Ruth Rickwood, Jennifer Steele, Anja Penger-Onyett, Ian Grinham and Annette Glenn will be exhibiting at the RSPB Day at Sandy:


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Anne-Marie Stijelja Solo Show at Bedford School

All are welcome to attend the opening night of ANB member Anne-Marie Stijleja’s solo show at Bedford School. Details in the poster above.


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‘Do Artists Need Social Media’ by Beatriz Acevedo

The following blog post is reproduced here with permission from ANB member Beatriz Acevedo, from her blog ‘Becoming an Artist’

Lost in the “jungle” of social media? Overwhelmed by the options of joining Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WordPress, Snapchat, Pinterest, YouTube, Vimeo, Tumblr…. How can artist decide whether or not social media for our own progress, taking into account that each of these mediums require time and energy, already scarce in our daily lives? Today I will blog about social media, based on my own (limited) experience and drawing upon the informative workshop of Fit for the Future: Digital strategies organised by the Royal Opera House Bridge in their reach-out program Culture Change, I blogged about this before.

In the workshop, “happy skeptic”  Cliff Manning formulated the question: “Why to bother with social media” as there is always a sort of “hype” about joining these many alternatives, promising instant results, incredible sales and endless excitement. But these expectations are soon challenged, and the bubble bursts in disappointment. However, the point is that social media does not need to be a “hype” or a “should” but something that it is a ‘normal’, and that we need to perceive some added value of engaging with them. In sum, in order to work, social media needs to part of our daily lives and activities, rather than a burden… so why should engage or not social media?


To start resolving this question, Cliff shared some staggering figures about the use of socialmedia.There are 1.28 billion of Facebook users, 223 million of active users of Twitter (78% engaging through mobile phones); 200 million people using Instagram; and most of the users of Pinterest are women!  So, there is a wealth of possibilities here, of making contacts, of doing things in a different way (i.e. by interacting directly with audiences, self-publishing, etc.). Beyond having the possibility of “putting yourself out”, Cliff stressed the fact that social media allows us as artists to LISTEN to what is going on, being connected with trends, with potential collaborations, conversations, etc. Indeed, he answers the question of Why bother? with the four C’s:  Connections, Conversations and Collaborations, and if this not enough, then you have “Cats”!

Personally, I’ve been experimenting with different social media and this is my assessment.

Platform Pros & Cons What’s good for artists? Potential What do I do?
Facebook It is popular and it is useful foradvertising.It is more for friends and family, but, if you have a facebook page is a good way to connect with people that know you. Some artists sell extremely well infacebook.It is a way to keep reminding people that you are alive and working! Some say that it is in decline, that it is only for certain type of age, but it is still one of the more engaging addictive platforms. I have a Facebook page that allows me to share what I do, it works as a more active website.
Instagram It is more visual than textual. It is growing a lot, and it is very good for young people. It is limited to photographs, but this can be good for artists. Vogue said that Instagram is the largest online gallery in the world. Gallerists and collectors visit this platform. If you do instagram it is good to give more about yourself. This is a good platform to engage with people and also to create a quirky identity. See how here I am usinginstagram to share my iCuts and create a bit of a quirky identity around cuttings, quirky lettering and collages.
Blog (WordPress) It can be a blog or a website. TAArecommends it for websites. It is good if you have things to say, in regular basis, but for certain group. For me the blog is a way of reflecting about my own process and it allows me to document what I am doing and this normally goes to catalogues or to newsletters. It is a very versatile platform, but you need to think who you are writing for, because it demands time. I write every weekabout different topics (my own process, exhibitions, ideas), I feel that this blog is good for other artists wanting to “become” or learn. I love it because it has reconnected me with my writing.
Twitter A good way to engage with what is happening around the world. You can have relationships with people directly. 78% use it in the mobile. Direct, quick, and short *149 characters make you go to the point! Connecting with other artists, increase your “visibility” and your presence in the cyberspace. Much better than facebook in terms of publicity because it is an open platform. A very good way to connect with people, institutions and link with your own work and other’s people’s work. I am just experimenting with Twitter, in the sense of opening an account and see what is around.

