Heatherley’s at the Bankside

Some Lots Road Group artists – including Hero Johnson and Sarah Jane Moon will have work on display in the annual The Heatherley School Of Fine Art Staff Exhibition which is taking place again next month at the Bankside Gallery.

This is Heatherley’s fifth excursion to the Bankside Gallery and always proves a diverse and interesting show and opportunity for friends and students of the school to get together.

The exhibition runs from Thursday 25th January to Sunday 28th January 11am-6pm.

Bankside Gallery
Thames Riverside
48 Hopton Street

Two portraits by Katherine Firth unveiled at Cambridge

Two portraits by Lots Road Group member Katherine Firth: of Dr Chris Dobson and his late wife Ann, were recently unveiled at Selwyn College, Cambridge.

The portraits were commissioned to mark the generosity of Dr and Mrs Dobson, whose major contribution has enabled the building of two wings of Ann Court at the College.

Alla Broeksmit – MFA New York Studio School of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture

Lots Road Group member Alla Broeksmit has gained her MFA from the New York Studio of Drawing, Painting & Sculpture.

Alla Broeksmith NYSS Opening.jpgAt her thesis exhibition earlier this year, Alla said, “Memories are central to how I create images. In this new series of paintings, I am referring to incidents from my past as a mean to dissect my own identity as an immigrant. I was among the ones who have lost everything, the disinherited, the poor, the abandoned. Forty years ago, I escaped the repression and totalitarianism of the Soviet Union. I left my people behind, members of my family, my friends.

“Before I paint, I keep my eyes closed and they appear again, as clear as it was when I was lost in Vienna, my child in my arms. These images are behind each stroke of paint. I utilise this particular psychological content and emotion, embedded in my origins, to feed me and to develop — visually — my new iconography within the layers of paint in my paintings.”

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

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.