Saturday, 18 November 2017

'Tall Limes' for sale at the Cank Street Gallery

Tall Limes by Lizzy Hewitt



Thrilled that my picture is for sale at the Cank Street Gallery together with an article published on the Friends of Victoria Park website and Facebook page and the Leicester Clarendon Park Community Online Community Facebook page!  Excited and slightly anxious at the prospect as I’m not a writer, I put on my best writing head and got some words together! Biggest thanks to their Chair, Doug Smith for publishing it for me. Hope you like it!  Here’s the link:

I think the biggest thing I learnt from oil painting classes was not necessarily getting the technique right but opening up my mind as an artist to be more expressive and explore new subject matter.  Taking a fine art approach and painting things I feel strongly about, issues such as mental health and evoking feelings and emotions is somewhere I’d like to go with future work.

The fundamentals of oil using expressive brush marks and applying thicker paint, I feel has made my watercolour work better and contributed to the success of ‘Tall Limes’.

My paintings of Victoria Park available at the Cank Street Gallery can be found here:



Friday, 23 June 2017

Leicester's Cank Street Gallery Summer Prize Giving, Thursday 8 June 2017


Cank Street Gallery was full to bursting for the occasion


Lizzy Hewitt with artist Louise Ellerington & Bev Hart
Lizzy with Dayle Flude, Cank Street Gallery owner

Max Ewen with Lizzy's watercolour entry, 
Sunbathers, Victoria Park

With Mark Hewitt, Lizzy's brother
Paul Berrand and his work, With Every Hour
Tim Fowler with his entry, Princess Leia

With singer, Anetha Hunt


Lousie Ellerington's, Equine Head Study in Red



Lizzy with Cank Street's Maryam

2016 winner, Christine Johnson-Hume, with this year's entry, on screen, Derry Crows in Flight

With mum, Christine Denoon


Lizzy, Paula Robinson & artist Max Berryman
Sue Graham with her paintings

2017 winner, Signpost at Burnham Deepdale, by Peter Clayton



Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Jali Yankuba Conteh, the Konte family and the kora

Jali Yankuba Conteh
Music fans we most definitely are but neither Max nor I had heard of the kora, until my friend Mitch recently returned from The Gambia

In The Gambia Mitch met and befriended a 'Jali' or praise singer, storyteller and guardian of the oral tradition. This Jali, Yankuba Conteh, makes and plays the kora, which turns out to be a 21-stringed instrument that looks a little like a guitar, but is played in front of the body by picking and strumming the strings, like a harp.


The body of the kora is bulbous, usually light coloured, and traditionally decorated with nails or studs. The guitar-like neck rises out of the kora's body with the strings raised on a substantial bridge. Unlike the guitar the traditional kora has no tuning heads. Instead the strings are adjusted by hand, by pushing leather rings to which the strings are attached, up and down the instrument's neck.

Jali Yankuba plays the 21-string kora,
made from a calabash traditionally covered in goatskin.
From this elementary description it's possible to appreciate the difficulty of playing and manipulating such an instrument competently. It seems Jali Yankuba is a 'master' kora player and comes from a family of master kora players. 

Jali Yankuba makes & plays the traditional Gambian kora
The kora originates from The Gambia, so Gambians say. It certainly comes from the mandinka tribes of West Africa, though whether The Gambia, Senegal, Mali or quite where is lost in the mists of time. Several of the most renown kora-playing families, and traditionally Jalis only come from the male line of these few families, come from The Gambia.

Jali Yankuba's grandfather is listed on Wikipedia as the 'Godfather of Kora'. Alhaji Bai Konte was the son of Burama Konte who composed the best known kora anthem or 'boom' made famous across Senegambia by kora star, Mansumaneh Yundum. This was in the 19th century. And according to their oral accounts, the Konte (Konté, Konteh or Conteh) family's kora-playing history goes back many generations prior to this.

The sons of Alhaji Bai Konte are both kora stars. Dembo and Sherrifo Konte appeared on stages across the world and recorded extensively. Dembo's joint CD enterprise, Jali Roll, released in 1989, was named World Music Album of the Year by British music magazines.

Jali Yankuba playing the kora
Dembo's son Bakary now lives in the UK. He too is a Jali and kora master. Jali Yankuba is also Dembo's son, stepson to Sherrifo and Bakary's brother. His kora pedigree is without question yet he was left behind in The Gambia as his father, stepdad and sibling soared to musical aclaim across the globe.

Perhaps conscious of this apparent inequality, Mitch has assisted Jali Yankuba to complete the build of his new Bai Conteh Music School, named in honour of his grandfather, which is hoped will become a popular centre for the teaching of kora and traditional singing, welcoming music students from around the world to Gunjur on Gambia's 'smiling coast'.

Mitch is also assisting Jali to find a music agent, to enable him to play and spread word of kora overseas as other members of his family have done. I hope they are successful. The kora's sound is evocative and quite beautiful and having heard Jali Yankuba play the kora online, Max and I have become genuinely interested in the instrument.
Jali in performance rehearsal

The Kontes and their musical traditions go back many generations. The family's fortunes have depended on the storytelling and oral history of their songs. Jali Yankuba is now composing a song of thanks to my friend Mitch, which he will sing throughout his life and pass 
to his own children as part of their ongoing ancestral story. I wish Jali Yankuba all possible luck with his Music School and look forward to seeing him perform with his kora soon!



