Flitting through East Finchley – painters from near & far



I wanted to give a little thank you to some artists, some local and some not, who are worth keeping an eye out for. Some are local to the borough, others aren’t.

First up Jacinta Smelt, an artist based in the Netherlands, has been, once again, incredibly generous with her work. Last year her bold, strong paintings, like the butterfly above, literally flew off the shelves. Check out her website here:


Another painter, London but not Barnet-based, to keep an eye out for is Rachael Weitzman. Her paintings are, as this article on Beautiful Decay says, little narratives


Orly Orbach is another narrative artist and her work is wonderful. Her clients include the British Museum, the Southbank Centre and Royal Festival Hall and many others


Closer to home, Finchley resident Mari I’Anson is another artist who is donating for the second time. Her watercolours have a fluidity and lightness of touch that is elegant and her gentle observations make her work utterly charming.


Lisa Takahashi @takahashiprints is a painter and printmaker who lived in Barnet for many years, but has now moved to Bristol. Her subtle use of colour is combined with strong designs. As her website mentions, she has exhibited in the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition as well locally at the Arts Depot


Two marvellous abstract artists next, both producing work of great richness and warmth.

Polly Rockberger is a Finchley local


Dragica Janketic-Carlin is based in the Mare Street studios in East London


There is a brief interview with her talking about her work here


A couple of local figurative artists deserve a mention. Despina Symeou’s  @despinasym card is just brilliant


Whilst I’m sure Harriet Connides’ @ceeforina pretty and whimsical lady will be snapped up. She is exhibiting at the Arts Depot from Sunday


And finally, I have to mention Alex Tracey @ayjaytrashy who paints the most wonderful, witty miniatures on sugar packets and tea labels from cafes around the borough.


Thank you all

The sale is on 6 Dec in Passobello 174 High Rd East Finchley N2 9AS. All the work is sold anonymously and all for £20, with all the proceeds going to Age UK Barnet.





Secret Postcard Sale 2014



Hooray! The Secret Postcard Sale is on again this year.

Age UK Barnet need hundreds of people to make and send us a postcard with a drawing, painting, photograph or artwork in any medium on the front. On the back you can sign and print your name, and add any other details you want, like your age, your website or an art group if you belong to one.

The cards are then sold anonymously, all for a fixed price, although there is a list of contributors available. This means it is partly an art sale, because you buy an image you love, and partly a raffle, because you might spot a valuable card buy a well-known artist or celebrity.

Last year we had cards by artists like David McKee, the creator of Mr Benn and Elmer and the Elephant, whose joyful image is shown above, as well as cards by the likes of Jude Law and Sir Chris Hoy.

But everyone can join in. Our youngest artists were 3 last year – here is a beautifully worked example:Scan76

Our oldest artist was in her 80s – here is one by the late mother of Councillor Richard Cornelius.


So, please send any contributions to Age UK Barnet, c/o Julia Hines, 37 Briarfield Ave, N3 2LG by 5 November (earlier if possible). Size is not crucial, but 6×4 works best.

With many thanks, Julia

Sugar and Spice – illustrators with sweetness and cartoonists with bite

Age UK Barnet’s Secret Postcard Sale will take place in Mr Simms, 781 High Rd, North Finchley, N12 8JY on 23 November, the same day as the Christmas Festival.

The nearest tube is Woodside or you can take 125, 221, 263, 626, 134, 82, 460 or 683 buses.

And so, in honour of the sweetshop Mr Simms used to be, I thought I would let you know about some of the lovely illustrators who have promised cards and tell you about some of the more biting cartoonists who have also promised cards.

David McKee – author and illustrator of books which many older people have read to their children and grandchildren – Mr Benn; Elmer the Patchwork Elephant; King Rollo; Not now, Bernard; and many more. He was the UK nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen prize for children’s book illustration in 2006


Rebecca Cobb’s book Lunchtime was the winner of the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize 2013 and has been shortlisted for the Kate Greenaway medal. As well as her own books she has illustrated the Paper Dolls for Julia Donaldson and a number of Helen Dunmore books.


Nick Wadley was Head of Art History at Chelsea School of Art and Design until 1985. He was a weekly cartoonist for the Daily Telegraph and Financial Times 1997-2001 and, as well as writing and illustrating his own and other books, he is a Regent of the College de Pataphysique.


Simone Lia has written and illustrated children’s books, graphic novels and is a cartoonist for the Independent, the Guardian and the DFC. Her work has been exhibited at the Tate Britain


Hari and Jake are political cartoonists at the Guardian who make difficult financial issues simple. You can find their work here, on the Ripped Off Britons blog


Scott Getchell is a cartoonist for the Boston Phoenix in the USA, as well as a gifted musician.

Ben Jennings is an illustrator and cartoonist and winner of Political Cartoon of the Year 2011 by the Political Cartoon Society. His work appears in the Guardian, the Independent, New Statesman and a host of other publications.


Last, but by no means least,

Martin Rowson is known best for his visceral, satirical political cartoons. As he himself said  “I long ago worked out, from bitter experience amid the hate mail and death threats I’ve received from around the world, that while I see my work as a cartoonist as firmly in the tradition of William Hogarth and Gillray, everyone else sees it as breathtakingly vicious.” His work appears most often in the Guardian and the Independent, but has also featured in a host of other newspapers.


