Mall Galleries news

Hermione Hammond Drawing Award Winner 2018

'Study 1' by Martin Karpisz

Out of 699 entries from over 70 colleges in Britain and the Republic of Ireland, Mall Galleries is delighted to announce that the winner of the Hermione Hammond Drawing Award 2018 is Martin Karpisz, professionally known as Siguel. 

Study 1 by Martin Karpisz

Karpisz is currently studying a one-year Master’s programme at Glasgow School of Art, having completed his BA at Poznan University of Arts. His winning work is titled Study 1 and portrays two friends, Cheak Yen Hui and Julie Mitchell, to the right of whom an ear is drawn in considerable detail; “I want the viewer to listen to the story the picture is telling”, explained Karpisz.

Self Drive by Nicholas Peall

Guest Judge of the Award, Peter Clossick, praised “the quality of Martin’s drawing”, adding that “it has a lovely rhythmic quality, and I like the listening ear”. Clossick is a member of the New English Arts Club and past President of The London Group. He was joined on the judging panel by three others, representing Hermione Hammond’s family and Mall Galleries.

My Grandfather by Meggie Waktins

The 2018 runner-up is Nicholas Peall, student at Turps Art School, for his charcoal drawing, Self Drive. “My work is fuelled by modern-day anxiety and the yearning for spiritual freedom which, in our age of electronic chaos, can be hard to achieve”, says Nicholas. Three further works were highly commended by the judges; My Grandfather by Meggie Watkins (University of Brighton), City Life by Jack Dickens (Norwich University of the Arts), and Peckham High Street 4 by Rebecca Harper (Turps Art School).

City Life by Jack Dickens

Peckham High Street 4 by Rebecca Harper

The Award was established in 2012 in memory of the artist Hermione Hammond, and aims to encourage artists to develop their drawing skills. It is now run in conjunction with Mall Galleries and the Federation of British Artists.

Falcke on the Mall

Despite being a practising artist since the 1950s, John Falcke has never exhibited... until now. Mall Galleries is honoured to host Falcke on the Mall, a retrospective exhibition showcasing a remarkable career characterised by creativity and experimentation.

John Falcke, Big Screen Kiss

Spanning several styles and subjects, Falcke’s art draws on canonical twentieth-century movements, from Picasso and Cubism to Malevich and Suprematism, in which shape and colour ‘reign supreme’ over image and narrative. These referential elements, combined with a flexible approach to subject, and a serial method of working, saw Falcke develop a unique style which has contributed significantly to British Modernism.

John Falcke, Copenhagen Factory

A fascinating element of John Falcke’s practice is his commitment to using unusual and modest materials; not only are his pieces stripped of unnecessary mark-making, they are also stripped of material pretension. From household gloss paint to MDF board, his tools of choice are surprising, and contribute a humbleness and charm to each piece, keeping viewers on their toes.

Falcke on the Mall will be displayed in the North Gallery until Saturday 17 March (closing at 1pm on final day). This exhibition is complemented by a range of accompanying literature available to purchase from Mall Galleries Bookshop, including Falcke,  a monograph about Falcke’s life and career, Identity, Art and Guilt, the illustrated memoir by Dan Davidson, and John Falcke’s book of Rhythms and Christmas Jingles. Postcards and posters of the exhibited works are also available.

John Falcke, Great Pett Farm 1

Pastels and Pirouettes

Coffee Morning sketching ballet dancers

Pastel painting and ballet have been close companions since Edgar Degas first ventured backstage at the Palais Garnier to sketch the dancers of the Paris Opera. Not only are the frosted hues of pink-ribboned pointe shoes and snow-white tutus ideally suited to the tonal delicacy of pastels, but the shapes and movements in ballet achieve an austere grace under the pastellist’s touch. 

As part of The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018, Mall Galleries paid homage to this celebrated relationship with a visit from the ballerinas of the Central School of Ballet, who danced and posed, with classical piano accompaniment, for the galleries’ visitors to draw. 280 people took part, with help from Derwent who supplied free art equipment. As eager guests queued out of the door, and excited artists stood on chairs to get the best angle for their balletic compositions, the ballerinas and pianist wove a spell of creative serenity over Mall Galleries.

