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December Arts Newsletter

View this email in your browserSnow on Wimbledon Common, 35x45cm oil on canvas. Painted in January during the snowy week.
The newsletter is a few days later than usual this month as I was in Barcelona for the weekend with girlfriends. There was time for a bit of sketching and Gaudi appreciation in between cava stops. Such a wonderful destination for an arty mini-break. 
If you need distractions from Christmas this month (who doesn’t?) there are lots of excellent exhibitions on in London. See below for some recommendations.

Impressionists on Paper is the new show at the RA and it couldn’t be more different to Marina Abramovic – still on at the RA. It is a good reminder of why the Impressionists remain so popular. Two of my all-time favourites, Degas and Toulouse-Lautrec, make star appearances. Many of the works, being on paper, are particularly fragile and rarely travel so I’d try and catch this one. Royal Academy until 10Mar

Holbein at the Tudor Court now showing in the Queen’s Gallery has more cracking works on paper, as well as wonderful paintings. Holbein arrived in England in 1526 from Basel virtually unknown and managed to work his way up the Tudor court. The joy of seeing Holbein’s preparatory drawings is seeing how he worked everything out. His economy of line is so efficient he manages to capture the character of his sitters with barely any marks at all.  I’m sure his work plays into our ongoing Tudor obsessions. Heaven. The Queen’s Gallery until 14 April

Ron Nagle is a Californian sculptor who creates imaginary, miniature worlds that are appealing tactile and generally quite gorgeous. Working since the 1960’s Nagle’s work looks at textures, shapes and reference multiple art ‘movements’.  This is doll-house sized grown up art. Modern Art, Old St. until 6 Jan

If Nagle’s work makes you feel big, then Hiroshi Sugimoto at the Hayward Gallery makes you feel small and insignificant.  Sugimoto is a Japanese photographer who’s work deals with light vs.dark, fact vs. fiction, the passage of time. The show is split into different series, for example ‘Theatres’ – a collection of abandoned cinemas that are really quite haunting. Hayward Gallery until 7 Jan

Arm yourself against the January Blues by signing up for lots of colour in my Matisse workshop on Thursday 18th January.  Email to book a spot.
November Rose, oil on board 25x30cm. The last roses in my garden last month. Showing at BobCat pop-up gallery from 11th December.
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November Arts Newsletter

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We had a last blast of warmth in Corfu last week for half term. I took my sketchbook and particularly enjoyed wandering around Corfu town sketching in cafes. The stunning ‘Liston’ in the left-hand image is a 19th century arcade based on Rue du Rivoli in Paris. A wonderful place to soak up Corfiot atmos. 
I still love painting the animal portraits. If you would like to commission one in time for Christmas, email me before 12th November. 

Exhibitions opening this month
Philip Guston
 at Tate Modern is a retrospective of the US painter (1913-1980) which has been postponed several times, both here and in the US, in the wake of the murder George Floyd. A Guston motif, the Klu Klux Klansman was felt to be too sensitive to show.  It is clear that Guston, as a Jewish leftist, despised everything the KKK represented and the show has opened to fantastic reviews. Guston straddles the 20th century with his painterly, sometimes abstract style. I am looking forward to seeing this. Tate Modern until 25Feb

Avery Singer: Free Fall is an exhibition about trauma particularly that surrounding the US on 9/11. Singer lived growing up close to the World Trade Centre at that time and this show looks at how she, and all around her, were affected.  The gallery has been transformed into a grey, claustrophobic office and includes portraits of some of the individuals who’s lives were wrecked by that day. The juxtaposition of horror and office aesthetic heightens the horror.  Hauser and Wirth until 22Dec

Women in Revolt! Art and Activism in the UK 1970-1990 at the Tate opens next week. Not the snappiest title but it does describe what you’re getting in this survey of over 100 female artists in a variety of media making work about all sorts of social issues: Women’s Lib, Greenham Common, Section 28, the visibility of Black and Asian women to name but a few. Girl power! Tate Britain 8Nov- 7Apr

Spies, Lies and Deception at the Imperial War Museum is a fascinating look at the world of espionage from WWI to the present day. James Bond style contraptions are exhibited like a tear-gas fountain pen and this match box containing one match adapted for writing secret messages.  There are also objects for the renowned Operation Mincemeat (now a comedy musical?!) and stories of brave individuals who risk all for their country. IMW until 14April
I still have some spots left on my sketching tour of the V&A on Weds 22nd Nov.
Email me to book a spot.

