Courtyard Arts Newsletter - Winter/Spring 2020
The latest from Hertford's leading visual arts centre
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A flavour of the great things happening at Courtyard Arts and beyond through the creativity of our volunteers, members, classes and wider family of artists...
This Spring we have a bumper crop of opportunities for artists and makers to showcase their work in Hertford. There's no excuse not to take a look - or get involved!
Printmakers are invited to present a set of works illuminating their practice as The Art of Printmaking comes to Hertford Theatre gallery (3rd Mar - 4th Apr).

interested in taking part? - applications now open

We're celebrating the 15th anniversary of our competitive Courtyard Open exhibition. To mark the occasion, the show is expanding across both the Courtyard Arts and Hertford Theatre galleries (7th - 25th Apr) with a Best in Show prize of £250. Artists are invited to submit two works for consideration by an independent judging panel - one for each venue.

keep an eye on our website for details

A multitude of pop-up exhibition spaces hosting the work of local artists will appear across the town centre for the Hertford Art Trail (11th Apr - 9th May).

watch this space for your Trail guide and map

Julie Scarr

a catch up from Suffolk

Julie Scarr is a name that runs deeply through the Courtyard Arts story and has long been a familiar one on the local art scene. When she moved away from the area a couple of years ago, the curtain came down on Julie’s time as manager of our galleries.

Here Julie catches up on the past and gives a glimpse into the latest chapter of her artistic journey:
Since relocating to Suffolk in 2016 I've found the arts scene on the east coast to be thriving. I belong to a small group of artists called SALT with whom I make collaborative pieces and share ideas on a regular basis. I’m a member of the Aldeburgh Beach Arts Club and had a very short film included (with about 100 others) at the Alive in the Universe project run by the club’s Caroline Wiseman at the Venice Biennale last year.
Suffolk venues exhibiting Julie's work recently include:
The enviable outlook from Julie's show at Aldeburgh Beach Lookout in September!
Many of the artists I meet in Suffolk are prolific in their making, output and exhibiting. One new friend had seven shows last year! Many are entirely reliant on selling their artwork for a living.

We are lucky in Aldeburgh and the locality to have exhibitions and live music of an international standard. There is also The Cut - an arts centre in nearby Halesworth - which is much bigger than Courtyard, but which started up in a similar way and is still run by volunteers. Last year my tutor from art school Graham Boyd had his 90th birthday exhibition there and I was able to help to hang the show and celebrate with him.
Julie's current practice:

"For 2020 I’m making a piece for the Time and Timelessness symposium (featuring Andrew Marr) which takes place in February and I have been invited to submit ten pieces for the Art for Cure exhibition at Glemham Hall in May.

“I have recently been working on woodcuts at Sudbourne print studios (Julie in the studio below) as well as painting and making small sculptures. I don’t usually have a plan, things seem to evolve in the making process."
Since my schooldays, I have always followed an artistic path, albeit with diversions along the way. In 1984, I was lucky to get a place on a new part-time Fine Art degree course for mature students at Hertfordshire College of Art and Design, the first of its kind in the country. The course was run by Graham Boyd who proved to be an inspiration and a true education. From there I exhibited widely and became a part-time lecturer at Ware College.

By 1992 I also had two small children and met with other like-minded artists on Thursday evenings at Pioneer Hall in Hertford. Here the idea was hatched to set up a community arts centre - and the journey of Courtyard Arts began. Firm friendships were established and a lot of fun was had turning a derelict stable yard into the Courtyard site we know today. Whilst continuing to work at the college I maintained my connections with Courtyard as a volunteer: managing the gallery (with Heather Jukes), running the gift shop and as a trustee. Subsequently I became the first employed manager for the galleries at Courtyard and Hertford Theatre.

Courtyard is a special place - I miss being around and love coming back to visit. I still have a small volunteer role doing the accounts for the gift shop which gives me a good excuse to return and catch up with everyone. It’s a special place and I hope with all the goodwill and creativity going on it will continue to develop and thrive.
 - Julie Scarr
What's in store this Spring?

If you haven't dropped by at our gift shop since xmas, call in to explore the ever-changing delights on offer. Discover a veritable showcase for talented local artists and makers:

You'll find beautiful new pieces now available from Hertford-based silversmith Tai Christie, using organic forms in her delicate and natural designs
We're delighted to be stocking the work of textile artist Ghislaine Peart for the first time. Her miniature hand-embroidered brooches are just stunning

Beautiful bookmarks in silver and glass created by Nina from Glass Alchemy make perfect gifts

We defy you not to fall for Emma Marsden's inimitable and characterful animal figures in ceramics
clockwise from top left: jewellery from Tai Christie; brooches from Ghislaine Peart; bookmarks by Nina from Glass Alchemy; ceramics from Emma Marsden.

Follow us on instagram for the latest arrivals on our shelves!

