Meet the ABCAT artists
In the latest issue, Debra Urbacz spoke to those involved in the ABCAT art trail which started in 2011 as part of Open Studios Notts.
Rita Mitchell (the founder)
“At the beginning of lockdown, I started this painting which had been on my mind for some time. It is the third of a series of interiors, initially inspired by Vermeer and his use of light. The adrenaline rush of a new painting helped to push away, for a few hours, the fears and sadness brought about by the daily news. Each day I could ‘go to work’, shut the studio door and gradually transform a blank canvas into ‘The Bar.’ I published a blog of the process as a spur to keep going and to share my painting journey.”
View Rita’s work here
“It starts with a love for good design, be it typographic, furniture, whatever it is, it needs to be well considered and executed beautifully, ‘if you’re going to do it, do it well or not at all, I guess could be my mantra.
“Being an Artist, Designer and Signpainter, my work in the main has commercial applications, together with some artworks for the home being installed as statement pieces.
“These vary through the nature of my profession from painted and gilded wooden panels to verre eglomise, (an age-old practice where the artist’s paints and gilds in reverse on glass).
“The last week in May I was kept busy painting a Mural for Tobi Frames in Long Eaton, all designed and painted by myself, traditionally, without the use of design software. This year was to be my first ABC Art Trail.”
Sara Gaynor Visual Artist
“I’m a visual artist working in the medium of experimental photography and an Associate Member of Backlit Gallery and studios in Nottingham. I have been a participating artist on the trail since 2016. During Lockdown I have created a new unexpected body of photographs titled ‘Searching for light through the Darkness,’ exploring newly discovered, hidden and rekindled spaces, on my daily cycle rides within a 2 – 25-mile radius. I have also been experimenting with found nature in my outdoor space – converging analogue and digital methods to create new artwork – the image ‘Cornucopia’ is a sample of the new photographs created from this experimentation. I am exhibiting my photographs from the Global Sistaz United Project in a virtual exhibition through City Arts Nottingham as part of Refugee Week in mid-June. I have also been busy hosting weekly photography sessions through zoom to our collective, Beeston Snappers.”
Tony is a mature Fine Arts graduate and his art references modernist architecture in his own signature style.
It would have been his second year on the Art Trail and is very disappointed that it didn’t take place, as his first experience of it in 2019 was both enjoyable and successful. He says that ironically the lockdown has been a constructive period for him, as it has concentrated his attention on a Project that started in the autumn of 2019. Basically, he was commissioned by a Company called Little Van Gogh to produce a series of eleven large size paintings to circulate and be exhibited around the UK in various prestigious commercial and office locations.
The theme is ‘Sensing Space via Architectural Modernism’ (see – www.littlevangogh.co.uk – artists). The first exhibition is currently taking place in Guildford.
“Since the last art trail I’ve been busy painting, and in March I completed a 20-day voluntary social isolation painting challenge (before the coronavirus lockdown) in Wales: www.paintingwithmrp.com.
“On my return from Wales, I’ve been taking part in a weekly lockdown painting challenge.
“I’ve been using my creative practice as a way of coping and making sense of what’s happening.”
For printed copies of “20 Days in 2020” journal (minimum donation of £5 per copy, with all profits going to Parkinson’s UK), or any other enquiries email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Like other artists, I found it very difficult to even think about creating new work under such traumatic conditions. But I still needed to make and share. So, I made a few little craft videos for the Beeston Heritage Canalside Centre Adult Craft course and I really enjoyed making a collaborative video with alto members of East of England Singers.
“Since February I have been furiously making a massive rug, a huge blanket and a large quantity of community masks.
“It would have been my third ABC Art Trail this year and even though it was cancelled, I put up a mini-exhibition of my latest work.
“I even managed to sell some via my Felted Embroidered Art Etsy shop. A lot of the local sponsors offered to carry forward their 2020 donation to 2021, which was a very generous investment in the future.
“I am already looking forward to the Trail next year which, all being well, will take place on 5th and 6th June.”
“I am a textile designer with a Masters in Textile Design.
“Primarily a machine knitter, I am passionate about sustainability working only with natural fibres.
“I presently design and produce hooked rag rugs from recycled and scrap fabric with a heavy emphasis on colour and pattern; something which I have inherited from my Ukrainian heritage.
“My involvement with the ABCAT trail is now in its fourth year, with me taking over as Treasurer at the end of last year.
“As so many shows had been cancelled, I have been concentrating on producing new work for next year, but have also been spending my time clutter clearing and experimenting with cake and bread making.”
“I am a local artist/printmaker. Initially, during lockdown, I found it hard to be creative. I turned to sewing, an activity I could pick up and put down rather than printmaking which required lots of focus.
“I got out a part made quilt and completed it.
“As shops were closed I joined together leftover fabrics to make a patterned binding. I had intended this to be one fabric. It meant that I wasted nothing and was really pleased with the final quilt. I’ve called it, ‘Lockdown Logcabin’. Log Cabin is a traditional patchwork design. I’m now designing a child’s cot quilt.
“I’ve also made lots of brightly coloured face masks for a charity supporting vulnerable young adults.
During the sunny weather, I did lots of sketching in the garden.”
Oliver Lovley SGFA
“I am a fine art painter working mainly in oil on board. I have been producing a lot of new figurative paintings lately that are viewable on my website www.oliverlovley.com. As well as this doing live demonstrations on my social media pages. I was part of the ABC Art trail for the first time in 2019.
“I am a member of the Society of Graphic Fine Art in London and I teach classes locally at Artworks art shop in Beeston. I have also exhibited at the Lakeside Arts Centre.”
View Oliver’s website here
Contact him on 07532 179119 or visit his Facebook page
“I love working with a variety of media, but textiles hold the greatest fascination for me. The immense variety of textures and colours, natural or manmade, provides inspiration for endless ideas. I find working with textiles very relaxing, rewarding and essential to my well-being.
“The nature of my art requires me to have a ‘stash’. This consists of an extensive collection of new, gifted and pre-used textiles ready to turn into future pictures. I use a variety of machine and hand embroidery techniques to produce my art which I have studied for several years at City & Guilds level.
“Taking inspiration from our British Countryside continuously inspires me with inspiration for new work. I love combining art with textiles which stretches the boundary between art and craft.
“I exhibit mainly in the East Midlands at Art & Craft events, I have had solo exhibitions and attended Art Trails. I have been a member of the ABC Art Trail from the beginning and really enjoy the camaraderie with fellow local creatives which has enriched my life.
“I really look forward to the next Art Trail in June 2021.”
Visit Zoe’s website here
Email her at email@example.com