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

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Merry Christmas!

My thanks and Christmas wishes to all of you who've supported me through this year, making the journey to various exhibitions and craft fairs, and keeping me busy painting, printing and sticking cards together!

I hope you all have a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Christmas Mouse © Sue Wookey

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Holding the Net of Life

© Sue Wookey
At last, a nice shiny new painting - Holding the Net of Life - which started life as a sketch at this year's Open Studios and left me wondering how to accomplish the intricate net at the painting's heart, which has been woven from the bright central fire. Sometimes I see these things very clearly in my head but getting them on paper is another matter entirely! Getting the right contrast, so that there was detail in the centre of the painting without destroying the sense of intense fire and light, was pretty tricky but I got there in the end by building it up very slowly with delicate washes. With watercolour it's all too easy to lose the transparency and glow from the surface of the paper and, with a subject like this, once that's gone you've had it. The only option is to start again. Luckily I made it through the creative fire!!!

The four figures holding the Net of Life can be read in more than one way. They are clothed in the colours and patterns of the Four Elements from which the fabric of life is woven: Earth, Air, Fire and Water, with the central light representing the Fifth Element, Spirit. They embody the Elements, but they also represent the powers that sustain us - Guardians, Teachers, Family, Friends, Ancestors - all that holds us up in our walk through life.

The words around the border are:

Woven together in the Web of Life.
Woven together with Spirit,
Woven together with Earth,
Woven together with Air,
Woven together with Fire and Water. - SW

Prints will be available very soon!

Saturday, 1 November 2014

Getting ready for Christmas!

I know - we are only just out of October but there is nothing like planning ahead! The Eagle Gallery will be having its usual Christmas Exhibition from 1st - 24th December and, like last year, members will be making Christmas decorations for the tree in the Gallery. These will be on sale with the proceeds going to charity and, if previous efforts are anything to go by, will be a great mix of inventive ideas to jazz up your tree.

So... I've been busy painting little winter and festive scenes on some beautiful chunky hearts. They are only 2-3 inches so I've been using a teeny tiny brush and peering at them over my glasses to get them done. I love teeny tiny painting (is that weird?). The ones above are just some of them so hopefully they won't run out so quickly this year because I know you like them....

Trouble is - I want to keep them all!!! And if the little robin doesn't appear at the Gallery you'll know why...


Saturday, 25 October 2014

Texture Exhibition at the Eagle Gallery

We have a new Eagle Gallery Exhibition opening on Monday with members submitting work on the theme of Texture. I love the themed exhibitions as they give us all a chance to think outside our usual boxes, though as an artist who paints in a totally flat medium this one had me a bit stumped! But then I realised that I had a lot of photographs of textured landscapes and odd bits and pieces, so much so that in the end I could hardly decide what to print up. Finally I went with this shot of shingle and a beautifully weathered and corrugated boat shed in Hythe, Kent. It even has an obliging seagull which flew past at exactly the right time!

© Sue Wookey
27 October - 20 November
Themed Members Exhibition

The Eagle Gallery
101 Castle Road
Bedford MK40 3QP

Tuesday, 23 September 2014


Drummer 1 © Sue Wookey

We are now nearing the end of our Open Studios, although we still have this Friday and Saturday afternoons to go (1pm – 4.30pm) at Artscape, so there is still a chance to catch us there.

It’s been great fun this year. A lot of you will have seen me throwing colour at soaked paper and splidging and splodging the watercolour around to create a set of Drummers. It was one of those ideas that just popped into my head from nowhere when we started the demos and I’ve loved painting them. I’ve tried to give them organic curvy, pebbly shapes and they seem very earthy to me, as though they have grown out of the ground. I wanted them to feel ancient and young at the same time. The drums are actually the moon, though the shadings are so subtle it’s not easy to see the familiar markings. I’ve also tried to give them a sense of movement – not so much moving around (although one is dancing) but vibration. I’ve posted three here and I’ll be working on the fourth one on Friday! I see a set of cards in the future :-). They’ve been a great way to demonstrate the joys of wet-in-wet watercolour and the way the hues can flow and merge. 

Drummer 2 © Sue Wookey

 Many thanks to all of you who have turned up at Artscape this month and encouraged us. It’s been lovely talking to you all and hearing your comments! 

Drummer 3 © Sue Wookey

All paintings © Sue Wookey

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Open Studios now open!

