Art groups are a great way to bring people together around a shared passion, whether this is to create art or to appreciate art. It is with the latter in mind that Age UK Islington set up a series of online ‘Painting Appreciation’ events. Although, in reality, the sessions have become a place where people sometimes do both!
The Painting Appreciation group come together every Tuesday to take part in sessions led by AUKI volunteers with occasional guest speakers from galleries and museums around the city. A wide range of topics, artists and movements are covered and a lively chat is guaranteed.
People who take part are of all ages and from different backgrounds, with some regular Islington carers attending. Some people have a life-long interest in art and some people have discovered a new interest in art from taking part in the sessions. The community is ever-growing and is currently flourishing with over 70 participants. Around 30-40 people take part each week.
As well as welcoming external guest speakers, members of the group sometimes step in to present a topic of their choice. Another dimension of the group is that a few of the members use the sessions as inspiration to sketch or paint whatever comes to mind.
Meeting some of the members
Those who listen and share their thoughts....
Sue is a carer for her mother and attends Painting Appreciation when she can. 'Jeremy, the volunteer host, is absolutely marvellous. He's just right, very captivating and allows ample time for everyone in the group to have their say and discuss the paintings in detail.
I can't draw, and have never never tried to paint due to time constraints, but I find it truly inspiring! It's really lovely when people are sketching during the session and show what they've done.
I care for my Mum and it's pure escapism for an hour or so, as I get the opportunity to concentrate on something completely different. As much as I love my dear old Mum, it's so good to get a break, even if it's just for a short while.
I know everyone is looking forward to getting back to seeing people face to face, but on Zoom there are a lot of benefits. It's flexible and I can pop in to see Mum if she needs me during the session, which is something that carers, such as myself, really appreciate being able to do.'
Lucy takes part most weeks in the Painting Appreciation session. 'I find it very interesting. There's a mixture of different types of art. Last week was a particularly good session about the art of American artist, Jennifer Packer, who has an exhibition at the Serpentine Gallery at the moment. She does lots of portraits and people.
I used to go to the museums before lockdown. Age UK Islington used to have a group that would go to the National Gallery and they would help you to get to know a particular piece of art and explain that to you. I hadn't used Zoom before lockdown, but I can get it on my phone. I do yoga and art. The Painting Appreciation sessions on Zoom show you things you wouldn't normally see in the art. I don't do art myself but I would like to have a try!'
And a few who sketch along....
Ann is a keen member of the Painting Appreciation sessions and one of the first members to host a session. She is an art teacher, volunteer chair of the Islington Art Society and chose to speak about the US artist Alice Neel. Since then, Ann has gone on to lead talks within the Islington Art Society.
See more of Ann's pictures that she's created in the Painting Apprecation sessions.
Lorraine is another member of the Painting Appreciation network and someone who is equally inspired by the sessions. Whilst she was initially unsure about the prospect of online talks this quickly changed and she now finds the weekly meetings to be really valuable.
See more of Lorraine's pictures that she's created in the Painting Apprecation sessions.
Ruben grew up in West London and fell in love with art after visiting the home of a family friend in his youth. The friend in question was an artist and had many works of art around the home. It was this introduction to art that completely inspired Ruben!
See more of Ruben's pictures that he's created in the Painting Apprecation sessions.
Past and Future Painting Appreciations Sessions
Earlier this month we were also very lucky to have worked with Melissa Blanchflower, Exhibition Curator at Serpentine Galleries, who gave a talk on 22 June about one of the galleries’ current exhibitions - Jennifer Packer: ‘The Eye Is Not Satisfied With Seeing’. The talk and exhibition coincided with Windrush Day as a means of facilitating a meaningful conversation about racial politics and representation.
Next month, Tuesday 6 July, we’re delighted to welcome two talks by Andrew Lane, Education Officer at Guildhall Art Gallery and London’s Roman Amphitheatre. Described in the press as one of the ‘most important archaeological discoveries in London for over a century’, the first talk will examine the discovery of London’s Roman Amphitheatre and will place it within the context of Roman London. Andrew's second talk will examine how the ancient city has been depicted over the years. For more info & to book, click here.
Join us for Painting Appreciation!
Lots of people have tried our online activities during lockdown and discovered a whole new world of friendship and activities. In the coming months, we'll be continuing with the online activities but also opening up our face to face activities, keeping a watchful eye on government guidelines.
To browse our full range of weekly Get Togethers, please click here.
The online Get Togethers are very simple to join from any device - smartphone, tablet or pc. To join Painting Appreciation or any of our other online Get Togethers, contact our Helpline on email@example.com and we'll send you a link for the Get Together. You can click on the link at the time of the activity and we'll welcome you to the activity.
Need Some Help Trying out Zoom?
If you'd like help to try a zoom session before joining an activity let us know, as we've Age UK Islington Digital Volunteers who can arrange this for you. For more information, click here.
They can also help with anything else you'd like to achieve using your pc, tablet or smartphone.