The Big Art Challenge

Rose Ash Village Hall, June 25th

Thursday May 25th was a beautiful day, with sunshine and clear skies. This would have been a great day for walking but we were busy all day, with The Big Art Challenge. Posters appeared to be springing up like magic all around the tiny village of Rose Ash.
horses in the village
As Valerie and I stopped to pick up the keys for the Village Hall we were passed by several riders - I think Valerie said that there is a nearby racing stable. These quiet roads are probably among the safest you could find in England for horse riding.
Churchyard view
This is the view from the churchyard - you can see the hills in the distance.
Rose Ash Village Hall
Here is Valerie coming away from the Village hall, with the church just in view behind it.
John loading up
John Wray loading up for the event. We were busy all morning setting up the Hall. John had built a big boarded frame to which the painting squares would be stapled. It came in four sections which were then stapled together in the Hall. There were teas and cakes and a raffle, with prizes that included energy saving light bulbs to emphasis the fact that we all care about the environment.
Setting up for the event
Setting up for the event - note the glasses ready for the sparkling wine, and the large brown board to which the paper painting squares will be stapled. The curtain had not been fixed yet.
Handing out paper
Valerie is giving out paper to a lady who painted a square. Neil harvey is helping himself to some paper.
The photographs don`t do the Village Hall justice - it was a charming little Hall. The photographs make it look dark and cramped but it was actually light and airy
artists working
Artists at work. .  The event ran from 3.30 to 7.30 but some people came early as well. I had imagined that it wouldn`t take people long to paint their squares but was impressed by the care and thought that they took with their work, especially those who said they had never painted before and were nervous as they began.
In the right corner, Simon Holt and another man from NPower, having their tea and carrot cake with Caroline Harvey. We had heard that they were in South Molton in the morning but hadn`t expected a visit from them at our event! I don`t know if they were asked to paint a square, but they did buy some raffle tickets. They drove away with a "No to Wind Turbines at Batsworthy Cross" sticker on the back of their car, to much amusement from those who saw them go (a shame we didn`t get a photo of that)

Artists at work
John Wray having a go himself at the last minute, while Ashley Gray and his son Louis work on a square (Louis also did a painting of some turbines to show what he thinks of them, see below)
Some of the artists took an hour or even two hours on their squares, and even those who chose to do a square of blue sky (because it would be easiest) became enthusiastic about their paintings.
the children worked hard too
Benjamin aged seven. His turbine appears to have caught fire.
Louis with his paintings of turbines (also on fire?) posing beside a blown up version of my sketch of Batsworthy Cross
another child
Nicholas  aged four. He really enjoyed himself.
everyone busy
Valerie Wray who, with her husband John, did such a brilliant job organising the event. Nicholas`s mother Lynsey is just behind her.  Caroline Harvey is pouring out some paint at the table, and Ashley Gray (Chairman of the Two Moors campaign) painting with his son.
starting on the bubbly
Preparing for the unveiling of the painting while the squares were being stapled onto the frame during the afternoon it was covered with a curtain. As I was asked to pull the curtain (with Ashley Gray) for the local Press I couldn`t take photos myself, but some will come later. In this photo you can see Jill Cronk in the pink jumper - photos of her paintings will be on the website too.
You may notice the wine glass - we all had bubbly wine to celebrate as the curtain was pulled.
The big painting
The completed painting of Batsworthy Cross.  In the last minute a couple of squares were put on upside down but will be reversed. Again the photo doesn`t do it justice - it looked very impressive. It is probably about six foot tall and eight foot wide.
I will be putting a list of the artists involved on the website as soon as I get it. The event was a great success and included local people of all ages and income groups - it was a real community effort.

After the event everyone helped with the packing up, and Jill Cronk brought over some paintings for me to photograph. It was too dark to do it by then so I arranged to do it on Friday, and also to photograph some of John`s work as well.
I was really pleased to find more artists for the Artists Against Wind Farms website.
When everyone had gone, Valerie, John and I had a late supper. Despite working so hard all day, Valerie had prepared a vegetable lasagna, and we had it with melon for starter, salad, garlic bread, and left over chocolate cake for desert., before finally going to bed at about midnight. The day had been so busy I hadn`t managed a walk, but it had been a great success. I went to sleep looking forward to the next day`s walking.