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October Arts Newsletter

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Thank you to everyone who came to Art in the Park a couple of weeks ago, it was a great success. We had over 2,500 visitors coming to see our art fair of 60 artists, sculpture trail of 10 sculptors and lots of activities that people could come and get involved in. We had a fantastic team of volunteers helping us and support from Friends of Cannizaro Park, Cannizaro House Hotel and Merton Council and our sponsors, thank you to all of them. This was our second Art in the Park as Common Works CIC – it is becoming a biannual event for the calendar. See you in 2025.
I haven’t had a lot of time in the studio recently as, as well as organising Art in the Park, I have been teaching quite a lot. However, I have long wanted to create a series based on Kew Gardens and I have made a couple of small oil sketches as a start. So if you can’t get hold of me in the next couple of months, you might find me in the Palm House in Kew…New exhibitions this month

The repeatedly-postponed Marina Abramovic retrospective at the Royal Academy has finally opened and it is performance art at its most effective. Although not actually performing herself (there are several actors, some naked) all of her iconic works are represented. Such as ‘Rhythm 0’ from 1974 where Abramovic stood still for 8 hours and invited the public to do what they wanted. She found herself stripped, stabbed and generally abused. The piece aimed to expose the ugliness found when you put people in a position of power. Not pretty. Please note, this exhibition isn’t for everyone – not one to take the kids to at half term! Royal Academy until 1Jan23.Happy Gas by Sarah Lucas at Tate Britain is another big one-woman retrospective (hurrah!). However, the serious, intense, depressing themes pursued by Abramovic are replaced by titillating, vulgar, childish and grotesque subject matter recurring in Lucas’s work. As a founding member of the YBAs in the 1990s Lucas has always used images to provoke and challenge our understanding of sex, class and gender. Again, this exhibition isn’t for everyone but if you have even a passing interest in 1990s British art, then don’t miss it… Tate Britain until 14Jan23 Rubens and Women at the Dulwich Picture Gallery is a bit more old school than the above recommendations. It aims to redefine the term ‘Rubenesque’ by scotching the idea that the artist only painted one sort of woman. With over 40 paintings and drawing amassed from international and private collections. The exhibition will examine his relationships in love, with family members and with female patrons. Come and discover a new side to Rubens. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 28JanFrans Hals at the National Gallery is the first retrospective of the artist in over 30 years. It brings together 50 works from smaller works to large group portraits and shows his talent for depicting his sitters looking relaxed and happy, something almost unheard of at the time. I’ve never been a massive Hals fan (slightly creepy some of those smiles?), however I prepare to be surprised and will go with an open mind to this show. National Gallery until 21Jan

Book a spot on my next Sketching Tour of the V&A

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July Arts Newsletter

Thank you to those who came to Colour & Light at Cannizaro House in June. We have had fantastic feedback from Hotel du Vin who felt our ‘salon hang’ brought something new to the space and also lots of interest to all the artists exhibiting.
Our next big project as Common Works Gallery CIC is Art in the Park, an art festival happening on 17th September this year. Watch this space…
Me (on left) with Katie Preston

Passing under Henley bridge 60x38cm framed, oil on canvas
One of my paintings on show at Henley Regatta in the gallery in Stewards enclosure this year. Do go and have a look if you are going to the regatta. 
If you keep half an eye on the art world, you will have seen that the National Portrait Gallery has reopened its (brand new, Tracy Emin) doors. Despite having been being slightly snooty about the vast expense for something of a vanity project for the new director, I actually think the new entrance looks great and looks as though it should have always been there. There has been a rehang too, of particular note is the female self-portrait gallery. Fabulous. National Portrait Gallery, free.

