Monthly Archives: March 2012

Sue Roche – Photography


 Sue specialises in capturing alternative views of landscapes and architecture and is takes constant inspiration from new environments and light.

With many years of experience in the dark room, working mainly in colour; some of her images verge on the monochromatic even though they were taken in colour.  She offers high quality presentations of the signed, limited edition prints which compliment her stunning images.

 As a member of The Royal Photographic Society she gained a Licentiateship with a panel of dramatic seascapes and an associateship with a panel of Venice as well as being an active member of the Guildford Photographic Society.

 She has had photographs published in brochures and journals and has won competitions leading to publications in the national & local press.   Sue is always happy to  undertake commissions,


When I started in photography I hand printed black and white images myself then moved on to colour from negatives in the dark room. Though my love of film remains, technology and time has moved on so I have increasingly moved from Film to Digital which presents a different set of exciting creative opportunities.

I sustain my creativity by exploring new places with my camera.  My primary photographic interest is in capturing the essence of the place and people through travel photography and I then exhibit these images in different galleries.  I really like free reign to wander taking pictures of whatever intrigues me and specialising in travel certainly provides me with a breadth of canvass to operate on. The ‘right light’ is obviously a crucial element and I will often get in the car chasing that last bit of sun, or start the day catching the sunrise over the sea or the mountains.

I also love visiting exhibitions in all of the arts, not just photography and find that just seeing other work in different media inspires me and helps me develop new photographic ideas. I like most art but I prefer more graphic, modern work and this is reflected in my own images and in addition I find listening to lectures by other through the Royal Photographic Society and other groups also inspires me to get out and try something different.

In addition to my other work, I also take commissions for weddings, portraiture and commercial brochures.  I find the weddings particularly innerving as it is a big undertaking to try and capture those magical memories of the wedding day for the newly married couple but once started I become wholly immersed in the creation of images of those special moments and always feel very honoured to be so close to the heart of such a personal event.  I must admit I take perhaps a less formal approach to wedding photography than the mainstream photographers, having an eye perhaps for the personal touch and the final images have been well received.

 Over the last 18 months I have been printing my photographs directly onto aluminium.  Doing this has helped provide my images with an even more contemporary feel and they have certainly proved to be very popular.

In addition I am also experimenting with mixed media. The base of the piece is overlays of other materials which is completed with an element from a photograph.  Although it is early days I am very excited by this new venture.  I already have one gallery interested in exhibiting the resulting pieces and I have committed to being ready to exhibit for the Open Studios in June.

Most of my work sells though galleries or from my website. So far I have been lucky in that my work always seems to strike a chord with people and as result I can’t remember an exhibition where I haven’t sold. The thing is to get the work out there, I look for places that are welcoming and where people feel comfortable walking in and don’t feel that they are going to get pounced upon. It’s important to take your time and really feel good about buying art of all types.

I really enjoy holding joint exhibitions with other artists working in other mediums and have been exhibiting with Kaleidoscope a successful art cooperative that has been running for over 10 years, it’s great fun and over that time we have grown together as artists. I’ve also taken part in the Surrey Artists Open Studios several times and this is a great opportunity to take the time to talk with people who like your work and want to know more about it.  This year I’m exhibiting with the ceramicist Terri Smart at her lovely studio inEast Clandon.

Like many artists I’m not an expert at marketing my own work. I send invitations for my exhibitions and my website is there for all to see but inevitably you look at it and think ‘I should really add this or that…’ but it’s always the last thing that I get around to doing as I always feel my primary focus has to be my photography and hopefully that shows.  It is a hard time for artists in the present economy so for me it’s important to get the images right and while I know I can do more in terms of marketing and sales, it has to follow not lead.

Looking ahead I’ll continue to expand my work on aluminium as it is such a different media and I am excited by the prospect of developing my mixed media pieces. At some point no doubt I will get round to updating the website and one day I would love to take on a photographic commission for a travel book.

An exciting year ahead for Sue  and meantime you can see a fantastic collection of her work at the Lovers Lights Gallery until May 6th.


Big Scary Birthday!  - Janis’s 50th Birthday skydive video

Thursday 8th of March – The Date!   Having had no problem with any of the ‘big’ birthdays to date, it was a big of a shock to realise that there was the distinct possibility I might have a tiny issue with this one!  50…what is the big deal with 50!    I simply refused to discuss celebrations, even with family, so much to do planning the next show here at the gallery of course!  Then suddenly I couldn’t avoid it any longer and I had to make a decision – having seriously considered the option of drawing the curtains and waiting for the next day when we could all go about our business with no conversation necessary about how ‘age’ is all in the mind and how marvellous one looks for one’s age – eek!  I made the decision to mark the occasion of my half century by jumping out of a plane!  Suddenly I felt much better!

