Annual Academicians' Exhibition Friday May 10, 2013
2013 Academicians Exhibition 18 May - 8th June 2013 Wed-Thurs: 9.30-5:30 Fri-Sat: 9:30-6:00 Gloss Gallery, Exeter. Click here for map.
The work of the Academicians gathered together in the prestigious galleries of Gloss Art
for the annual show that has achieved recognition as a major event in the South West
Region's art calendar. View and purchase work in all media including entries from the
newly elected Academicians for 2013.
Exhibition: The Lens and the Easel Thursday March 21, 2013
The Lens and the Easel Portraits of the Artists of the South West Academy by Michael Carter 17th - 26 April 2013 The Gallery at the Ariel Center. Click here for map Monday-Friday 9:30am to 4:00pm Saturday 9:30am to 12:00pm
Although traditionally centred around Exeter, the South West Academy's
current active domain covers a large amount of map and a wider range
of talent. Its membership is distributed over four of England's South West
counties, and with Honorary members in London and the South East it
has the widest spread of artist Academicians outside Bristol's Royal West
Academy and London's R.A.
So when SWAc photographer Michael Carter outlined a project to make
classic black-and-white photographic portraits of all members in or around
their studios, he knew it would take both time and miles. His exhibition
The Lens and the Easel is his complete collection of SWAc faces - thirty-six
distinctive and original artists working in all media scrutinized by the lens.
A personal textual record of each of his visits is also presented alongside
the portraits, giving his impressions of the artists and some observations and
insights into their work. But The Lens and the Easel offers more than words and
faces: the artists have paired their portraits with their own selected artworks,
so visitors will now be able to see both the art and artist in one glance, and
also the place where the art was made.
'Artists are normally only known by their work,' says Michael Carter. 'But in
this show at the Ariel Centre Gallery the visitors get both. They'll see the face
in the studio, and they'll also see next to it an artwork that has been created
in the studio where the face has lurked. Under one roof they'll have the whole
of the South West Academy. So I think people will find there's something
satisfyingly complete about this exhibition.'
Charlie O'Sullivan in her Studio
Art For Life Auction Monday January 21, 2013
Art For Life Auction To raise money for Children's Hospice South West Royal Clarence Hotel, Saturday 11th May 2013, 10.30am – 12.30pm Auctioneer: Robin Barlow DL FRICS ASFAV
A substantial number of paintings by South West Academicians have already been
donated for auction to raise money for the Children's Hospice in North Devon.
Alan Cotton has recently formed a committee of Academicians and willing helpers
to organize the event. Donated paintings plus a selected number of paintings
by invited guest artists will be auctioned in the upper rooms of the Royal
Clarence Hotel in Cathedral Close, Exeter on May 11th.
All the paintings will be reproduced together with a short biography in a
full colour catalogue and sent out via a number of mailing lists. Speedprint
acting as one of the sponsors will print the catalogue and all paintings need
to be photographed by the end of February together with the 100 word biographies.
Thirty-five members have already generously donated art works to raise funds
for the continuing work of the hospice and other members of the Academy who
are interesting in donating a painting can contact Alan by email:
email@example.com or by phone on: 01395 568601.
Each painting will be displayed on the Art for Life Events Website well before
the auction and information about the auction will be included in the Children's
Hospice South West Newsletter. There will be further publicity across the media
including radio Devon. Sponsors are currently being contacted and anyone
interested in sponsorship can contact Alan or Alison Summerfield on 07770 941062 or at
The first Children's Hospice to be set up in the South West for the care of
children with limited life expectancy was Little Bridge House Nr Barnstaple.
In addition to caring for the children the hospice also provides accommodation
for parents and siblings to enable the whole family to be together for precious
periods of time. Now, thanks to continued fund raising, there are two more
Children's Hospices in the Westcountry; Charlton Farm Nr. Bristol and Little
Harbour, St Austell, Cornwall, all doing tremendous work with no government funding.
Alan Cotton Patron: Art for Life
Martin Dutton: Exhibition Thursday January 17, 2013
Parallel Themes: Exhibition of Paintings Mezzanine Gallery: 28th January - 15th April 2013
The exhibition brings together four inter-related themes that
Martin has been working on in recent years:
Intuitive abstraction, in-situ landscape painting, Dartmoor and landscape.
The exhibition runs from 28th January to 15th April at the Mezzanine Gallery,
Theatre Royal, Plymouth. There will be a Launch Party on
Tuesday February 12. Martin will be talking about his work from 5:30
to 6:30pm followed by drinks. Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew will open at the Theatre Royal on the same night.
Ray Balkwill: Social Evening Sunday December 9, 2012
On the evening of Monday 12th November more than sixty Academicians and
partners, friends and associates attended a highly enjoyable 'Social Evening'.
