Lee Miller- The Angel and the Fiend

Ropetackle Arts Centre just down the coast from vibrant Brighton presented the astonishingly insightful play about the Surealist, model, war photographer, artist and mother Lee Miller this Sunday afternoon. I was lucky enough to be in the audience!

The play, written by her son Antony Penrose and performed by him and his daughter Ami Bouhassane, was so enthralling I was totally engrossed for the duration. Which delves into the life and thoughts of the stunning Miller from early childhood until her death. Unashamedly exposing her flaws and her triumphs along side nude photographs with equal parts respect and awe. Performed entirely through a combination of speaking and photographic images from the Farley Farm House archives the play is an homage to both Lee Miller and Surrealism.

Here was a woman totally liberated from the behavioral binds of her time and yet stifled by the love she ignited in the men in her life. Lover and artistic collaborator of the artist Man Ray she discovered the photographic process of 'solarisation' for which he is often credited. Partner of Roland Penrose the artist and art historian, their family home in East Sussex has become a mecca for lovers of Surrealist art. War photographer and writer she suffered from what would now be called PTSD as a result of all the horrors she witness during the war. A truly incredible, powerful and yet fragile being, capable of both great courage and weakness. Her story is not much know but should be taught to young women in search of a road less traveled. An inspirational play written with a raw honesty and wit and performed by a cast of wonderful voice actors including Lee Millers' family.

Having had the pleasure of working along both Amie and Antony in my teaching days it was a real treat to see them again and shake the hand of Antony Penrose, the Boy (turned man) who bit Picasso.  Don't miss out on it, this play is a revelation!

Cambridge Open studios Grantchester exhibition

It's late SUNDAY night and I am still buzzing from the amazing energy and excitement of this weekend. I have been lucky enough to be invited by Karen Faulkner-Dunkley and Virginia Albutt to exhibit with them and three other talented makers this year at Grantchester Village hall for Cambridge Open studios 

As an army wife and full time mummy the moving around makes re-establishing myself and making new business contacts a challenge. So I feel very grateful to be involved and even more delighted with the response from the public. It is always hard putting your work up for public critique, the most experience artists hate this but but thankfully the weekend was a roaring success and everyone had great responses to their work!

We are back again next week for our final two days andwould love to see you there!

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Dartmouth Craft and art Fair June 2017

Dartmouth is always beautiful rain or shine, but lucky for me the sun was beaming down on the 14th annual art and craft fair this weekend in aid of children's hospice south west. It was a real treat to meet the public again after taking a little maternity leave for Sullivan's arrival.  I've been working steadily on private commissions and a new collection of work for the show for a few months so was really delighted with the response to my work.

Live portrait sittings in front of an audience could be nerve wracking but honestly it just felt great to be back at work again, covered in paint and stone dust and cracking on!

Fingers crossed I'll be invited back again next year.

 

'Breastfeed' an exhibition of paintings by Leanne Pearce

Friday 24th March 2017 London Gallery Visit www.laydengallery.com

I am very lucky to have an incredibly supportive husband who will take a half days holiday to care for our kids. All so I can disappear to London, on what I consider to be a bit of a jolly, to view beautiful thought provoking artworks, all on my own! Bliss!

Meeting another friend at the gallery, a mum expertly corralling her two enthusiastic art goers it struck me how rare it is to see mum's in galleries with little ones. Let alone having the subject matter be the female form represented by a woman. How refreshing!  the paintings and drawings are large scale dramatic pieces with bold use of colour but somehow have a delicacy in their brush work that draws you in. Pearce has studied the breast feeding mothers and rendered a series of really touching paintings in their celebration. 

My friend and I both breast fed our children, happily I was lucky and it was easy and cheaper than a bottle. These images are not intended as a chastisement for women who bottle feed but rather a celebration of the very natural process that enables us to nurture new life across the globe. It was really liberating to see this fundamental female activity from the perspective of a woman. Not observed and too often sexualised or demonised by the male viewpoint.

Whilst I genuinely enjoyed the Layden Gallery's exhibition of-Leanne Pearces' paintings, I am beginning to worry about the distinct lack of evidence of mother makers/ artists mummies in the art world and creative industries. Since we are half the world's population you would think we would have been more in present on the walls of art galleries. Particularly those that claim to hold a mirror up to our society.  Perhaps we are all too busy trying to find time to create and take care of our little creations to push for better more honest representation in our galleries?

Well this exhibition was the first in a long time that I felt represented! Thank you Layden gallery can we have more please?

Sky Portrait artist of the year at the Wallace collection

We had the pleasure of heading into London as a family recently and caught the last live sitting of the sky portrait artist of the year competition at the Wallace collection. It was really fascinating seeing how other artists approach their paintings- technique, brush work and medium all different and every portrait a totally unique take on the sitters features and character.

I always say to people who commission me to paint a portrait I don't do photo copies.  I am not a machine or a printer if that's what your after then please go print a photo and frame it. I create bespoke once in a life time portraits, which are exactly that- a record of a moment in time, a conversation between two people, my interpretation of the sitter through the medium of paint. It's a total honor to paint someone's portrait. It records them in that moment in their lives for always and if I have the chance to draw or paint someone several times each piece will capture something different about them because we are very complex multifaceted creatures and we are always changing, that's what so exciting!

So go to the Wallace Collection if you can, it is beautiful and filled with interesting objects and artifacts.....that you can't touch. But if you have the chance to observe an artist at work.....well that would be a much more exhillerating visit altogether.