“It’s a wonderful challenge to capture movement in this way”, remarked one guest, whose sketchbook was dotted with rapidly-drawn figures in motion. Each visitor developed their own approach to drawing dance; some took photographs and worked from these, some used iPads to create digital drawings, and some used multiple pastel pencils simultaneously, the replicated lines mirroring the synchronised movement of the dancers. From realist to abstract and amateur to professional, artists from all backgrounds and ages entered into the spirit of the occasion.  

This event was organised as part of Mall Galleries’ ‘Coffee Morning for Art Lovers’ initiative, which takes place on the last Thursday of every month, offering guests unique opportunities to sketch extraordinary subjects, befriend fellow art-lovers, and receive a coffee and pastry from our café for just £3. Previous sitters have included iguanas and tarantulas, and next month there will be the opportunity to sketch jazz musicians, performing live in the main gallery.  

The next ‘Coffee Morning for Art Lovers’ will take place on 29th March between 10am and noon, during the Royal Society of British Artists Annual Exhibition. This event will be sponsored by Winsor & Newton. If you were as enthralled as we were by the Central School of Ballet’s graduate performing company, Ballet Central, look out for their nationwide tour, which starts tomorrow at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. If you were unable to join us for this event, visit our What’s On page to find out about other activities during The Pastel Society Annual Exhibition 2018, which runs until Saturday 3rd March.


David Curtis ROI RSMA, Mission Deep Snow

David Curtis Mall Galleries Christmas Cards

David Curtis is a figurative and ‘plein air’ watercolour and oil painter known for his ability to observe transient light conditions and communicate changing atmospheres in his work.

In 1983, David was elected to become a member of the Royal Society of Marine, then became a member of the Royal Institute of Oil Painters in 1988.

David’s oil painting, ‘Deep Snow’, will be available as a Christmas card in our Mall Galleries Bookshop. We chose to make it into a card because, for us, it is the essence of winter and implies a seasonal cosiness tinged with nostalgia.

Snow is a symbol of the festive season, and David’s portrayal of snow enveloping the roads, roofs and trees is acutely observed and very moving. He achieves snow’s glittering, subtle changes in tone with a muted palette. He achieves the visualisation of that perfect soft, powdery snow texture - compacting underfoot - with tight brushstrokes and seamless blending of paint. The air is pleasantly crisp and fresh. It is a painting in which the viewer can experience a beautiful snowfall with all five senses.

In an otherwise silent scene, David builds anticipation with a solitary figure, wrapped up warm against the elements, crunching through the foot-deep snow as they slowly approach the viewer. You get the sense that everybody else is happily snowed-in inside, sat around woodburning fires, wearing knitted socks and drinking cocoa together. In other words, the perfect Christmas.

Buy Mall Galleries Christmas Cards for the Festive Season

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Image credit

David Curtis Mission Deep Snow

Roger Dellar ROI PS RI, First Snow

If there’s one image the lyrical lilt of ‘I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas’ brings to my imagination, it’s this: Roger Dellar’s oil painting, ‘First Snow’. We all have that idyllic vision of a proper rural and wintery Christmas, with crisp virgin snow carpeting the fields, waiting to be crunched underfoot on a traditional family Boxing Day walk.

Roger is a member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours, the Pastel Society, the Royal Institute of Oil Painters, and President of the Wapping Group of Artists. He is a champion in many media and can work in various environments from the comfort of his Surrey studio to the inhospitable yet picturesque locations favoured by the plein air painter.

He has long been fascinated by the depiction of light in paint. This is evident in his tender and peaceful treatment of the foreground snow contrasted with the bright glare of the distant snow-capped hills. I’m not sure if it’s the framing of the image by the two leafless trees or the cool neutral tones in Roger’s palette, but the tranquillity this scene conjures gets me excited for the start of the festive season.

‘First Snow’ is available as a Christmas card in our bookshop here at Mall Galleries, so you can send your friends and family a card evoking the peace and serenity of that perfect White Christmas.

Buy Mall Galleries Christmas Cards for the Festive Season

Image credit

Roger Dellar, First Snow (detail)

Darren Rees, Polar Bear Christmas Card

Darren Rees SWLA is a self-taught artist and sits on the council of the Society of Wildlife Artists. Inspired by nature, he travels all over the world throughout Europe, the Americas and the Arctic to sketch and paint all varieties of flora and fauna.

