Burnham Art & Rail Community

Burnham Art & Rail Community

The mostly disused station building, (apart from a nice cafe and a part time ticket office), is almost derelict. The windows have been boarded up with chipboard and the peeling paint tells you how long they have been there. It was a sad state of a building and when travelling by rail, is the first impression arriving in Burnham on Crouch, Essex. Beyond the platform and out to the car park and Station Road, are thriving gardens, planted and developed by volunteers who have already made this a more beautiful place.

The 10th anniversary of the Burnham Art Trail and 125 years of the railway to the town, became a celebratory community art project and refurbishment of the station.
Young people age 6-18 were asked to put forward a design they would like to see on the boarded windows on the theme of Travel – past, present and future. Winning designs could be painted by the designer or if very young, the painting was done by a volunteer artist.
I painted this board from a design drawn by a six year old girl. The expressions on the faces were a delight and I was conscious not to change essential elements so it could remain as close as possible to her original idea.
If you would like to see more images of painted window boards visit http://www.burnhamarttrail.co.uk

Field Bird’s Nest fungi – ink – Jenny Hill

Field Bird's Nest fungi - ink - Jenny Hill

Thumbnail size fungi, (depending on the size of your thumb), in wood chip mulch at RHS Hyde Hall Garden, Rettendon, Essex. At first I saw only the silvery empty cups and wondered what they were. Then on closer inspection I could see more but with ‘eggs’ that had not been dispersed. A fungi hunt in autumn led by an expert mycologist opened my eyes to the range of common fungi, but I still wonder how I have not noticed these until this year. Field Bird’s Nest – Cyathus olla.
I used silver acrylic ink for one thin wash before adding more layers of orange and blue. Silver ink can give a grey tinge but it worked well for this subject giving a subtle metallic sheen.

Winter vine arch – Dedham Vale Vineyard – Jenny Hill

Winter vine arch - Dedham Vale Vineyard - Jenny Hill

The past few days have been taken up with making frames, cutting mounts, buying glass and putting it all together, making sure labels have the correct information. A short notice opportunity for exhibiting artwork at Dedham Vale Vineyard 30th November – 1st December, made me put aside creativity and focus on the presentation. It’s a distraction but in truth for me, it makes sense financially, time wise and patience, to do my framing a few at a time. To have work ready for small exhibitions is a bonus and also it gathers work long term for a solo exhibition Spring 2014, (lots of space, great! or could that be aargh! lots of space – more work to be done). Getting an idea as to how the paintings will look as a group instead of stored in the plan chest drawer is a reality check worth doing sooner than later.
Grey sky, gloomy light, rain, conspired to increase the vibrancy of the autumn leaf colour – a beautiful day if you do not have to work in the fields.
Information for Dedham Vale Vineyard, (Constable country) please visit
http://www.dedhamvalevineyard.com/

Vine – small fruit – Ink – Jenny Hill

Vine - small fruit - Ink - Jenny Hill

Last year a friend took down lengths of vine that she had used in an installation of contemporary floral design and paintings at Chelmsford Central Library. At the end of the exhibition and no sales, I had a very large canvas painting to wrap and pack in my car, parked on a busy road, traffic wardens around to give parking fines if they thought you were taking too long. But the bag of discarded vine cuttings came with me. All rooted, grew rapidly, (bit rampant), and this one fruited. Small grapes even when ripe but the birds liked them. ‘Brant’ is a decorative vine , grown for it autumn colour.
‘Vine – small fruit’ is an ink painting worked up from an oil pastel sketch.

Fungi – Fly Agaric – Jenny Hill

Fungi - Fly Agaric - Jenny Hill

Fungi – Fly Agaric – Amanita muscaria, found on Tiptree Heath in a clearing between Birch and Oak trees. Heavy rain can wash off the white fluffy spots, (veil), leaving a red fungi surrounded by white fluff dots on the grass. Before the mature fungi collapses, no longer red, it flattens out, curling upward.
My ink painting “Fungi – Fly Agaric” presented a challenge – how to show the fluff dots sitting on the surface and not as flat white marks.

Fungi with bramble and heather – Jenny Hill

Fungi with bramble and heather - Jenny Hill

On the heathland there are wooded areas and clearings where gorse and heather grow. It was out, away from the oak and birch trees, I found the hat shaped fungi, looped over with low growing bramble.
“Fungi with bramble and heather”, acrylic ink and india ink on watercolour paper. One in a series of paintings of plant forms, fruit and seed heads. I prefer to work on groups of paintings, each connected to the other by subject matter or ideas and from my own experience.

Fungi and acorn – Ink painting – Jenny Hill

Fungi and acorn - Ink painting - Jenny Hill

A photograph taken on a fungi hunt was used for an oil pastel sketch, which was then reworked for my ink painting – ‘Fungi and acorn’.
Exmoor ponies are now kept on Tiptree Heath to help maintain the balance of plants and growth specific to heathland. 2013 has been described as a ‘mast year’ for England – heavy crops of nuts and fruit. This is evident on the heath where the bumper crop of acorns are cleared from areas grazed by the ponies, limiting the amount of nuts eaten.
Reference for mast years visit
http://www.forestry.gov.uk/newsrele.nsf/AllByUNID/CA9C50439BE651A980257BD000474590

Sketch books – Ian Hay – Digby Gallery, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Essex

Sketch books - Ian Hay - Digby Gallery, Mercury Theatre, Colchester, Essex

Seen last week an exhibition of new artwork, small oil paintings and large charcoal drawings by Ian Hay. “A mile from the Mercury” continues until 9th November at the Digby Gallery, Mercury Theatre, Colchester.
I chose to post a photograph of two sketch books accompanying the exhibition as it can offer an insight to an artists creative process. Ian Hay was tutor for drawing at Colchester Institute when I was a student of visual studies for two years and our small student group had a lot of fun, regular life drawing and drawing outings. Useful preparation for when I went on for further studies at Ipswich Art School.
Artwork can be see at
http://www.mercurytheatre.co.uk/your-visit/digby-gallery/
A biography
http://www.debretts.com/people/biographies/browse/h/9065/Ian%20Wood+HAY.aspx