Menu

The Essential School of Painting

The Essential School of Painting

The Essential School of Painting

The Essential School of Painting

TheESOP is an Art School in London providing long and short courses taught by leading contemporary artists. Small class sizes, one to one and group teaching, in studio and online, UK and worldwide. We teach all levels of experience from foundation to professional.


Collage Arts Space 5, Coburg Rd, Wood Green, London N22 6TZ

3D Ausstellungen

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Bigger Picture: Jo Martin

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    JO MARTIN I am a multimedia artist from Yorkshire, based in Kent. I graduated from Saint Martins, fine art painting, in 1993. I work in painting, collage, sculpture, print, video art and sound performance; often combining and layering them. I enjoy the freedom of moving between different mediums, in this way I have a larger and more precise vocabulary to better communicate my intentions. The media I use and concepts I explore are directly connected and inform one another. Movement and sound with a start and end is video, repeated action changed by time is print, the physical act of holding and touching in the present is sculpture. I am influenced by Bauhaus, vorticism and feminist art. The re-use and re-appropriation of past work, ideas, and ideologies. By the thought that we are all victims and beneficiaries of plagiarisms and carry the gifts or burdens of histories and memories. My work takes on the subject of broken nonsensical architecture, structural and bodily, and the act of being present in the ‘now’ while carrying the ‘then’. Recently I have begun using print combined with paint to describe the defunct machine environments. I have found that by including myself vocally and physically either as a trigger or as the focus of my work I have automatically brought myself closer to the visceral and performative element of mark making. My work considers themes of environmental instability and the structures internal and external that we create to support ourselves. In the mid process of painting, my collage videos combine elements of a work in progress and stop motion animation techniques, to give an alternate perspective of how a piece of work can be viewed and documented. Materiality is a key contribute, polaroid cameras and found images in books remaining in the realm of the analogue. I have incorporated interactive features in my paintings, activated by a wooden rod, a sound box plays original sound art. Found objects, accidental small beach-finds, to ‘important’ archaeological discoveries provide a solid starting place for the expert’s guesswork to take place, resulting in the animated growth of a ‘discovered’ chiselled stone to an imagined ‘factual’ city complete with battlements and bakeries. The intention of the work is to create environments that provide a feeling of negotiating reconstructed environments, of dreamlike wandering, of balancing while investigating. Producing work that has an essence of film, film still, film trailer, edging towards a slow burn underrated long forgotten newly remembered unearthed cult masterpiece.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    SPLINT!

    06 Sep 2021 – 06 Feb 2022

    SPLINT STATEMENT “to support and strengthen to embrace the uncertain” support protect listen inspire nurture trust SPLINT was unofficially formed as a collective in January 2021. while separated they began their first project COLLOBAGE, a mail art collage collaboration. this first project established a trust in each members edit and a trust in each members innate respect for the autonomy that still survives and flourishes in a collective. SPLINT members met at the essential school of painting. a group of female emerging artists all keenly moving forward in their practice. age irrelevant. time irrelevant. supportive. constructive and challenging. coming together to discuss, create and exhibit. SPLINT is watchful. suspenseful. morbidly beautiful. nuanced and complex. creating sculptures, paintings, videos, prints, drawings and publications to describe the way they navigate the spaces they inhabit together and separately. The members of SPLINT! would like to thank David Mach RA for his incredible logo design. The splint! logo represents the generosity and support that existed within ‘The Bigger Picture’ course and remains a constant within the ESOP school. Wendy Freestone Toni Gallagher Jo Martin Emma O’Rourke Harriet Selka Victoria Snazell

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Painting People and Portraits: Helen Bishop, Zoe Floyd, Clover Godsal, Cindy Hepburn, Kate Spencer & Elizabeth Richardson

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    This course explores the elements of portraiture and painting the figure n both systematic and creative ways. We worked from the live model and other sources including film stills, drawings, memory and imagination, plus word prompts, biography and storytelling to open to unexpected and expressive results in painting and collage. The course was taught by Alison Harper and guest tutors Archie Franks, Melissa Kimes and Tim Patrick. HELEN BISHOP At school, I didn’t do any art (not allowed, because I was doing too many ‘academic’ subjects!!!) and I didn’t go to art school, but throughout my life I have done a variety of life drawing, painting and other art classes. I am really enjoying both the studio and the online classes at TheEsop, where the tutors have definitely built my confidence and got me doing more painting at home, and I now have lots of ideas for new paintings (although finishing them is always a struggle!). I am constantly amazed when I look back at what I have done. Hopefully I am also moving beyond the observational and into more imaginative work.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Online Painting Personal Projects: Helen Bishop, Richard Howe, Athy P, Suki McDonald & Eve Townshend

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    Online Painting Personal Projects, taught by Adrian Wiszniewski RSA over two terms aimed to give students an opportunity to develop their imaginations and experiment with new approaches, materials and techniques whilst receiving guidance and mentoring in a supportive community of artists to help develop strategies for establishing and growing a body of work. The course is continuing this year over three terms.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Painting Personal Projects: Caroline Lovett, Anna Suwalowska & Corrie Wingate

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    ANNA SUWALOWSKA I am a figurative artist working and living in London. My work explores the relationships between people weaving multiple narratives of the psychological landscape. The body is central to my practice. It embodies the universal language of emotions that express human nature – unstable and in constant flux. A recurrent motif in my work is ‘the gaze’ in a figurative and philosophical sense. People, animals or hybrids look with fixed attention, intently, aware that they can be seen and looked at and have an external appearance. More, there is the view that while the eyes mirror the external world, there are also windows to the internal, the embodied experiences. The scenes in the paintings depict stage-like settings where figures like actors remain focussed on playing their own roles, independent yet aware of the others. This subconscious process allows transferring emotions, experiences into a figurative painting. Different dimensions merge into the uncanny narratives that reveal dualities and multi-faceted realities. The world of the living and the dead, the shadows and the truth, the ambiguity and clarity coexist. The world is imagined, yet at the same time, it is real. I am an intuitive artist and my work is concerned with mood and tension, stripping away the real to merge my memories and experiences with observations of people and the natural world. The body of work is diverse and includes drawings, paintings and collages. My interests intersect ethics, medical sociology, place, culture, human condition and memory. CAROLINE LOVETT Caroline is a contemporary figurative artist. She works mainly in acrylic and oils, as well as producing ink studies. Her figurative work moves between the very contemporary and the surreal. Vibrant, often fluorescent colours, recur in her work. She is fascinated by and creates very physical images of movement and gesture, embodying joy, euphoria, rapture and despair. Her work explores the façade we present to the world versus the realities we repress and conceal, the very public and the very private. Her process often involves working quickly to create bold under paintings that seep through later paintings to create distinctive works in acrylic. These initial experimental/exploratory studies then develop into resolved large-scale pieces. She composes paintings very spontaneously, blocking out the backgrounds to allow the forms and bodies to coalesce in more considered brush marks. Currently Caroline is working on modern day re-imaginings of Hieronymous Bosch’s ‘The Garden of Earthly Delights’. In time of pandemic she is inspired and connected to Bosch’s fantastic illustrations, religious concepts and historical narrative, created in similarly perilous times. Within these new pieces she explores the surreal, dream states and the unconscious through fantastical, colourful, escapist, disturbing images of strange creatures, ethereal acrobats, images of creation, rituals and ceremony. Her work is informed in part by her own disrupted pandemic sleep, the darkest of imaginings realised creatively. These works are acrylics on large-scale canvases. Previous work has explored the selfie, the effects of technology and social media on our relationships and private lives. Her next body of work, provisionally titled ‘The Beer Garden of Earthly Delights’, will examine themes including self-image, self-confidence, freedom, hedonism, partying, female empowerment, fun and post lockdown responses to ‘freedom’. Caroline is a self taught artist. Her work has been exhibited at the Royal Academy’s Summer Show 2018 and recent exhibitions of her work have included The Wayland Gallery Online Exhibition 2020,Reality check @ White Conduit 2019 , Pengtings @ Espacio gallery 2018, Ipswich art society open 2015, 2016, 2017, north London artist network 2015 and The Pentland arts Depot 2015 Her original works and prints are available via the website or by contacting Caroline on 07852-760720 Caroline is based in Suffolk with a studio in London. CORRIE WINGATE (b.1974, Blackpool, UK) Corrie Wingate studied Fine Art at Kent institute of art and design, Canterbury followed by a career in travel and documentary photography. It was this nomadic lifestyle that eventually led Corrie to Kenya where she lives part time and founded an award-winning art centre for children and runs an artist residency for Kenyan artists. Working mostly with her own photographic archive and extensive travels as inspiration, she makes figurative and expressive paintings working both loosely and energetically with passages of detail and focus. She is drawn to the magic that happens in the flawed translation from one medium to the other. Corrie’s work primarily focuses on the relationships between humans and animals. Bridging the space between the mythic and the real she uses colour as a key factor in creating unfamiliar settings for her subjects who inhabit distant places but inspire the viewer with both empathy and tenderness. Believing that all life forms are created equal and that we are not superior to but part of the natural world, Corrie’s work aims to feed into the dialogue about what it means to be human with our profound need for connection. SHEILA WHITAKER I am aware of the countless small-scale arrangements of objects in a home which have personal and aesthetic significance and find starting points for my still life paintings in these things in my own environment. Arranging the fruit or other objects carefully on the fabric or other surface is a small creative act in itself. I enjoy the idea that placing the fruit disrupts the regularity of the pattern on the fabric. I observe the shape, space, colour and fall of light and shadow across the fabric and fruit forms, and re-arrange again in the process of painting, placing descriptive marks and flatter pieces of paint together. PAINTING PERSONAL PROJECTS taught by Dan Coombs and Sikelela Owen is a year long programme one day week, some of which was on Zoom this year during lockdown. The course involves shared projects to begin with leading to developing an individual body of work whilst receiving guidance and mentoring in a supportive community of artists. All our tutors are practising and exhibiting artists who are working on their own projects and are there to help each student clarify and develop their short and long term goals. Limited to twelve places only as are all our courses, the tutors have time to help each person progress in the distinctive ways they need to as individuals. For the new academic year from October 2021 this course will be taught by Sikelela Owen and Archie Franks