He has created this wonderful Polar Bear design for a Christmas Card which we will be selling in Mall Galleries’ Bookshop this festive season. We caught up with him to discuss Christmas, acrylics and Arctic expeditions.

How did you go about capturing the bear in the moment?

It was one of the several bears on pack ice in the Barents Sea, southeast of Svalbard. I sketched it from the ice-worthy ship I was on. It was originally sketched from life with watercolours, and I then I reworked some of the images with acrylic in the studio on my return.

I have read that this year you are doing some naturalist tourn with Speyside Wildlife Company to really exciting destinations - where has been your favourite so far? Where are you most excited about visiting next?

I lead nature tours for about ten weeks every year. So far for 2017 I have been to see bustards and eagles in Spain, grizzly bears and wolves in Yellowstone Park, and lions, rhinos and cheetahs in South Africa. By the time this interview is published I will have also been whale watching in Nova Scotia!

Can you explain how you create your subtle yet striking brushstroke technique using acrylics?

For this polar bear, I used a loaded brush on a very smooth panel as I wanted the brushstrokes to keep their integrity. Integrity is sometimes lost on woven canvas, and I wanted the bold brushstroke effect to remain to emphasise the softness of the polar bear.

Finally, how will you be spending the festive season?

I will spend this Christmas with the family in Scotland - I hope there will be some snow!

Image credit

Darren Rees Polar Bear

A Meeting of Like Minds that led to a Lasting Friendship

Friends of Mall Galleries

On the 26th January at one of Mall Galleries’ ‘Coffee Mornings for Art Lovers', two of our visitors happened to sit next to one another …by the time they left, just a few hours later, they had swapped numbers and become friends in real life!

Read their story:

Patricia Glasswell & Katrine Storebo

Katrine: I started visiting the Mall Galleries regularly earlier this year to attend the Coffee mornings. It seemed like a lovely thing to do on a Thursday morning; inspiring, cultural and social…It was there that I met Patricia. We shared the same table as we were both there on our own

Patricia: The morning we met I felt a bit reluctant to get drawing in public, so initially we got chatting about how this fear can hold you back…talking to Katrine encouraged me.  Then I noticed she was pregnant so I told her I had trained as a midwife and that was it, we got chatting about loads of things. Having swapped emails, later that week we exchanged photos of our own art and then carried on swapping notes and chatting by email

Katrine: Having sent some photos of my son Alex when he was born, we decided to meet again in June for Patricia to meet him in person

Patricia: “…what a lovely baby

I have been a Friend of Mall Galleries for many years and really enjoy the end of month coffee mornings. They are a great way to meet other like-minded people plus an extra enticement to not miss a current exhibition. It is amazing to have the use of paper and drawing materials. I also usually visit Cass Art in Charing Cross to receive 10% off purchases thanks to Mall Galleries.

Katrine: It’s so lovely to plan to meet up with someone at the Gallery, it’s a really friendly, social place and I feel very comfortable attending events there. I think it is great that I can still come to the coffee mornings with my son Alex, he is now just over 6 months old and it’s really convenient with the lift, plus the staff are really friendly. Patricia has been raising money for the St John’s Hospice for years and so not only are we meeting up again at Mall Galleries but I’m aiming to attend her latest exhibition in November in St John’s Wood…it’s for such a good cause.

Patricia Glasswell has shown and sold work at the Discerning Eye exhibition at Mall Galleries. Her next exhibition is being shown on the walls of The Hospital of St John & St Elizabeth from 6th – 14th November, 10am-4pm. 40% of all proceeds are in aid of St John's Hospice. Patricia has been raising money for St John's Hospice for over 17 years.

Exhibition Address: The Hospital of St John and St Elizabeth, 60 Grove End Road, St John's Wood, NW8 9NH (nearest tube St John’s Wood)

Katrine Storebo works as an art teacher at Spitalfield's Crypt Trust (the New Hanbury Project, which was recently visited by Prince William) where she teaches art to people who are in recovery from drugs and alcohol. She is a figurative painter

Our Coffee Mornings for Art Lovers are perfect for those of you who love popping in to have an informal chat about art with other visitors and members of the Mall Galleries team. There is also the chance to do some drawing, with Free drawing materials generously provided by Winsor & Newton

Coffee Mornings for Art Lovers take place on the last Thursday of each month*, so there will always be a new exhibition to see and discuss.