More than Meets the Eye

colourful rhythms

Artists Vanessa Bryson and Suse Nielebock have both been valued members of our team of gallery volunteers. They've now joined forces to create an intriguing and ambitious exhibition of their own for Moorfields Eye Hospital, inspired both by Vanessa’s time as a patient at the hospital and Suse’s experiences of synaesthesia.
The exhibition focusses on music and how it can be translated into a visual form.  Paintings featured are tactile as well as visual, so that they can be experienced by the visually impaired. “I wanted to contribute something back to the hospital,” Vanessa explains following her treatment there. “Suse and I have created a number of paintings inspired by different pieces of music. We want visitors and patients to touch the works and to see if they can experience either the colour or the music, or both.”
In 2013 Vanessa became ill with an eye disease (band keratopathy) causing her to lose vision in both eyes. She was treated at Moorfields for almost a year and has now regained her sight with the help of scleral contact lenses.
“One of the odd conditions associated with this disease was my increased sensitivity to light, specifically blue light such as that emitted by computers.  This type of light caused me severe pain, even when not directly pointed at my eyes.
“This experience prompted me to explore the relationship between colour and how it is perceived.  I decided to use my art to experiment with colour and touch, having previously experimented with how music is perceived as colour.  I decided to combine the two approaches, using music to determine how rhythm can be portrayed visually as well as tactilely.  I used a modelling gel medium to create a raised surface corresponding to the rhythm of the music and then painted with the colours I saw as I listened to the music.”
Taking inspiration from the music of Queen - It's a Miracle (left) and Radio Ga Ga (right) by Vanessa Bryson
Suse Nielebock says she was immediately drawn to the concept of trying to visualise music and was excited to take this challenge “to another level by making these paintings accessible to the visually impaired - connecting music, vision and tactility. The project challenged me to create a whole new body of work in a direction I hadn’t previously explored.”
“I am living with grapheme-colour synaesthesia, which in my case also means being able to see music as a visual manifestation. However even if you can see music manifested, it’s not exactly straightforward to paint a symphony, let alone make it tactile enough for someone to feel and be able to connect with it.”
Inspired by the sounds of classical music, Bumble Bee (left) and Beethoven's 5th Symphony (right) by Suse Nielebock
Vanessa and Suse's exhibition is on show at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London to the end of February. A percentage of sales will be donated to the hospital. Later in the year an additional London exhibition is planned for the project.

Drawing & Sketching

class in focus

Artist and tutor Julie Arnall (pictured, in red) leads our popular Drawing & Sketching class on Fridays. For the session shown here, Julie inducted the class into "quick ways of working" - creating a series of drawings against the clock, with Julie operating a strict 10-minute timer. At each interval new compositions were formed by rearranging still life objects.

Julie likes to open her lessons with an introduction to the week's concepts - making use of visual examples and giving reference to relevant artists' approaches. In this case the class drew on the methods of British artist Euan Uglow - known for meticulously measured sketches and a preference for working within a square frame.

Class member Frances Wilson enthused about how much she gains from the class, explaining that "I wanted to be pushed out of my comfort zone".
Drawing & Sketching is fully booked this term - but you can now browse and book online for all our term-time classes for adults and children
meet the rest of our wonderful team of tutors

Wellbeing through Clay

with Creative Minds

Last year, Mind in Mid Herts launched the National Lottery-funded Creative Minds project to improve wellbeing through the arts. Through Courtyard, our tutor Teresa Morton was enlisted to run initial taster sessions followed by a programme of Pottery classes - sessions that have proved to be the project's most popular offer. Under Teresa's guidance, the sessions have already made a real difference to people's lives.

Here's the story of one participant, Lorraine:
Lorraine has suffered bereavements in recent years, changing her life completely. She was struggling to get out of the house and with confidence issues until she plucked up the courage to try a Creative Minds taster session. 

Lorraine surprised herself when she came along to the pottery taster and signed up for the follow-on classes. She said she is ‘usually shy and would not put herself forward,’ adding that coming to the class gave her a planned meaningful activity every week. Getting out of the house, meeting new people and having a chat really made a big difference to her wellbeing. Even though she had not previously had a particular interest in art, she felt proud of the pottery she created. It felt rewarding to learn a new skill, which helped her to leave her comfort zone and made her willing to try something new again. The pottery group enjoyed each other's company so much that they are all planning to meet up together soon.

Lorraine says ‘it gave me the inspiration to try and experiment with new projects in the future’. Mind in Mid Herts are delighted with the outcome - to see people connecting with each other, forging friendships and making a positive impact on loneliness and isolation.

MiMH is a local mental health voluntary association and charity supporting individuals who are suffering or who have suffered from mental and emotional distress. The Creative Minds project is continuing in 2020.
Haven't yet taken part in our survey? We'd love to hear your views on Courtyard!

Please click to take part - thank you for your support




Work in Progress
4th – 29th Feb
Collection of new work from a group of textile artists, exploring and interpreting the theme of ‘Fragments’ through a wide range of approaches and materials.
The Tutor with a Thousand Students
Deana Kim Page presents
3rd - 28th Mar
Deana returns to celebrate the creativity of her students, inspired by her tutoring. A diverse collection showcasing the achievements of artists of all ages and experience.



Piers from the Sea, Part Three
John Rowlinson
4th – 29th Feb
Views from a Sea Kayak - the culmination of a unique three-year project. Etched prints documenting the piers of Britain from a rarely captured viewpoint.
The Art of Printmaking
3rd Mar – 4th Apr
New venture showcasing and celebrating the abundant talents and varied techniques of printmakers working in the region. 

Courtyard Arts
Port Vale
Hertford SG14 3AA
01992 509596

registered charity no. 1044469
Copyright © 2020 Courtyard Arts, All rights reserved. All images copyright the artist

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Courtyard Arts Centre · Port Vale · Hertford, Hertfordshire SG14 3AA · USA

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