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Painting Personal Projects: Idoia Acha & Sheila Whitaker

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    IDOIA ACHA MA RCA 2017 In my work I intend to give shape and form to the ephemeral nature of human experience. My work in moving image and sound explores the nature of motion and change through experimentation. Through paintings I explore the space between the figurative and the abstract, beginnings and endings. I investigate the blurring of edges, our experience as a flow of events or fragments of life – life as a dream. Desire is frustrated in the quest to fix impermanence and discomfort arises in the space in between. And yet, and yet.. So you should view this fleeting world A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream. A flash of lightning in a summer cloud, A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream. –– excerpt from the Diamond Sutra, an early Mahayana Buddhist text. www.idoiaacha.com https://vimeo.com/idoiaacha www.instagram.com/idoia_acha SHEILA WHITAKER I am aware of the countless small-scale arrangements of objects in a home which have personal and aesthetic significance and find starting points for my still life paintings in these things in my own environment. Arranging the fruit or other objects carefully on the fabric or other surface is a small creative act in itself. I enjoy the idea that placing the fruit disrupts the regularity of the pattern on the fabric. I observe the shape, space, colour and fall of light and shadow across the fabric and fruit forms, and re-arrange again in the process of painting, placing descriptive marks and flatter pieces of paint together. PAINTING PERSONAL PROJECTS taught by Dan Coombs and Sikelela Owen is a year long programme one day week, some of which was on Zoom this year during lockdown. The course involves shared projects to begin with leading to developing an individual body of work whilst receiving guidance and mentoring in a supportive community of artists. All our tutors are practising and exhibiting artists who are working on their own projects and are there to help each student clarify and develop their short and long term goals. Limited to twelve places only as are all our courses, the tutors have time to help each person progress in the distinctive ways they need to as individuals. For the new academic year from October 2021 this course will be taught by Sikelela Owen and Archie Franks

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Painting Personal Projects: Yik Chung Boon & John Heywood-Waddngton

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    YIK CHUNG BOON Boon’s semi-autobiographical paintings are painted from life and imagination. He draws inspiration from both Eastern and Western art history reflecting his life experience. He is interested in how artists from the two cultures approach the same subjects, and in his paintings he articulates his findings. He studied Chinese calligraphy and Classical Chinese painting which influences his mark-making and techniques. PAINTING PERSONAL PROJECTS taught by Dan Coombs and Sikelela Owen is a year long programme one day week, some of which was on Zoom this year during lockdown. The course involves shared projects to begin with leading to developing an individual body of work whilst receiving guidance and mentoring in a supportive community of artists. All our tutors are practising and exhibiting artists who are working on their own projects and are there to help each student clarify and develop their short and long term goals. Limited to twelve places only as are all our courses, the tutors have time to help each person progress in the distinctive ways they need to as individuals. For the new academic year from October 2021 this course will be taught by Sikelela Owen and Archie Franks

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Painting Personal Projects: Anna Curzon Price & Chun -Young Yang

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    ANNA CURZON PRICE Artist statement - ESOP 2021 Taking ordinary, everyday experiences as her starting point, Anna’s paintings explore the imaginative and magical possibilities which exist in the mundane. Often small sketches that she makes from observation of day-to-day life are transformed into much larger and more colourful works. Anna has a background in social anthropology and this inspires the way in which she relies on her sensory memory and direct experiencing of her subject matter. By playing with scale and gesture she explores elevating the kitchen sink into the monumental and a row of cups into an abstracted landscape. For Anna, painting is a practice which allows her to reflect on the strangeness of her everyday life in a hyper-networked, environmentally fragile, postcolonial world. For the last few months, Anna has become particularly interested in the relationship between bodies and their environment. She has been exploring this by investigating the experience of swimming at a leisure centre. Her paintings of bodies in water explore the unstable boundary between our conscious insides and the outside environment in which we find ourselves. Through delicate washes of colour and ephemeral imagery she seeks to explore ways of representing the human deeply embedded in the world around them. By immersing herself in water, reflecting on this by jotting down observations and quick sketches and then remembering these fleeting moments while painting in the studio, she seeks to represent in paint elusive and unphotographable experiences. PAINTING PERSONAL PROJECTS taught by Dan Coombs and Sikelela Owen is a year long programme one day week, some of which was on Zoom this year during lockdown. The course involves shared projects to begin with leading to developing an individual body of work whilst receiving guidance and mentoring in a supportive community of artists. All our tutors are practising and exhibiting artists who are working on their own projects and are there to help each student clarify and develop their short and long term goals. Limited to twelve places only as are all our courses, the tutors have time to help each person progress in the distinctive ways they need to as individuals. For the new academic year from October 2021 this course will be taught by Sikelela Owen and Archie Franks

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Intuitive Abstraction: Caroline Killoury, Beatrice Nespega & Pamela Woods

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    CAROLINE KILLOURY Caroline Killoury is a British Irish painter currently living and working in the UK. Prior to graduating in 2020 with a Masters in Fine Art from the Reading School of Art, Caroline spent her childhood living around the world before moving to London in her late teens intending to study painting. But side-tracked by a chance encounter she spent a couple of decades or so in the music business managing the careers of bands, singers, DJs and producers before finally picking up on her studies in 2018 and pursuing work as a full-time artist. ​ Richly imagined and loosely abstracted, Caroline's vibrant and intuitive paintings are rooted in the natural world and exuberantly and unapologetically colour soaked, inspired by the environs of the Middle East and Southern Europe where she grew up. ​ Working mainly with oil paint, its materiality and slow drying properties allow Caroline to take an almost geological path as she variously applies, scrapes back, reapplies, stretches, sculpts and pushes the paint to create energetic, complexly textured, multi layered sumptuous works. ​​​​ July 2021. BEATRICE NESPEGA I see artmaking as a process of discovering, creating new experiences and bringing back memories… My art wants to stimulate imagination and awaken creativity I am an Italian architectural designer professionally and an abstract painter by passion based in London (UK).Art, Architecture and Lighting are the main disciplines through which I’ve been able to deeply investigate human psychology and visual perception. My painting artwork starts from creating colours taking inspiration from my memories, travels or photographs and intuitively applying them into the canvas, letting the painting grow and transform in its own skin. The compositions unfold over a period of time through the process of adding and removing marks, by combining intuitive and active gestures with considered refinement. I mainly work with acrylic and charcoal, experimenting with tools that can leave unpredictable marks on the surface such as recycled materials, sponges, ribbons, rags, leaves, sticks, etc. My background in architecture and lighting design helps me to visually balance the elements such as colour relationships, light, dark, scale, composition, bringing harmony and letting the different types of marks relate to each other. instagram: beppilu website: https://issuu.com/beatrice_130892/docs/nespega_beatrice_artworks THE INTUITIVE ABSTRACTION course consisted of full immersive days incorporating experimentation, playfulness, technical guidance and discussion designed to develop you as an abstract painter. During 20 -21 the course was taught by Johanna Melvin and Alexander James Pollard. For 21-22 the course will be taught by Johanna Melvin and Jennifer Campbell.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Bigger Picture: Emma O'Rourke & Victoria Snazell

