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.

Roald Dahl is my inspiration

I love the work of Roald Dahl. I can’t say I’ve read all his books; just Fantastic Mr. Fox and The Twits. Oh, and a brilliant short story about Henry Sugar.

I am currently dipping in and out of his biography and keep flicking to the end to read more about his writing of children’s books. That’s what interests me and that’s what I want to do. They appear so original, so effortless, and so complete. If only I could write like that; come up with such satisfying  ideas, just one would do. Mr Dahl, like everyone else, I revere you.

I have just set my students a project asking them to choose a Dahl book, select any chapter, character, or sentence, and allow it to inspire an illustration. They’ve had to look at Quentin Blake’s illustrations first, then get on with their own. The results are stupendous: exciting, fresh and lively. I’m proud of them, if not everso slightly envious.

Having spent six months extolling the virtues of twig and ink  to everyone I know, and filling sketchbook after sketch book with my drawings, I read somewhere that Quentin actually uses reed pens; so  I’ve just bought my first (very expensive) set from Shepherd’s, (previously Faulkeners)  in London. They arrived yesterday, by next day delivery in a cardboard tube, wrapped in an old fashioned green and white striped paper bag, complete with reservoir.  This is a brass reservoir, just like the long bit on a paper fastener, but without the head bit. The pens look like cheap ends of bamboo that have been chiselled and drilled a bit but I shall try them out tomorrow in the life room; spend all day dip dip dipping my new pens into inky egg cups of  black ink. If the results are promising it will be a worthwhile investment. I’ll let you know!

Funny to think I used to rub shoulders with Quentin Blake and Dan Fern as they wandered around the illustration department at the Royal College of Art; I actually tried to change from printmaking to  illustration but they wouldn’t have me. Never mind.  I did however exhibit with them in the 1988 Folio Society exhibition with my illustrations of Evelyn Waugh’s “The Loved Ones”. I was into collages in those days; different graph papers, tracing papers, and oh! lots of staples.  Ah! Happy memories.