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 – Local Shows and Local Groups Showing Support


The details for the Age UK Barnet Secret Postcard Sale are being finalised.

The cards will be on display and for sale in

Passobello, 174 High Rd, East Finchley, London N2 9AS

on Saturday 6 Dec from 10am-5pm

A huge thank you to Atif, the owner of this lovely carpet shop, for letting us takeover for the day. He couldn’t be kinder or more helpful. Do check him out on Twitter @passobelloltd and send him some twitterlove from me.

The East Finchley Christmas Festival will be taking place on the high road that day, so there will be plenty of music, stalls and festive cheer when you come.

So, just a reminder of how this works for those of you thinking of coming along; hundreds of postcards have been donated to Age UK Barnet with drawings, paintings, photographs and collages on the front. They are signed on the reverse, so they are sold anonymously, all for the same price – £20.

This means it is partly an art sale, because you buy an image you love, and partly a raffle, because you might spot a card by a well-known artist or celebrity, which is worth much more than you paid for it.

I’d like to give a huge thank you to the local artists who have supported this.

Age UK Barnet’s art group and volunteers


Finchley Art Society, whose members have been amazingly generous. They currently have an exhibition on at the Trinity Centre in Nether St, N12, so do pop along and see their work.

North London Artists Network @nlan_tweets have been good supporters too. Check out Dan Wrightson’s exhibition at Lauderdale House in Highgate from 26 Nov. Dan’s son Ben is the youngest artist this year, at the grand age of 3.

Studio North Three are a group of artists who meet from 10am-1pm on Tuesdays at Frith Grange Scout Hut in Mill Hill and have given a lovely selection of work.

Whilst we are in Mill Hill, thank you to Rubi Bhattacharyya of Milldon Art Society who donated postcards both this year and last.

Thank you again to Barnet Guild of Artists and to East Finchley Open Artists, in particular Ann Froomberg for her lovely work and for getting them on board again. They will be holding a selling exhibition at Tree House School, Woodside Ave, N10 3JA on 22-23 Nov, with proceeds to Ambitious about Autism.

Martin Ursell of Middlesex University is once again rounding up some artists and illustrators of the future for me.

Finally I would also like to give a special thank you to Audrey Montet @montetdesigns whose art group at Fonthill Care Home in St Albans have been very generous supporters and who have provided the oldest artist to contribute this year, at the age of 92.

All in all, it is looking pretty festive and exciting.




Social media


People can be lonely at any age, but when you are older it seems to become more common. The physical problems of getting out and about, the death of friends and partners, the difficulties of managing on a fixed income, or the isolation of impairments like deafness, can all make it harder to make friends or stay in contact with the family and friends you have.

Social media is one way to reach out, but many older people are not online and are baffled or frightened by new technology. Being online is empowering too – being able to apply for your own blue badge, search for insurance or utility deals, or order a delivery from a supermarket, without having to ask for help helps people feel in control of their lives.

Last year Age UK Barnet helped 300 people learn to get online, working with 9 secondary schools and sixth form colleges, two primary schools and Mapledown School. They also held one off workshops with companies like John Lewis and Geeks on Wheels, as well as drop-in sessions at 5 libraries.

The feedback was great – all the people we asked came away feeling happy with the session, more confident with IT, and would recommend it to friends.

The classes are one-on-one, so older people can learn at their own pace and focus on what they want, whether that is their first Skype to distant family, or their first Facebook message to a grandchild. It also means that they can build a relationship with the students who are teaching them. And that, in my mind, is a very good thing, because working together breaks down those stereotypes – that older people are slow, humourless, weak and pitiable, and that teenagers are lazy, selfish, and aggressive, and let us all see each other as people. One woman told me that, before she took this class, if she saw a large group of teenagers at the bus stop she would have felt too intimidated to join them, but now she sees them differently, and one sixth-former told me that before he had taught our clients he had never had to communicate with a deaf person before, but he now knew to make eye contact and not use slang.

Age UK Barnet’s digital inclusion project is called MiCommunity, because ultimately it is about building a community. The internet community doesn’t have the same boundaries of borough, city and country that Barnet has, but it is a community nonetheless, so I would like to extend thanks to two artists who live nowhere near here, but picked up the call on Twitter and responded by sending in a postcard.