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    EMMA O’ROURKE London Irish artist based in London. My work is preoccupied with the human condition, our complicated relationship with nostalgia, and the narratives we hold onto. Drawing has been instinctive from a young age. I am influenced by the work of Hilma af Klint, Tracey Emin and Helen Marten - artists whose drawings display a visual confidence - depicting moments and memories without physical shape - acknowledging the limitations of language. My work is often shaped by filmic imagery, literature, and photography - images embedded into our subconscious. I have a natural tendency to cross mediums and disciplines, delicately assembling often indistinguishable forms - multiple unraveled conversations - an insight into my own personal history intertwined with moments from popular culture. Growing up in an Irish Catholic household, traditions and values were passed down without explanation - fuelling a lifelong preoccupation with the fragility of our existence. The eldest grandchild, I spent a lot of time with my nan, a woman who confidently blurred the lines between fact and fiction, weaving unexplained ‘truths’ into every scenario. I dissolved into a world of stories, engrossed in everyday fantasies, steamy scandals and fallen heroes, which later led me to study Theatre Design at Wimbledon College of Art. Although my current practice centres on people, the ‘staged’ environment is still more than often present whether or not depicted. Intimacy and illusion, traditions and beliefs form the basis of my research alongside my studio practice. Through the continuous layering of drawing, paint, collage and print, my work merges our internal worlds with natural forms to create surreal yet familiar images, hinting at our own inevitable disorderly decline. VICTORIA SNAZELL Lives and works in Brighton & Hove, UK Education 1990 - 1993 - B.A Hons Fine Art - Bath College of Art Awards 1992 - Gane Travel Scholarship Victoria Snazell grew up in Thatcher’s Estuary Essex surrounded by a family of makers, sewers, gardeners and engineers. She creates minimal, pared back artworks, inventing new tragi-comic forms coming from a place of impotence and cartoony depression. Inspiration is drawn from a variety of sources. The physical materiality of food, flesh, discarded and natural forms - the stuff of life; whilst adding a good dollop of peril or menace. The process of drawing as well as the lumpy uncertainty of the materials used in fabrication is important. Works are able to develop unselfconsciously, imbued with an emotional connection that reaches out to the viewer whilst recognising the limitations of visual language to reveal and conceal meaning.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Bigger Picture: Wendy Freestone & Harriet Selka

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    WENDY FREESTONE Wendy Freestone is an interdisciplinary artist, born in a RAF hospital in Wendover Bucks. Her heritage is Liverpool but she is now based in south Northants. This is Wendy’s second career, she graduated in 2005, with a BA First Class honours, in Fine Art. She has recently had her work included in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition and the following year won a Royal Artist Prize. She exhibits across the UK and worldwide. Her first love is sculpture. Her figurative sculptures radiate a feeling of grounding and togetherness, particularly when seen as a group. Wendy masters the fine balance of weight and fragility. Her portraits begin on the canvas but will happily incorporate found materials. Whether her work is sculpture or painting there is usually a group, implying a longing to be part of something and evoking a sense of wanting to belong. The heartache in her colourful Bingo Portraits resonates to your bones in an unmistakably familiar way. Wendy spent the beginning of the pandemic donating portraits of NHS nurses to various charities. The subject matter of her portraits is never a simple self-portrait, “I am disinterested in myself - my face as a subject for painting. I prefer ‘the make believe’. My portraits are no one but could be anyone. I have an instinctive NEED to create everyday”. HARRIET SELKA People and the spaces they inhabit are at the core of Harriet’s artistic practice. A body movement, a vulnerable private moment, or the way someone occupies a space often inspires the beginning of a painting. She seeks to record emotion, energy, beauty and truth. Harriet is currently exploring societal expectations of young adults through her perception of how she fits, or doesn’t fit into these conventions. Harriet is taking ownership of her narrative through these paintings. As a survivor of childhood cancer, Harriet is acutely aware of the fragility of the human condition. There is a conflict between Harriet’s desire to evoke strong emotion and her fear of exposing herself which creates an emotive tension. The conversation created between subtlety and vigour in Harriet’s mark-making suggests a precarious sense of fragility. What is left unspoken offers space to reflect and imagine. As well as working with the physical medium of paint, Harriet utilises photography in her artistic practice. Immersed in the emotion, energy, beauty and truth of an event, a camera records the fleeting moments that can later stand alone as records of precious memories, and which can also be distilled to inform future paintings. The imperfect accidents that occur within the body of a camera — whether analogue or digital — can seep into the texture of a painting.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Bigger Picture: Toni Gallagher

    06 Sep 2021 – 06 Feb 2022

    TONI GALLAGHER Hypothetical collaboration with the wonderful Christo Brief set by David Mach RA The location Trafalgar Square what would Christo do, incorporating the essence of a modern master in something I can call my own public art for a historic public gathering space. trafalgar square reach for the sky, no holds barred, dream big ideas swim like fish in the sea on a sunday when you know you know, idea resolute close to capturing a storm oh, to stand next to napoleon, side by side and hear his adventures the city I love, a unique perspective could it be done, once reimagined with a practical eye clad in a living breathing organism that screams life napoleons walk

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Painting Year 2: Gabrielle Eber & Silke Heuer

    06 Sep 2021 – 06 Feb 2022

    GABRIELLE EBER Gabrielle’s subjects are drawn from her lived experience and everyday. Staying true but not literal is important as is the inherent connection with her subject matter as it is this that provides the drive to capture and allude to essential feelings or concerns within the work. Her works are direct yet contain layered meaning without a definitive narrative needing to be conveyed. SILKE HEUER I'm drawn to painting the landscape and interested in its connecting, comforting and healing nature. I rarely include the figure but a human presence is felt nevertheless. Hovering between abstraction and figuration my work evokes particular moods and feelings that are the result of an exploration of my response to the natural world. I use photographs of familiar places and places I have travelled through as reference and paint without preliminary drawings, quickly with immediacy using a reduced colour palette THE PAINTING YEAR 2 is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs, Melissa Kimes and Guy Allott.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Painting the Imagination: Lucy Hensel, Suki McDonald, Sarah Ruplin & Caroline Steven

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    LUCY HENSEL I grew up in Montreal, and except for eight years in Germany and Switzerland, I have always lived in Canada – until 2009 when I began splitting my calendar year between Ottawa and London. Thanks to Zoom and the speed with which ESOP adapted their teaching strategies to accommodate London’s Covid-related lock-down-regulations in 2020-21, I have been able to attend three terms of ESOP courses, even from quarantine locations or from Canada. While painting, like most people I suppose, I discover new aspects of myself and retrieve impressions from my past, all the while I am entering new worlds. Another good reason for me to paint is to let go of my conscious self, to exercise my curiosity and imagination while experimenting with oils and acrylics and various tools. And another is very basic: I love moving colours across a surface to create shapes and lines. Increasingly over the past few years, I’ve been intrigued to see what figures and stories appear on my canvas or paper during the process. This year, with Dan Coombs’ guidance and encouragement, I often started a new canvas using collages or cutouts taken from random sources or from my own drawings. This strategy is evident in several of my paintings in this show. The combination of chance placing and focused positioning of figures/objects in relationship to each other led to ‘adventures’ that usually defied logic and understanding; the work proceeded down new pathways which were intriguing, sometimes exciting, and occasionally open-ended. Certainly, the two full-year ESOP courses this year taught by Dan Coombs and Melissa Kime were very stimulating for me, triggering new insights and ideas by introducing and discussing innumerable and wide-ranging artists - current and past, their work, strategies and intentions. The challenge is to take at least some of this information and these ideas as catalysts to inform my own work over the months and years ahead, to stimulate, propel and expand my creativity and my imagine SARAH RUPLIN The paintings selected for this exhibition were created in London under COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and evolved into a more introspective and personal reflection of daily life. Painting from my studio in a renovated Pie and Mash Shop in Hackney, this work captures life at home, my partner, my dog, and the few places we were able to explore, like Epping Forest. The anthropomorphic poses of the trees transformed into characters performing in their own play -undaunted by a global pandemic. Sarah Ruplin studied both architecture and fine arts in the United States. She went on to practice architecture, founding Praxis Studio in New York City in 2005. She has exhibited conceptual fashion shows as Noname Collective and has shown artwork at various galleries in Brooklyn, New York. THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS: PAINTING FROM THE IMAGINATION Often it is quite difficult to find a way in to working from the imagination. How can you create a parallel world in painting, one that expresses the unconscious, the dream, or the hidden parts of the self? Drawing on many devices developed from surrealism and other twentieth century artists, tutor Dan Coombs showed ways to break down the boundaries between the real and the imaginary in artwork This was an online evening course.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Contemporary Fine Art course: Anna Harding & Vaughan Melzer

