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Village Art & Literature

Inspired by local views

Posted on March 19 2013 at 9:42:33 0 comments

Snowy Hopwood

Hopwood-based artist Paula Hamilton offers some of her work for inspection . . .

It’s all about me this month. I’ve decided to try and become an associate member of the RBSA (Royal Birmingham Society of Artists) – a nail-biting process! 

Since Christmas I have been in my studio, painting away in every free moment I have had. The task is to complete six good paintings, enter them along with an artist’s statement, CV etc, and then wait to see if I get called to bring my work in for inspection.

If I get this far, the six paintings will be hung in the Candidates Exhibition in the RBSA Gallery.

The next bit is even more nail-biting, as artists who are already RBSA members have to vote for the work on show. If 50 per cent of these established artists give the thumbs up, you’re in; if not, you have to collect your work, slink away with it, cry and apply again next year.

As this is an annual process I may be going through it all again this time next year.

Although I am writing about myself and a Birmingham society, it is really our local countryside and its beautiful scenery that I have to thank for what inspires me to paint.

Until we discovered and moved to Hopwood 10 years ago I had no idea that such a wonderful corner of green existed so close to the big city of Birmingham, or Solihull where we lived previously for 13 years. 

So the North Worcestershire footpath, Lea End Lane, the aptly named Watery Lane, Weatheroak and many other stunning local areas have become subject matter for what I like to paint.

My customary walk from home takes me steeply uphill on to the North Worcestershire footpath, from where the most spectacular views can be appreciated of the local hills with their fields and hedges, barns and cottages and grazing sheep. In the distance is the M42 with its lorries and lights, often cloaked in haze in the evenings.

Along the tops to Wast Hill next, from where the Birmingham skyline and the QE Hospital are in view on one side and amazing downhill vistas on the other with the Lickeys in the distance. Then along sloping paths, through fields which change through the year from stubble to ploughed furrow to green shoots, wheat and back again to stubble.

The Worcestershire and Birmingham Canal comes next, which has also provided me with stunning photographs from which to work. Who could fail to be blown away by our wonderful locality, and what artist could fail to want to try and paint it!

The autumn and winter are of particular interest as the bones of the countryside are laid bare, with the skeletons of trees clearly defined and rolling hills uncluttered by fluffy green leaves. Watching our surroundings as snow falls, light fades, rain soaks and frost freezes are all special. 

The other influence of some of my recent paintings has been our garden.  I love the look of the plants and flowers when they are in full bloom, blousy and highly coloured.

But as temperatures fall and the frost gets its grip on what is left of the summer garden, the plants are transformed. The colours fade and the shapes shrink; plants look like they have been covered in icing sugar but seem just as lovely as ever.

There is no reason why, if one lives in such a beautiful area, one should know anything about the RBSA in Birmingham’s St Paul’s district.  It is close to the centre of the Jewellery Quarter, a quiet oasis, away from the bustle of the Bullring, stations and markets.

St Paul’s has a quietly busy vibe of its own; businessy during the day before the evening crowd starts to fill the restaurants, bars, and music venues.

How the St Paul’s area, with its beautiful church and Georgian houses, escaped both the bombs of World War Two and the town planners at their most brutal in the 1960s is a wonder.

In the corner of this pretty square stands the noble institution of the RBSA, housed in a converted warehouse and opened by Charles, Prince of Wales in the year 2000. (In days gone by the RBSA had a splendid Gallery specially built for it in 1829 on New Street, with Greek style columns and portico).

There are exhibitions on here, virtually non-stop, of paintings, ceramics, sculpture and glass. There is a rather lovely small gallery on the ground floor for special gifts, plus a coffee shop. And upstairs are two floors which are usually packed with artwork; exhibitions are changed frequently, approximately every two weeks.

It’s easy to check what’s on by visiting and my six paintings will be in the first floor gallery from Monday April 8 until Saturday April 13. Whether or not I will be able to put ARBSA (Associate of RBSA) after my name remains to be seen! 

Back to the studio now – although five paintings out of six are completed, and are at the framers, I still have number six to do…

Please get in touch if you would like me to write about an art event near you. Contact me via The Village or at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) 

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