Posts Tagged ‘painting’

23 Nov

Drawing and Painting – Spring Term


Join artist Susan Milne for our Wednesday morning art classes.You’ll be introduced to a variety of art materials, practical techniques and processes alongside relevant art history examples. This course of four weeks will involve working in mixed media, collage, drawing and colour.

Different drawing methods and materials will be encouraged and individual attention given during the sessions. The course is suitable for beginners and the more experienced. Basic materials are provided, please bring a sketchbook with you.

WEDNESDAYS, 10am – 1pm
21 Feb – 14 Mar
£70 for 4 weeks


Scroll down to book ONLINE or call 01873 811579 / email

22 Nov

Tribe – Spring Term

rsz_fullsizeoutput_514Tribe is a new monthly workshop for young artists and their families. These playful workshops will explore a wide range of art and craft including Drawing, Painting, Printmaking, Ceramics and Textiles.

The afternoon sessions will provide a friendly, relaxed environment for children to create and learn. Parents and families of all kinds are encouraged to stay for tea/coffee and take part in activities.



13 Jan, 10 Feb, 10 Mar, 14 Apr

Age Guide: 7-11 yrs


FREE – suggested donation of £3 per child per month to cover the cost of materials.

 Tribe is now fully booked for Spring 2018, please keep an eye on our website for future summer dates. Sorry for any inconvenience caused.

24 Jul

DRAWING & PAINTING – autumn term

classes 2 Join artist Susan Milne for our Wednesday morning art classes. You’ll be introduced to a variety of art materials, practical techniques and processes alongside relevant art history examples. The course will introduce the fundamentals of drawing as a discipline that underpins painting, design, printmaking and other creative work, and will also explore the extent of drawing as an end in itself. There will be objective drawing from still life, including perspective, tone and form and a session of drawing in the landscape. Different drawing methods and materials will be encouraged and individual attention given during the sessions.  The focus of the first four sessions will be based on Drawing. After the break and four sessions drawing, the course will introduce painting with a variety of pastels and mixed media to explore gesture and form. The course is suitable for beginners and the more experienced. Please bring a sketchbook with you.

WEDNESDAY, 10am-1pm

4-25 Oct & 8-29 Nov

£70 for 4 weeks/ £130 for 8 weeks

Scroll down to book ONLINE or t: 01873 811579 e:

Please see Booking Information before making a booking.

9 Aug

2017 Food Festival Art Project

Volunteer with Bettina Reeves to create stunning sculptures for Abergavenny Market Hall

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Exif_JPEG_PICTURE2009 Arts Alive Sheep in the Market Hall SELECT





Volunteers are warmly invited to join Bettina Reeves for the 2017 Abergavenny Food Festival art project.  Bettina, who retires this summer from her position as senior tutor for Theatre Design at Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama, has chosen chickens for this year’s art project, a theme last visited in 2008 “We will be crafting chickens from withy and willow, paper and fabric and fluttering amongst these beauties will be native butterflies of silk”.

The project takes place in the Arts Alive Wales studio over 15 intensive days from 29 August to 13 September, 9.30am to 5.30pm and will be installed in Abergavenny Market Hall in time for the Festival weekend on 16/17 September.  This hugely enjoyable and rewarding project is open to volunteers  of all abilities aged over 16 years.  Join us to share and learn new skills and to enjoy the camaraderie, fun and great lunches.  We look forward to welcoming familiar as well as new faces.

Bring lunch to share and a pair of scissors

For more information or if you want to take part email 

The unveiling of the annual art project is an eagerly awaited moment in the local calendar whilst the sculptures are a hugely popular feature of the Market Hall, drawing residents and visitors all year round.  In recognition of its iconic status, this year’s project has been generously supported with funding from Abergavenny Town Council

2017 is Abergavenny Food Festival’s 19th year running and reaches 35,000 people

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23 Aug


You can now download our bilingual Autumn 2017 programme, with details of all our projects, classes and events….