* excluding December 2017

Rosa Sepple PRI: Profile and Interview

Rosa Sepple PRI has been an esteemed member of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours since 2004, and this year elected President (becoming the first ever woman president of the RI).

Largely self-taught, Rosa’s paintings are always colourful, fun and laced with dreamy elements of magical realism. We asked Rosa a few questions about her creative inspiration, life as the first woman president of the RI, and her two Christmas cards that will be available in our bookshop, ‘Lady Madonna’ and ‘Christmas Party’.

By Anna Preston

How was your first year as President of the Royal Society of Painters in Watercolours?

The role of President was most unexpected due to the unfortunate loss of a true friend and colleague, Andy Wood PPRI. I was elected as Vice President in April 2016 and due to Andy’s illness found myself deputising for him 6 months later. On Andy’s passing in the Autumn, I assumed the role of President and was elected officially in April 2017, the first woman President since the RI was formed in 1831. At times things are hectic but very rewarding. It is an honour being President of this wonderful society and I have set myself several goals for my 5-year term. Before becoming President, I decided to try to repeat my successful 2015 solo show at Mall Galleries. I have created 65 new paintings - lots of hard work on top of being President! But I am excited for people to enjoy my new paintings.

Your two Christmas cards are quite different, but both have your signature style and feature your signature motifs of cats, young ladies and raucous parties. What is your favourite subject to explore through your art, and why?

I paint every day. All my work is from my imagination, drawing from my love of animals, and memories of my youth - of being a Catholic child growing up in Italy and subsequently moving back to the UK in the swinging sixties. Walking into my studio is always an adventure, as I rarely know what will transpire...the subject depends on my mood on the day. Not too many are religious pictures, although I do have a portrait of Christ over my bed and I have done an interpretation of the ‘Last Supper’. I was delighted when Mall Galleries chose ‘Lady Madonna’ to be a Christmas card!

Lady Madonna

Your use of the symbolic red and blue of the Virgin Mary’s clothes, and the texturing of her halo in ‘Lady Madonna’, reinterpret traditional depictions of her, referencing Byzantine icons and medieval devotional art in a playful and modern way. Perhaps the title even alludes to the Beatles song...Being of Italian heritage, how have Roman Catholic portrayals of the Madonna influenced you and your portrayal of her?

Lots of colour and texture are my signature. There are a few dark and disturbing works but colours are important to me. My grandparents were Venetian so I grew up going to many churches around the Veneto region, and the Byzantine paintings I saw there have stuck with me, as this picture suggests. The colours of Madonna’s clothing are usually red and blue, as I remember. Oh! And the title, ‘Lady Madonna’ is, of course, a reference to those wonderful summer days of the sixties!

Mary’s halo contrasts so beautifully with the smoothness and serenity of her face. What techniques and media did you use to achieve this contrast?

The Virgin Mary is the epitome of womanhood: warm, honest, sweet and loving. Her halo is the ultimate holy symbol of saintliness, strength and reliability, but her face must remain soft. The results were achieved by layer after layer of paint and gouache. I love using gold leaf and gold paints - the Madonna is the ideal opportunity.

Finally, how will you be spending the festive season?

Every Christmas is spent at home with the four ‘F’s’, family, friends, food and plenty of fizz, with scenes much like my ‘Christmas Party’ card! It should be a happy and peaceful time.

Christmas Party

Rosa's Solo Exhibition opens at Mall Galleries from 26 September to 1 October

Mall Galeries Christmas Cards are available in the Gallery Bookshop now. 

My Work Placement Experience with Mall Galleries Education

My Work Placement Experience with Mall Galleries Education

‘Our Shared Heritage’ Exhibition and Project in partnership with The Royal Parks.

By Zhenni Xu

Audiences Are the Best Artists and Children Can Be the Most Inspirational Mentors

For two weeks over this summer, I was fortunate to undertake a work placement with the Mall Galleries Education Department, assisting with the delivery of the ‘Our Shared Heritage’ project. This placement was part of my Masters degree in Museums and Galleries in Education at the Institute of Education, University College London. ‘Our Shared Heritage’ was a multimedia exhibition showcasing the rich and previously hidden heritage of The Royal Parks, accompanied by a community engagement programme of activities for all ages.

During my placement, I learned more about designing and delivering educational workshops and most importantly I was able to exchange ideas and art inspiration with participants. Their talent and enthusiasm helped me increase my own understanding of art education. I was not only a facilitator and educator, but also a happy listener and eager student.