Thursday, 27 April 2017

Five go to Suffolk!

View from Southwold Pier
The family, that's Max and I, mum and John, and brother Mark, recently took a short holiday in Suffolk. We had a grand time though the wind never dropped to less than a gale. Nonetheless we enjoyed a good number of local attractions and Max took some interesting photos, as you'll see.
 Felixstowe Seafront Gardens
Mum & Mark on Thorpeness Beach

The Scallop on Aldeburgh Beach, created by Maggi Hambling & commemorating Benjamin Britten
Ľ
On Aldeburgh Beach
Lizzy at Sutton Hoo


Saturday, 11 March 2017

Progress in oils - Vicky Park in yellow!

About time I brought you up to date with my efforts in oils.
My first picture eventually suffered from over working; the sheer versatility of the medium seduced me so that I kept on changing things until, frankly, all the freshness and originality that had been in the painting at the beginning had been painted out. 
The efforts which followed went in the same direction, but more slowly. Bearing in mind that I'd never worked in oils before this and you'll understand that I had more than a little to learn!
All the same, lessons with artist and friend, Louise Ellerington, were beginning to get me somewhere, although until lately I didn't know exactly where!
My most recent painting has something interesting in it. I think. It isn't perfect but I'm not ashamed to share it with you! But see what you think for yourself.


Victoria Park in yellow & mauve, by Liz Hewitt, 2017

Thursday, 16 February 2017

Staunton Harold & the Ferrers Centre for Arts & Crafts

What do you do when you need a change of scene but can't afford a holiday? Last week Mitch and I headed out to Staunton Harold near Ashby de la Zouch, to a stately pile not far from the Derbyshire border, long time home to the Shirley family who belatedly became the Earl Ferrers. Hence the name of the very interesting Ferrers Art Gallery located on the site.

The Gallery occupies the Hall's large old red brick stable yard, every corner of the four-sided, three- floored area now taken up with exhibition space and shops selling contemporary British artware, mostly original work and much reflecting the glorious natural world around the Gallery.

Mitch doesn't walk well so sadly she wasn't able to see half of what was on offer, including the upstairs gallery space. But downstairs we found everything from textile work to very high spec jewellery and metalwork, glassware, crockery, fun gifts and ornaments including animals and birds in a variety of mediums and forms. And several places to sit and try delicious cakes!
We were particularly fascinated by the Victorian Model Workshop making and selling mechanical puppets, worked by levers & pulleys and designed for private collectors and commercial customers world-wide. I particularly enjoyed the little faeries with their moving limbs and beating wings and it was no surprise that these were best selling items. Mitch admired the boxed mechanicals for home assembly - DIY animation. Genius! For a glimpse into this animatronic world, see www.modelworkshop.co.uk


The full title for this stimulating corner of creative enterprise is the Ferrers Centre for Arts and Crafts. It is owned and run by Rachel Chambers, who is also contemporary craft editor for craft&design magazine. With Rachel's enthusiasm, an exhibition runs continually at the centre, taking up all of the second and third floor space. 

There's little practical help for the disabled in such a building, well, not at present, so it was as well that Mitch was entranced with the craft pieces on display downstairs, some very reasonably priced, while I ventured upstairs to the Gallery proper to view excellent and varied works by the region's best known artists and sculptors. 

Interested in visiting Staunton Harold? The Hall is privately owned but there's a well-stocked garden centre plus cafes and plenty of parking. (Paid parking at weekends). And it's all located in the National Forest.

Nearby is Calke Abbey, a National Trust property well worth a visit, together with the rather special Staunton Harold Church and the Severn Trent-owned Staunton Harold reservoir (with boat club!) Go on a sunny day and see the lot, only wear sensible shoes as there's a lot of walking.

www.ferrersgallery.co.uk 
Tel 01332 863337  
LE65 1RU



Shown are a selection of the art and craft works to be found in Ferrers Gallery.


Friday, 27 January 2017

New retailer, PRETTIEZ of Clarendon Park!

Prettiez, 61B Queens Road, Leicester

Prettiez stocks an eclectic mix of artworks, crafts & gifts; Keeley Clarke (centre)

It's always great to have a new outlet selling my art works and PRETTIEZ at 61B Queens Road, Clarendon Park in Leicester is the latest!

As well as original and reproduction art works, owner Keeley Clarke stocks a wide range of eclectic and fun items, including ethnic clothes and accessories that are perfect for festivals! Her shop has been so well received that in 2012 she was awarded the title of Leicester Market Entrepreneur of the Year! 5 years on Prettiez continues to attract a significant footfall. Well done Keeley!

Keeley shares my love of the joyful and quirky and is (happily!) also now selling a range of my own work, suiting all pockets and tastes. You can pick up something as small as a Leicester Town Hall ‘Red Shoes’ postcard, or a canvas bag, a quirky drawing of Big Ben in a gorgeous box frame or an original painting of Leicester's Turkey Café, all by yours truly!

If you’re stuck for gift ideas then Prettiez is definitely the place to visit!  
Prettiez is also on Facebook & Instagram: Prettiez (@my prettiez)