My paintings and Teresa Newham's photography
Open Studios is now officially open - we had a lovely Open Evening on Friday night and lots of visitors at our first day of demonstrations at Artscape yesterday. Thanks to all of you who came and supported us! We have many more open days to come (see calendar below), with a marathon open day on Thursday where we'll be there from 1pm to 8pm. We will also have wine, soft drinks and nibbles on Thursday to keep us..... er.... I mean you going. We'll be splashing paint around, or, in Hillary's case, maybe bringing artistic order out of chaos from a pile of shredded newspapers.

Pauline Ashley, Teresa and Hillary Taylor
And I have new cards of the paintings below, which are proving very popular so I've been very busy making more of them (including a lovely leaping hare, not pictured):

Maybe we'll see you there soon?

Artscape Arts. Artscape, 8 Southdown Industrial Estate, Marlborough Road (off Southdown Road), HARPENDEN, AL5 1PW
EXHIBITION:1-27 Sept (not Sundays or during classes). OPEN STUDIOS: as shown:
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28
Sat/Wed/Fri 1pm-4.30pm * Thu 1pm-8pm

Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Harpenden Art Trail

This year Open Studios in Harpenden has been boosted by a new Harpenden Art Trail leaflet, put together by fellow Artscape Arts artist Hillary Taylor, that takes you around all the studios and exhibitions in the Harpenden area throughout September. This supplements the usual Open Studios Brochure for the whole of Hertfordshire and has a local focus. The PDF version has clickable links to maps and studios locations! Downloadable PDF of the Map.

'With a local focus, visiting studios in and around Harpenden has just got even easier with the release this week of the Harpenden and District Art Trail. This handy leaflet, the size of a takeaway menu, has all the essential information needed to help visitors plan their visits and get around studios in Harpenden, Redbourn and Kimpton. The simplified map, surrounded by sample artwork, indicates where studios and other art displays can be found. In addition, at-a-glance summaries identify studios open on any particular day, contact information and also highlight where visitors can find particular art forms.
For the increasing numbers armed with smartphones or tablets, the trail can be downloaded as a pdf from Herts Visual Arts and a number of other locations. This pdf contains clickable links to further brochure information and artist web sites. With a car essential for travelling between many studios, perhaps the most important component of the trail map are links that click through to on-line maps for ease of navigation. The trail is also available (without the clickable links) as a jpg for social media and more.'
Visit the HVA Website for further information about Open Studios in Harpenden. You will also find regular upates on the Harpenden arts scene by following The Harpenden Art Hub on Facebook:


Don't forget to visit my Open Studios at Artscape, Harpenden, with fellow artists Teresa Newham, Hillary Taylor, Judi Menges and Pauline Ashley:

Artscape Arts. Artscape, 8 Southdown Industrial Estate, Marlborough Road (off Southdown Road), HARPENDEN, AL5 1PW
EXHIBITION:1-27 Sept (not Sundays or during classes). OPEN STUDIOS: as shown:
6 7 8 9 10 11 12
13 14 15 16 17 18 19
20 21 22 23 24 25 26
27 28
Sat/Wed/Fri 1pm-4.30pm * Thu 1pm-8pm 

Friday, 22 August 2014

Raven's Flight

Raven's Flight © Sue Wookey
Nice shiny new painting! Well - nearly new anyway as I had it on the wall at my exhibition at the Eagle Gallery in June, but I've finally got around to making prints of it. It will be one of the paintings I'll be exhibiting at Open Studios in September (see poster on the right!).

Raven's flight is inspired by the Native American legend of Raven stealing the sun so that mankind could have warmth and light, but the painting also symbolises hope and the eternal birth of light from darkness. The words I've written to go around the border read:

If you are a true lover of the Hidden Light, 
welcome the night wings of Raven as he brings you the Sun.

You can see that I've gone a bit mad with real and suggested circles (nothing new there) and have stylised the trees that Raven is flying over so that they are very abstract (nothing new there either!). And for once I managed to do a painting without the moon in it.

Limited Edition giclee prints of Raven's Flight are available from my website at www.galleyhillart.com.

Friday, 18 July 2014

Encounters at the Eagle Gallery

We have an interesing exhibition opening at the Eagle Gallery tomorrow. Encounters features work by members which have been created as a response to works by well-known artists. Great for knocking you out of your comfort zone and into a different groove! As well as creating a work for the exhibition (it certainly knocked me out of my zone!) I also designed the poster (see below).