This was held in the elegant Cavendish Room of the Rougemont Hotel in
Queen Street, Exeter. Guests wined and dined to live music by Cornish
band 'Gwelhellin Goth' led admirably by fellow Academician Jonathon
Coudrille. Jonathon is a multi-instrumentalist who plays trumpet, balalaika,
banjo, guitar and keyboards. Is there no end to this man's talent? A big thank
you to Jonathon and his band for such an entertaining and consummate
Guests were also honoured to have Alan Jones, a member of the Magic
Circle and Obie O' Brien, Former President of the International Brotherhood
of Magicians present. Both magicians went round the tables showing guests
an astounding display of tricks. Thank you Alan and Obie for this wonderful
addition. The whole evening was a truly memorable experience for all present.
In fact I was pinching myself at one point during the evening because I
thought I was dreaming!
Finally thanks to our hosts the Rougemont Hotel and special thanks
must go to Alan and Sonia Fynn and Penny Keen who made the whole
incredible 'experience' possible.
Jonathon Coudrille and Gwelhellin Goth
Barbara Rochester: Obituary Monday December 3, 2012
Barbara Rochester SWAc
If the nineteen year old Barbara Anczykowski hadn't met Ralph Rochester
in Muenster in the far-off 1960s all of her remarkable creative energy
might have been confined to Germany.
Happily for all of us she married Ralph and so came to Lympstone in Devon
to raise a family - and fast became the dressmaker of choice to the local
This love of tissues and fabrics, patterns and designs flowed
through all her work and eventually into her paintings.
Barbara had sketched portraits of her school-mates in Muenster
but only graduated to real oil painting with her portraits of family and
neighbours in her new Lympstone life.
There are still many locals in the village who proudly have
portraits in their home to show off Barbara's earlier work.
The transition to fully fledged artist started with work, which, by her
own description, was "domestic". Her purpose was always in the first place
to beautify the family home. She was always busy painting cupboards,
working on ceramics or fabrics in the many examples which now decorate her home.
These new works, shown locally, brought Barbara's work to a wider
audience with successful sales and a wait-list for portraits.
Her early exhibits in the South West Academy expanded her subject matter
to include a wide range of works that had a particular style which proved very
These were her modern versions of ancient tapestries and her still-lifes that
played with perspective in an almost Matissean style, while her love of
colours and fabrics played with backgrounds that might - or might not be -
a tablecloth or a wallpaper.
Barbara was elected an Academician of the South West Academy in
2006 and all of her many friends at the Academy shall sorely miss her colour
and her cheerful contributions to the work of the Academy.
2012 Open Exhibition: News Flash Saturday October 20, 2012
Winners of the Lionel Aggett Memorial Prize Award announced at the Private
View of the Academy's thirteenth annual Open Show this Thursday, 18th
Alan Bourne's Landslip was selected by the Academy as the winner of this
year's Lionel Aggett Memorial Prize.
Second Prize went to Woman Reading by Steven Bramble.
Third prize was awarded to Charles Turner's pair of photographic studies of
Teignmouth Pier and Shaldon Bridge.
Highly commended work:
Jan Phethean's Tree Shadow.
Malbosc Sunset by Laura Hudson.
Blue Dash by Jess Davies.
View 8 Monoprint by Veryan Stephenson.
The Last Supper by Kelvin Harvey.
Second Flowering by Meg Mcarthy.
Morning at Sandworks by Kenson Low.
The Gloss Gallery prize was won by Ruth Bowyer for Green Patterned Cup
A full review of the Show with images may be found on the Exhibition pages
of this website.
This not to be missed show is at the Gloss Gallery until the 10th November.
Full details and map of how to find the Gallery may also be found on the
Drecki Lecture: A Painter's Journey to Everest Tuesday October 9, 2012
Alan Cotton: A Painter's Journey to Everest Royal Albert Memorial Museum 20th November 2012. Reception at 6pm (for a 6.30 start)
This year Alan Cotton will be giving the annual Drecki Lecture for the South West Academy
in Partnership with the Friends of the RAMM, which is also open to the general public.
The talk is entitled A Painter's Journey to Everest. Using illustrations and film clips, Alan will
be telling stories about people and places he has encountered on his travels, culminating with
his two trips to Tibet last year with the explorer David Hempleman-Adams. This will include
many images of Alan's recent paintings of Everest. The ticket prices are £5 and these can be
booked from the RAMM Booking Office which opens for this event on 9th October.
The number to ring for tickets after this date is 01392 265858.
There will be canapes and drinks served from 6pm and the lecture starts at 6.30pm.
Open Exhibition 2012 Monday July 30, 2012
The Trustees are delighted to announce that the 2012 Open Show (the
thirteenth Open to be staged) will be held over a full three weeks
at the prestigious Gloss Gallery, just a few steps from the Princesshay
Shopping Centre in central Exeter, from Friday 19th October to Saturday
10th November (excluding Sundays).
