What's On

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Hedge Story

4 April - 1 June 2024

Ursula Leach is a colourist whose subject is the landscape surrounding her.  For many years Ursula lived in Cranborne, Dorset, in the middle of big open fields, and her work reflected that, but after a move to Iwerne Minster, only a couple of miles from The Art Stable, she is now surrounded by a smaller patchwork of fields and woods, many of which are contained by ancient hedges.   
So when Ursula saw an article in a national newspaper last year, asking for volunteers to survey hedges for The Great Big Dorset Hedge initiative, she took part.  With that deepened knowledge added to her enthusiasm of this new visual landscape, Ursula has made hedges the subject of this, her fifth solo exhibition at The Art Stable, working up oil paintings and carborundum prints in the studio from drawings, colour notes and photographs, made from observing distinctive aspects of hedges in their settings.

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Slow Time

4 May - 1 June

I draw in charcoal and pencil - mostly landscapes featuring woodlands, hillsides, waterways and scrub - some forgotten places, some beauty spots, some reinvented.   My pencil drawings are small, intimate works; my charcoal drawings tend to be larger scale.  My work is all quite ‘involved’ and takes a long time to resolve; and although I make the finished pieces in my studio, I probably spend half my working time exploring, sketching, photographing and editing. I frequently revisit places again and again to get a proper sense of them - looking for compositions that have ‘something about them’. I’ll focus on atmosphere, mood, changing weather patterns and the transforming effect of transient light. I describe my way of drawing as ‘push/pull’ -  surfaces can be highly worked, with marks and tone built up to create depth and a sense of ‘being there’.  I then will often erase back in places to make complex and abstract surfaces. Drawing has become an ideal medium for me, there’s no colour to obscure the marks and the tones, and I can hopefully get to a sense of what I want with some clarity.

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Temperate Times

22 June - 20 July

For this exhibition I'm focussing on rainforests. You might immediately think of the Amazon but the trees I am painting are not in South America but are the incredible temperate rainforests that we have in the UK. There is even some evidence that we have small remnants of rainforest right here in Dorset. 

I have also made sketching trips to the several precious pockets of rainforests that we have in Devon, Cornwall, Wales and the Lake District. These environmentally vital woodlands used to cover up to 20% of our country but now, sadly, they make up less than 1%. They are particularly enchanting because they thrive in damp conditions so their trees tend to be mistily romantic with branches draped in mosses and ferns. They really do look as though they've come straight from a fairytale book.