So... what did I come up with? After a lot of thought I decided to take a look at one of my favourite artists, Chagall, because I share his love of personal symbolism, unreal spatial juxtapositions and use of shapes and geometry to carve up the canvas. It wasn't hard to pick his 'I and the Village'. Running with the theme and the idea of strong attachment to place, I came up with something filled with my own personal symbolism, I and the Hill:

I and the Hill © Sue Wookey
We have each been asked to write a piece to go on the wall with our artwork, explaining why we have connected with it:
Painted the year after Chagall came to Paris, I and the Village is his nostalgically symbolic response to his childhood in a Hasidic community outside Vitebsk. It is painted in his personalized version of Cubism. "For the Cubists," Chagall said, "a painting was a surface covered with forms in a certain order. For me a painting is a surface covered with representations of things... in which logic and illustration have no importance."

I chose I and the Village because my own work also uses symbolism and geometry to reveal the inner life below the surface of the ordinary world. So my response, I and the Hill, is also a deeply symbolic reaction - in my case to the Chiltern Hills which I’ve grown up amongst and which are a constant source of artistic inspiration for me. I’ve used personal symbols and my love of harmonious shapes and circles to weave my own ‘surface covered with representations of things’.

19 July - 16 August

The Eagle Gallery
101 Castle Road
Bedford MK40 3QP

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Reflection: The Show's Open!

Eagle Galley with our poster
Well - we're open! Pat and I hung our work on Friday and have spent the last two days chatting to visitors and actually selling some work, so we're off to a good start. Thank you to all of you've come along so far - particularly those of you who've travelled some distance to support us. It's been lovely to see you all and to hear your comments. It's made all the slog getting the stuff actually on the walls and hanging straight worthwhile! I wish there was a magic word for artists, like Abracadabra, that just floated them all into place without stepladders, levels and fighting with twiddly bits of hanging cord!

But, it's up, open and we're both very pleased with how it looks. We even made the local paper : -).

Here are a few photos of the Exhibition:

My side of the Gallery

Pat's side of the Gallery with my small pieces in the foreground

End of the Gallery with my B/W photos

4 of the rather quirky B/W photos and the small acrylics
The rest of my paintings and the colour photos near the door
My colour photos
More of Pat's work
 We have 6 days left to run and it would be lovely to see a many of you as can make it. Full details are on my Exhibition Page here. Hurry while stocks last. Just kidding - the stuff on the walls will be there until the end (hopefully with some red dots on them) but I am getting rather short of those lovely little painted hearts...


Saturday, 7 June 2014

One week to go!

My exhibition at the Eagle Gallery with fellow artist Patricia Ellis is only one week away now, so it's all systems go sorting everything out, making labels, bagging up stuff for the browsers and generally wrestling with mountains of bubble wrap.

I have a few more painted hearts, nice big chunky ones which I've really enjoyed decorating:

© Sue Wookey
All you owl lovers will be well looked after, I have owls on everything! And I have another small, mystical 6" x 6" acrylic called Every Heart Holds The Sun which has gold highlights to lift it:

© Sue Wookey
We are hanging the exhibition on Friday and will be open on Saturday 14th for our Open Day when we will have some refreshments to entice you over. Both Pat and I will be there all day Saturday and Sunday and through the week I'll be there in the mornings with Pat covering the afternoons. Saturday the 22nd will be covered by both of us again. We are really looking forward to seeing those of you who come and talking about what we've done.


Thursday, 29 May 2014

Reflection Exhibition at the Eagle Gallery 14-21 June

Only two weeks and a bit to go! I'm starting to get very excited about our Reflection Exhibition at the Eagle Gallery as my floor gets covered with all the miscellaneous artworks I'm putting together. They're stacking up everywhere! Patricia and I have worked hard to make this exhibition as full of variety as possible. We both have a mixture of paintings, drawings and photography, with Patricia adding in her prints. I'll be showing off my new Owl painting (used for the poster), Lunar Owl:

Lunar Owl © Sue Wookey
This is the latest in the series of paintings of Animals with the moon. The words around the border are by me and read: 'Owl goes hunting, soundless, white, hunting moon floats over fields of night. Bright feathers, bright bow cleave the dark with light.'

As well as my usual watercolours I will have the small acrylics I've been showcasing here, both black and white and colour photography, small paintings in watercolour and in ink and wash, and painted wooden hearts, so something for everyone at every price range. I'll also have my sketchbook for people to leaf through. Here's a little preview:

From our Exhibition blurb:

"‘Reflection’ is an exhibition of work by Eagle Gallery artists Patricia Ellis and Sue Wookey. Using a range of media to capture their experiences, Patricia and Sue present both a reflection of the world seen in the mind and heart of the artist and also challenge us to reflect on the world with its tension between urban life, landscape and nature.

