Iconic St Leonards-based artist, model and muse, Sue Tilley, has curated an exhibition of artwork produced by people from around the world who were taking part in her online drawing class. Helen Drake went along to Hastings Museum & Art Gallery to discover what it was all about.

Sue Tilley, also known as Big Sue, most famous for modelling for the painter Lucian Freud, moved to St Leonards in 2015. Sue, who amongst many other things paints, writes and DJs, had been running a weekly life drawing class at The Fountain in St Leonards until Lockdown hit, so was thrilled when she was invited by Isolation Station Hastings to stream a weekly live online show entitled Life Drawing with Sue Tilley.

The format of the show was Sue and a guest having a candid chat over the course of an hour whilst the audience drew the guest (or Sue) from the comfort of their living rooms. Alongside some celebs, guests included locals such as BAFTA award-winning costume designer Michele Clapton, international jazz singer Sarah Jane Morris and even the then Mayor of Hastings, Nigel Sinden.

CREDIT: Alice Denny

For the show, Sue has curated a selection of portraits out of thousands produced by the hundreds of viewers. The aim is to give the message that everyone can be an artist, and this is reflected in the range of abilities on show, making it particularly enjoyable.

Many mediums are represented, including iPad drawings and paintings, acrylic and water colour, as well as the more traditional drawing tools of graphite, coloured pencils and felt pens.

Some that stood out were: a duo of lively portrayals of Sue using a takeaway pizza box as a  ground by Julian Ganio, of whom there are also several interesting portraits, most notably one in biro by Charles Osborne; Maggie Alderson and Peggy, by Michele Clapton, a sensitively drawn portrait of what could be mother and daughter with areas of watercolour in muted shades; and the ‘stitched’ drawings with areas of watercolour, Wayne Shires and Jacquie O’Sullivan by Jenifer Corker. There are a couple of quirky portraits by Parinot Kunakornwong using different types of paint in a naïve style, sparing in detail, but bold in colour and pattern.

Both times I visited the museum, it was fairly busy, with a range of ages and families with children who seemed very engaged, which I was happy to note. They are operating a system of prior booking either online or by phone, entrance is free, but donations are welcomed.

Together We Draw runs until 5 June at Hastings Museum & Art Gallery www.hmag.org.uk

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