Another important technology is the possibility of managing lists of people interested in your work. For that I use Mailchimp: This is what can be called administering your social capital!Who are your social capital? collectors, fellow artists, providers, people interested in your work, etc. I have two main lists, one for my collectors and other for people who are interested in my work in a more general way. These are people who have accepted to receive my newsletter previously (i.e. by signing a guest book or sending me an email). It works very easily, you need to create a list of people, even if you have one already in Excel, that’s great, with names, surnames and emails. Mailchimp helps you to create beautiful newsletters, addressing people by their name (i.e. Dear Charles), and sending the mails to everybody at certain schedule time.  The process is very easy, it is quirky to see the chimp saying “high five” and it is very reliable, well explained platform.

One of the most useful aspects of the workshop was to start thinking how to use social media for our purposes, and not the other way around. Basically, social media is good to “reach” people, but after that artists need to “engage”, in other words, to build relationships, gain trust and establish meaningful links with people. That may take longer than the process of simply “reaching out”.  Cliff shared this “framework” from Jim Richardson and Jasper Wise (Creative Commons) to think how can we plan strategically how to engage with social media.

It starts by realizing our ASSETS, considering what are our main assets, it can be products, services, time, space, skills, knowledge or networks. Then it ask about how to REACH certain audiences (here we need to be very specific), and we can also think of what type of “information”, “technology” and “processes” are required.  Beyond reaching, it would be interesting to really ENGAGE with audiences, by establishing relationships, asking for favours, opinions, contributions.  Around it, we need also to think about what are our OBJECTIVES, our VISION and TRENDS that may influence our actions, activities. The graphic can illustrate that better:

So what to do?

Well, I understand this is a lot of information to consider, but I would suggest start with the media that you are more comfortable with. For instance, if you are already using Facebook, why not to try to do a “facebook” page?  If you like to write notes, why not to start a blog? With twitter, you can create your identity, and start following people you like, slowly and playfully. In general, try to do things that you find fun to do, and then experiment. Also, when you feel a bit more confident, it will be good to start thinking on strategic terms. Most importantly, you need to think what you want to say, build relationships and trust,  and to make social media part of your normal life!


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Creative meet Green: Culture Change and Sustainability by Beatriz Acevedo

What do creatives have to offer to the challenges of greener world? What can art do to promote sustainability? How environmental projects can include art and creativity?  I have always thought that the answer is obvious… earth and art are part of the same equation, yet, it is not so easy to establish bridges between the Greens and the Creatives.  The Culture Change Sustainablityevent organised by Julie’s Bicycle and the Royal Opera House is trying to bridge those sectors.  Thanks to a grant from the European Regional Development Fund this is a collective effort of passionate people about the unfolded potential of creativity in the world of sustainability. This was an all day seminar of exciting presentations, inspiring speakers, useful workshops and opera & ballet! What’s not to like!

In this post I will try to summarise some of the key messages of this seminar, as I think it is a great opportunity for all of us who have been thinking that arts can play a key role in a sustainable future.


photo 2

The event was inaugurated by Alex Beard, CE of the ROH emphasising the role of the ROH as a creative hub for artists, crafters, creative teams, enterpreneurs, and also stressing their role in contemporary issues such as climate change and social development.  Alison Tickell from Julie’s Bicycle, empahsised the importance of linking the Green with the Creative People. Julie’s Bicycle has developed a number of projects in the area of sustainability for creative people, materials, processes and educational resources, that represent a wealth of opportunities for artists and educators across the world.  She talked about the need of “changing the conversation” from financial growth to the question about values: ethical, aesthetical, economical!  I agree wholeheartedly with her conviction that arts have the capacity to affect how human beings perceive and experience nature, and how ultimately art can generate a cultural change. Indeed, my own series of “Our Garden of Everyday” attempts at revealing the beauty around us: the gardens and their values, flowers and their meaning, and how fortunate, but also responsible we must be in caring for and preserving such a treasure.  Some inspiring experiences were shared in this quest:

