Friday, 31 January 2020

Under the Hammer

anticipation was high as the speeches got under way
© Teresa Newham

By the time last night's Journeys in Hope charity art auction began, there was real excitement in the room.  Representatives of the three nominated charities -  the Westminster Lourdes PilgrimageAid to the Church in Need and Safe Passage - had spoken movingly about their work, while Jennifer Scott, Sackler Director of the Dulwich Picture Gallery, had reminded us that an artist cannot paint a picture which touches others without having first been moved themselves in some way by the subject.

the bidders were greeted with refreshments
© Teresa Newham

My husband and I had volunteered to wrap the paintings - a backroom role which meant we didn't watch the bidding itself.  No matter - runners brought each piece to our room as they sold, while we grabbed a suitable piece of bubblewrap and secured it round the work with stretchy film.  There was quite enough jeopardy in that, and I was pleased I didn't have time to worry about whether the pictures I'd exhibited would sell . . .

the auctioneer's podium
© Teresa Newham

The auctioneer rattled through the twenty or so lots in half an hour, and we wrapped like crazy so everything was ready for the buyers to collect. Some people had bought several paintings each - one of whom had to get three of the largest framed items home on the tube - a luckier bidder had an office at the venue and only had to take their purchases along the corridor. And we didn't have to carry either of my paintings home!

behind the scenes
© Teresa Newham

Friday, 10 January 2020

Journeys in Hope

the exhibition catalogue, featuring the painting Unsafe Passage by John Woodhouse
© Teresa Newham

On Monday night I took a trip to London to the Mount Street Jesuit Centre for the opening evening of the Journeys in Hope exhibition.  As one of the exhibiting artists, I was able to take a quick look round before the crowds arrived - and there were crowds!

before the crowds arrived - the exhibition at Mount Street Jesuit Centre in Mayfair
© Teresa Newham

Journeys in Hope is the brainchild of John Woodhouse, a retired librarian, organist and choirmaster who is a keen painter. The ordeal of refugee children fleeing Syria moved him to create works such as Unsafe Passage. A chance encounter on the Westminster pilgrimage to Lourdes led to the idea of an art exhibition and auction on the theme of pilgrimage and the plight of refugees.

the exhibition shows work by a variety of artists
© Teresa Newham

The artists who have donated work to Journeys in Hope are Pauline Barley, Alex RochNorah McKeoghMike Quirke,  Andrew White, John Woodhouse and me.  The auction of paintings on Thursday 30th January will include the chance to have a portrait painted by Nelson Ferreira. The proceeds will go to three nominated charities: the Westminster Lourdes Pilgrimage, Aid to the Church in Need and Safe Passage.

three charities will benefit from the proceeds of the auction
© Teresa Newham

All three charities had a display at the opening night. The team from Aid to the Church in Need had brought along drawings made by Syrian refugee children which had been shown at an earlier exhibition. Some were about the trauma they had endured, while others spoke touchingly about peace and reconciliation.

artwork by Syrian refugee children, courtesy of Aid to the Church in Need
© Teresa Newham

I've donated two paintings: Skellig Morning and Into the Light, which reference actual and interior journeys respectively., and was somewhat bemused to find myself being interviewed during the evening for the Jesuits in Britain website and twitter feed (see links below).  All in all it was a great evening, which generated a lot of interest in the forthcoming auction - I'm looking forward to it!

my work in the exhibition
© Teresa Newham

For more information about the Journeys in Hope charity art auction, including the online catalogue, take a look here.   See the Jesuits in Britain write up of the exhibition here and a painting a day from the exhibition on their twitter feed.