AAW Autumn 2017 Programme (click to download)



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8 Sep

DRAWING & PAINTING – autumn term

Drawing & Painting with Philip Watkins and Tessa Waite 

Join artists Philip Watkins and Tessa Waite for our  regular Wednesday morning art classes. Our professional tutors will introduce a variety of art materials, practical techniques and processes alongside relevant art history examples. Over eight weeks students will develop their visual art skills and confidence in this relaxed and supportive group.

Autumn Term – COLOUR

Colour is subjective, emotional and expressive. During this course you’ll explore how to mix the colours you want, the effect colours have on one another and the use of colour to convey mood. You’ll develop your own colour preferences and palette over the eight weeks and have the opporuntity to experiment.

All classes are suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience.

Please bring a simple sketch book or exercise book with blank pages.

Wednesdays, 10am-1pm  

28th September – 19th October : Philip Watkins

2nd-23rd November : Tessa Waite

£70 for 4 weeks / £130 for 8 weeks includes all materials

Scroll down the page to book online or tel: 01873 811579 / email:

25 Apr


Our popular five-day summer schools enable students to develop their own projects and interests, with the support of a professional tutor in the Arts Alive Wales studio.

Watercolour Landscapes with Philip Watkins 

This course aims to build confidence in using water-based materials in landscape painting, including acrylics, watercolour, inks and soluble pencils. The practicalities of painting outdoors, aerial perspective – how to create distance in paintings using colour – and colour mixing will form part of the course as well as study of relevant art history examples. The course is suitable for beginners as well as those with some experience.

Saturday 6th – Wednesday 10th August

10am – 3pm

£150 for 5 days

Scroll down to BOOK ONLINE

Or tel:  01873 811579 / email:

Materials will be provided but please bring whatever water-based materials you wish.

Please bring a jam jar with a lid or other water carrier for painting outdoors.

Please bring a packed lunch.

Please ensure you have practical outdoor shoes and a waterproof jacket for working outdoors. Please inform staff of any mobility issues when booking.

18 Nov

Diana Heeks – Black Mountains project (4)

Artist Diana Heeks, based in Llanrhystud, West Wales, is developing a project in the Black Mountains inspired by Raymond Williams‘ unfinished novel People of the Black Mountains.

The project comprises four, week-long visits to the region and is funded by a ‘research and development’ grant from the Arts Council of Wales.

PEAK is a project partner and supporting Diana through artist mentoring and promotion. PEAK will announce details of an open studio day and talk with Diana to conclude the project in the autumn.


“Literature has influenced and engaged me since childhood, and this book evokes feelings which I have an almost visceral need to explore in paint. The Black Mountains is a cluster of steep-sided parallel ridges east of the Brecon Beacons, mainly in Wales but partly across the English border. In two volumes this book tells a series of linked stories about the history of the area, from Neolithic times until the Norman invasion, encompassing a grand sweep across thousands of years and tens of generations, offering both a bird’s-eye view and ground-level intimacy. For many years I have read and reread this novel. Its qualities of imagination and humanity, and its sense of the influence of place, attracted me as a painter from the outset, especially as the location has long been a favourite. The stories and evoked imagery have accompanied me whilst working plein air and on walks and explorations in the actual locations and landscapes of the book. I want to attempt an equivalent in oils on canvas.”

- Diana Heeks

“Press your fingers close on this lichened sandstone. With this stone and this grass, with this red earth, this place was received and made and remade. Its generations are distinct, but all suddenly present.”

– Raymond Williams, People of the Black Mountains


First Visit  – 16-23 March 2015

Click here for the first blog post


Second Visit – 15-22 May 2015

Click here for the second blog post


Third Visit - 4-11 September 2015

Click here for the third blog post


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Fourth Visit – 16-23 October 2015

During this last week of the project there have been autumn colours and glorious sunshine, but the nights draw in and at early evening the view from my door at Broadley has darkened. The sweep of hillside opposite shows glimmering pinpoints as outlying farmsteads switch on. The ridge horizon line, along which Glyn searched in the link chapters “Glyn to Elis”, is black against a luminous sky, mauve, orange-pink and deep blue, with arching clouds in flow, until it quickly darkens. Next time I look there are stars.