The panel chaired by Andrea Stark from High House Production Park, revealed that this is a ripe moment for change. Indeed the High House Production Park is a hub of creative activity, crafters, artists and enterpreneurs. Andrea talked about the potential of a National College for Creative Arts, which will connect to the economic and employability agenda of the East of England. That makes me think that my project GoGreen in collaboration with the National Union of Students, may be an interesting platform to develop green apprentices, skills and other necessary ways of linking the business world with the creative/educational. In the GoGreenPilot’12 we developed a model of action learning using art-based methodologies in the process of facilitating environmentally friendly activities and organisational change. For me, this is the first time that I am mentioning my life as an academic/educator and my ongoing passion with education for sustainability!

In this line of projects linking art and communities, Ali Pretty from Kinetika shared their journey in high profile community events such as the Olympics Ceremony, World Cups ceremony and many more, linking artists, creators, crafters with big entertainment and education.  She talked about the power of festivals and carnivals as tools of change: appealing to our senses and opening active dialogues, she argued that art has that potential in changing perceptions, establishing dialogues and creating better communities.  Indeed, after her work in these high profiles events, she felt that she had to return to small scale living, and she moved to Turrock.  In order to meet the community she invited people to take part in her “Transformational Walking Projects” which basically are activities involving outdoor walking, talking and making (the road is marked by beautifully made flags!).

This is a fantastic idea and it makes me think of a recent conversation with my fellow artists Jill Taylor and Jill Goodyear regarding their work being influenced by the outdoors. Both are passionate walkers and their art is so “earthy” and primitive (Jill Taylor), I think that there is more to do in this sense and some ideas can emerge from this post and our future meeting.  Also, Dawn Jordan -adviser, enabler, dream planner and consultant- who went with me to the event, mentioned about the possibility of merging her amazing skills in developing meaningful and deep conversations with the action of walking, as she is herself passionate about sustainability, ethics and personal development. And of course, the conversation we had with my dear friend Donna Ladkin, about the connections between ethics and aesthetics, and the need of reframing the question of “is this (action) the right thing to do” with “is it beautiful?“. Beautiful in the sense of empowering, life changing and affirmative, rather than in “pretty”…

This ongoing quest to develop community dialogues was furthered by Colette Baily from Metal. They organise public events, public exhibitions in their quest of closing the gap between artists and public. They have different activities, from quilting (hello Ann Rippin, super duper academic quilter) to Community dinners, and they operate in different places such as Liverpool, Peterborough and Southend in Essex.  She emphasised how values guide everything in what they do, and how they inspire the new development of a recently acquired building: a hub for meaningful encounters.  I was particularly interested in their Community Dinners as I have been following the inspiring work of Pinar Coskun‘s Cook with Me project and Gare Du Nord in Rotterdam. Pinar is passionate about veganism and sustainability, she is a great chef and she made me love good vegan food! We are starting to work on a project together, linking veganism, sustainability and art… (watch this space).

To top these inspiring talks, they invited Wayne Hemingway as the key speaker of the event. He was really fantastic: honest, authentic and so optimistic. Wayne and his wife are the creator ofRed or Dead label, and also Hemingway Designs. He talked about the fact that we are living in a moment of transition, a change from the selfish individualism toward a new paradigm of creativity and GENEROSITY!  He mentioned that the creative industries are key players in the national economy (£71 billion worth) but most importantly creativity in the sense of proposing different forms of working: cooperation, problem solving, lateral thinking, beautiful thinking!

So with all of this I think that it is time for us, artists and educators and academics to assume our role as leaders of this change. It was so interesting to see that our conversations in forums like SCOS or the Art of Management, and our talks in the Artists Network of Bedfordshire or the Art Nest about our values are starting to be more visible!

The event was a real success and I would like to thank the organisers and the team for such abeautiful event, in the sense of inspiring, encouraging, empowering and aesthetically valuable!