Louisa Crispin @louisacrispin draws delicate, intimate nature studies. There is a quietness to her work, which is compelling, in the same way that a quiet voice in a rowdy room can force you to stop, focus and really listen. You can see examples here:


Lis Watkins @lineandwash paints utterly charming watercolours of urban scenes. London comes to life under her lively palette and unsentimental eye. You can see more of her work here


Back in the local community, Finchley Art Society, who supported both last year and this year’s sale, are holding an exhibition in the Trinty Church Concourse, Nether St N12 7NN from 8-23 Nov. Mon – Thurs 9am -9pm, Fri-Sat 9am-6pm ans Sun 2pm-6pm. Do pop along to support them. Below is one of their contributions from last year, by Loretta de Lange.

Thank you all.



Butterflies of excitement – Dame Zandra Rhodes


Dame Zandra Rhodes DBE (74) started her career as a textile designer, with colour and print central to her work. Her collection of pink and black jersey in 1977 saw her dubbed the Princess of Punk.

She has designed clothes for Diana, Princess of Wales, Jackie Onassis, Bianca Jagger, Freddie Mercury, Elizabeth Taylor, Kylie Minogue, Helen Mirren and Isabella Blow.

Her vintage pieces have been collected by Tom Ford and Anna Sui. It is also held in numerous museum collections around the world, including the V&A in London, Metropolitan Museum of Modern Art in New York, and the Musee de la Mode et du Textile in Paris.

She continues to design clothes, costumes for opera, china and jewellery.

In 2003 she set up the Museum of Fashion and Textiles in London. She is also Chancellor of the University for the Creative Arts.

She was awarded a Commander of the British Empire in 1997 and made a Dame Commander of the British Empire in the Queen’s Birthday Honour’s List in 2014


Her archive of sresses and drawings can be seen here


Dame Zandra has long been a supporter of both local and international charities. From supporting the NSPCC with the showing of her 1980 collection, to her recent appointment as a London Breast Cancer Ambassador, her generosity leaves us in awe.

It is therefore with huge gratitude that we have a postcard by Dame Zandra Rhodes included in this year’s sale. Her work has been described as graceful, bold, dramatic and feminine, with inspiration drawn from nature. Will you be able to spot her card?


Secret Postcard Sale – Carrie Reichardt

One of the artists who has already promised a postcard for the Secret Postcard Sale in aid of Age UK Barnet is craftivist Carrie Reichardt.

You can see her work at the moment in the V&A.


There is another review of the show here


Follow her on Twitter @carriereichardt

Thank you Carrie.

For more information about the sale and how you can take part take a look here




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

Being a trustee

I started this blog to advertise a fundraising event for Age UK Barnet – the Secret Postcard Sale. At the time I was the Chair of the trustees and I still remain on the board. It is a cause which will always be close to my heart and a role which has given me, and taught me, much more than I have given the charity.

Without wanting to sound like some numpty contestant in a reality TV show, it has been a journey, so perhaps you will bear with me whilst I outline it for you.

It started in a small and serendipitous way. My sons came back from school after one of their first citizenship lessons and asked me, rather curiously, “What do we do for the community?” Out of the mouths of babes, as they say. So I told them that I occasionally helped their grandmother with fundraisers for the North London Hospice, not very often, and mostly when she needed muscle for lifting; I sometimes helped make the food or washed up at their rugby club, not very often, but sometimes; and I volunteered my time for evening sessions at Islington Law Centre, again not that frequently. They looked at me like they didn’t believe me, which they probably didn’t, as they were usually with their father when I did.

The question rather stayed with me. My mother had been a very successful volunteer in my childhood, chairing a local committee of the NSPCC. She, together with Rod Hull and a fundraiser at NSPCC HQ, dreamt up and organised the Children’s Royal Variety Show. She organised parties for children in care; ran pop-up charity shops and cakes sales; and took my brother and I to visit older people in local residential care homes. That sense of achievement, from being part of the place where you live, connected to more than just family, friends, and neighbours, was something I had clearly not shown my children.

