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Inside/Outside group exhibition at The Eye Leicester

You may have noticed that I have been rather quiet here on my blog! Well, it is for good reason – I have been working away on a gallery project with friend and fellow artist Moira Robinson! It was a voluntary project and we were lucky enough to be loaned an amazing space for 6 months by the local Adult Education College. Soon we had 48 artists have faith in us and came on board, and we were assisted by 4 hardworking group coordinators who helped us in ways too innumerable to mention….. I won’t ramble on here, as there is far too much to say in one blog post – we had 5 stunning shows: one group one to start the project featuring all 48 artists, then 4 themed shows featuring 12 of the 48 artists, the exhibitions to be based on various themes which were chosen by the artists – Strong/Fragile, Light/Dark, Urban/Rural and finally Inside/Outside. To read more about this amazing project, please visit our blog – there is a plethora of wonderful material over there.

My show was the last in the series and I exhibited alongside 11 extremely talented artists from a range of disciplines, from Millinery to Felt-making to Ceramics. It was a really diverse show, with something to suit everyone’s taste and inclinations. To read more about the curation of the show, and see more of the other artists, we have written a blogpost about it over on The Eye Leicester. Here are a few sneaky peeks for you to see…….

Jane Sunbeam - Inside/Outside Panorama

Jane Sunbeam Panorama

Chris Allsopp Panorama

I chose the group with the theme Inside/Outside as I wanted to explore nests and burrows as a starting point. But, as time progressed, the work became far more embroiled in storytelling and personal narratives. Each piece involved a link to the inner world of our daydreams or inner lives, some from our childhood and others are secret dreams that we drift of to as adults.

Over the next few weeks I will add more posts about the processes and thoughts involved in the creation of these pieces, but for now, here are some pictures from the show itself – a reminder of all the happy memories, and a peek of the show for all those who missed it…….

 

Sadly the show is now over – it passed so quickly as I was so busy with the publicity and showing visitors around the show! Five weeks seemed like a long time when we were planning it, but with the Launch to organise, and Meet the Artist events and daily publicity on social media I barely blinked as it whooshed past. I feel twinges of sadness now that the whole project is over, but shall look back with great fondness on this project and all the wonderful things that have happened during that time.

I loved seeing each and every show, seeing how they each one took on it’s own voice, presenting a very different show each time it changed. It was a full on project, and there is no way it would have worked without everyone involved working so hard. I have found it a truly inspiring experience – and have learnt so much and been inspired by so many talented artists. It was very humbling that so many Leicester and Leicestershire artists wanted to take part. And now I have many of these artists as friends, confidants and mentors – which was a truly wonderful bonus to the project. Especially, as for me, I wanted this project to be more than the artwork on the wall – I wanted it to enrich the artistic community in Leicester.

If you wish to contact me regarding purchasing a piece of work, future exhibition opportunities or a personal commission please email me: thesunbeams @ btinternet.com

Thankyou.

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London Ma Show

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Here are a couple of pictures from the show…Sadly Gertie did not get to hold the pens for the comments book (there were a lot of lovely children who wanted to meet her, but she felt it was safer to sit and watch from above!). More pictures to follow, along with insides from the books. Its odd that this time last week it was all up and had a day of visitors, and now it’s over. But, it was worth it, with lots of great feedback and possibilities. But for now I am having a much needed rest…….

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Gertrude gets ready for the show

Well, I have done it – my journey of the Master’s is almost over, my work is back and its lovely being reunited with it all after such a long time. I have passed, and am now looking forward to the final show and the future.

I’ve been busy selecting work, and mounting some on foamboard (Thankfully I found a company that prints onto the foamboard for you, as that was one job I was not looking forward to…….), and the rest are framed up ready to be shipped off to the show in their gleaming white frames (sadly I was too busy to photograph the framing session).

My business cards have arrived too…. but that’s in another post.

The reason for my posting today is that I have a little friend who is desperate to say Hello…. Everyone, please meet Gertrude (She was named two years ago, so please forgive the connection with Hurricane Gertrude). We are working on a book together called Gertrude and The Moon and she will be appearing at the show. However, she does get a tiny bit bored, so we agreed on a job  for her to do – it is to look after the pencil for the comments book.