Now my questions for continuing this conversation are:

a. How can we access to networks, information and resources if we want to propose projects in art and sustainability?

b. How can be bring an eco-preneurship attitude to the link between creativity (creative people) and sustainability (green people).

c.  How can we start playing a role in the conversations on sustainability (environmental, social and economical) in our local and regional communities, using art as the vehicle for these dialogues?


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Susan Erskine-Jones Spring 2015 Printmaking Workshops

Printmaking Workshops

Pressmore Studio, Ashley Green Road, Ashley Green (near Berkhamstead), HP5 3PF, Bucks

Small classes of up to six people

Painterly Monoprinting – 1 day workshop

Wednesday 11th March 10am-3pm

Cost: £40 plus materials

The appeal of monoprinting lies in its unique translucency that creates a quality of light very different from painting on paper. The artwork can also be drawn into and manipulated using additive and reductive techniques. We will work on aluminium or drypoint plastic plates using everything from paintbrushes and palette knives to rags fingers and cotton buds. The creative process encourages experimentation and imagination.

Collograph – 2 day workshop

Wednesday 18th & 25th March 10am-3pm

Cost: £80 plus materials

Making a collograph is a constructive process – materials are added to the surface of the plate. Rich tones can also be created with the additional use of carborundum powder (silicon carbide crystrals).

Drypoint with mountboard – 1 day workshop

Wednesday 22nd April 10am-3pm

Cost: £40 plus materials

Drypoint is a direct way to make an intaglio print. We will use heavily varnished card which I find more robust than drypoint card. The plate can be cut into for areas of grey, sandpapered and drawn into with a sharp edge to create tone as well as line. A second plate of clear drypoint plastic can later be used to add colour.

Solar Printing – 1 day workshop

Wednesday 29th April 10am-3pm

Cost: £40 plus materials

A solarplate is a light sensitized polymer material used by artists as an alternative to etching. It is a simple, safer and faster technique than traditional etching printing.

Monoprinting with Rollers – 1 day workshop

Wednesday 6th May 10am-3pm

Cost: £40 plus materials

Ink is rolled onto the plate. The image is developed by drawing into the plate or manipulating the ink using additive and/or reductive techniques

Materials needed

Materials for printing can be bought during the workshop. Please bring protective clothing – apron or similar. Sketch book/ ideas for prints. Art materials you think would be suitable and you would like to use. I will also have equipment for you to use. Please bring a packed lunch, (refreshments are provided)

What to do

To book a place or if you have any questions, please phone 07818 293847 or email me:

Alternative dates for a minimum of three participants can be arranged if you can’t make the listed dates. Please contact me to discuss the type of workshop you would like and suitable dates.

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Tiffany Logan shows at Candid Arts, Islington

ANB member Tiffany Logan is showing at the mixed media exhibition at
Candid Arts Trust Galleries
3 Torrens St, Angel Islington
5th – 8th February 2015
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Jon Canty Solo Show at ArtTrend, Luton

Luton Art Show second prize winner and ANB member Jon Canty has a solo show at ArtTrend, Luton. The Private View is on Sunday 8th March at 2-5pm.

Event on Facebook:


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‘Some notes about promoting your art in social media’ by Beatriz Acevedo

Beatriz Acevedo ‘Homage to Frida Kahlo’

The artists in my network hub asked me to give them some tips in using facebook and other social media for promoting our art. I thought I would try to collect both my  experience (I am just learning about this journey of becoming a professional artist) and a glimpse of the excellent advice of websites and groups like “the Abundant Artist“, Create and Inspire, specially Cory Huff’s “The abundant artist”  that is the one I most consult because it is down to earth and practical.

Social media can be a minefield, because there is so much outside and it is changing all the time. For instance, Facebook is a “top-dog” platform with almost 1 billion members, perfect for advertising and a very enticing “time-waster” (I know that so well as I spend a lot of “5 min only” procrastinating in Facebook… of course, it is always more than 5 minutes while I check, like or follow the 100 daily posts of my 320 ‘friends’). And there is also Twitter, and Instagram; Pinterest and Ello (the new kid in the block that promises a fee advertising social media!).