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    ANNA HARDING I’m interested in the tenuous and unstable nature of things left behind. These could be artefacts, memories or places, all of which are subject to constant reinterpretation and appropriation, from a range of subjectivities and vantage points. In the Abandoned Office series, I wanted to create a presence which resonates with contemporary malaise. Thousands of offices stand empty. What remains? An abandoned playground where the rules go. I started the Abandoned Office series early in 2021, deep into the second COVID-19 lockdown. Over recent years I visited many commercial/industrial buildings in East London when firms have moved out, scoping potential studio sites for artists. I felt for the loss of previous occupants, the forlorn spaces exude melancholy, thoughts of people who spent their working lives here and had left, their skills and work routines redundant with changes in technology or industry decline. Camaraderie and shared endeavour have also suffered loss. In the afterglow of saccharine ceiling tiles, nicotine-stained carpet tiles, wood veneer, in-trays and archive storage boxes, office furnishings take on a life of their own. Abandoned relics have lost their purpose and familiar makeshift spaces are seen in a new light after the occupants have left. COVID-19 left thousands of offices abandoned, a cipher for the human condition. Despite advances, we are vulnerable to pandemics and global economic shifts. Precarity and fragility are highlighted by COVID. Value systems such as office culture that were props in peoples’ lives vanished overnight, the artifice is exposed. Perhaps they symbolise that the human endeavour that took place here was all a fiction? Given that external reality is a fiction, the writer's role is almost superfluous. He does not need to invent the fiction because it is already there - JG Ballard The series also coincided with my decision to quit an office based job to pursue my own art practice.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Ordinarily Odd & Superpower of the Sketchbook: Niki Campbell, Judith Dutton, Jane Glynn, Adelaide Leslie & Gwen Ovshinsky

    06 Sep 2021 – 06 Feb 2022

    In Ordinarily Odd, an online evening course taught by Archie Franks, we looked at our own everyday, our immediate surroundings and situations making drawings outside and of our commute, of our morning and evening routines, then made paintings that examined the oddness and interest inherent within the everyday. We also looked at artists who examine the everyday in their work. Superpower of the Sketchbook is an online course taught by Guy Allott. Its aim is to develop the skills required to produce sketchbooks which are an inspiration, and which contain all the nuts and bolts of experimentation. A sketchbook – like life – should reflect the life and times of the artist, including the mishaps and the triumphs. They should be both revealing and indecipherable, ultimately assisting the artist in mastering their creativity. NIKI CAMPBELL Biography Niki Campbell born in Croydon, and currently lives in Kent. 2017 PGCE 2008 Fine Art BA (HONS) She has been involved with SVAF, a Kent based artist network, for the past decade, exhibiting her work regularly and has also carried out several independent community projects. She co-ran a yearlong experimental project, called ’Paper Works’, inviting 9 Kent based emerging artists to collaborate their practices together, resulting in three exhibitions in Kent and London. She has also participated in several residencies, bringing Kent and London based artists together. She currently works as an Art and Design Teacher in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Statement Campbell paints landscapes from photographs and from memory; they are places that are often overlooked or seemingly banal. She plays with the notion that something has taken place there, imaginary or an actual event. She evokes atmospheres suggesting something dark, miraculous, or other worldly has taken place. She finds beauty in overlooked places and objects, and attempts to create her own narratives. She has an interest in the ‘spaces in between’ that exist alongside otherwise occupied places. She identifies with buildings and places that reflect her diasporic identity and feelings of displacement. Campbell brings the viewer’s attention to places that she believes contain an otherness to them. In exploring these themes, she invites the viewer to connect with their own set of experiences, to create their own narrative. ADELAIDE LESLIE Landscape is one way that we position ourselves in the world. A painting of a landscape shows us two things a) how we as humans have shaped the world and land and b) how we perceive it. Revolutions in consciousness/sensibility have always altered the styles of landscape painting, from Byzantine to Renaissance to Neo-Classical to Romantic to Impressionist to Abstract. All these reflect humanity’s changing relationship with the world and Nature. We have gone from sacred interpretations of the external world to non-religious attends to grasp the nature of Being. In my paintings, I seek to show the patterns underlying natural forms and colours. I admire Richard Diebenkorn, Barbara Rae and David Hockney among others. GWEN OVSHINSKY My love of painting grew out of my interest in art history. Following studying for a degree and an MA in art history from Birkbeck College London I became a student at the Essential School of Painting and this is where I am continuing my painting studies. My paintings reflect my interest in escaping from the confines of dull everyday realities. My paintings often incorporate visual references or themes from art history, especially mythological paintings, as well as referencing popular culture, such as folk tales, fairy stories, and imagery from popular media. My work is figurative, and my interest is in expressive and imaginative responses to these narratives, often using a magical realist style. My aim is to present my subject matter as something that feels magically transformed from the everyday. Contemporary artists whose work exploits the possibilities of a different aesthetic from ‘objective’ depictions of reality are also a key influence, such as Eileen Cooper, Jean Dubuffet, Michael Armitage.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Contemporary Fine Art Course Mary Adam, Ghislaine De Give & Suki McDonald

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    MARY ADAM Mary Adam was born and grew up in Ireland. She studied Medicine at UCC and worked two years in England before marrying and moving to the Caribbean. As a student she became captivated by the anatomy of the human body, the forms and parts and how everything fits together. Later this interest extended to the forms of all living things and has become the driving force behind many of her images. Despite turning to painting relatively late in life Mary has been actively exhibiting her work for several decades. Her first solo show took place at Horizons Gallery in Trinidad in 2004, since then she has had several solo shows and participated in a number of group exhibitions. In 2011, she completed the BA (Hons) Painting at the Open College of the Arts and currently is working from her London-based studio. In her work, she often explores anatomical forms and motifs from nature and combines them to create multifaceted compositions. Painting and drawing are her core areas of interest, as she continues to examine the properties of light and colour through figuration and abstraction. Her recent works are based on differences, individuality, and choice. Inspired by a Robert Rauschenberg show in 2017 she is investigating this idea further in the language of line, colour and tone. Contemplating the ways in which living things sense their environment, or the intricacy of a flower, often serve as starting points upon which her images are developed, and are also an endless source of wonder and awe. GHISLAINE DE GIVE A native of the American north east, Ghislaine  paints what is in the memory of lived places – Massachusetts,  Maine, California France and the UK.  Her style hovers between representation and abstraction but over time has moved increasingly from  the visually understandable to the suggestion of eruption and separation alongside fusion as a reinterpretation of the original landscapes, storms and seascapes.  Her works today are painted in  acrylic on paper, are medium sized - 36c m x 48 cm and  occasionally interspersed with black ink drawings of the same size. Her palette is predominantly the colours of sky and sea, contrasting with  umber, magenta and black. She uses collage, silk screen and washes to create differing perspectives on the transient in nature.  A  defining characteristic of her work is energetic movement shown in curves, mobius strips, smashings and drippings. Layers  of discordant and inaccurate perspectives challenge the viewer to see something other than what they know. SUKI MCDONALD I am a painter who was born and raised in South Korea. Living and working in the UK since 1985. This transition has been a long journey of discovery in all aspects of life; language, culture, politics, food and habits. Over time the unfamiliar becomes familiar and the familiar becomes unfamiliar. Inevitably the boundary between Eastern and Western cultures has become blurred. Along the journey, I have experienced acceptance, rejection, agreement, disagreement, understanding and misunderstanding. In this process, I have adopted a philosophical view on this sense of being caught between one place and another and the feeling of belonging and not belonging at the same time. My work reflects my attempts to reconcile these differences and to rediscover my own identity through the creative process. The sources of my work include observing daily life and the world around me but also reflecting on memory and experience. The notion of fusion plays a central part in the framing of my work; figuration-abstraction, inside-outside, East-West and the perception of duality. These ideas are explored through colour, space, texture and layering. Colour is important in communicating feelings and my emotional response to nature rather than having symbolic meanings. I work intuitively and focus on generating compositional dynamics, energy and rhythm. While aiming to create the idea of space and spatial ambiguity, a sense of awkwardness emerges in distorted or disconnected forms.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    +The Contemporary Fine Art Course Andrew Clarke & Gill Roth

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    ANDREW CLARKE Distorted faces and bodies emerge through a process of compulsive collaging, both on paper and as moving image. The underlying chaos is contained by a nervous energy suggesting anxiety and aggression but sublimated by a cartoonish playfulness. Figures jostle for position in confined spaces enlivened by a dynamic mix of recycled prints, drawings and photocopies. These are often cut out to become individual forms, allowed to roam freely in ever-changing combinations, creating their own narratives and conversations. GILL ROTH Two pink lines unfurl from a pair of black knickers, hands wave at the audience. Roth’s fragmented figures, truncated torsos and rebellious limbs combine humour with an inner tension. They twitch with repressed energy in a defiant attempt to hold themselves together. Her process allows impulse and intuition to have the upper hand, while referencing the history of feminist art and its relationship to femininity and inhabiting the body.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Drawing Gallery for Painting People and Portrait course

