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Biljana Sykes by Laurence Collis

 

As Laurence’s portrait of Biljana Sykes has joined us mid tour, it was not included in The Art of Reading catalogue, which can be found on Blurb.

As The Lots Road Group’s motto is Our Portrait, Your Story, words that accompany our work is equally as important as the portraits themselves.

Here is what Laurence had to say about her sitter, and what she, in turn, has to say about reading.

My sitter

I have painted my friend Biljana Sykes who is a yoga teacher and she is reading her father’s first novel, published last year.  She’s originally from Macedonia but has lived in London since 2000. Biljana is currently working on her biography which is about how her life has evolved since her divorce and the discovery that she had cancer.  She reassessed her life, she changed career, and with the help of many people she met on her journey, she is now happy and in remission.

Biljana Skyes on reading

In Laurence’s painting I am reading my father’s novel which has been published in his native Macedonian: Life: thoughts and wisdom. I like to read at home on my sofa, and occasionally on the plane – in fact, whenever I have a spare moment. I enjoy a mix of fiction and non-fiction, and if I had to choose a Desert Island book I would select Paolo Coelho’s ALEPH.

I like it because I can relate to both his voyage of self-discovery and his discovery of the world, which is relevant to the writing of my own biography. For me, reading means travelling into another person’s reality – their world.

Laurence Collis

Based in West Ealing, Laurence has a BA from Oxford Brookes University, studied portraiture at Heatherley’s and continuing studies at The Chelsea College of Art.  She has exhibited locally twice with the Ealing Art Group and twice in the Ealing Open Exhibition at the PM Gallery.  Her latest group exhibition was at the London Oratory School.  She also takes commissions.

New portrait for Art of Reading

We’re thrilled at the Lots Road Group to have Heatherley’s trained Laurence Collis join our Art of Reading exhibition at the Cambridge Literary Festival with a portrait of her friend Biljana Sykes reading.

CLF_logo B&W finalLaurence Collis portrait Lots Road Group Art of Reading Cambridge Literary Festival

The art of reading now on tour at Cambridge Literary Festival!

Lots Road Group members Hilary Puxley, Mark Stevenson and Katherine Firth (and her daughter) selflessly turned their backs on the glorious Spring sunshine yesterday to set up our latest exhibition The Art of Reading at the Cambridge Literary Festival.

Festival Organiser, Anna Millward, said, “We are delighted to be supporting Lots Road Group The Art of Reading Exhibition. The portraits are exquisite and will make a lovely contribution to the festival vibe.”

And we’re just thrilled to be at such a festival, which runs from today until 23 April and celebrates the subject of our show.

The exhibition, created in association with BookTrust, celebrates the pleasure of reading. It is exhibited in the hub of the Festival, The Old Divinity School, St Johns College, where book signings and sales will take place, and where visitors can relax and socialise.

The portraits depict readers from two to ninety, some of whom are well known authors and academics, including Dame Gillian Beer, Honorary Patron of the Festival. Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and Caroline Dawnay, doyenne of Literary Agents are amongst the sitters, as are other authors, students, friends and family members of the artists and children taking their first steps as readers.

CLF_logo B&W final

Lots Road Group at the Cambridge Literary Festival!

The latest exhibition by the Lots Road Group, ‘The Art of Reading’ will be shown, appropriately, at the Cambridge Literary Festival, which runs from 18 to 23 April inclusive.

The exhibition, created in association with BookTrust, celebrates the pleasure of reading.  It will be exhibited in the hub of the Festival, The Old Divinity School, St Johns College, where book signings and sales will take place, and where visitors can relax and socialise.

The portraits depict readers from two to ninety, some of whom are well known authors and academics, including Dame Gillian Beer, Honorary Patron of the Festival.  Michael Bond, creator of Paddington Bear and Caroline Dawnay, doyenne of Literary Agents are amongst the sitters, as are other authors, students, friends and family members of the artists and children taking their first steps as readers.

CLF_logo B&W final

Cambridge Literary Festival booking info - The Art of Reading

Leaving Waterstones

leaving-waterstones-artist-mark-stevensonThe Art of Reading has now left Waterstones, the first leg of its tour. Watch this space for future dates.
What you said about it:
“Fantastic and calming”
– E Burke
“Beautiful, engaging portraits…[re portrait of Dame Gillian Beer by Katherine Firth] the artist very much captures her spirit
– M Beech
“We came to see the portrait of Daisy by her great aunt Stella and love it! Lovely exhibition and great hanging space.”
– L&J Rogers
“Beautiful portrait [of aunt Caroline Dawnay by Sarah Richardson]. Amazing exhibition.”
– D Dawnay
“Masterfully curated and a diverse and interesting collection of work.”
– G&J Hughes
“Inspiring because it’s real. Very touching.”
– G Doneva
“Totally arresting and engaging!”
– K Owen
“Great exhibition!”
– D Ingham
“Some really gorgeous pieces displayed!”
– E Brooks

In a world of selfies – self portraits offer something different

In a world where selfies – which capture a moment in time – are commonplace, self portraits offer something different, capturing a life lived up to that moment.

The Lots Road Group’s latest exhibition The Art of Reading (Waterstones Gower Street until 30 Nov) includes self portraits of the artists who have contributed their portraits of others reading.
The catalogue contains them all and is available for a special exhibition price in store or online via blurb.co.uk/b/7438580-the-art-of-reading £17.59.

Art of Reading PV – a huge success!

Last night’s Private View of the Lots Road Group’s latest show The Art of Reading, in association with BookTrust, was attended by more than 150 people.

Speeches by this year’s theme leader, Hilary Puxley, and BookTrust’s Meredith Niles underlined that the exhibition aimed to be a celebration of the pleasure of reading.
Meredith spoke about how reading is so integral to family life that when, quite separate to the show, she had asked LRG artist Elizabeth Shields to paint their eldest son William, they found the truest reflection of his personality was to depict him curled up with a great book on his kindle.
Hilary spoke about the popularity of the theme with artists and explained that all the images in the show, which runs at Waterstones Gower Street from today until the end of the month, are accompanied by narratives which together give a palpable sense of the joys of reading.
If you’re quick, you can buy the catalogue in store for a special exhibition price, or you can buy it online via blurb.co.uk/b/7438580-the-art-of-reading £17.59.
Here are some of the artists with their portrait and sitters – including Michael Bond, Julian Warrender, Natasha Farrant and Caroline Dawnay.

Julia Gillard meets The Lots Road Group

Former Australian PM Julia Gillard with members of the Lots Road Group of portrait artists

Lots Road Group members at Portrayed! at the IoD tonight

Lots Road Group members at Portrayed! at the IoD tonight

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard tonight delivered the inaugural Mackworth Lecture at the Institute of Directors and visited the accompanying exhibition of inspiring women by the Lots Road Group of portrait artists.

After delivering the lecture, named in honour of the first woman to occupy the honorary role of IoD President, Lady Margaret Mackworth, in which she spoke about women leadership, she joined the 200 guests in visiting the show which marks the 25th anniversary of International Women’s Forum UK, an organisation of eminent female leaders.

Ms Gillard’s visit is part of the Australia& New Zealand Festival of Literature and Arts.

Portrayed! at the IoD!

Tonight a pop up exhibition of Portrayed! 25 years of inspiring women (from the International Women’s Forum UK) will accompany the launch of an annual lecture, named in honour of the first woman to occupy the honorary role of Institute of Directors President, Lady Margaret Mackworth, who was elected to the post in 1926.

Former Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard – who is in London promoting her book My story – is to deliver the inaugural Mackworth Lecture at the IoD in Pall Mall.