‘Our Shared Heritage’ had several workshops, and they all had something in common: audiences were invited to draw inspiration from painting, drawing and photography in order to create their own artwork inspired by The Mall and St. James’ Park area. The first workshop was ‘People and Places of The Mall’, a walking tour and drawing session that introduced young and adult participants to various historical, architectural and social aspects of the area.

Classical architecture meets concrete structures at the ‘People and Places of The Mall’ workshop

Using Photography to Capture Moments in St. James’s Park

The photography workshop in St. James’s Park was memorable. Participants used Polaroid cameras, took photographs on their phones and explored collage in order to capture the various elements of the Park. At the same time, they experimented with different photographic techniques, looking at line,

shape, perspective and the positioning of their subject matter. Although it was a very rainy day, this did not affect the enthusiasm of the participants, to some extent, it actually made the photos even more artistic and colour-saturated.

Dee, the photographer leading the session, is discussing with the group different photographic techniques and ways that they can express ideas and feelings through the camera.

We found interesting viewpoints and angles to capture our shot. For example: leaving white space around our subject matter made the photographs more poetic, a case of ‘less is more’! When shooting intricate buildings and structures, we zoomed in on detailed views, thus creating more abstract and artistic works. We were enjoying ourselves so much that we even forgot about the rain.

We are trying out different angles, with a goal to capture the best moments!

A distorted tree shot from an unconventional angle, a bit like a swirl or a labyrinthine tunnel.

Photos taken with Polaroid cameras

Many participants combined photographs printed from their phones with text, collage, cyanotypes and polaroids to create painting-like travel diaries.

‘Art in The Park’ Activity Day

For the ‘Art in The Park’ activity day we invited all ages to come and join us for a day-long drawing session inspired by all the exciting images, feelings and inspiration that green spaces provide us with. Some participants preferred to created detailed works using delicate and exquisite brushwork, while others combined bold brushwork with different colors and textures, creating strong and expressive images. People’s work revealed their personal style, and interestingly, adults tended to record more realistic scenes while children preferred to convert their feelings into abstract patterns or colours.

Photo Wall

On the final day of the exhibition, we invited the wider public to bring in their own photographs capturing an unexpected moment at The Royal Parks or any other green space that they enjoy spending time in, to be exhibited in one of the Gallery spaces. Photographs from the workshops were also hang alongside those brought in by visitors, prompting people to stop, look at their work, as well as to talk to others and exchange ideas about the animals, people and colours of The Royal Parks.

Me in front of the Photo Wall

The ‘Our Shared Heritage’ programme of activities was a partnership between The Royal Parks and Mall Galleries education teams. 

'In the Studio’ A Major New Initiative by Mall Galleries

A Unique Opportunity to help Young Talent become Professional Artists

‘In the Studio’ is inspired by the everyday life and spaces of professional artists. Supporting this unique project will enable more creative young people to discover the studios of artists who exhibit at Mall Galleries. During visits and mentoring sessions, they will explore the significance of these very personal spaces, and the influence they can have for developing a successful career in the arts.

Several young artists find the idea of a long-term career in the art world daunting or financially and logistically unrealistic. Artists taking their first steps in the industry do not often have the opportunity to meet their mid-career and well-established professional peers in order to find out more about how they progressed through the sector. ‘In the Studio’ will help familiarise young talent with what it is really like being a professional artist - beyond what they see and experience in a museum or gallery. They will be invited into the space where Mall Galleries artists spend most of their time, thinking, researching, experimenting and creating work.

Some of the participants will be art school graduates, others will not have been through formal art training. We will also engage those young artists coming from disadvantaged backgrounds who might not have been able to develop their talent due to financial, social or educational barriers. ‘In the Studio’ will allow Mall Galleries artists to share their stories of how they have developed professionally and creatively throughout the years in order to educate and inspire young talent.

The project will culminate with a group exhibition in our Learning Centre on the significance of ‘The Artist’s Studio’, with all artwork created by the young artists themselves in collaboration with Mall Galleries artists. This will be the perfect opportunity to show their own creative work in a central London gallery for the first time and to share their ideas with our visitors.

Your support will help create a new generation of artists for Mall Galleries. 

Image: The Other Richard

Image credit

Emma Hopkins Studio