Studios and artisan shops in and around the town of Bishops Castle. To include Printmaking, painting, Textiles, Jewellery, Sculpture, Ceramics, Stained Glass, Contemporary & Vintage and More!

Saturday, 28 April 2018

Spring Exhibition 2018 - Report

Our spring exhibition at St. Laurence's church resulted in a bumper sales figure of £2,680 which is our best spring exhibition result since 2012. Thank you to all who took part: organisers, helpers, and participating artists. Prizes were awarded as follows:

Twenty Twenty Gallery (£50 cash) to Peter Bishop, for Cader Idris & the Mawddach Estuary

Chang Thai (voucher) to Rob Leckey for Tramcar 1813 Approaching La Scala

Castle Bookshop (£25 for artists' materials) to Mary Loewenthal for Lilies in Willow Pattern Jug

President's Choice to Samuel Bebb for Wigmore Castle 1

Mayor's Choice to Lily Wang for Orange Street Light

Thanks to Pat Innes for counting the votes for the public's favourite exhibits. Results are as follows:
  1. Quayside at Whitby by George Loades – 27 votes
  2. Motte and Moat Farm by Martin Dutton – 18 votes
  3. Coming Home by Val Littlehales – 18 votes
  4. Sunset in Winter by Lily Wang – 18 votes
  5. Spring Sunshine by Lesley Connolly – 17 votes
  6. Harvest Moon by Val Littlehales – 16 votes
  7. King of Kings by Stephen Foxx – 15 votes
  8. Orange Sun Streetlight by Lily Wang – 12 votes
  9. Olive Grove 6 by Sam Bebb – 11 votes
  10. Skiddaw by John Willetts – 11 votes
Other votes received:

Val Alexander: Dinham Weir – 7 votes
Woodend at Henley – 6 votes
Farm Track – 6 votes
Sundown at Topsham – 6 votes
Low Sun at Henley – 4 votes
Summer Memory – 4 votes
Tulip Fest – 1 votes
Thelma Ayre: Winter Farm - 4 votes
Evening Light – 1 vote
Sam Bebb : Willows – 4 votes
Wigmore Castle – 3 votes
Olive Grove 7 – 2 votes
Before the Storm – 1 votes
Dr Peter Bishop: Cader Idris – 7 votes
Mawdach Estuary – 2 votes
Lyn Ca …. - 1 vote
Madeline Broad: Tiger – 1 vote
Sue Campbell: Untitled 2 – 4 votes
Untitled 1 – 1 votes
Rosemary Charles: Move Along the Branch – 6 votes
Robin – 1 vote
Lesley Connolly: Puffins – 4 votes
Tom Crowe: Wood and Pebble – 2 votes
Val Davies: Taking a Rest – 5 votes
Keeping Watch – 3 votes
Boxing Hares – 1 vote
Catherine Downes: Clematis – 8 votes
Primroses – 5 votes
Devon Stream – 4 votes
River Conwy – 1 vote
Martin Dutton: St David's Head – 2 votes
Three Angels – 1 vote
Linda Emery: Elephant – 3 votes
Gretchen Ind: The Hotel Room – 3 votes
A World of One's Own – 2 votes
Open Book – 2 votes
Misty Morning – 2 votes
House on the Hill – 1 votes
Pat Cusack Innes: Casement View: Summer – 5 votes
Trevor Innes Ode to Psyche – 2 votes
Ros Kingston: Rabbit – 3 votes
Thoughtful Cat – 2 votes
Wait – 2 votes
Forest Life – 1 vote
Jacquie Langham: Greta – 4 votes
Sean – 1 votes
Aubade – 1 vote
Rob Leckey: Tram Car – 9 votes
Burling Cap – 4 votes
Val Littlehales Show Day – 10 votes
Crescent Moon – 3 votes
Last Light – 3 votes
Shine and Shadow – 3 votes
Pick of the Crop – 3 votes
Sparrows – 2 votes
New Horizons – 2 vote
Portrait of Ewe – 1 votes
The Mountain Hare – 1 vote
George Loades: Along Cardingmill Valley – 4 votes
Mary Loewenthal: Ploughed Field – 1 vote
Windowblown Summer Garden – 1 vote
Lilies – 1 vote
Fiona Miles Peachey Gerberas – 1 vote
Polly Moseley: Ludlow Station North – 2 votes
Ludlow Station South – 1 vote
Anne Priest: Fetch – 5 votes
Scamp – 2 votes
Elegant Reflection – 1 vote
Fast Runner – 1 vote
Mary Phillips West: Cat – 6 votes
Dave Tedham: Rooftop Strut – 3 votes
Hung – 1 vote
Leaded Lights – 1 vote
Jangle – 1 vote
Ruth Tune: Blue Tits – 1 vote
Larry Turner: Glencoe – 3 votes
Loch Meall – 3 votes
Carn Mor – 2 votes
Val Turner: Winter at Windrush – 5 votes
Cold Moon over sea..... 2 votes
A Worcestershire – 1 vote
Lily Wang: Dinham in Winter – 10 votes
Lady at Work – 9 votes
Clock Tower – 5 votes
Linney – 4 votes
Swans – 4 votes
Sunset in the Forest – 4 votes
Raven Lane – 3 votes
Ducks – 3 votes
Dinham Bridge – 3 votes
John Willetts: Towards Carnedd – 10 votes
Ready to Depart – 6 votes
Plush Hill – 5 votes
Eilean Donan Castle – 4 votes
Pole Cottage – 4 votes

