Digswell Alumni Karen Picton, Gill Ayre and Jo Howe at Art Fair East 2016

Written by Caryl Beach

On November 15, 2016

afe-image-webThe Digswell Alumni Karen Picton, Gill Ayre and Jo Howe came together and formed a studio collective in July 2015 ‘Langley End Studio’ nestling in the Hitchin countryside. They are thrilled to have been selected this year for http://artfaireast.com/, a showcase of national and international galleries, dealers and artists to an Eastern region audience of art lovers, collectors and businesses. The 2016 fair takes place in the spectacular setting of Saint Andrews Hall, at the heart of Norwich city centre. Ticket below.




Karen Picton describes her practice as…

‘I would say that everything begins with the landscape, or more accurately, the land, the great diversity of land in Britain. For the last five years I’ve been painting with the mud that I find in different areas of the country, I think it’s the most honest way to explore the essential nature of the land. I begin by making work that is about the land, it’s colours, it’s geology and it’s history but then I use the mud from various places to make more abstract works, paintings of my interior landscape, my mind in the land. I think the outside landscape and the one in my mind are inseparable so my practice is really about both. I’ve always been really interested in how ideas and materials work together, so my process and practice are always connected. Using mud is part of understanding a material and how it works but I also use raw pigments to make up historic paints like egg tempera or experiment with new and contemporary materials. There is always something to learn so maybe my creative practice is about a process of finding out.’




Gill Ayre describes her practice as…

‘I am primarily a painter working with oils on canvas, and I also enjoy some printmaking and working with mixed media. My creative practice is an expression of my own emotional response to the natural world we live in. This is always my starting place, either captured in a quick sketch, or a photograph, or just notes scribbled down on a scrap of paper. I tend to have several canvases on the go at any one time (otherwise I would waste a lot of time watching paint dry!), so I usually start by working on an existing piece while the ideas for new work are gestating. A blank canvas can be quite daunting and intimidating, so I find it useful to just ‘spill’ some paint on, something quick drying, such as acrylic, just to get started. In fact I have recently found that working on top of old paintings can be a very liberating experience!

I tend to build a painting up in layers, dripping and splashing paint, as well as more definite mark making, and from there I let the process lead me. Invariably the painting ends up being quite different from my original vision, but that is part of the excitement of it – seeing where it leads me.’



Jo Howe describes her practice as…

‘My creative practice is as essential to me as breathing. It feels very much part of what makes me function. I see it as the way to express myself, some times to others, but primarily to myself. Gaining further understanding of my life’s experiences; the trials and tribulations as well as the joys and achievements.

I work predominantly with old books and book pages.  The book or page becomes a tool for looking inwards to our evolving personal narratives rather than the read contents of the book as text. I consciously work with the text to render it difficult to read, if not at times almost absent. The fragmentation, removal and disruption of text transforms words into visual clues. By resisting meaning in purely linguistic terms the reader is invited to respond at an intuitive and emotional level. In physically exploring text, removal of text, the page, book and restructured cover I seek to construct alternative narratives, which in turn generate new meaning.’

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