Life Enhancing: The Power of the Human Form II

17 Oct 2017 – 10 Dec 2017

Event times

9am - 10pm

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The Jam Factory

Oxford, United Kingdom

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In this exhibition, ten talented artists will be showing life drawings and paintings on the theme of the 'Power of the Human Form'. All the artists have exhibited widely before and include professional illustrators, a film animator, tutors, committed amateurs and an art degree student.


Life Enhancing is a group of artists active in life drawing; who believe the art produced in life sessions has a special power, and freshness, that conventional nudes lack.

The media used will range from watercolour and pastel to charcoal and collage. While the styles vary, all the images have the immediacy that comes from drawing from a live model and capture the moment of that human contact. 

Life Enhancing was created by life model, Dermot, who really liked many of the drawings that were produced in life classes and thought other people might too. He collaborated with a tutor, Stewart, to launch the Life Enhancing online gallery in June 2016 which sells original life art and limited edition prints. Around ten artists are represented, many of them art tutors. The group is centred around Buckinghamshire. This is their second exhibition. 

Simon Alford 
Simon left school with, amongst others, a grade A at art A level. That was in 1976. Thirty five years later he rediscovered his artistic bent in the form of life drawing at Queens Park Centre, Aylesbury.
Pastels and charcoal are his preferred media now, using them to interpret, especially with reference to colour, the model before him.

George Boyter
George graduated in Drawing & Painting from Dundee Art College and after an award-winning career as a Creative Director in Advertising he has returned to Life Drawing, Portraiture and painting in both watercolour and oils.

He has recently returned from Girona studying under Watercolour Master Joseph Zbukvik and previously studied under Alvaro Castagnet from Uruguay.

In June he won ‘A Brush with Fame’ – the portrait challenge event that opened Bucks Open Studios 2017. He has completed several large commissions in both watercolour and oils in the last 2 years and also runs his own Art Classes in Sydenham, near Chinnor.

Stewart Clough
Stewart was born in Lancashire where he studied Fine Art and Illustration. His passion for art has motivated him to teach adults/children weekly at several different venues.​ He exhibits his work in local galleries and produces illustrations for a variety of clients including the National Portrait Gallery.

He mainly works with collage that merges into acrylic paint. He finds working with collage succours spontaneous reactions to how he observes and feels the world around him. It keeps him away from realism yet still portrays those fundamental qualities. More importantly collage depicts a great sense of movement as a crucial element of human perception and experience as well as unusual visual angles.

Stewart is one of the two co-founders of Life Enhancing.

John Cole Drury
John has lived with his wife and children in Aylesbury's Old Town for over 25 years. He first attended life-drawing classes at Queens Park Art Centre in the mid 1980s. After taking 'A' level Art at Aylesbury College he went on to complete a BA Hons degree at the University of Hertfordshire (formerly St. Albans School of Art & Design) in 1994.

There he met Miles Richmond, himself a pupil and friend of David Bomberg, regarded by many as one of the greatest British painters of the last century. John developed a relationship with Miles beyond the course and continued to visit and work alongside Miles and his wife Miranda at their home in North Yorkshire.

John returned to teach at QPC while gaining a teaching qualification before expanding into teaching at various Adult Education centres around Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire and Milton Keynes.

Molly Hitchcock 
Molly finds the human form the most inspirational of subjects, and attended life drawing classes for several years while at school. She is now doing an art degree course at Falmouth School of Art. The main body of her work consists of portraiture and figurative and painting, but she loves life drawing as a means of exploring the dynamics of the human body, and the potential for conveying feeling through posture and movement.

Sally Fisher 
Sally trained in Fine Art at Amersham College of Art, Bucks. Born to artistic parents, she has worked all her life as a painter, illustrator and cartoonist. 

She has taught art since 1998 and is a qualified Adult Art Tutor. She taught first at Camden Working Men’s College, London, and Marlborough College Summer School and many other art institutes in London and Devon and now at The Phoenix Studios in Towersey near Thame.

She does workshops and demonstrations in all media and specialises in Life Drawing. She has written eight articles published in ‘The Artist’, and a chapter on watercolour nudes in Harper Collins ‘Water Colour Problem Solver’.

For Sally, painting and drawing is about energy, discovery, excitement response and a lot of risk taking.

Nigel Sims
Nigel is 66, retirement age, but still working. He trained as an engineer, not an artist.

He does not paint abstracts but believes all figurative art is abstractive - pulling out and arranging the things that matter most. This is true whether it's a landscape, a portrait or a sketch: what do I see? What makes me understand what I'm looking at and what shape it is? What's significant to me?

Like engineering, it's a way of understanding what's around us.

Richard Smitheman 
Richard has worked in the Film Industry for over twenty five years specialising in Feature and Television production. After his early years working at some of London's top Animation studios Richard relocated to Los Angeles where he worked for studios including DreamWorks, Warner Bros and Disney. His work has bought him all over the world and given him an opportunity to share ideas with Artists from a diverse range of backgrounds.

In an interest to share the knowledge he has gained over the years, in 2017 Richard set up The London School of Figure Drawing.

Malcolm Sparkes
Malcolm trained at Bath Academy of Art and has exhibited regularly since then, including shows at the Christ Church Picture Gallery and the Green College Gallery in Oxford. His work includes commissioned portraits, mostly in oil or pencil, still life images in a range of media and street pictures in watercolour. He is an active member of the Queens Park life group in Aylesbury.

Paul Trewhela
Paul was a journalist in his native South Africa, then a political prisoner in Pretoria and Johannesburg, succeeded by work in exile as a school teacher in London, Dublin, Aylesbury and Watford. He was co-founder and co-editor of a banned exile magazine, Searchlight South Africa, published in London. Articles by him on South African political subjects are available online, and he is author of a book, Inside Quatro: Uncovering the Exile History of the ANC and SWAPO (2009).

From age 10 he was tutored in wildlife drawing for ten years in South Africa by the artist Charles Astley Maberly, with drawings and articles published in the journal African Wild Life. When he returned to drawing and painting in his fifties he had the privilege of working in landscape and portrait with a student of David Bomberg, Miles Richmond, in the North of England, London, Rome and Ronda, Andalusia.

He has a foundation diploma in art from Amersham College. As well as one solo exhibition in London, he has shared with painter colleagues in four group exhibitions there, and frequently shown work in Aylesbury, where he has spent nearly 25 years in drawing and painting from the life model at Queens Park Arts Centre, in one of the best open access art studios in the region. Here he has been able to develop his work on the human subject, alongside continuing work in landscape.

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