When I think about it, I feel better about myself now than I ever had.  I know my strengths and weaknesses and I am learning to make the best of both of them, but it’s taken me this long to figure out how.  The good news is, creatively there’s no reason why things shouldn’t just get better and better.  One of my main drives as an artist is the fact I love to play,  just as I used to when I was little, many artist say the same.  It’s still almost impossible for me to remain clean and tidy for a whole day.  I’m grateful now for the part of me that’s still 8 years old, I still sit on the floor, I still like getting my hands (and often everything else around me) dirty!   Age does not take our creativity from us, how we think does.  The decline in creativity does not start when we are 40 or 50. It starts around about the age when start school and have to think how we’re told to think.   At about 5 years old, we are constantly living in a self created world, we invent constantly and naturally but by the age of 12, our creative output has declined to about 2% of our potential.   It’s all well meaning, we have to live in this world and those of us whose heads are busy creating other possibilities find it hard at first as we try to conform.  As we get older, we learn to stop trying and to just be ourselves, it can take a lifetime to learn this one lesson.  I thank goodness for the part of myself that simply refuses to ‘grow up’ and ‘get real’ and accept reality – I hate that more than I can say and I’ve been told it’s time I did, more times than I can remember, thank goodness I never listen – hee hee!    That doesn’t mean that I’m are irresponsible (well OK, hands up sometimes!), it means that I’ve have held on to the knack of pulling things out of thin air and playing with them, I know the strangest things can happen if you can imagine them clearly enough!

So in turning 50, I see the future not the past, I have enough faith in myself to know I can create what lies ahead. My jump from a plane was a metaphor, a message to myself not to be afraid; of my age, of the signs I can clearly see that I am no longer ‘young’, of failure (chickening out), of pain (hitting the ground), of sadness (actually dying).  I’ve experienced them all, believe me, I’ve hit the ground painfully more times than I can count but hey I’m still here, still punching!

Now I know, it’s OK to let go!   Leave behind what needs leaving, put your head back, look into an abyss and jump (OK it’s easier strapped to a big strong chap :-) but you know what..I could do that jump without him with a little training!   The fact remains, it’s all just a big leap of faith!   50? Huh – eeezy peezy lemon squeezy!

At the top of this post is a link to  the video my lovely son James made for me, I think it’s brilliant and I’d like to share it, hope you find a minute to watch it.  Makes me laugh anyway!

The soundtrack is one of my favourite songs.  Hope you enjoy it!

Happy Birthday y’all!

Janis xx

PS  Trust me to get the tallest guy( 6ft 4″ ) to jump with!  Sigh! me  not in the most glamourous of outfits either, get thee behind me vanity!  :-) xxx

Jill Flower – Textile/Paper Artist

 Jill Flowers works with paper in a way you’ve probably never seen before.  On first glance it looks like fabric, possibly lace, her delicate work blurs our preconception’s of materials in a delightful way.  Her two major works maps the life journey of ‘modern woman and man’ tracking their course from baby hood through childhood and adolescence into adulthood, old age and eventually death.  It is a subtle message, not a loud shout but careful examination of her work will reveal the journey communicated gently by our reading matter through the the ages of our lives.  

My creativity is mostly sustained by my love and passion for textiles and stitch.  However, I find that computer and administration hinders my working day and imagination.

I begin my ideas for work with thorough research into a project, quite a formal process of investigation, sketching and finally sampling with textiles, usually very experimentally.

The anchor of my work is inspiration.  It’s the starting point of all my projects and it’s the backbone of what I do.

This can be a very worrying and depressing thought, so far there has been a slow progression to the workbut it’s continuing to evolve naturally and find it’s own journey

I sat A level art many, many moons ago and as a young adult tended to be creative/artistic.  I did not go back to college until 2004 purely to further my knowledge of art and stitch.  I had a job as an interior designer so the one day a week at college was really considered a hobby.  At my graduation show the work was spotted and was awarded a touring exhibition visiting UK and Ireland, my life changed from this point becoming a full time textile artist in 2010.  So the path was a long and winding journey.

Some people ask how being an artist informs my life, and, to be honest, it’s too early in my career to really tell but I am enjoying the new challenge.

The one thing that does not interest me at all artistically is designs made by computers.  I will always make art by hand.

I have completed commissions but much rather develop work for my own enjoyment.  I feel commissions quite restricting and nerve racking.  “Will they like it?”  “Is this what they envisaged?”  “Have I got the brief, the message or colour right?”  Luckily, the work is very difficult to make an exact repeat.

I am a newcomer to the world of selling art, so far my pieces have sold through exhibitions and shows.  I don’t believe I have sold any from a web site.  I find marketing myself an ordeal; really difficult.  I just want to be in my studio.  The creativity and choices made to date probably would be the same even if I had won the lottery!

A difficult one due to the present climate, although there does seem to be a trend towards contemporary art and crafts being purchased, as they are unique and not massed produced.  New galleries are opening up exhibiting a complete range of mediums, from jewellery to ceramics, painters to textiles, all supporting their local artists.  Hooray!

I would love to have an assistant or manager that could organise all the administration work, marketing, preparing submission forms for exhibitions but especially all the I.T. computer work so I could just have complete indulgent days, even weeks playing in the studio.  Absolute heaven!  If they could feed the washing machine, sort the ironing, rearrange the house with a duster and be a whizz in the kitchen, that would be a bonus!  But I feel that would be pushing it a little!

A new textile based skill would be screen printing.  One day I hope to go on a course. But,  if it were to be a new, new skill I would like to learn about ceramics.

I like to keep the studio fairly ordered which is important to me, but being a bit of a mucky worker it never seems to stay tidy for long.  I call it ‘my organised chaos’.  Between projects I will give the studio a thorough clean to start afresh.

Come and see Jill’s work in the gallery until May 8th.