    06 Sep 2021 – 06 Feb 2022

    The Drawing Gallery contains work by students on the Painting People and Portraits course 20-21 taught by Alison Harper. We worked in collaboration with the dancer and model Shardae Rose Angel who inspired us with her incredible dramatic presence and ability to convey feeling even via Zoom in lockdown during which many of these images were made. A combination of traditional and experimental approaches were used including using words, ideas and music as prompts plus working with movement and blind drawing.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Painting Year 2: Fatemeh Bagherian, Chris Hawkes and Georgia Mallin

    06 Sep 2021 – 06 Feb 2022

    CHRIS HAWKES I’ve chosen to exhibit paintings that show some of the ways I’ve experimented with painting the human figure, alongside some drawings, as this is primarily what I have focused on while studying at The Essential School of Painting. Present in most of these works is my interest in art history, particularly Renaissance and Mannerist painting, and in creating images that reference other images. GEORGIA MALLIN I am a figurative artist working mainly in oil painting and drawing. Born and raised in London, I read English & Spanish at the University of Oxford before realising that art needed to be at the centre of my life. From 2017-19 I studied the Diploma in Portraiture at the Heatherley School of Fine Art, where I was trained rigorously in drawing and painting from life and won the Daphne Todd Portrait Prize in 2018. After two years at TheESOP I am now exploring what else is possible beyond literal observation. This has been transformative in developing my artistic voice and my ideas: the ESOP has provided a contemporary frame of reference for the traditional painting skills I had spent so long developing. Working more from emotion, imagination and memory, my primary interests are people and storytelling. Reading is as much my first love as drawing, so I am interested in creating a sense of narrative in my work, often using stories, poems or art history as a starting point. Themes I keep returning to are womanhood and constructions of femininity, love and relationships, nature, and the idealised pastoral. I am hugely grateful to Alison Harper, Dan Coombs and Melissa Kime for their encouragement and expert tuition, and to the ESOP Newman Young Artist Scholarship award which allowed me to start at this fantastic school in 2019. Website: www.georgiamallin.com Instagram: @georgiamallinartist THE PAINTING YEAR 2 is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs, Melissa Kimes and Guy Allott. Much of the work was produced this year via Zoom over lockdown when the tutors and artists still managed brilliantly to find ways to work from imagination, photography, story-telling and other sources. The Painting Year 2 had two groups on different days Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The artists actively engaged with contemporary and art historical themes plus painting language, opening doors to untried possibilities

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Painting Year 2 Uran Apak & Isnaini Nash

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    URAN APAK The figure is always at the heart of my painting and I always aim for a sweet spot between realism and abstraction - between what I see and what I imagine. Before I used to only paint from imagination but the latest paintings are based on drawings of live models, mostly through Zoom sessions during the lockdowns. I’ve been drawing from my imagination since childhood, drawing from life is new to me. Looking at reality gives me a sense of grounding and helps me flesh out my imaginary characters better. I often find that the figures in my painting are different facets of what I am or what I want to be. Painting is the medium through which my inner voices can find a visual expression, often taking hybrid shapes such as aliens, gods/goddesses, animal-like figures, robots and hermaphrodites. I see my painting as a performance space where these ‘other’ bodies are welcomed. The hybrids I paint cause me to reflect on their meaning. I want it to be a strange and playful mirror, reflecting of course some aspect of myself I had not discovered before. Beyond my personal journey and exploration, there is also a hope that the viewer will find a unique way of looking at themselves and the world through my work. Even though I gravitate towards the strange, I need a sense of the familiar to draw in the viewer. Sometimes I make references to art history or popular culture and thus create a sense of the familiar - a base that allows the unique and the unexpected elements of my work to be discerned and appreciated. INSTAGRAM: @uranapakart ISNAINI NASH I am more comfortable in the dark hours. Walking at night provides me space to think. Artificial light pooling onto concrete, spotlighting hedgerows and filtering through leaves. A futuristic landscape, a liminal space between the real and the imagined. Taking reference from medical journals, architectural, dystopian imagery of London and metaphysical symbols in medieval scripts, I use collage to compose ideas and paint these images onto canvas or board. I contrast textured grounds with flat, collaged imagery and often combine architecture with the figure. I am interested in changes to our physiological and psychological selves brought about by advances in technology and how data dominates our lives. A characteristic of Technic*, a current cosmogonic force, is that it produces a disintegration of reality and as a result reduces human existential experience. Current changes to the way we organise ourselves have allowed more time for introspection and further questioning of our power structures. I project versions of myself into avatars and imagine portals to other worlds in an exploration of alternative reality-settings on the threshold of a failing capitalist civilisation. *Frederico Campagna, Technic and Magic, The Reconstruction of Reality, Bloomsbury 2021 THE PAINTING YEAR 2 is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs, Melissa Kimes and Guy Allott. Much of the work was produced this year via Zoom over lockdown when the tutors and artists still managed brilliantly to find ways to work from imagination, photography, story-telling and other sources. The Painting Year 2 had two groups on different days Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The artists actively engaged with contemporary and art historical themes plus painting language, opening doors to untried possibilities

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Painting Year 2: Lucy Hensel & Liz Rose

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    LIZ ROSE Liz graduated just before the pandemic hit, and has taken full advantage of the opportunity to expand her practice and learn under the support of the ESOP tutors over the last year of lockdown, reflecting on the impact of the pandemic in her work and developing a new body of work in the context of the strange and uncertain times we inhabit. LUCY HENSEL I grew up in Montreal, and except for eight years in Germany and Switzerland, I have always lived in Canada – until 2009 when I began splitting my calendar year between Ottawa and London. Thanks to Zoom and the speed with which ESOP adapted their teaching strategies to accommodate London’s Covid-related lock-down-regulations in 2020-21, I have been able to attend three terms of ESOP courses, even from quarantine locations or from Canada. While painting, like most people I suppose, I discover new aspects of myself and retrieve impressions from my past, all the while I am entering new worlds. Another good reason for me to paint is to let go of my conscious self, to exercise my curiosity and imagination while experimenting with oils and acrylics and various tools. And another is very basic: I love moving colours across a surface to create shapes and lines. Increasingly over the past few years, I’ve been intrigued to see what figures and stories appear on my canvas or paper during the process. This year, with Dan Coombs’ guidance and encouragement, I often started a new canvas using collages or cut-outs taken from random sources or from my own drawings. This strategy is evident in several of my paintings in this show. The combination of chance placing and focused positioning of figures/objects in relationship to each other led to ‘adventures’ that usually defied logic and understanding; the work proceeded down new pathways which were intriguing, sometimes exciting, and occasionally open-ended. Certainly, the two full-year ESOP courses this year taught by Dan Coombs and Melissa Kime were very stimulating for me, triggering new insights and ideas by introducing and discussing innumerable and wide-ranging artists - current and past, their work, strategies and intentions. The challenge is to take at least some of this information and these ideas as catalysts to inform my own work over the months and years ahead, to stimulate, propel and expand my creativity and my imagine LIZ ROSE Liz Rose is a multi-disciplinary artist working predominantly with painting and printmaking, although drawing is also central to her practice. Liz is a recent graduate from BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins and was awarded the Newman Young Artist Scholarship to study at the ESOP over the last year. Her work exists in liminal spaces, building narratives that traverse the boundaries between memory, imagination and observation, offering voyeuristic glances into worlds constructed of the surreal every day, intertwined with inspiration from cinema and art history. THE PAINTING YEAR 2 is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs, Melissa Kimes and Guy Allott. Much of the work was produced this year via Zoom over lockdown when the tutors and artists still managed brilliantly to find ways to work from imagination, photography, story-telling and other sources. The Painting Year 2 had two groups on different days Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The artists actively engaged with contemporary and art historical themes plus painting language, opening doors to untried possibilities

  • The Essential School of Painting

    THE PAINTING YEAR 2 : Tanya Goodman-Bailey & Deborah Burnstone

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    TANYA GOODMAN BAILEY ART TOUCHES Art touches what can not be said, Validates feelings and Just like music or a great meal, Changes mood. Before looking for the story of a painting, I try first to gaze, Tracing the effects of colour and shapes As physical response and sensation. Later, when revisiting the painting in my mind's eye, Those sensations are now embodied memories, A lightening across a shoulder for a road map to A calming, stimulated mind. INTENTIONAL APPRECIATION Painting is my way to intentionally express appreciation. It is not without a raised eyebrow then, that two of the paintings selected for ESOP’s exhibition, Eco Warrior and Sarah's Vigil, are protest paintings (of what is specifically not appreciated!). Yet, I suggest to see that the appreciation is for the courage and strength of the women depicted. People seem to describe me as a colourist. I had thought this is what you say to someone who has yet to find their style. Apparently not. Colour can be the 'building block for a painting'. Colour 'as construction'. This explains why I am probably the happiest and at ease when using colour this way and envision bolder and bigger work in the future. With thanks to tutors Guy Allot and Dan Coombes on Tues Painting Year 1 who kept us completely engaged and evolving when lockdown shut us out of the studio. And as always to Alison Harper, but this time for being Alison Harper in a pandemic. I look forward to joining ESOP for my 3rd year in October with Sikelela Owen and Archie Franks on the Painting Personal Projects course. THE PAINTING YEAR 2 is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs, Melissa Kimes and Guy Allott. Much of the work was produced this year via Zoom over lockdown when the tutors and artists still managed brilliantly to find ways to work from imagination, photography, story-telling and other sources. The Painting Year 2 had two groups on different days Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The artists actively engaged with contemporary and art historical themes plus painting language, opening doors to untried possibilities

  • The Essential School of Painting

    THE PAINTING YEAR 2: Hagar Basis, Elizabeth Hilliard Selka & Athy P.

