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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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Meet Pepe – #WorldBookDay

Happy World B
Pepe’s Amazing Tale – I hope one day a child with be reading this book on World Book Day

Happy #WorldBookDay to you all from myself and Pepe! Some fellow illustrators have felt like they have had a “world book week” so I am not too late…..(I am good at being late, you may notice a pattern here, but I am getting better at being less late! It all takes practice).

I’ve seen so many lovely bookish things this week – visiting the library where I used to do the craft activities at the toddler times, seeing old faces, and the now grown children dressed up as their favourite characters from books. For me, books can transport us to magical places, give us much needed knowledge and information, educate us, and inspire our dreams and aspirations. They do not require batteries or chargers, and can be gifted to a stranger we meet or a dear friend – to be returned or to be passed on and on around the world, gathering marks of its journey – folded pages and tears, rips and drink stains.  I have had fascinating discussions about how a book involves a commitment – if its only one of a few taken on holiday, we take the time to read through the more challenging pages, rather than skipping through the list of 50 books on our ereader to find an easier or lighter read. For me, there is something magical about the form of the book – that yellowing of the pages, and the mustiness that comes with age, or where it resides in an old bookshop filled to the rafters with lost books awating new homes.

Long live the book, and once again, have a great World Book time! Wherever and whenever it may be……..

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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?
Jane Sunbeam detail2
Gaia and the owls
Jane Sunbeam det5
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.

1a
It started with this little Owl, (made using Daniel Smith Watercolours).
1aa
Some of his details were picked out using machine embroidery.
1b
I thought he was a little lonely, so added in some parents.
1bb
And a background
1c
then played with many different layouts
2
and added leaves
3
then played some more digitally, adding in more leaves and moving the moon
4
and adding shadows for more depth
5
But it felt too much, so the moon was removed…..
6
…..and the leaves. But I didn’t like them all looking so directly out of the image…..
7
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.
8
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……..