This fourth and final week has been taken up with organising the Open Studio, which took place on 22 October. This event summarised and displayed my preoccupations and activities over this last year.

In his opening chapter of “The Beginning”, the first volume of People of the Black Mountains, Raymond Williams describes the colours he finds in the BM landscape: “From a distance, in good light, the long whaleback ridges are blue. Under cloud they are grey cloudbanks. But from within they are many colours: olive green under sunlight; darker green with the patches of summer bracken; green with a pink tinge when there are young leaves on the whinberries; dark with the heather out of flower, purple briefly in late summer; russet with autumn bracken, when at dawn after rain the eastern slopes can be red; pale gold in dead winter bracken, against the white of snow. Yet black, a cellular black, under storm cloud; a pitted honeycomb of darkness within darkness.”

I enjoyed this passage so much that I simply wanted to list his colours visually and associate them with colour situations in which I was already involved (eg the blacks of Malevich … difficulties around vermilion). They became contained within shapes which I find pleasure in as visual archetypes of landscape, for example a sharply defined cloud shape emerging over a sky line or a field against the plunge of a hillside. In the Open Studio these ideas crystallised into a floor piece which I titled “From a distance, in good light … ”. The work is essentially a piece of collage, with much of it derived from recycling old work, but there is interest and mystery when the cast-off becomes something else.

The pieces titled “Glyn to Elis/Cist” comprise a suite of medium-sized paintings, drawings and collage pieces which are my intuitive response to the book’s account of Glyn’s night-time journey along the ridges looking for his missing grandfather Elis. His search takes him through a landscape in darkness, sometimes moonlit, in which lie the cists and their contents: arrowheads, pottery and the bones of long-ago people which have lain in the dark for millennia. There is a sense of what some Celtic peoples call the “thin place”, where the separation of reality from other worlds is weak.

The larger pieces in the OS came about partly through my need to “brush broad” – maybe as a physical rebellion against my previous small work on Black Mountains themes, or maybe as a response to the broad sweep of RW’s subject matter. For many of the larger pieces I have researched particular elements of the stories, and this research has enriched my experience of them, particularly in the cases of “Bibra in Magnis” and “The Gift of Acha”, both of which I found especially moving. The materiality of paint, the combination of text and gesture, RW’s lyricism and other aspects were also building blocks.

The Open Studio, while an important opportunity to see the work through the eyes of others, could be seen as the culmination of a year focusing on one place and one book, both immeasurably rich worlds with much to teach us. But it is also a beginning, a laying out of a palette of possibilities, a chance to examine and evaluate. Some of the work produced can be seen as exploratory and some as development, but I am aware that only a few pieces have achieved resolution and therefore there is much more to do. The elements which have emerged from this exercise may converge, combine, burgeon or wither. We’ll have to see.

Diana Heeks

October 2015


I have witnessed Diana’s work developing over the past year and I am continually struck by the vitality of colour and form in her paintings. There is an innate confidence to Diana’s work and this is reflected in the way she writes about her experience with uncluttered, authentic language. The work she has produced while resident in the Black Mountains (and further developed in her studio in West Wales) stands alone as an artist’s abstract response to landscape. An understanding of Raymond Williams’ PotBM novels is certainly of interest but not essential in appreciating this new work. PEAK looks forward to continuing to support Diana and several other practitioners who are now discovering or revisiting Williams’ fiction and academic writing to produce contemporary, creative responses to his legacy.

Rebecca Spooner
Arts Development Manager

November 2015


Images: Nathan Morgan & Laura Heeks


For more information about Diana’s work visit:

For more information about PEAK, Contemporary Art In The Black Mountains, visit:

Arts Council of Wales




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