Bathers at Saatchi Yates in St.James’ is a gorgeous show bringing together lots of paintings of swimmers, mostly female. Artists have been painting bathers for centuries, generally as an excuse to paint flesh. There are some fantastic loans in this exhibition; Picasso, Cezanne, Rodin, Hockney, Bougeureau. Personally I’d rather see this than the RA Summer exhibition, also it’s free so do pop in if you are in that part of town.
Saatchi Yates until 10 August

Diva is the V&A’s Summer blockbuster. This exhibition celebrates the power and creativity of iconic performers who have stood out from the crowd from the 19th century to present day. From Maralyn Monroe to Mariah Carey a true diva can be both worshipped and vilified but never ignored. Explore the costumes that helped make them here, maybe even pick up some tips if you’re thinking of trying something new… V&A until April 24

Anselm Keifer’s ‘Finnegans Wake’ at the White Cube in Bermondsey is no jolly walk in the park. Keifer has had a life-long relationship with the book which he says reflects his life and he has expressed here it in this huge, dark stormy installation. The weight of his past; memory and war, hang heavy all around you as you make your way through dead trees, machinery and sheets of concrete. The opposite of the Summer Exhibition… White Cube until 20 Aug.

I am running two Van Gogh Painting workshops in September. We will be exploring his techniques, colour theory and how to build a painting.  It will be lots of fun! No experience necessary. Find out more here.

Ox-eye daisy field, Christmas Common. 24x30cm oil on canvasThis little painting is of a field I often job through in Oxfordshire. It is always pretty but is currently filled with wild daisies and looks too gorgeous not to paint!
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Run softly idle brook, 30x40cm   One of my paintings being shown at Colour & Light this month.

What a relief we are now enjoying some warm weather!  I have been very busy in the past few weeks organising Colour & Light which opens today. It is a showcase of female artists who’s work is known for their intense colourist response to the world around them. The exhibition is up for the month of June and anyone can go into Cannizaro House in Wimbledon to have a look. I look forward to seeing those of you coming to the Private View tonight. (If anyone else would like to join last minute, let me know
There are plenty of other arty distractions opening in London this month too, a few suggestions below.Saint Francis of Assisi has long been my #1 saint. His love of animals, his kindness and those stigmata are reason enough but I was awestruck by the stunning basilica in Assisi which I was lucky enough to visit on a school trip pre-earthquake in 1994. This show at the National Gallery presents imagery of St.F as interpreted by a myriad of artists from a monks manuscript painted circa 1240 to a recent Gormly sculpture. Included also are big treats like this Caravaggio where Francis is receiving his stigmata in the arms of an angel. Beautiful and moving. National Gallery until 30 July free 

Luxury and Power – Persia to Greece is a look at how treasures and luxury were used as political tools in ancient Southern Europe and Middle East. There were centuries of disagreements between the Greeks and the Persians and the former generally maintained that the latter were obsessed by wanton luxury. The Greeks eventually became enchanted by all that glistens, however, and lots of those treasures are on display here. Glitzy. British Museum until 13Aug
The National Portrait Gallery opens again after a 3yr refurbishment on 22nd June. Personally I’m not sure it really needed a new entrance. I’d rather £41m was spent on some amazing art than a new front door and ‘learning centre’. However I’ve booked my spot for the opening day and prepare to be wowed. I also look forward to seeing some old faves again. National Portrait Gallery from 22June
Sunshine on Saunton, 30x27cm oil on linen canvas
Another painting that will be included in Colour & Light this month.

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May Arts Newsletter

David Crossman 1942-2023
My darling Dad sadly died in early April so I have been involved in family business rather than art business over the past month. I painted this portrait of him for his 80th birthday last Summer. He is sitting at the kitchen table, looking out to the garden with the crossword and setting the world to rights. This is how I shall remember him.
After Impressionism: Inventing Modern Art is the big new show at the National Gallery explaining how the art world exploded from Paris across Europe between 1886 and WW1. I saw this on my only afternoon for exhibitions in the past month; I was looking for something nourishing and inspiring and this ticked both of those boxes. Definitely go. National Gallery until 13 Aug

Hilma af Klint and Piet Mondrian is the new Tate blockbuster which brings together two artists who are quite different. They never met, but were both theosophists and followers of Madame Blavatsky, a highly fraudulent yet very influential spiritualist. As far as I’m aware, there weren’t hallucinogenics involved but the results are somewhat trippy. And rather beautiful. A new take on Mondrian, that’s for sure. Tate Modern until 3 Sep

