Meads Art & Creative Writing Classes
The Scottish figurative artist Catriona Millar and the writer Roddy Phillips have been running their highly popular art and creative writing classes in the St John’s Parish Hall in upper Meads in Eastbourne for over three years. The art classes run every Tuesday evening 8pm to 10pm and every Wednesday morning 11am to 1pm. The creative writing workshops run every Wednesday evening 7.30pm to 10pm.
The couple have run classes and workshops across the UK but the Meads Hall is definitely a stand-out venue. “Its just such a lovely, atmospheric space,” said Catriona, a Saatchi Gallery artist, “not only is it spacious but it’s well designed with excellent disabled access, which is a vital feature for several of our members. We have two artists in wheelchairs and some who have suffered strokes. Art is an important part of their restorative process and its highly rewarding to work with them.”
“The lighting is also excellent during the day and in the evening,” added Roddy, “lighting is something we take for granted until we start drawing and painting, but we think we’ve got the balance just right.”
Catriona and Roddy’s art classes are the only classes in East Sussex where you can learn to paint in oils using traditional under painting techniques established by the likes of Vermeer and Rembrandt. “A lot of amateur painters are wary of working in oils but we teach our students from the foundation up, which is quite rare,” said Catriona. “As far as I know these techniques are no longer taught in art schools and colleges and yet they should form the basis of every painter’s process.”
At the Meads art class you can also learn to paint in acrylics and multi-media in a friendly, creative environment. You can learn how to draw in pencil, pen and charcoal. Students of all abilities are welcome, from absolute beginners to advanced painters, all of whom will benefit from Catriona and Roddy’s individually tailored advice and encouragement.
Last year a unique art collective, the Meads Art Circle formed from the class and held its first exhibition in the Hall in July, which was a huge success. Another exhibition is currently being planned for the Spring.
Drawing is Roddy’s forte. He worked in advertising for many years and was a professional designer and illustrator. His private portrait clients included a variety of publications and celebrities from the arts, politics television and radio, stage, film and sport. He remembers Margaret and Dennis Thatcher as being particularly generous and charming. “Sometimes you have to put politics to one side,” said Roddy, recalling the Thatchers, “although at the time I was the area rep for a graphic design union, so that made for some robust conversation.”
Roddy is also a published writer and a creative writing tutor. Under the banner of Bourne to Write his weekly workshops in Eastbourne and Lewes take a student-centred approach to creative writing, offering a range of strategies to help budding writers achieve their goals. Members are encouraged to explore their creative writing potential through self-awareness and self-discovery. “This means there is a lot of laughter in the workshop and sometimes tears,” said Roddy, “it can be a very moving experience as people tap into memories and emotions they have often forgotten.”
The workshops are suitable for aspiring writers of all levels and abilities and for anyone with a strong interest in reading and writing, who would like to deepen their understanding of the creative process.
If you’d like to join the Meads Art Class or one of the Bourne to Write Creative Writing Workshops call Roddy on 07758 367479 or for more information check out catrionamillar.com and roddyphillips.com.