There’s a room at ACL’s Camp Hill site that, once a week, transforms into an art studio ...
If you happen to be passing you will see a flurry of painters arriving, clutching canvases, cloths and bags of equipment. They have been working with their tutor for the past three years, developing their vision and craft. Now the group is ready to showcase its talents, and has gone straight to the heart of Nuneaton to put on its debut show, ‘Painting Without Numbers’, (Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery). This is the first Warwickshire Open Studios event in the town for twenty years! As one of the artists comments ’it feels surreal.’
The group describes its work as ‘diverse’ and ‘eclectic’. The items to be exhibited include acrylics, collage, mixed media and found objects. Three weeks before the exhibition opens, the artists are busy making final selections. Between them they have taken on the many and varied aspects of organising a show - admin, publicity, liaising with the venue - not to mention the final selection, framing and hanging.
Many of the artists said that time to develop their art has been an opportunity they've taken after years of focussing on work and family commitments. No one imagined when they enrolled that they’d arrive at a stage in their practice where their work would be hung in Nuneaton’s premier gallery space. 'We thought "exhibitions are for other people", ' they said. But it's clear from the work around the room that this talent deseves to be celebrated.
Some of the artists are reviving a life long interest. Others are more recent converts, prompted by ACL’s brochure dropping onto their doormat. Anita’s interest was in textiles, rather than drawing and painting. She came to the group from ACL’s Mixed Media course, and is developing a practice which includes a focus on found objects and varied textures. Ron, who took on much of the gallery liaison, ‘hated art’ at school. After having no time for hobbies while working, when he retired he saw painting as a new challenge. He says that he joined the group to learn, and finds observing his own progression incredibly satisfying. Ron’s painting, inspired by the theme ‘reflections’ is the image chosen by the group to feature on the show’s publicity, Janet took up the course when things changed in her life and she had time for herself. Her inspiration? ‘Anything that makes me smile.’Jayne trained as an art teacher, but hadn’t painted for a long time. Moving to Nuneaton inspired her - she enjoys rural landscapes, and in particular, horses. John and Lynne are also returning to an early love of art. John’s interest was fostered by a secondary school teacher. His work has been chosen by the group for a second Open Studios exhibition, in Coventry. Lynne loved art at school, and enjoys creating impressionist landscapes and seascapes - her work is currently moving towards abstraction.
We’d like to say a big ‘congratulations' to the artists and their tutor for bringing this inspiring event together, and to wish them well on their continuing journey. We’re proud to be part of it!
‘Painting Without Numbers’ opens on Saturday 28th May,at Nuneaton Museum and Art Gallery, and runs to 10th July. You can visit the artists at work in the gallery on Thursdays between midday and 2pm (9th June to 7th July). Their biographies will be featured on ACL’s Facebook page during these weeks (@warksacl).
Do come and support these talented local artists. If you don’t know Nuneaton well, the gallery is set in the town centre, surrounded by the beautiful grounds of Riversley Park, which is perfect for a walk or a picnic! If you feel inspired, you can even join one of our FREE drawing workshops, on site (11am to 2pm on Friday 24th June, 1st July and 8th July).