Ai Weiwei: Making Sense is a mixture of recent works and commissioned pieces. As one of the most important artists working today, Ai Weiwei is known for his powerful art and activism against the Chinese government. His work crosses disciplines; design, film, curation and architecture. As we’re in the Design Museum, most work here is design-led. The biggest being the 15ft lego interpretation of Monet’s waterlilies with its ‘dark portal’ representing the dugout the artist hid in with his exiled father in the 1960s. Powerful stuff. Design Museum until 30 July

I am organising this exhibition which opens next month at Cannizaro House, it is a lovely space and we are really excited about putting this on. If you would like an invitation to the private view, let me know

Wimbledon Blossoms 33x55cm unframedWith the time I did manage to be in the studio in the past few weeks I managed the therapeutic painting of these blossom oil sketches. It is something of an annual ritual for me; surreptitiously snipping a couple of small branches off (pavement) blossom filled trees to paint and herald the start of Spring. 
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April Arts Newsletter

Looking out to Lundy, 60x80cm oil on canvas
This will be going into a joint exhibition that I’m organising in early Summer, more information to come in due course…It’s April, the clocks have changed and apparently the sun might even come out in the next few days, there is much to look forward to. There are lots of exhibitions opening too, a few suggestions from me below.
Portraits of Dogs: From Gainsborough to Hockney. As a painter and lover of dogs I will definitely catch this exhibition at the Wallace Collection. The show reflects on our changing relationship and understanding of animals across the ages. There are over 50 different depictions of dogs, mostly paintings – starting from around 1700. This will be popular so I would book. Woof. Wallace Collection until 15 October

Rather outrageously Gilbert and George are opening the Gilbert and George Centre this month where you can see their art, watch their films and learn more about them. They have always slightly reminded me of Mr Wint and Mr Kidd in Diamonds are Forever: the most sinister Bond baddies ever. In a good way, obviously. Gilbert and George Centre, free

Berthe Morisot: Shaping Impressionism is a long overdue exhibition of this influential painter (the last was in 1950). As a founding member of the Impressionists, Morisot’s paintings centre on everyday scenes. Fresh research makes new comparisons in her early vs late work and paintings of women’s private spaces. Fascinating. Dulwich Picture Gallery until 10 Sept

If you’d like a bit of culture-bonding with your teen, Beyond the Streets at the Saatchi gallery could be the answer for you this Easter break. The most comprehensive exhibition on graffiti ever to take place in the UK, it encompasses work from 150 artists across 60 years and multiple cities. It’s sensory over-load and also really quite expensive (£25 per adult). If you prefer your graffiti ‘en plein air’ hike around some of London’s best street art spots instead. Saatchi Gallery until 9 May.

Lots of challenging fun was had last week at my Wallace Collection Sketching Tour. If you go and see the dogs exhibition, make sure you have time to look around the rest of the museum too. Such a fantastic collection and not too big, just lovely.
If you are interested in joining one of my future sketching tour/ workshop days then keep an eye on my Instagram account @katharine_rowe. I announce them there first.
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March Arts Newsletter