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    HAGAR BASIS What moves me in painting is that which reflects my own inner journey, a creative vehicle of bringing the ‘inside’ out, my personal expression into the world. Returning to painting after a 30-year gap has been liberating. In the late 80’s I studied fine art and painting at the Sir John Cass School of Art in Whitechapel. My recent paintings reflect an unfolding of a living process to which I have arrived over many years of working on my unconscious. The paintings evolve within the creative process itself, and often reveal a personal spiritual commentary on my experience which is continually unfolding. I have always been drawn to working with the human figure in painting, predominantly these being aspects of myself. More recently I have been merging figures within a primordial landscape setting which I want to explore further. hagarbasis_art https://www.instagram.com/hagarbasis_art/ ELIZABETH HILLIARD SELKA Here in this ESOP digital end-of-year show you’ll find five works of mine, paintings which have emerged from exercises and discussions in class with our tutors Guy Allott and Dan Coombs and with my fellow students, from whom one also learns 1. PIG NOSE to TAIL In December 2020 I ate at St John’s restaurant in Clerkenwell with a friend, and from the menu we chose to share a roasted half pig’s head. There is a debate to be had about eating meat, the history of animal husbandry, the design of the human gut, nutrition and so on, but in this case I was simply fascinated by the architecture of the pig’s skull. I took it home, cleaned it and admired it. I have long been in awe of the beauty and design of skeletons, skulls in particular due to their complex function and structure, and at one time had quite a collection of animal and bird skulls found on beaches and islands. Here was a form new to me, very long in the snout (it’s a pig, duh). In class, I got quite excited about the work of Mexican artist Gabriele Orozco to which Dan introduced us. A wildly versatile artist, for one project he painted lines on an entire whale’s skeleton. Concurrently with Dan’s class, Guy had set us an exercise involving painting a large grid. Out of these two classes in weeks following each other grew this painting of mine in which I try to weave the real and the representation in a game of illusion and questioning. Can you see from the photograph that just above my painting of a monumental pig’s skull, there is attached to the canvas the real pig’s skull, tiny by comparison, camouflaged by being painted first white, then black-lined, then coloured in keeping with the pattern of the rest of the canvas? This painting was also an exercise in colour for me, developing a palette more subtle and restrained than my usual. To achieve this palette and pattern I painted many squares of colour on paper and arranged them until I was satisfied, and then refined the colour further once the canvas was painted. Separately I questioned St John about the source of their pigs and hence of the meat I had eaten off this skull. Here is their interesting response which throws light on the architecture of the bone: Head Chef Steve says: It looks like a skull from a Tamworth pig which would have come from Paddock Farm in the Cotswolds. It’s a breed with features of a wild boar - with a long rootling snout to dig into the dirt. They have long legs, are very hairy, hearty and love cold weather. We usually get 1/2 a pig in per week and of course use the whole animal. We would typically use the offal and belly to make a terrine or faggots, the leg for ham, the shoulder and loin for roasting and all the trim for potted pork or rissoles. 2. BREATHE on ME I am a lockdown sceptic. It has been clear to me from the evidence, available since mid- 2020, and especially now in 2021 that we have data to compare from countries and states that have and have not used lockdowns as an NMI (non medical intervention), that they do not work. As well as being medically ineffective not to say counterproductive they are, moreover, immensely destructive and cruel, and cause greatest suffering not to those comfortably able to work from home but to the poorest, neediest and most disadvantaged in the country and in the world. I spent much of 2020 and into 2021 acting on my passionately-held views, volunteering and protesting, but felt helpless. I did not feel personally at risk from the virus – I am in every low risk category except age (leaping from one category to another in one day on my 60th birthday at the end of 2020!), probably had it in December 2019 and am consequently immune, and anyway the data reveals that the virus is low risk to everyone except specific groups, primarily the obese –and I have suffered desperately from loneliness during this past terrible 18 months, and been censored and bullied for my healthily sceptical views. I am appalled by our spineless and innumerate government daring to tell us whom we may or may not hug, infantilising us with their scaremongering propaganda, and censoring and vilifying anyone who challenges their orthodoxy. So this is protest art, positive and heartfelt in a time of negativity and insane cruelty, inviting friendship and intimacy, refusing to be bullied into fearfulness, bringing you my message: Come ever closer, breathe on me, I am not afraid... The form of Breathe on Me grew out of a fascinating ESOP class with Dan looking at street art graffiti including different types of script, and tags. I live not far from Brick Lane where many walls are plastered with graffiti, so was already interested. Perhaps partly because of my previous career as a wordsmith. I painted words on paper in various styles, tore up the paper, stuck the bits onto more paper, but was still not satisfied. I turned the work upside down (a recalibration technique I often find helpful), and it spoke to me asking for a voice. Hence the message, delivered quietly in my own handwriting across the heart of the matter. 3. CHARLOTTE in the GARDEN with TWO TORTOISES This is a painting of Charlotte Molesworth in her astonishing garden at Balmoral, in Benenden, Kent. You will find plenty of press stories and photographs on the internet about the garden and about Charlotte, who is the go-to topiarist and topiary garden designer in the UK, founding member of the European Boxwood and Topiary Society, and one of my oldest friends. She taught me art at school, ran art summer schools for my children, and is a wonderful painter and print-maker. Above all, she is the most inspiring person whom everyone adores, a countrywoman with boundless wealth of knowledge and skills, exuding goodness, unworldly and loving towards all good creatures including her tortoises who sleep each night in specially-made wooden boxes under her bed. I photographed her collecting them for sleep, and this image was the foundation for this tribute to my dear friend and a loving, generous human being, the best of us in these terrible times through which we are living. This is a painting of the life-affirming. Dan is very keen on collage, and it is indeed a useful technique for exploring composition before making a decision. There is another version of this painting, the same size but in acrylic on paper collage, in which I worked out the arrangement of the topiary elements around Charlotte’s central figure, and the colour relationships. I took this further in this painting in oil on canvas, with fluorescent pink and orange acrylic underpainting (paint kindly supplied by my studio-mate Gwen when I ran out). Charlotte and the topiary looked great against this jazzy colour! Should I leave it like this or knock back the brightness? It is always so difficult to know when to stop with a painting, and I’ve ruined many by not knowing when is enough. Often I think my ‘unfinished’ paintings are better than my ‘finished’ paintings, their being unresolved adding tension. However, here I carried on, but there are still slivers of the electric pink and orange glimpsed here and there, making the colour on top either sing or sink, it’s yours to decide now... 4. CERTAIN, UNCERTAIN More than one of Dan’s classes during the Zoom months used Shardae Rose as a life model. On this day it was too cold for her to be unclothed, so our focus was on her face and hands. We took turns to pose her. Dan had us drawing her in sections, folding down the paper afterwards so we couldn’t see what we’d drawn, then drawing more, in a game of what he called ‘Exquisite Corpse’. Then we cut up the drawings and stuck them together in different ways. This painting and some drawings which fed into it, and a work in pen on pastel called Spring which I’ve been unable to include in this show due to space, were the result. I used a canvas I had lying around the studio which had a psychedelic swirl of colour on it, underpainting waiting for a subject. Dan also asked us to consider the relationship of the figure to the plane, and to place our subject in a defined and shallow space. As an exercise, he gave us an unfinished Picasso painting of Dora Maar, and asked us to reproduce it and finish it, and also to look at other of the (very many) portraits he painted of her. I chose the Buste de Femme of 12th January 1938, sold Christie’s on 11th May 2015. Here in my painting, Shardae Rose is transformed into a person of gesture, her face framed by her hat, her space defined by a target – or perhaps she is the target. Perhaps the setting is a showground, or perhaps the concentric circles are merely pattern or a manifestation of inner turmoil which belies her stern and handsome countenance, as does the contradictory fluttering of her hands. 5. I WAS THERE In the spring of 2021 I had of necessity to do a huge clear-out of stuff that was stored in an attic in Lincolnshire (long story). One item that emerged was a box of pre-digital photographs and transparencies I’d taken on the trip I made to Iran in 1998 to research the book I was then writing on Persian tribal rugs. Some of the photos had been taken of me rather than by me, and I was struck by how young and optimistic I looked. I was also reminded of the fantastic skills of the nomadic women who weave these rugs, and of how travel truly is an education. It was an amazing experience for me, plucked at very short notice from my provincial domestic existence—at that time, when I wasn’t writing books on interior decoration I was keeping house and raising our three children at home in a village in Yorkshire. I saw Persepolis, Tehran, the desert near Shiraz, spent a night in a nomad’s tent, witnessed all the stages of the making of rugs from sheep-shearing and wool dyeing through ‘colouring’ and ‘finishing’ to stacks of rugs in the bonded warehouse, and above all I was dazzled by the colours and patterns of the rugs, several of which I shipped home. This painting attempts to distil that experience and place me in that context. There I stand with my notebook in hand and camera round my neck, black headscarf covering my hair (that is a matter for discussion another time), pressed against a rug with landscape below, and the compelling drive of pattern all around.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    THE PAINTING YEAR 2 Gillian Harding & Gwen Ovshinsky