So, when I saw an advert appealing for new trustees to join Age UK Barnet’s board, the question was there and I made the call. The advert said they were looking for someone who lived in the borough (tick), with a legal background (half a tick – I was working as a solicitor, but in the field of clinical negligence litigation, not as useful to a trustee board as someone with a background in contract or employment law). I knew nothing about running a charity or a business, but on the other hand I had worked as a doctor for 5 years, mainly in psychiatry, elderly mentally ill and old age medicine.

I met with the then Chair, Joan Penney, and Treasurer, Howard Fox, for a chat, trying not to feel overwhelmed by all the information they gave me about the charity, or terrified about the onerous duties of a trustee.  I went away with lots literature, including the Charity Commission’s Guidance


Joan and Howard had promised training, but I honestly did not know what I had to offer them. I attended a trustee meeting as an observer and it was, well, dull. Most of the meeting was taken up with the management accounts, which I struggled to follow. I don’t think I said a word and was the least experienced person there, so I was very surprised to get a call afterwards inviting me onto the board.

Except that it soon became clear to me that everyone joins a board with different skills and experience. My fellow trustees were generous with their knowledge and experience, so I learned about accounts and how to scrutinise them. I learned about business planning, investment (not a lot, but enough), negotiation, risk registers, and strategic thinking. I learned about the importance of “walking the floor” – seeing for myself what the charity I was putting my name to actually did as well as the importance of staying out of the day to day management, which was properly the role of the chief officer, but being available as a sounding board, just as my fellow trustees offered guidance to me. I learned that there was a time for decisive action and sometimes a time to watch and wait.

I learned a lot about board dynamics. From Joan, an extremely astute judge of people, I observed how deftly she ensured everyone had their say, weighing their views but also assessing the private reasons why one person might make a particular stand on an issue – the personality clashes, investment in a particular project or outside issues. I learned the importance of an individual phone call, coffee or lunch between meetings in building consensus. I learned about the importance of board dissension, because it is the people who disagree with a course of action who can show you the pitfalls and problems with a particular course of action. Board tension can be a creative force. But I also learned, through the gallantry and generosity of my fellow trustees, about the importance of board loyalty.

And I learned from the best. My Treasurer, Anthony Jackson, was formerly the financial director of DLR, three board members had founded their own companies, two of them later floating them as plcs. One had been managing director and chair of Rathbones Bank. The female board members had an extraordinary depth and breadth of experience in the voluntary sector. I found my role on the board, which I think was largely to provide energy, enthusiasm and ideas, lots of them foolish, but some of which could be honed into viable projects.

There is nothing quite like the sense of achievement you can get from building and supporting something for your local community, for being a voice for a cause you feel passionate about. Don’t get me wrong, in a period of cuts, when money is short, there are hard decisions you have to make, and they are all the harder because the stakes are high.

So, here is what I think.

Being a trustee is a huge responsibility. Don’t take it on unless you are prepared to turn up to the meetings (a board which is inquorate is paralysed) and make sure you have read the papers in advance so that you can make the best use of time in meetings.

Don’t be put off from joining a board because you think you aren’t expert enough – you can and will learn on the job. Strong boards are diverse: different ages, backgrounds, BMER representation, and skills make for a better board. It is true that accountants, lawyers, company directors, and HR professionals are always particularly welcomed, as are health and social care professionals if that is relevant to the charity, but a board made up of mainly retired professionals probably  will welcome someone with a working knowledge of social media or who can write a persuasive grant application. Asking questions because you don’t understand something is at the heart of good scrutiny.

It doesn’t matter why you become a trustee – because you care about a particular cause, because you want status in a community, or to strengthen your CV. There is no better way to learn how to run a company, than by actually running company, and most registered charities are also registered as companies. Once you are there then take the opportunity to learn but remember that, whatever your personal agenda or ambition, you have a duty to put your beneficiaries first. Keep that in mind and you cannot go too far wrong. The Nolan Principles for public life: selflessness, integrity, objectivity, accountability, openness, honesty and leadership apply as much to trustees as to politicians.

Your hardest job will be recruiting your successor.

If you want to be a trustee here are some links



If you are interested in becoming a trustee of Age UK Barnet please see here