leamington studio artists

Response to “The Waste Land” - Leamington Studio Artists’ thought provoking exhibition engages local artists with the work of T.S. Eliot



A unique and fascinating exhibition has newly opened at Leamington Studio Artists, Jephson Gardens. The exhibition, titled, Response to “The Waste Land” delves into the seminal work of writer and poet, T.S. Eliot. On until 25th November - all are welcome!

Produced and curated by LSA member and volunteer, Karen Parker, Karen also works at the Mead Gallery, Warwick Arts Centre, where she is heavily involved in the planning team for Journeys with “The Waste Land” - a community research project and exhibition led by Professor Michael Tooby and organised by the Mead Gallery; in collaboration with Turner Contemporary, Margate, the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry and Coventry Cathedral. The purpose of the project is to shed light onto the contemporary significance of ‘The Waste Land’, a poem written in 1922 during the aftermath of the First World War. Bringing together knowledge from local communities and gallery curators, the story of T.S. Eliot is shared as well as the power his poem still has on time and place. Noticeable themes are that of journeys, fragmentation, redemption, myth and religion, and the affects of war on our cities - especially Coventry, a city rebuilt from ruin. In a time of great remembrance the project also coincides with the centenary year and armistice of World War One.

The exhibition at LSA’s East Lodge Gallery has been inspired by the project, and in support of this, local artists of all types have been invited to create work using T.S. Eliot’s famous poem as their stimulus. The result is a wonderful array of artwork, each artist forming their very own vision of what ‘The Waste Land’ means to them. There are a variety of styles, media and approaches to suit all tastes; just be sure to visit the exhibition with an open mind!

On organising such a showcase of work, Karen Parker said:

“It was indeed a challenge! Many weeks of discussion, sharing of ideas and thoughts have made the chat within LSA and inside East Lodge Gallery itself, very interesting if not controversial at times. Definitely stimulating though! The work in the exhibition proves this as it is diverse, strange, imaginative, thought provoking and above all beautiful. The range of colour, subject, media and application is amazing, with each piece accompanied by an appropriate reference to the poem or artist statement.”

With £150 in prizes, the LSA Open Exhibition is also a judged competition. The winner will be chosen by independent curator, Prof. Michael Tooby, facilitator of Journeys with “The Waste Land” and someone with close ties to Coventry and the work of T.S. Eliot. The prize-giving reception will be held on Sunday 25th November at 2.30pm, followed by a closing party at Episode Hotel, Leamington Spa from 6pm onwards. Tickets need booking in advance to avoid disappointment. A People’s Choice Award will also be decided so all are encouraged to pop by, get involved, and see this inspiring exhibition for themselves.

Journeys with “The Waste Land” is currently on at the Herbert Art Gallery & Museum, Coventry until 18th November.

For further information on the project visit:  www.journeyswiththewastelandcoventry.com


Artist Julia Essex wins special art prize with painting ‘Poppies’- a beautifully crafted work and a “fitting commemoration in remembrance to the armistice of World War I”

Press Release- Leamington Studio Artists, East Lodge, Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa, Warwickshire - Thursday 4th October 2018

Kicking off the Autumn in style, Leamington Studio Artists have launched one of their biggest exhibitions to date. The ‘Annual Open Paintings & Illustrations Exhibition’ running until 28th October, comprises a wonderful array of artworks to suit all tastes. On display at East Lodge Gallery, Jephson Gardens are beautiful landscapes, rich colourful abstracts, virtuosic figurative inks and watercolours- plus much more! As per usual, members of the public are warmly invited to come along and view the artworks for themselves and to see this year’s winning artwork.

The winner of the ‘Annual Open Paintings & Illustrations Exhibition 2018’ is Leamington Spa based artist, Julia Essex. Her painting, ‘Poppies’, took first prize out of a total 77 artworks on display.

With prizes totalling £150, this year’s judge was established artist and award-winning diorama expert, Marcus White. Also an article and feature editor for E Magazine, his work has been exhibited widely most notably at the Euro Miniature Expo 2018 and at ASVC Wombourne ScaleModel Show. With a strong interest in art history, military history and fine art techniques, Marcus, on judging the exhibition stated he had been, “honoured to preside as Judge over this prestigious local exhibition. 

