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February Arts Newsletter

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Work produced in the life studio at Putney over the past few weeks. A mixture of charcoal, pastel and oils were used. I treat it as my weekly workout; always challenging, mostly rewarding, sometimes frustrating!I have been busy in my studio recently with teaching as well as commissions and preparing work for the Affordable Art Fair  (more info and  tickets next month). Yesterday I ran an adults Winter Painting Workshop in my kitchen which was really fun and some lovely work was produced. There are a couple of spots left on my Sketching Tour of the V&A on Thurs 23rd Feb, email if you’d like to join.
As promised in January, this month I am recommending unusual arty museums outside London to put on your wish list for 2023. Happy travel planning!Top unusual UK museums
The Derwent Pencil Museum
 is in Keswick, where the world’s first lead pencil was made in 1564 after the discovery of a graphite mine in the Borrowdale Valley. Pencil making has been a thriving industry in Keswick since the 1800s and as well as history, this museum offers workshops and a great arty shop.  I think this sounds like heaven, if you’re visiting the Lake District this year put it on your list. Ideal for the rainy day of your holiday…Derwent Pencil Museum, CA12 5NG
Watts Gallery – Artists village near Guildford was founded in 1904 to celebrate the work of English Victorian Symbolist painter, George Frederick Watts. It remains the only purpose built gallery dedicated to a single artist in the country and after expansion and restoration it reopened in 2011. The Watts’ house and studio of Mary Watts also makes up the complex and there are plenty of temporary exhibitions and workshops to entice. Currently showing is Faces of Fame, a photography exhibition.
Watts Gallery, Surrey GU3 1DUThe flea collection at the Natural History Museum in Tring is unusual to say the least. Over 260,000 species of Siphonaptera (fleas) were donated to the museum in 1913 by Charles Rothschild. The highlight of the collection is a group of fleas dressed up as Mexican dancers which you need to look through a microscope to see properly. The museum also houses one of the largest collections of taxidermy in the world, also donated by the Rothschilds (the family that likes to stuff…) Natural History Museum, Tring HP23 6APThe Shoe Gallery in Northampton Museum pays homage to the town’s long history of shoe-making. As Britain’s shoe-making capital in the 15th century, the town’s industry peaked in the mid 1840s when there were over 1,800 shoemakers operating. This museum charts the history of shoes from 5,300 BC to the present day and looks why we wear the shoes they do and what it says about us. 
The Shoe Gallery, Northampton NN1 1DPWinter Painting Workshop yesterday

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