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    GILLIAN HARDING I am an artist inspired by nature and people. This body of work ‘Out of Black’ came about by throwing Chinese ink onto paper and canvases. These random marks gave me something unexpected to respond to and develop into pictorial scenes. GWEN OVSHINSKY My love of painting grew out of my interest in art history. Following studying for a degree and an MA in art history from Birkbeck College London I became a student at the Essential School of Painting and this is where I am continuing my painting studies. My paintings reflect my interest in escaping from the confines of dull everyday realities. My paintings often incorporate visual references or themes from art history, especially mythological paintings, as well as referencing popular culture, such as folk tales, fairy stories, and imagery from popular media. My work is figurative, and my interest is in expressive and imaginative responses to these narratives, often using a magical realist style. My aim is to present my subject matter as something that feels magically transformed from the everyday. Contemporary artists whose work exploits the possibilities of a different aesthetic from ‘objective’ depictions of reality are also a key influence, such as Eileen Cooper, Jean Dubuffet, Michael Armitage. THE PAINTING YEAR 2 is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs, Melissa Kimes and Guy Allott. Much of the work was produced this year via Zoom over lockdown when the tutors and artists still managed brilliantly to find ways to work from imagination, photography, story-telling and other sources. The Painting Year 2 had two groups on different days Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The artists actively engaged with contemporary and art historical themes plus painting language, opening doors to untried possibilities

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Painting People and Portraits: Louise Devonshire, Mary Klaber, Veronika McKerrell, Maureen Ni Fiann, Kate Spencer & Luka Vardiashvili

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Sep 2022

    This course explores the elements of portraiture and painting the figure in both systematic and creative ways. We worked from the live model particularly Shardae Rose Angel and other sources of imagery including film stills, drawings, memory and imagination, word prompts, biography and storytelling to open to unexpected and expressive results using different techniques including collage and mixed media. The course was taught by Alison Harper and guest tutors Archie Franks, Melissa Kimes and Tim Patrick. MARY CLARE KLABER Negative comments by an art teacher at secondary school made me close my mind to art completely and I followed a scientific path instead. Life was busy working as a doctor and bringing up four children and it was not until retirement that I rediscovered the pure joy and value of artistic expression and have taken the tentative steps to pursue that since, and bury those early demons. Immersing oneself in art is such a tonic to all the “stuff” going on in the world. This has been particularly so during lockdown and I have found the Figure and Portrait course over the last year challenging and so exciting. VERONIKA MCKERRELL I explore identity through the more abstract process of individuation, and how this process shifts continually, depending on moment and context. I am fascinated by the way in which we regenerate our own stories, continually shifting our narrative in order to make sense of the present. LUKA VARDIASVILI Luka Vardiashvili has worked with the Essential School of Painting for the past 7 years. Seeking and finding a language that connects painterly mark making and the dancer's soul. This small selection of portraits looks at his work from a different angle. It brings together supportive friends and figures from the Essential School of Painting and beyond. Including a portrait of Singer Katia Visentin and Model/ Calesthenics coach Nico Mincuzzi, who have also been there for him through truly life changing, challenging and deeply warming moments this year. Though this year has not been without its challenges, life has been more settled than the past. It has allowed for him to create with full capacity exploring layered ways of painting, performing, dancing and participating in photographic work with ballet dancer/tutor Joshua Royal and contemporary dancer Nandita Devika Shankardass. Helping him to form new creative partnerships, connections and directions for dance, painting, performance and writing. He hopes to strengthen connections with collaborators including the House of Mass Dance Studios and further his practice and way. Luka is learning to "do something differently", Hoping to walk in to the present in a centred way and let old skin fall away while maintaining strong connections, humour and lightness. Special thank you to Alison Harper and Andrew Wamae who have helped to care and nurture his creative journey over the past 7 years. Deep respect to Francis Basham who helped to guide him out of difficulty with her full heart and understanding. May she rest peacefully. With deep gratitude and thanks. Let's hope the future holds something bright, illuminating and kind.

  • The Essential School of Painting

    The Fundamentals of Painting: Artesoflo, Phoenix Fry, Annette Marchini & Jo Mitchell

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    ARTESOFLO Over the last year Sophia has developed an unworldly style, by combining seemingly disparate subject matter and by using unexpected compositions, to produce bold paintings. She works largely in oil paint on canvas or paper. Sophia began to paint regularly while living in Australia for a year, where she produced a series of seascapes in watercolour. Prior to this, her artistic attention was centred upon life drawing and portraiture in London, where she has largely been based since studying History at Ucl. Practical knowledge of colour, of painting techniques and her keen desire to observe and to convey particular qualities of her subject matter, have led Sophia to create more dynamic artworks of a scale she had not worked at before. She is a keen surfer. ANNETTE MARCHINI For quite a while now I have been particularly fascinated by mandarin peelings and orange skins. Seeing my son peeling mandarin skins in one go, thus creating very beautiful waste objects was one of my surprising serendipitous finds. These skins are perplexing in many ways: they are the perfect protection of the fruit ‘when in use’ and when taken off; becoming ‘useless’ they have first a very interesting 2D shape which then changes into 3D over time. They change in shape, colour, texture and smell and once hard become very brittle and break very easily. These mandarin skins embody at the moment all I am currently interested in. These overarching ‘mandarin’ themes weave throughout my art and I am trying out different techniques working with the topic. In the past I have built small sculptures using them to paint from. More recently I have painted mandarin skins either in their early stages of flatness, where the shapes become an abstract shape or painting them together with other objects in the compost caddy. I trained and have worked several decades as an architect before immersing myself in making art. I started out with urban sketching, moved then on to watercolour as the watery, non-changeable way of working fascinated me (and still does). Since then, I have branched out to try out new experimental methods of making art. I am not interested in depicting any of this realistically but creating abstract shapes, textures and colour being in correspondence with each other. When creating sculptures, I like to use pre-used, discarded materials and construct something new. PHOENIX FRY Phoenix grew up in a series of dreadful towns, and now spends time thumbing fruitlessly through Facebook. He began painting again last year, nearly 30 years after doing ‘A’ level art in Luton. At the heart of his work is a fascination with colour and layering that invites the viewer to dive through to something altogether more powerful below. Often inspired by found photos of solitary figures, this series of paintings captures the contemporary White English male in-action. Outwardly tame, vulnerable and suburban, amidst mid-priced sofas and overcast playing fields. Yet inwardly heroic; striding wild and pitiless across imaginary landscapes. Guiding him between the two states of being are a company of spirit animals: birds, cats, chinchillas and tigers. The paintings follow in the tradition of the Wild Man, a mythical figure who appears as the Green Man, the faun, the headless man, the Grimm Brothers’ Iron John – and Phoenix’s 2019 participatory art project, Parade of Friendly Monsters. Here we all are, as animals, adapted incompletely to this infinite scroll of birthday cakes, retail parks, amazing holiday memories and tiny plastic sports trophies. JO MITCHELL Yes I have painted other subjects in the last year - but these beautiful beech trees and the South Downs landscape which surrounds me, have sustained me through the highs and lows of lockdown ….so here they are. These works are a response to being isolated where I live surrounded by woodland …. a tiny dot on google maps with the tall straight trees standing guard around us - insignificant yet safe, steadfast and ever changing. I paint quite quickly in oil with confident lines and strong colours. I often under paint and usually work on 2 or 3 paintings at one time. Most of these paintings are on left over plywood or MDF found in a barn. THE FUNDAMENTALS OF PAINTING YEAR The Fundamentals of Painting Year is a practical course which aims to immerse the student in all aspects of painting, learning a broad range of painting materials, methods and ideas, taught by tutors: Guy Allott and Jennifer Campbell. This year the course is now called Painting Year 1 and is being taught by Guy Allott, Johanna Melvin and Archie Franks