“My first impression was of an ordered, yet visually captivating curation of local art, which showed a very good cross-section of artistic capabilities- a lovely exhibition.”

After carefully considering every work in the show, he duly chose Julia’s painting because of its, “refined impressionistic technique in modern acrylic, using elements of impasto in a controlled sweeping motion.” Marcus decided upon the painting, ‘Poppies’, also for its deeper sentimental value- the correlation between poppies and that of remembrance.

He stated, “with the 100th Anniversary of the Great War, it’s fitting to have this work as winner. It captures the old painterly styles within modern media and a compassion in brush stroke at a time of remembrance.”

On her winning work, Julia Essex said, “I am absolutely thrilled, I only started painting two years ago so this is a lovely surprise. I’ll certainly take a lot of encouragement from this and it’s nice to know I’m on the right track! This will spur me on with my painting and give me belief to try new techniques.”

“The quality of the exhibition is superb, there’s so much variety and there’s something for everyone. Leamington Spa has such a vibrant and welcoming artistic community, and getting involved with Leamington Studio Artists has been a fantastic experience.”

Julia Essex moved to Leamington Spa three years ago and is a ballet teacher by profession. She has always held a particular fondness for art and having only started painting seriously a few years ago; she has built up a strong and unique painterly style. Julia enjoys exploring the freedoms of painting especially expressive art and she likes to paint landscapes and natural scenes. Weather dependent- she has also tried her hand at en plein air painting! On her winning artwork, ‘Poppies’, her inspiration came from the beautiful surrounds and floral displays in Jephson Gardens, Leamington Spa.

About her artistic process she mentioned, “I like being quick and free with my painting and exploring the many textures and techniques available. If painting outdoors the challenge is also in capturing the changes of light and colour.”

On having received the prize and on what she plans to do next, she said, “I’m looking forward to the future and growing and learning as an artist. I’ll be taking part in next years Warwickshire Open Studios and I’d love to maybe one day have an exhibition of my own.”

This exhibition is a real testament to the talent the local area has to offer. Whilst judging, Marcus White highlighted a number of other pieces he particularly admired. A special mention goes out to Guy Chapman’s ‘The Old Gallion’, Beverley Healey’s ‘Winter Sun’, and Christopher P Jones’, ‘Hydra II’. All works are available to view at the East Lodge Gallery, Jephson Gardens. 

Members of the public are also invited to cast their vote in the People’s Choice Prize. One artist will win £50 so make your vote count by visiting the gallery and escaping the cold!

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Marcus White on other artworks of note:

Guy Chapman - ‘The Old Gallion’ 

“A brilliantly detailed pen illustration showcasing exquisite lines giving depth and character. It reminds me of the wood blocks from Albrecht Dürer.” - Marcus White

Beverley Healey - ‘Winter Sun’

“A reportage style photo capturing the little girl in photo-realist painterly fashion. I like the use of brush stroke and fine lines of the hair.” - Marcus White

Christopher P Jones - ‘Hydra II’

“A lovely use of oils, it reminds me of a Paul Cezanne. Verging on an abstract almost cubistic style, the painting leads the viewers eye centrally giving good balance to the work.” - Marcus White

Meurig Hughes- LSA Trustee and Volunteer

“Once more the LSA has brought a glittering array of dazzling and inspiring work to East Lodge. All credit to the artists who provided an eclectic mix of themes, media, and styles. Thanks also to the team of volunteers and Cathy, East Lodge manager for ensuring these fine works are able to be appreciated by visitors to East Lodge. A joy to see.” 

Soolie Burke- LSA Trustee and Volunteer Manager

“All of the artists have put their heart and soul into the artwork. I haven’t a favourite, it’s too difficult a decision!”

Background Information:

Judge for the ‘Annual Open Paintings & Illustrations Exhibition 2018’

Marcus White: marcus.white@yahoo.co.uk 

Youtube Channel


E magazine - “I’m an article and feature editor, one of my older works can be seen in issue 5, I’m currently leading on an Armistice Special to commemorate 100yrs since the end of WW1 - due out next month.”


One of his works can be seen in September edition of Airfix Model World.

His last show was Euro Miniature Expo 2018


This work featured in an exhibit on the Great War 1914-18.