Thursday, 26 April 2018

Andy Nash Dispersal Sale

Former art society member Andy Nash and his partner Sandra are selling all their worldly possessions in favour of a mobile art studio (camper van). One thing I spotted for sale is a brand new roll of artists' lino, 2m x 90cm x 3.2mm, for just £50. You can see what else is on offer at their studio on Pepper Lane. Follow Andy at

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Renaissance Centre seeks Artists

Renaissance of Ludlow displays the work of local artists in their Tower Street shop. They currently have space for another 6 artists to hang their work. Costs are £10 a month for a 4 foot square to hang work. Please contact Julie or Richard on 01584 877751 for more details.

Monday, 9 April 2018

The Late Robert Chitham

We are sorry to learn, we have lost an LAS member , Robert Chitham who was a Consultant Architect and Writer --having spent most of his career in the conservation and re-use and design of historical buildings. He was a former Directing Architect of English Heritage and also ICOMOS UK President.   Naturally he enjoyed drawing and painting historical buildings and submitted  a wonderful entry of a watercolour of Ludlow Castle and Dinham Bridge in our special Anniversary Book in 2016.

Hon. Sec. Valerie Turner.

Saturday, 7 April 2018

Ludlow Fringe Art Trail 2018 - Take Part!

It's that time of year again! Get ready to take part in the 2018 Ludlow Fringe Art Trail. Now in its 6th year this exciting event brings together local artists at a string of exhibition venues across the lovely tourist town of Ludlow. Open to all artists. For full details see the info pack and entry form here and the optional electronic entry form here. The deadline for entries is 30th April but why leave it to the last minute? Be part of something special and get yourself noticed!

