Tag Archives: helen dougall

Ten Artworks artists in Ad Libitum Art Exhibition

More exhibition news on the Artworks blog!

Ten Artworks artists (past & present) have paintings currently on show at the stunning venue, The Apex, in Bury St Edmunds this November. The exhibition is called Ad Libitum, in reference to artists having a ‘free hand’ in their work.

All the work in the exhibition is new to Artworks, having not been exhibited in any previous Artworks exhibitions. The light & space of the upstairs gallery is a wonderful backdrop to everyone’s work – we hope you will visit if you are in the area!

The nine Artworks artists featured in this show are: Mike Ashley, Gillian Crossley-Holland, Helen Dougall, Helen Du Feu, Janet French, Jazz Green, Eleonora Knowland, Marianne Koby-Johnson, Katie Millard and Gabrielle Stoddart.

Some exhibition photographs will be posted shortly. The exhibition, Ad Libitum, runs from 29th October to 28th November 2012 (full details below).

29 October – 28 November 2012
Charter Square
Bury St Edmunds
IP33 3BA (SatNav)
Open Monday to Saturday, from 10am to 5pm

Artworks Prize Draw: Faces, Figures, People

As promised, another preview of six more mini artworks from the Artwork Prize Draw, all currently on view in the Artworks 12th annual art exhibition at Blackthorpe Barn. The Prize Draw tickets are just £2 each. This selection features original artworks by: Constance Stubbs, Helen Dougall, Chris Gamble, Elaine Nason, Jenny Goater and one of our newest members Lyn Aylward.

Chris Gamble

Constance Stubbs

Elaine Nason

Helen Dougall

Lyn Aylward

Jenny Goater

The ‘Janette Place’ Mini Artworks Prize Draw takes place on Saturday 1st October 2011 at 4pm. Prize Draw tickets are on sale at £2 each throughout the duration of the Artworks exhibition – just enquire at the reception desk. All the mini artworks are original works of art!

The Mini Artworks Prize Draw provides funding for Artworks outreach work with local schools, with a proportion of the draw proceeds going to a nominated charity. In 2011 we are delighted to be supporting the innovative Bradfield Green Oak Centre project run by the Suffolk Wildlife Trust. You can follow the development of the project on the Bradfield Green Oak Centre’s blog.

If you like nature-inspired art, our next mini artworks selection will be mostly devoted to landscape and trees!

The Artworks 12th annual art exhibition runs from 10 September – 2 October 2011, open 10am – 5pm daily, at Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP30 9JG.

Entry to the Artworks exhibition is free, there is ample parking with full disability access (two wheelchairs are also available if required). There will also be the Artworks Cafe alongside the very popular Artworks Gallery Shop, selling small paintings, original prints & drawings, ceramics, sculpture and glass, in addition to a wonderful selection of artists’ postcards & greetings cards. We hope you will enjoy your visit!

ARTWORKS : Artists making an exhibition of themselves

A not-to-be-missed special evening of artists’ demonstrations, in association with the annual Artworks exhibition at Blackthorpe Barns. This special event is sponsored by The Curwen Press. New to Artworks in 2007, the Artists Making an Exhibition of Themselves evening (AMET for short) was a resounding success.
Artists Making an Exhibition of Themselves
on Saturday 1st October 2011, from 6pm to 9pm.
Lynn Hutton demonstrating image transfer techniques
AMET is a special, one-off event when some of our Artworks artists set-up mini working studios in front of their work in the Artworks exhibition at Blackthorpe Barn, to demonstrate the media, materials & techniques used in their art, ready to answer any questions that visitors to the exhibition may have about their art.
Valerie Armstrong explaining collagraph printmaking
The atmosphere is always bustling, creative & very inspiring – and refreshments are also available in the adjoining cafe gallery. In previous years our artist demonstrations have included:
Pastel Painting NOT Drawing
Taking a (wax) line for a walk with brilliant dye colours
Wire Sculptures
Watercolour Landscapes
Lost Wax
Transferring textures and images onto surfaces
Acrylics in Action
Flowers in Watercolour
Constructing a Collagraph Plate
Printing on Slate
This special event proves very popular year after year and the next Artworks AMET evening is 
on Saturday 1st October 2011
 from 6pm-9pm, at Blackthorpe Barn – a special date for the Artworks diary!
We also have artist demonstrations throughout the Artworks exhibition so please follow our new blog and check back in early September 2011 to find out who will be demonstrating on the days you might like to visit the Artworks exhibition!
The Artworks 12th annual exhibition runs from 10 September – 2 October 2011, open 10am – 5pm daily, at Blackthorpe Barn, Rougham, Bury St Edmunds, Suffolk IP30 9JG. Admission is FREE.
You can read more about Artworks history and view full profiles of all our exhibiting artists on the official Artworks website.

Take five with… Helen Dougall, batik artist & painter

Welcome to a brand new series of articles on the Artworks blog. It’s called quite simply ‘Take five with…‘ – and it aims to be an engaging & informal introduction to each one of our Artworks artists. Without further ado, let’s ‘take five‘ with batik artist & painter Helen Dougall…

Firstly, Helen tells us a little about what inspires her as an artist and how she makes her batik paintings.

I have always been interested in landscape in all its diversity, after my childhood in Wales and now living in Suffolk, but also the visible effects that man has made, negatively and positively, on the landscape. Expressing “a sense of place” and my reaction to it is important to me. I paint and draw directly from observation, in an effort to capture the complete essence of landscape.

© Helen Dougall, Oil Seed Rape Field with Trees, gouache on paper

My drawings and paintings, mainly in gouache or aquarelle pastel are always done on the spot. These media have an immediacy which enables me to express my interest in space and colour. These ideas also have a particular affinity with the craft of batik, in the way molten wax can be painted or drawn across dyed fabric to produce textural effects.