And if that is not enough to whet your appetite, can I tell you about how Age UK Barnet provides lunch clubs, including one for Muslim women, and a new supper club at Café Buzz; support for older people who are underweight through the Eat Well project; and cooking classes for older men, many of whom have been widowed or become carers? All proceeds from the sale will support the work of Age UK Barnet.


Thank you all for your fantastic generosity. It is hugely appreciated. A veritable banquet and something for every taste.

Depth and Range: Perspectives on some of the artists contributing postcards

As Sunday showed, the Secret Postcard Sale is a chance for everyone to get involved and support Age UK Barnet, by making postcards or by buying them. Both are equally valuable. Alongside the kind amateurs, there will be a wide variety of work on sale, by some amazingly generous and accomplished artists. Here is an introduction to both the range of artists and depth of their knowledge and achievement.

Let’s start with John Dilnot, an artist who specialises in artist’s books and screen prints, although he also makes boxes and one off pieces. His work explores the urban perspective of the rural idyll. Examples of his work are held in private and public collections, including the V & A, Tate Library, British Library, Museum of Modern Art in New York, Yale Center for British Art, and the Royal College of Art Library. He has exhibited at the V&A, Tate Gallery, RA Summer Exhibition, Cornerhouse Manchester and Bluecoat Liverpool. He has had a number of solo shows, including at the Rebecca Hossack Gallery. His website is here


Matthew Cort has an MA in Fine Art as well as diplomas in philosophy and history of art and architecture. He has exhibited in a long list of group shows, including the RCA’s Secret Postcard exhibition. He works in a variety of media, and describes his work as appropriating artefacts and re-presenting them in a significantly altered way, so that there original function is lost or decontextualized. His work, which I think you have to see to understand what this means, can be seen here:


Vivian Manthel-French is a watercolourist who divides her time between London and New Zealand, where she was born. She is a former President of Water Colour New Zealand and a member of the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts. She has had numerous solo exhibitions including at the Commonweallth Institute, London and the National Portrait Gallery of New Zealand. You can see examples of her work here:


For something completely different, take a look the work of street artist Bambookidd


Equally colourful, but rather more glamorous, are the abstract canvases of Jan Donnelly


Rachael Weitzman is an artist who works mainly in acrylics. Her lively paintings are little narratives, telling stories you will recognise. She has a an MA from Chelsea College of Art and Design and is represented by Gallery 286 in London. You can find her work here.


Today, in the midst of the storm, Age UK is launching its Spread the Warmth campaign, focussing this year on keeping older people warm in their homes. Did you know that in 2008/9 the ONS estimated that there were 190 avoidable deaths in the London Borough of Barnet in the Winter?  Our Handyperson scheme helps by fitting draught excluders and cylinder jackets in homes each year. But spreading the warmth is about more than just temperature. It is also about the emotional warmth, caring for our community. And for that I would like to thank all the artists and contributors.




On Sunday I took some of Age UK Barnet’s Art Appreciation Group to the Photographer’s Gallery. The group started because a number of clients, 3 of whom were retired artists and 4 retired art teachers, told us they really missed visiting galleries. We also visit private collections in people’s homes and we always make time for a bite to eat and a chat.

I love these trips. Whatever the work we go to see, it always sparks a stimulating conversation and this trip was no exception. Everybody loved the merry, decadent Lartigue, the clever Motherlode digital screen, and the exquisite Samallahti exhibitions. The Home Truths  exhibition was more challenging, exploring some of the darker aspects of motherhood. For one woman the raw intensity of the images brought to the surface equally raw emotions about her infertility.  It also brought up questions about how you manage as an older disabled person if you don’t have children. This led on to the disclosure that one of the group had not left the four walls of his home for 5 weeks.

If you want to know more about the exhibition (which I loved, even if others didn’t) check it out here, but before you do, I should probably mention that this link, and the Monomondo link below, contain images of female nudity (especially for you Mrs Angry):


Given that we were there, it seems like a good moment to talk about some of the photographers who have promised cards to the Secret Postcard Sale. And a good place to start is Simon Roberts, a photographer who is represented by the Photographer’s Gallery. The prices for his work there start from £500+VAT.

You can see his work on his website. It is really worth a look.


Another photographer who has exhibited in the Photographer’s Gallery, in their Fresh Faced and Wild Eyed exhibition, is Nadege Meriau

Her website, showing her extraordinary work, is here


Next up Robert Phillips, whose work has been picked for the Taylor Wessing prize exhibition, and who is just back from the Unseen exhibition in Amsterdam. His website is here:


Next up is Paris based photographer Cormac Hanley. His website is here, but you can see more of his work if you click through to galleries who represent him


Peter Kyte is an urban photographer, who is also a member of East Finchley Open Artists.


And last but not least, there is the lovely Anne-Marie Sanderson, photographer for the Barnet Press. Not only has she contributed to the sale, but she, like Simon Roberts, has also been busy recruiting others to help as well. Her website is here


There are other photographers, amateur and professional, who have promised cards, but I hope this gives you an idea of the range and quality of the work we will be selling. I want to thank all of them, whether they got a namecheck or not, because without their kindness this event would not be possible.

Now, will you be able to spot these photographers on 23 November?


A welcome drop onto the doormat this morning prompted this update. a lovely selection of postcards by two members of Barnet & Finchley Photographic Society – Vaughn and Ruth Sears


And a couple of people I should have included in my original post

Minnie Weisz


And Matt from the Local Gallery


Thank you all.