Sara Hayward120827 coincidences


 

water colour study from my sketch book

water colour study from my sketch book

Well, what a summer. I was really thrilled to be in Worcester Cathedral to see the Queen in July. The cathedral was packed with well wishers including 340 school children representing all the county’s primary schools. I chatted to one young pair sitting in front of me only to find that they were from my very own primary school- St Andrews, Barnt Green- where I had once won the slow bicycle race ( just think if it had been an Olympic sport…….) The familiar green school uniform hadn’t changed in forty years.

We enjoyed two red hot magical weeks in St Ives later where  I enjoyed being tossed around in the surf as I failed  miserably at body boarding on Porthmeor beach (not for want of trying). The Alex Katz exhibition at Tate St Ives won us over because of his great selection of works on display by artists he admired. We particularly liked the  Franz Kline and a large scale dymnamic Howard Hodgkin, and listening to the video of Alex Katz talk about the works. A small intimate selection of letters and paintings by Ben Nicholson, Alfred Wallis and Winifred Nicholson was also inspiring particularly since Ernie Rowe, the 86 year old Cornish owner of the kennels where our dog was staying, regaled us with revealing stories about Alfred, a distant relative of his.
Right now I am having a bit of a clear out. I’ve just come across my Royal College of Art ID from 1986 and that of Paul for an international driving licence from the year I met him – 1982. Needless to say we’ve both changed to look at somewhat but to have been together for 30 years, more than half my life, and married for 24, feels pretty amazing.

I bumped into Simon Packard recently – he has a great exhibition of prints in the Chapter House at Worcester Cathedral at the moment. He barely recognised me from our time at the RCA and I’d have to say ditto ( he’s a whole lot hairier) but it was great to catch up again after 25 years and meet his two young children, Macey and Blythe.

We were down in Portsmouth recently and down an alley (long story) stumbled across the studio, a blacksmith studio, of Peter Clutterbuck who was a third year sculpture student when Paul was in the first year of his fine art degree at Portsmouth. He was amazed to find a blacksmith’s yard right in the centre of Portsmouth and left his calling card so hopefully the two will be in touch again.

Whilst we were having a coffee in the Hot Walls cafe in Old Portsmouth we were photographed by the Portsmouth News photographer Mick Young and appeared in the local paper. The cafe had opened that day and were offering delicious free pastries to all the customers. We chatted at length to Mick because he too had studied fine art (at Manchester) and was interested to hear about Paul’s experiences of his time in Portsmouth.

110711 Malvern exhibition


An exhibition of thirty paintings by husband and wife artist duo, Sara Hayward and Paul Powis, has just opened at Malvern Theatres.  Sara’s distinctive paintings draw inspiration from her travels to places she has visited, for example, Venice and St Ives, whilst Paul’s landscapes are inspired by landscapes around the Malvern Hills as well as further afield in Italy and Spain. Sara Hayward studied at the Ruskin School of Drawing & Fine Art at Oxford University before going on to study printmaking at the Royal College of Art, London. Paul Powis trained as an abstract painter and became interested in landscape when he moved to Worcestershire from London in 1988. The exhibition runs until August 21st.

“As you enter the theatre, the paintings inspired by Venice which are hung on the main stairs, have an immediate impact due only partly to the richness of their colours. The apparent simplicity of these works belies the care with which the elements are arranged. Because these works by Sara Hayward are displayed together they successfully display the axiom “the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” Each work enhances the next by its proximity and together they create a beautiful aide-memoire for those lucky enough to have visited this magical city.

Sara’s other works, inspired by coastal environments benefit by a similar unity. They reminded me of the seaside holidays of my youth. The viewer is invited to look through the open window, as if on the first morning of a fortnight away. It’s sunny, the wind blows the curtain aside and all’s well with the world.

In the restaurant area are works by Paul Powis. These draw their inspiration from further afield. Adopting a subjective approach to the colours in his palette and introducing semi-abstract elements, lift these works above the mere representational. The colours “sing”. The spacial elements achieve a satisfying harmony. It is clear to see why so many corporate clients have bought Paul’s work. It’s a pleasure to see so many of Paul’s paintings together,” says Humph Hack in his review for the What’s On online review site Remote Goat.

 Also on display in the theatre are paintings by artists Nicola Clark and Tracy Jolly.

110524 on air


Last week we were down in London supporting Worcester Cathedral choir as they sang in St Paul’s Cathedral at evensong. Well, I say evensong, but actually it was The 357th Festival of the Sons of the Clergy with great pomp and circumstance, more than a handful of bishops and even the Household Cavalry to boot. I say supporting Worcester Cathedral but in truth we were just cadging a lift knowing how close it was to Tate Modern. At the service (which actually was completely awesome) amidst such heady company as the Bishop of London the man sitting next to me looked decidedly underdressed, wearing shorts and looking more likely dressed for a summer picnic; I  nearly said something but then realised it was my husband.

First thing as the coach came into London I had looked out of the window mesmorised by the gardens of the capital’s residents – hugely grateful to all those, and certainly not all, who tended them. Many were neglected and grotty  but some were nicely planted with roses and nurtured front gardens making them uplifting and welcoming to the visitor.  Before evensong we had spent all afternoon in Tate Modern seeing the Miro exhibition and spending time viewing the permanent collection at our leisure. We both preferred Miro’s early work (of tended gardens, naturally) and his later work, but the best bit by far was the film made from interviews with Miro, his grand daughter, gallery owners and dealers who all knew him personally. Shots of where he lived and worked were fascinating. We had once visited Miro’s studio just outside Palma in Mallorca and it is always incredibly poignant to see where an artist works. It puts them in context.

Similarly we’ve visited Barbara Hepworth’s studio in St Ives, Ken Howard’s studio in Venice, Mary Fedden’s in London to name but a few. I can also remember like it was only yesterday visiting Victor Hugo’s writing room in Guernsey, and both William Wordsworth and Beatrix Potter’s homes in the Lake District when I was a child. They bring you very close to the artist and to the core of their creativity.

This Friday for four days we will be throwing open our studio doors to visitors as part of the inaugural Worcestershire Arts Trail. Though not in the same league I’m sure it will be memorable for someone; well, at least I hope so! We’ve just come back from talking about it on the Andy Easton show at BBC Hereford & Worcester; I’m not saying I was nervous but I actually thought nothing would come out, not even a peep, when I opened my mouth; the cat had really got my tongue. Truly terrifying it was, but Andy was brilliant,  and unbelievably relaxed even completely eating an enormous wrap during a break. Paul Powis, Bridget Drakeford and Sharon McSwiney were fabulous too. Me, just a bag of nerves, me.