To make a batik painting, selected areas of fabric are blocked out with molten wax and then the fabric is dyed. The waxed areas resist the dye, while un-waxed areas absorb the dye. The process of waxing and dyeing is repeated by waxing or blocking out areas on the dyed fabric after it has dried, then dyeing it a different colour.

Because dyes are transparent, the second colour is changed by the first colour e.g. a blue over yellow will produce green. Some of my batiks are immersed up to seven or eight times, usually starting with the lightest colour and progressing through medium tones, finishing with the darkest colours.

© Helen Dougall, Sand and Sea, batik wall-hanging

A particular effect of successive dyeing is the harmonious, layered combination of colours, i.e. apart from the first colour all the following ones are combinations of all the preceding colours. Another effect is the emergence of fine hair-lines within the design, caused by the wax cracking in the dye bath, or it is deliberately “crunched” to produce a subtle “crackle” effect.

Sometimes the dyes are selectively painted on rather than immersing the whole fabric in the dye bath. After the final dyeing the wax is later removed from the fabric by ironing & blotting between sheets of newsprint to reveal the final design. The piece is then dry-cleaned, washed, dried and mounted on a frame much like a canvas.

An awareness and sense of colour is obviously very important to you as an artist. What is your favourite colour & why?
A bluey-greyey-green, the colour of the sea on the west Wales coast. The Cardiganshire and Pembrokeshire coast are very inspiring locations in addition to the landscape of East Anglia. I am particularly interested in the effect of sunlight across stubble fields, or seascapes with wet, shiny undulating beaches or multicoloured shingle.

© Helen Dougall, Beach Watermarks, batik wall-hanging

So, for someone completely new to your art, how would describe it in just a few simple words?
Subtle, colourful, textural, feeling, atmospheric, and ‘landscape’ is a word I use quite a lot in reference to my work.

Why do you make art?
It sounds corny, but I need to be creative. So, how do you generate or develop the ideas for your work? Lots of drawing from observation, taking photographs and improvising, with different visual ideas.

Could you describe your studio space/set-up.
My studio is a converted farm building, a cart shed adjoining an old stable and barn, it’s long and low and it faces south, so we put in a north-facing roof-light, and it looks out onto a secluded garden.

Your studio sounds wonderful! What’s a typical working day for you as an artist? 
The morning is mostly devoted to domestic chores, paperwork and e-mails, sometimes dog-walking and looking out for places that are interesting to draw. Afternoon and sometimes evening, is when I retreat to my studio, or if the weather is good, I go out with my easel and paints. If I’m working in batik, after spending a long time painting and drawing wax on cloth, I soak the whole piece in dye. While it is drying, and before I can continue with it, I might go and hoe a row of carrots! What time in the day are you at your most creative, do you think? Around mid afternoon.  

And, what do you listen to while creating?
I listen to the radio and classical or jazz music.

Would you care to share what’s in your current sketchbook?  
Drawings of raised furrows across a field where I think onions have been planted.

© Helen Dougall, Preseli Fields, batik wall-hanging

Which living artist do you most admire and why?
Howard Hodgkin. Fantastic colour and being able to describe a feeling or place in abstract terms with such an economy of incredibly sensitive brushstrokes.  

So, that leads nicely to the question, which famous artwork would you most like to own, if money & space was not an issue?  
One of Howard Hodgkin’s paintings, possibly ‘Blue Remembered Hills’.

Howard Hodgkin, Blue Remembered Hills, oil on wood 2002-03

Could you name one work of art (contemporary or historical) that you don’t like – and why?  
Richard Hamilton’s ‘Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing?‘. It describes an age I was trying to move away from, it makes me cringe – so I suppose it was effective in its intentions!

Richard Hamilton, Just what is it that makes today’s homes so different, so appealing? 1956

Share something unusual you’ve learnt from looking at the work of other artists.
Nostalgia, such as looking at Eric Ravilious’s watercolour, ‘An Attic Bedroom‘, the camp bed in a bare-boarded, cluttered room; it reminds me of childhood summer holidays.

Eric Ravilious, An Attic Bedroom, watercolour on paper, 1932-34

Which artist (dead or living) would you fancifully like to invite to dinner and what question/s would you ask them?  
Berthe Morisot. What was it like being almost the only woman painter (of note), surrounded by so many men painters at the end of the nineteenth century in France? Also, what was her attitude to motherhood after her painting of ‘The Cradle‘ ?

Berthe Morisot, Le Berceau (The Cradle), oil on canvas, 1872

That’s a very interesting point regarding female artists in society. What do you think is the role of an artist in today’s society?  
To reflect good and bad things; I tend to go for the aesthetic.

Students of art might be reading this with great interest, so what single piece of advice would you give them to make it as an artist?
Keep following your hunches and learn many hand-skills, drawing, painting, printmaking, working in 3D, as many techniques as possible because art schools have tended to offer fewer in recent years.

© Helen Dougall, Snow Field, batik wall-hanging

And lastly, what is your personal motto (if you have one)?  
Get something done each day, however insignificant.

Thank you Helen, for a small glimpse into your creative world, and that’s a very good note to end on! I am sure our readers will be inspired. There is clearly a lot of time & skill involved in Helen’s incredibly detailed batik paintings and she explains the many stages of creating one her batiks, ‘The Snow Field‘ (shown above), on her own website.

Helen also runs short courses in batik techniques; further details can also be found on Helen Dougall’s website.

Helen Dougall studied fine art at Chelsea School of Art and then trained as an art teacher. She taught in London and then Suffolk for many years, pursuing her own art full-time from 1997. Helen is a member of the Batik Guild, the Suffolk Craft Society and Artworks.