Forbes magazine website estimates that social media will become a necessity, so it is not an option for artists, whether “I like it or not”… if we want to become professional and sell our art, then we have to engage with what is going on.  But before getting into the particularities of the numerous platforms for social media, it is important to remember that for artists “you are the brand” and your art is “your product“, thus any social interaction needs to get that message clear.  So social media is not only internet-mediated interactions, but any social interaction, from the neighbourhood, to the bus queue, or business or artist networks, or the apparently innocent daily interactions: your choir group, your church, your friends.  I am not suggesting that you are all the time at “selling” – that is too rough!-, but what I would like to remind is that we carry our identity everywhere we go.  So I started by making some questions (for my self and my group of fellow artists):

“What do I want to say?”…

Describe in few words what is interesting about my art and myself. If somebody ask you in a party (specially in Britain) the usual “What do you do?” what would you say? What would you like people to remember of you. Here, as well as in any other social media platform, you need to be quick, you need to be memorable, you need to be basic.

This is one of the first tips for social media, to keep it simple, something that people understand. I remember at the beginning of my artistic career defining my art in such a flamboyant terms: “psychodelic expressionism”, “graphic impressionism” (please don’t laugh…well not so loud!), etc, only to find that nobody (not even myself) will remember.  Still now I am struggling to find what defines my art. Just recently I thought that what I do is not exactly botanical illustration, rather is botanical design, but I definitively think that “botanical” is a tag that can be attached to some of my work.  This does not mean that you are limiting yourself only to that type of art, but you need to “invite” people to learn more about you, and having clear directions on what you do is the simplest way.

The second question, is

“who are you wanting to talk to?”

It is impossible to try to talk to “everybody”… because not everybody would be interested in your work. Indeed, some people “like it or may not like it” and I remember exhibiting in some local fairs without so much success. My art was not saying anything to those audiences. So part of coming out of the closet as an artist has been to find those who like my art: they are like diamonds, and thus, it is important to get to know them better. A good tip for that is to think about the people who have bought your art: what type of people are they, gender, age, socio-economic background, education, hobbies, etc. You have to be systematic in that regard, as it will help you to know your collector. And you have to talk their language, be where they hang around (and this include social media) and make your presence there.

And the third question is:

“with the limited time that we all do [not] have, where do you think is best invest resources and energy? “

This made me think about my dear bro Eduardo, who at the beginning of his now very successful career as an antique dealer and curator, repeated the buzzword: “find new markets, find new markets, find new markets”… and sometimes we think we can do so many things! but the reality is that time & resources are precious and we need to prioritize.  Of course, if we want to be serious about our art we need to invest (at least) 50% of our time in marketing and management!  So, once again, you need to focus on the platform that will help you most to show who you are to the people that matter to you?  This is not an “exclusivity” condition, in fact, most of social media is connected and whatever you post in pinterest can be shared in twitter, facebook or your blog.

As artists we have a great advantage of working with images, which based on Forbes prediction will be the most successful type of networks. Of course, do not expect that this will happen overnight, it is a matter of work, perseverance and seduction. This all require time for you to learn what is happening out there, and as a plant, you need to spend time under the soil developing the solid seeds of what you want to tell the world.

So what will be my advice for those starting to think on social media? Respond at least to the two first questions, and spend time playing with the different platforms, to find where do you feel more at ease. Everything is very user friendly and as I said to my students, it is easy to open a blog or a Facebook account, the challenge is to keep it going, with interesting posts, with timely announcements and as a way to build up your image and brand.

More expert advice and training can be found in the mentioned websites and for inspiration read this blog about Natasha Wescoat and how she managed to sell US$50000 in Facebook.

Hope this helps us all!

Beatriz Acevedo ‘Verbenacea and Rubinacea’


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ANB Artists Show at Princess Helena College, 11th October 2014

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