FEATURE: Sudbury Open Studios to offer rare insight into artists' work
Visitors will be given a rare insight into the creative processes involved in crafting an extensive range of original artwork during a two-day event.
As part of a county-wide initiative designed to promote and showcase original arts and crafts, 11 accomplished artists are opening their studio doors to the public in Sudbury and the wider area this weekend.
The showcase gives art lovers the chance to see artists at work in their studios, talk to them about what inspires them and to buy their art.
Among them will be artist Lupe Cunha, who lets music shape her bold and vibrant paintings.
While listening to various melodies, the rhythm inspires the composition of her work.
“I let my unconscious take over and develop the picture and, every so often, I’ll touch base,” she says. “I look at my pictures with a critical eye.”
Lupe draws inspiration from her husband, John McMillan, who is a passionate blues musician, as well as being the president of Sudbury’s Chamber of Commerce.
Incorporating a range of mixed-media through layers, which include oil paints, acrylic and watercolours, enables her to create elaborate and colourful paintings.
Originally from Rio de Janeiro, in Brazil, Lupe’s father, who was a diplomat and a painter, inspired her in the craft from an early age.
Her Brazilian roots have influenced the use of vibrant colours, with some of the tones now reflecting the UK climate.
“They’re now more subdued than they were originally,” she says.
* Find Lupe at 83a Ballingdon Street, Sudbury
For Lorna Hoey, capturing the atmosphere forms a key element in her work as a pastel artist.
Since moving to Sudbury six years ago, the Suffolk countryside has become a focal point in her work.
“It’s very gentle pasture land – it’s a quest to belong in my new environment,” says the artist, who is originally from Antrim, in Northern Ireland.
Pastels have proved a versatile medium in achieving effective techniques, explains Lorna.
“There’s a spontaneity about pastels – you can put one on top of the other; I find it a lovely medium to work with,” says Lorna.
Each project involves working from a sketch, alongside a series of photographs.
Occasionally, she draws pet portraits of dogs, with pastels proving an effective medium for creating the texture of their fur.
“It’s quite laborious, so I prefer drawing big, sweeping landscapes,” she says.
Artist Harry Becker, who was a draughtsman and printmaker, has inspired her work.
“His drawings were almost intuitive about how these men worked in the fields,” says Lorna. “They were lovely, fresh and spontaneous. They told you a lot about the people.”
* Find Lorna at 53 Cross Street, Sudbury
Evoking the feelings of a place is an essential element of Val Bright-Jones’ work.
The first stage of the creative process involves taking photographs and drawing a series of sketches, before putting them aside and painting from memory.
“If you try to capture a sketch exactly, it loses all its freshness – it’s the feeling of the place and the essence of it,” says Val, describing the approach as a multi-sensory technique.
“I want to transport the person to that place, but I try to make it ambiguous so they can put their own interpretation on the work,” she says.
Having a passion for travelling, her trips to Australia, Scotland and Cornwall feature in a lot of Val’s work.
“They’re often coastal areas,” she says. “I love swimming outdoors, I swim with my grandchildren and I like painting underwater scenes.”
At five years old, Val’s father introduced her to art and taught her to draw.
“It’s what I do, it’s part of me – I can’t imagine not drawing or painting,” she says. “It’s an addiction.
“Wherever I go, I see things that will make a good painting, it’s just part of my personality.
“Artists look at life in a slightly different way; we see shapes and colours that perhaps other people wouldn’t notice.”
* Find Val at Firbank in Acton Lane, Sudbury
Picturesque landscapes form the subject matter of Anne Lowe’s paintings.
Equipped with her camera, Anne captures the scenes while on country walks.
“I’m fairly new to Sudbury, so I’m still exploring,” she says.
Anne, pictured left, describes her work as stylistic, which incorporates abstract elements due to the variety of shapes and colours in her paintings.
“The way I use paint is often in layers, so I build up a picture with lots of thin layers,” she says.
“It’s an exploration of colour and what happens when you put one colour on top of another.”
A combination of mixed-media is incorporated in her work, including acrylic, pastels and charcoal.
Having lived in Norfolk before settling in the town, the landscapes have also inspired Anne’s work.
“There’s lots of trees and grass that influenced my work,” she says.
During her role as a primary school teacher, before she retired, Anne was responsible for organising art projects.
“Painting is my creative outlet,” she says. “I love doing it.”
* Find Anne at Priory Gate, 57 Friars Street, Sudbury
After retiring from teaching, Jacqueline Robins honed her skills as a fine art print maker.
Employing techniques including silkscreen, monoprints and linocuts, she creates unique pieces, which incorporate a range of designs and shapes.
“Printing is all about layers to get the effect you want,” she says. “By using layers, you get a dimension.
“I use abstract and representational images to create a sense of place and the emphasis is always on visuals and colour.”
Her silk screen work involves a combination of stencils with images taken from photographs, which are subsequently manipulated using software on the computer.
Incorporating striking and dramatic features is an important element in her work.
“I photograph textures, such as peeling paint and corrosion, and I will use it as part of a layer,” says Jacqueline.
Having studied at college to become a primary school teacher, she completed a course in textiles and more recently attended Curwen Print Study Centre in Cambridge to gain more knowledge in the craft.
Her work is sold at a number of art galleries and is showcased at Gainsborough’s Print Workshop in Sudbury.
A future project is an abstract piece inspired by Thomas Gainsborough, which will feature small motifs.
* Find Jacqueline at Hill Farm, Sudbury Road, Gestinghtorpe
An accomplished fused-glass artist, Rebecca Mansbridge has to undertake several processes to create intricate details within her work.
In order for the glass to fuse, various layers are fired in a kiln, enabling them to melt and form part of the design.
Nature is a recurring theme in her work, with various compositions depicting trees and plants.
To create the intricate details of dandelions, enamel paint is applied, with chips of glass then added to form the centre.
Both sides of the glass are painted, followed by a two-millimetre piece of glass, which is painted and fired in a kiln, then painted on another side with a further layer of dandelions.
“It’s amazing because it’s only two millimetres of glass, but it creates such depth,” says Rebecca.
Having been inspired by a friend who attended a stained glass course, she was spurred on to learn the craft of fused glass, which became an enduring passion.
Having worked as an IT consultant for more than two decades, crafting unique compositions provides a creative outlet for Rebecca.
“I love that I have a job that appeals to my brain and logic, and art that allows me to think imaginatively,” she says.
While working full-time, Rebecca devotes her evenings and weekends to creating her designs.
“When you sell your work, you make them over and over again and perfect the technique,” she says.
This year, Rebecca has set herself the challenge of working with watercolours, alongside continuing to craft a series of glass creations.
“There are things you can achieve in one and vice versa, but each has their own strengths,” she says.
She is focusing on painting a range of long-tailed tits which visit her garden.
Before setting to work on a painting, Rebecca makes a sketch and takes a series of photographs, which she works from.
* Find Rebecca at 83 Dove House Meadow, Great Cornard