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Silver birch woods, 108x60cm framed. A recent commission completed and about to travel up to Cumbria to its new home.I am excited to announce that I will be exhibiting at the Affordable Art Fair this month with Artfully Sorted on stand B3. It runs 9-12 March in Battersea Park and I have some 2 for 1 tickets available here. With thousands of artworks being exhibited, lates with DJs and weekend family hour it is always good fun and worth exploring. You might find that piece you’ve been searching for…Spain and the Hispanic World is the Royal Academy’s big exhibition for the start of 2023 and is the collection of the Manhattan Hispanic Society Museum & Library on loan whilst renovations are going on. This collection is rarely seen by anyone outside of the society and has some real treasures, including masterpieces by Goya, El Greco and Valazquez. As well as paintings there are maps, jewellery, sculptures and manuscripts all amassed by Archer Huntington, a rail-road heir, in early 20th century New York. Glamour. Royal Academy until 10April
I am not sure whether I want to go to David Hockney’s Bigger and Closer (not smaller and further away). It is his new immersive 50 min light show ‘Best of Hockney’ which takes inspiration from the commercial (read tacky) immersive shows of Van Gogh/ Klimt/ Kahlo. Admittedly all those artists are long gone and Hockney has actually been involved in creating this experience. Some of his work, like the fantastic polaroid series of the 1980s work really well blown up but I’m less enthusiastic about his ipad works which do make up a lot of this event. Tickets average £30 too, hmmm. Lightroom until 4th June The Peter Doig show at the Courtauld is a collection of new and recent works from the painter who moved to London from Trinidad two years ago. Doig’s paintings are deeply influenced by the work of Post-Impressionists like Gauguin and Van Gogh (also found at the Courtauld) and in turn, Doig’s work is hugely influential among today’s painters with his misty mysterious tones and saturated colours. This will be a great show and if you haven’t already seen the revamped Courtauld, now is your time. Courtauld Gallery until 29 MayBarbara Hepworth: Art & Life spans five decades of the sculptor’s career and includes sculptures, paintings, drawings prints and designs. I defy anyone not to love her work. Also fantastic, a few minutes walk from Tate St. Ives is her former residence. If you are in Cornwall over the Easter holidays (or indeed, live there) then indulge in a Hepworth-day. Bliss.  Tate St.Ives until 1 May
Magnolia 30x40cm oil on canvas. It’s still cold but the magnolias are coming into flower on streets near us, a sign of hope for Spring.We had an impromptu and quite arty trip to Rome over half term. What an inspiring city, filled to bursting with history, art, architecture and an amazing art shop. Food’s not bad either. 
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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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October Arts Newsletter

October Arts Newsletter

View this email in your browserGlide gently, thus forever glide, oil on canvas 63x73cm framed
Thank you to those who came to the Artists’ Open House trail a couple of weekends ago. The event was a success and we had lots of artists exhibiting including some who hadn’t shown in public before but loved the experience.  Katie and I at Common Works were very pleased with the outcome and are starting to think about our next arts event project. If anyone has any relevant projects they would like to discuss, please let us know.

It’s Autumn exhibition blockbuster time, a few recommendations below.
Cezanne at Tate Modern has been trailed as a ‘once in a generation’ show with over 80 paintings and drawings, 22 of which have never been seen in the UK before. As we are so familiar with Cezanne’s work it is difficult to remember quite how revolutionary his painting once was. This exhibition centres on his struggles as a young painter between trying to make it as an artist whilst also breaking the rules and inventing his own visual language. Not to be missed! Tate Modern 4Oct-12Mar
Lucien Freud: New Perspectives has over 60 paintings of powerful public figures and intimate portraits. The aim of the show is to ignore his notoriety and fame (surely a large contributor to his success?!) and dive into his obsession with paint. I go through varying stages of admiration of Freud’s work (why always so much white paint, Lucien?) but ultimately love his brushwork so will be racing to see this.
National Gallery until 22JanHallyu! The Korean Wave is a gleeful celebration of all things Korean from fine art to grand guignol to Gnangam style. Fashion plays a big part in this show too and is a good example of the whole sentiment of the exhibition with many pieces feeling both ancient and futuristic.  This is an upbeat, optimistic and fun show that is perfect for a half term visit with the kids. Who doesn’t hanker after a bit of optimism right now? V&A until June23The Lost King, Imagining Richard III works with the career reboot that Richard III has had over the last decade since the discovery of his skeleton in a Leicester car park (did you see that amazing documentary?). This exhibition is a tie-in with the Steve Coogan film, of the same name, being released this month. The Delaroche masterpiece ‘Edward V and The Duke of York’ is the main artwork on display here with artefacts and armour from the medieval period to look at too. Villain or vilified? You decide. Wallace Collection until 8Jan (free).William Kentridge is South Africa’s most influential contemporary artist and has his first major retrospective at the Royal Academy this Autumn. Born in Johannesburg in 1955, his work is mostly centered on the years before and after aparthied but also looks at global politics, in particular the Chinese Cultural Revolution. His best known works are beautiful, gestural drawings in black charcoal and ink which are turned into animations by filming and erasing/ adding items between takes. This is seriously beautiful political art.  Royal Academy until 11Dec
It has been lovely to get back into the life-drawing studio on Fridays after the Summer break. Both of these sketches are of Phil, a seasoned model who comes up with some very uncomfortable looking poses!