  • The Essential School of Painting

    THE PAINTING YEAR 2 : Iris McConnell & Veronika McKerrell

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    IRIS MCCONNELL My paintings set out to work their way around different aspects of my identity, often rooted in memories from my youth, and centred around my evolving relationship to London, the city I grew up in and where I have lived my whole life. Although my paintings are predominantly intended to be set in London, the outcome often portrays an in-between world; my short-sighted view of reality. The act of documentation in sketchbooks is integral to my process when developing ideas and composition; I capture the excitement of the city via people on the street, rubbish, buildings, and everyday sightings. The past year at The Essential School Of Painting has been a transformative time for my work. I began by working from a range of sources, notably life drawing, texts by Virginia Wolf, and Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights”. While making these experiments, naturally subjects I am drawn to started to make their way into my paintings. “Reoccurring Dream” was the first work I made from memory, recalling a dream I had as a child as a consequence of my overprotection towards the safety of my childhood toys. “Magic” came afterwards, a memory of my father and I performing a ventriloquist act; ventriloquism is something I’ve since become fascinated with. All of these works have autobiographical origins, yet as the paintings come to life, their characters take on new personas forming an imagined story, open to interpretation. Towards the latter half of the year studying at ESOP, my sense of place became heightened as I begun to focus on the chaotic world immediately surrounding where I live in East London. Throughout the lockdown in 2020, the streets where I lived were desolate, and when things started opening up I felt the need to express my claustrophobic and overwhelmed state of mind. I have an ambivalent yet overriding love for the city, which is something I wanted to portray in these paintings. It is important for me to let my disposition determine the outcome of the work, and the materials and application I work with. I do not feel confined to any aesthetic or theme, and often the most important thing that comes of my painting is its sense of immediacy; throughout my practice it is the colour, shape, and line that have the most immediate effect. The most exciting thing about painting to me is the act of mark making, and how marks lead to emotion and ideas; part of what drives me is my desire to make bold decisions. The unexpected, be it via theme or composition, or placing is something I like to put at the forefront of my work. VERONIKA MCKERRELL My subject matter is the relationship between physical and spiritual identity. The transformation and atonement of the soul is deeply rooted in my own Eastern European identity and Orthodox cultural heritage. I look to Anselm Kiefer, Nicola Samori and Andrew Wyeth for inspiration. The physical aspect of my paintings: gestures, marks, textures and materials, are key components in my intuitive practice. Our bodies are the most complex and efficient structure, being truly the only physical mass we will ever inhabit. The body accumulates life experiences and expresses all range of emotions. Is physical appearance and condition the only expression of the soul in life and death? Where do we exist, how do we build the space around us, and how do we fit into the natural landscape? How do I feel about it? Figure and Portraiture I explore identity through the more abstract process of individuation, and how this process shifts continually, depending on moment and context. I am fascinated by the way in which we regenerate our own stories, continually shifting our narrative in order to make sense of the present. THE PAINTING YEAR 2 is for artists looking to advance their practice, developing their skills and content whilst being guided by experienced and celebrated painters Dan Coombs, Melissa Kimes and Guy Allott. Much of the work was produced this year via Zoom over lockdown when the tutors and artists still managed brilliantly to find ways to work from imagination, photography, story-telling and other sources. The Painting Year 2 had two groups on different days Tuesdays and Wednesdays. The artists actively engaged with contemporary and art historical themes plus painting language, opening doors to untried possibilities

  • The Essential School of Painting

    Landscape: a Domain for Painting: Niki Campbell, Diana Charnley & Adelaide Leslie

    07 Sep 2021 – 07 Feb 2022

    NIKI CAMPBELL Niki Campbell born in Croydon, and currently lives in Kent. 2017 PGCE 2008 Fine Art BA (HONS) She has been involved with SVAF, a Kent based artist network, for the past decade, exhibiting her work regularly and has also carried out several independent community projects. She co-ran a yearlong experimental project, called ’Paper Works’, inviting 9 Kent based emerging artists to collaborate their practices together, resulting in three exhibitions in Kent and London. She has also participated in several residencies, bringing Kent and London based artists together. She currently works as an Art and Design Teacher in Tunbridge Wells, Kent. Campbell paints landscapes from photographs and from memory; they are places that are often overlooked or seemingly banal. She plays with the notion that something has taken place there, imaginary or an actual event. She evokes atmospheres suggesting something dark, miraculous, or other worldly has taken place. She finds beauty in overlooked places and objects, and attempts to create her own narratives. She has an interest in the ‘spaces in between’ that exist alongside otherwise occupied places. She identifies with buildings and places that reflect her diasporic identity and feelings of displacement. Campbell brings the viewer’s attention to places that she believes contain an otherness to them. In exploring these themes, she invites the viewer to connect with their own set of experiences, to create their own narrative. DIANA CHARNLEY Having worked with many filmmakers, my images often explore the complexity of human relations sometimes drawing on story telling narratives in Cinema. These 4 images were made this year with the ESOP mentoring scheme with Dan Coombs. 2019 Bankside Gallery-National Original Print Exhibition 2018 Royal Academy of Arts Summer show, 2018 Wells Art Contemporary WAC at Wells Cathedral. 2018 ACE Arts Somerton- Evolver Prize Show, 2018 Mall Gallery NEAC Open, 2018 Mall Gallery SWA Open, Royal West of England Academy Open 2017 Rabley Printmakers -Rabley Contemporary, 2017 Bankside Gallery - National Original Print Exhibition. 2017 Badger Press Award LANDSCAPE: a DOMAIN FOR PAINTING this online evening course taught by Peter Ashton Jones explored the making of landscape paintings and involved looking at the way landscape, which is probably the oldest genre in painting, has been used from cave painting right through to abstract painting. Participating artists began by developing drawings and sketches of the great outdoors, either en plein air or from photographs, exploring ideas about landscape, such as a sense of place, topography, the psychological landscape and more empirical issues such as optical and colour values, arriving at the point, where an idea or view of a landscape is realised in a painting(s). Drawing on the history of landscape painting and a deep knowledge of painting, Peter Ashton Jones showed us ways to deconstruct a landscape and to look at what that landscape is and how it can be used to make a painting, whether it is of a place or of something other than just that place. The aim was to develop our work in new, exciting and experimental ways, learning devices and techniques that could then be taken back to the studio and developed to push our work in a newly imaginative direction.

    neueste Werke

    • Zoe Floyd

      Shardae Rose , 2021
      66 x 87 x 2.5 cm (h x w x d)
      Oil on canvas
    • Louise `Devonshire

      Shardae, 2021
      12 x 8.5 inch (h x w)
      ink and gouache on paper
    • Louise Devonshire

      Brian, 2021
      17 x 16.5 inch (h x w)
      paint and collage
    • Zoe Floyd

      Peasant, after Cezanne, 2021
      32 x 46 x 2 cm (h x w x d)
    • Zoe Floyd

      Blind Drawing, 2021
      33 x 28 x 0.2 cm (h x w x d)
      GBP 40
    • Zoe Floyd

      Blind Drawing 2
      38 x 33 x 0.2 cm (h x w x d)
      GBP 40
    • Georgia Mallin

      Weight of water, 2020
      24 x 16 x 1 cm (h x w x d)
      GBP 350
    • Kate Spencer

      Talitha
      28 x 24 inch (h x w)
    • Kate Spencer

      Helicopter Cocktail
      32 x 26 inch (h x w)
    • Kate Spencer

      MARY
      30 x 40 inch (h x w)
    • Athy P

      Acrylic Head, 2021
      150 x 150 cm (h x w)
    • SPLINT!

      Earth Light, 2021
      22.5 x 16.3 x 1 cm (h x w x d)
      multi media collage on paper
      GBP 50
    • Adelaide Leslie

      -
      25 x 40 cm (h x w)
    • Caroline Stevens

      The three graces
      12 x 12 cm (h x w)
    • Helen Bishop

      Where are we going?
      30 x 38 cm (h x w)
    • Helen Bishop

      3 x Blind drawn portraits, 2021
      45 x 30 cm (h x w)
    • Niki Campbell

      1,800
      25 x 25 cm (h x w)
      GBP 50
    • Jane Glynn

      -
      19 x 18 cm (h x w)
    • Jane Glynn

      -
      17 x 23 cm (h x w)
    • Caroline Lovett

      Lord of Eden
      90 x 150 cm (h x w)
      Cookies help us to provide certain features and services on our website. By using the website, you agree that we use cookies. Privacy policy