Jane Sunbeam textiles (1)
Gertrude

But a bit like the adorable Phoebe in Friends, (when she was allocated the task of looking after ice) Gertrude thoroughly went to town and decided that one pencil was not enough (and she needed to wear her crown!)…….so over to her.

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Look, I can hold a pencil, and more than one. I really can….
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Look, I can hold a pen too…

 

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Perhaps not. I’ll stick to one or two pencils.     Please come and visit me at the show!
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Happy Yule – a card for you all

Happy Yule! It is now less that a week to Christmas, but for me, the most important date is the Winter Solstice (this year its on 21st December) where the days are their shortest in the Northern Hemisphere. From Tuesday , slowly at first then ever faster, the days get longer and longer until the Summer Solstice, and then the days retreat. These dark, bleak days are really brightened by seeing the sparkles of Christmas trees (Yule Trees) in everyone’s homes, and decorating our homes with greenery. As this festive period will be spent mainly at my desk working for the last few weeks on my Ma I have a beautiful vase of greenery – fir, holly, gold leaves and sparkly fir cones – so I feel very festive indeed!

My vase of greenery to brighten up my desk
My vase of greenery to brighten up my desk, complete with hanging robin

So, for you all, Happy Yule – and here is my card to you all…..  I designed it to look like a spread in a picturebook, so when the card is opened full you see the page and the text. It is based on the Earth being seen as a person, and as she goes to sleep to rest,  the animals wait patiently for her to wake once again.

Yule Card from Jane Sunbeam
Yule Card from Jane Sunbeam

I feel that I am now starting to understand the translucency and layering that can be achieved with watercolours – my anthem is still dilute, dilute and then dilute some more….

Watercolour underpainting
Watercolour underpainting

It’s a bit hard to see all the details, so here are a few…..

Sleeping Gaia
Sleeping Gaia
Jane Sunbeam detail
Animals waiting – can you spot the hedgehog playing on its back?
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Gaia and the owls
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Owls and Squirrel
As she slept.....
As she slept…..

So, Happy Christmas, Yule and Solstice to you all. I hope you have a wonderful festive period, and as the Sun returns you enjoy great warmth in your hearts.

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Cover Art and Owls

It been a busy week since my last post, as I have been manically working on pieces for hand in, but also I was brave and put work into the competition for the front page of our Ma graduation catalogue for the London show (I submitted 2 in the end). They were not selected, but the image chosen is beautiful (more on that nearer the time).

So, for this week’s post I thought I would take you through the hundreds of choices I made to get to the final covers.

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It started with this little Owl, (made using Daniel Smith Watercolours).
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Some of his details were picked out using machine embroidery.
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I thought he was a little lonely, so added in some parents.
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And a background
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then played with many different layouts
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and added leaves
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then played some more digitally, adding in more leaves and moving the moon
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and adding shadows for more depth
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But it felt too much, so the moon was removed…..
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…..and the leaves. But I didn’t like them all looking so directly out of the image…..
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And so for more narrative, I asked the parents to go to sleep. They said they would happily do so, as it was rather bright for them.
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And then, for my second image, it worked a bit easier – I chose cats! You know by now I love cats. And for the colours I used the “pipette” to choose the colours from the two cats. Oddly I prefer this to the owls, yet it took a tenth of the time.

So there you go….. 2 finished designs, one with more choices than others. The next piece to be created was for my page inside but more on that in the next posts……..

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And now for some Cats…..

 

Mog and Daniel Smith
Mog…. who is guarding my Daniel Smith “dots”

Cats surround me at the moment, from this delicious little chap (Mog’s doppelganger) who sits at my desk keeping me company whilst I work, to the numerous ones that live around me, many of whom were happy to sit on their front lawns in the late Autumn sun whist I sketched them. Now, there is only one little cat that braves the cold,  sitting on the many sheds watching over his territory. I have always loved  drawing cats, and my favourite book is Andy Warhol’s Cats, Cats, Cats – a copy of which I have treasured for many years.

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My copy of Andy Warhol – Cats, Cats, Cats

I myself have no cats, but have several “friends” I meet when out and about, and  do have my Mog – the perks of illustrating children’s books is that I simply have to buy the toys and the books. It’s all research….. honest!

So now to the stars of this post….. the cats themselves:

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follow me

 

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waiting

and some more cats….. (click for them to appear larger)