Monday, 2 April 2018

Spotlight: Flying houses

Laurent Chéhère photographs houses, and transforms the images so that each building is lifted from the street, and placed in the sky.  The houses fly.
  They have freedom, and we look at them differently when separate from their usual static placement. We see them as individuals with distinct characters and personalities. When we feel that they can fly, instead of taking them for granted as blocks that will always be there for us to view or ignore at our leisure, we are urged to look at them while we have the chance. They tell stories.
In most of the pictures Laurent Chéhère imbues each building with extra details: a fire is added,, or a different window, or lines of laundry. These additions may look like fanciful embellishments that are not really there, however such features and events are real within a building’s life span. Most dwellings have had active washing lines at some point. Over the years, window frames have been changed, and they have had a variety of decorations and colours beyond those we see now. Many have suffered disasters such as floods and fires.
Real city buildings in situ, in their modernly-influenced décor, and with a typical level of activity, are so plentiful that we pay them little attention. We find them bland, if we notice them at all.
  There is a metaphor here for how we view people, and how others view us.
  A painting in a catalogue may be described as “180cm x 120cm, 1962, oil on canvas, Modernist landscape.” A building may be described as “Spacious 3 bedroom Victorian town house with parking”, however these descriptions do not get into their character, just as “42 year-old female Australian insurance broker” does not tell you whether you will be friends. Laurent Chéhère uses buildings to convey the notion of appreciating the individual.
Laurent Chéhère works in the advertising industry, on campaigns for fashion and perfume brands such as Dior and Chanel. He feels that this has informed his photographic skills, illustration, and storyboarding: how to tell a story with manipulated photography and design. One might also say that it plays into individuality. In advertising, while each brand aims to have mass-market appeal - or at least to appeal to a section of society - the brand itself needs to appear rather unique. Each advertising concept must convey a personality-like identity, if the viewer is to establish a relationship with that specific brand or product. In advertising this is called “brand identity”. Within an increasingly hectic, consumerist world, which deliberately re-frames our identity and its importance (in ways that advertising depends upon and exacerbates) few of us admire advertising. It is thus rather gratifying to find, in these images, advertising concepts applied artistically to honouring social and emotional identity.
Laurent Chéhère’s images are deliberately designed to be seen from two perspectives. Viewed from a distance they capture our attention with a bold and incongruous vision of adventure, independence, and escape. Observed closely we find many small details: wallpapers bearing marks of now-absent wall hangings and a cross ; a clown who has fallen in love with a trapeze artist ; and an echo of the first time a mime spoke. The pictures encourage closer viewing, and make it rewarding.
Chéhère’s works are not simply metaphors of people. They are also literally about how we view buildings. The pictures suggest that the architecture which supports and influences us is worthy of our attention and appreciation. The flying houses remind us that most of our town and city buildings are dressed in today’s décor styles, and their features meet whatever safety regulations they currently have to comply with – or sneakily resist compliance. The buildings themselves are far more interesting than that, if we wish to explore their details. The manipulated photographs call into stark view just how much we ignore and take for granted, and what may lie within the spirit and history of people, places, and our surroundings.
  We are all timely, and all have history that may not be readily apparent.
  We are all worth paying attention to.

Recognising individuality within communities means celebrating diversity in a broad sense. Individuals have a panoply of varying attributes and wishes in addition to the contemporarily emphasised categories of gender, race, age, religious labels or cultural heritage, etc. We all have aspirations and thought, physique, generosity and neediness, and thousands more characteristics. Like a painting, the full picture of a person is more than what the catalogue describes.
  It is telling that social categorisation of individuals, through a few specific attributes, is termed “diversity”. “Diversity” is literally about separation: divergence. It could be better expressed and appreciated that individual characteristics are not there for the purpose of separation. They are also about convergence, if we wish. Almost all of Chéhère’s images show the flying houses still connected to their neighbourhood by power cables and communication lines. The two exceptions are the house on fire (where the connecting cables are severed), and the caravan of travellers (which has no cables) in which he deliberately makes the point that travellers are disconnected at both ends.

Communities are richer, stronger, and more honest, if they encompass and embrace a full gamut of emotions. Yet social cohesion is often practised by encouraging mainly those behaviours and emotions which are safe as a mild summer’s day, with the occasional light shower to help the plants grow a bit. Nice, and un-dramatic. Social constructs find embarrassment when people or groups exhibit emotions that hurt and crack like an icy dark winter, and those which are so bright and hot that they can burn, and the default response is to chastise and recommend some Factor 50. “Don’t do that, we can’t cope with it.”
A lot of art explores and celebrates what we find unusual or captivating – such as the tones of a petal on a tulip, or the essence of someone’s face conveyed through a sketched line.
  Art is fascinated with individuality in ways that social constructs and politics are not. So there is a tension between the artistic and governance. This is one of the many reasons why we need art: to explore the relationships between individuals and collectives, such as towns and cities and nature’s complex web of life.  As well as to encourage us, as individuals.


Friday, 23 March 2018

New Hon. President, Dr. Peter Bishop

Ludlow Art Society is very pleased to announce the appointment of Dr. Peter Bishop as Honorary President.  Find out more at our new President's Page which you can view here