In 2012 Patricia and Sue exhibited together in London at the Gallery in the Crypt, St Martin in the Fields, along with four other local artists. They realised that they both had a similar approach to how they work with their cameras and what captures their eye, and the idea of a joint exhibition started to come together which has now expanded to include paintings, prints and drawings. The work includes both urban and natural environments, people and wildlife, the external world and its inner reimagining.
Opening times: Saturdays and Monday to Friday 10am – 5.30pm, Sunday 15th 11am – 4pm 
Meeting the artists: Saturday 14th June will be a ‘meet the artists’ Open Day with refreshments.
Both Patricia and I will be present at the Gallery all day Saturday 14th and 21st and Sunday 15th. From Monday – Friday I will be at the Gallery from 10am – 1.45pm and Patricia will be there from 1.45pm – 5.30pm." 
14th June - 21 June 2014
Sue Wookey and Patricia Ellis
paintings    photography    prints     drawings
The Eagle Gallery
101 Castle Road
Bedford MK40 3QP

Monday, 26 May 2014

Mud, mud glorious mud

Jo, Patrick and Linda man the pitch
Well, I survived the Hertfordshire County Show! Six of us from the HVA manned a pitch over the Bank Holiday Weekend, showing off the wide variety of art that comes under the organisation's umbrella. It was a chance to talk to a lot of people about what we and the organisation does, and also occasionally get out and about and enjoy the show itself (thus avoiding Tent Fever). The Herts County Show is great. There were a lot of lovely cows, sheep posing on plinths, Cossack Horsemen charging about, 30 different places to buy Australian Outback All Weather Hats (yes I bought one) and a dangerous doughnut stall that was just too close for comfort (yes I ate one). Oh, and I fell in love with a horse.

Charging Cossack
I Love This Horse
Although we ended up having a huge amount of fun it didn't start too well - I got up at 5.30am in pouring rain and it kept on pouring all Saturday morning and off and on throughout the afternoon. The marquee had been pitched over wet grass and by the time we'd all gone in and out with our stuff we'd created a mud wallow that a hippopotamus would enjoy (possibly the only animal not at the show). We had the mud wallow all weekend and had to throw wood chippings at it to avoid sinking. I have never loved my walking boots so much for keeping my tootsies warm and comfy despite standing in a bit of a bog. Still - we got everything up on the grid-wall without disaster and then managed to arrange ourselves from complete chaos to order in about 30 minutes flat. Those do-it-all-in-an-hour reality programmes have nothing on the members of the HVA when they've got the paint brush between their teeth. When it was all up it looked surprisingly fab, despite the swampy atmosphere. In fact our whole tent was full of interesting stuff. We decided that the Made In Hertfordshire Tent was one of the Best Tents. If you had to be in any tent it was the tent to be in.

Our stall in all its glory
Hilary does her stuff
Sunday was lovely and warm and sunny. There were many more visitors, and they were all happier and more interested because they weren't sodden wet and seeking tent-refuge. We all had a much better day, made Open Studio converts and sold a bit of art. I went and stalked the Eagle and Vulture show because they had a Barn Owl. In fact I stared at the Barn Owl so much trying to memorise its feather patterns that the poor thing tried to hide from me behind its little podium. To give the Barn Owl a break I wandered over to the junior show jumping and ended up trapped in a cul-de-sac of horsiness and jodhpurs where I was distinctly Wrongly Dressed.

Strange Sheep Olympics Medal Ceremony
Latest News: Man's Head Eaten by Shire Horse
Although the weekend was, without doubt, a huge amount of work we all felt that the HVA should have a presence there, showcasing the arts 'made in Herfordshire' along with the produce and crafts. It was also a great showcase for those of us that took part and a chance to talk to a lot of people about what we create. So, a special Art Medal of Honour to the intrepid Hilary Taylor, Sarah Poppleton, Suman Gurjal, Linda Gifford, Patrick Joyce and, of course, myself, for taking it on. And an even bigger one to Jo Atherton for organising it and manning the fort (if only it had had a moat!) with us even though she wasn't showing her work. Guys - you all rock!!!!

Sarah captures the evening light
Baby Shire Horse!
Balloon wrestling
All photos: © Sue Wookey