The beautiful period galleries have provided a fine backdrop to the
annual Academicians Show, just finished and reviewed on these pages,
and we are all now looking forward to staging the Open this year in
partnership with the highly professional management of this gallery
that is rapidly establishing a great reputation in the City. The
Open provides a uniquely inclusive opportunity for all practitioners
across a wide range of forms and genres to see their work in the
finest surroundings and in excellent company. If you are inspired
to join us we will warmly welcome your entries and each work will
be very carefully considered.
The conditions of entry and entry forms can be downloaded here.
Mary Fedden OBE RA PPRWA SWAc Monday July 30, 2012
Mary Fedden OBE RA PPRWA SWAc
Mary Fedden, who has died aged 96, was an Honorary Academician of the
South West Academy and from the early days supported the Academy.
She enhanced many of our exhibitions and events with her paintings.
Although becoming an artist with a worldwide reputation and moving to
London, she never lost touch with her roots in the West Country, especially
Bristol and also the Royal West of England Academy. Since her death, her life and
career have been extensively covered in the press.
Visitors to this site may also wish to read the fine
illustrated obituary in the Guardian at guardian.co.uk.
Derek Barrett: Obituary Thursday July 12, 2012
Derek Barrett Dip.AD MSCD MSTD SWAc Born 1932, died May 2012
Derek was born in East London well within the sound of Bow Bells
and like many others of his generation, his education was disrupted
by the second world war. Shortly before his fourteenth birthday his
father found a job for him in a commercial art studio and from that
time on, all of his subsequent art education and qualifications were
received through study at evening school. This was after work for
four nights a week. He completed his National Service by working as
a ward orderly in a Hospital in Romford, Essex.
His career has been diverse, spanning both industry and academia.
During the 1960s, he became a Creative Group Head at W. S. Crawfords,
at that time one of the leading advertising agencies in the country
and one that had an enviable reputation for the quality of the work
they produced. It was whilst working at Crawfords that he began
further studies that would give him the qualifications he needed
to enter the teaching profession. He continued in industry, working
variously as Art Director and Creative Director, until at the age of
thirty, he made a career change to the academic world and began a
lifelong commitment to art education.
In the late 1960s he became Head of Visual Communication at Coventry
College of Art, a post that he held for some years, until eventually
moving on to become Course Director of a new integrated art and design
course at Cardiff College of Art. This latter course made a valuable,
innovative contribution to art education in Wales. He remained in this
position until his retirement in 1997.
Throughout his career in teaching he was painting and retirement gave
him the opportunity to concentrate on this, together with writing and
lecturing. He has exhibited in London, New York, Dresden, Munich, Coventry,
Birmingham, Cardiff, Swansea, Bath, Bristol and Exeter. His work can be
found in a number of private collections. The major influence on his
painting was the English Romantics and he was particularly inspired
by the painting of Samuel Palmer. The foundation of his work was the
natural world which he said "motivates him to build visual bridges,
between his own response to this world and those who view his work."
Derek was very happy teaching and always delighted whenever one of his graphic
design students showed an interest in painting and subsequently exhibited their
own work. He strongly believed in the importance of drawing and the skills
that he believed to be the basis of all creative work. He was also a very
sociable person and was very entertaining company when relaxing with
a group of fellow artists!
Six years ago he suffered a stroke but recovered well and continued
painting and exhibiting. In 2011 he produced a series of paper collages
depicting "Christ of the Cross" which were exhibited at Truro Cathedral.
That same year he was delighted when one of his granddaughters gained a
1st class degree at Cardiff in the department in which he had worked
and he was able to attend her degree show.
Obituary by Jim Lester
Alan Cotton: Drecki Lecture, November 20th Friday June 15, 2012
The Annual Drecki Lecture, Given by Alan Cotton Tuesday 20th November at 6.30pm Royal Albert Memorial Museum (Tickets £5)
The South West Academy, in conjunction with The Friends of the Royal Albert Memorial
Museum, is pleased to present the Academy's Annual Drecki Lecture. Alan Cotton will give
an evening's entertainment of stories about people and places he has encountered on his
travels, culminating with his two trips to Tibet last year, with the explorer David
Hempleman-Adams. With illustrations of his work and clips from films, he shows how his paintings are
The Art Historian, Jenny Pery writes:
"Excited by the malleability of oil paint, liberally applied by knife, his paintings exude luscious
physicality. Unashamedly romantic in his approach, he travels extensively to find terrains that
excite him, but returns often to his emotional centre in Devon. Wherever he chooses to paint,
Cotton's work celebrates the splendour of the natural world".
The talk will be in one of the new galleries where refreshments will be served. Booking
for the Drecki Lecture will be through the Museum and the event will be advertised in the
RAMM Brochure. Tickets are £5.
Zbigniew Drecki was a Jewish survivor of both Auschwitz and Buchenwald, who married an
English nurse and settled in Exmouth. He was a painter and a great supporter of the South West Academy
at a time, in the early days, when its very survival was in the balance. This supprt helped the Academy to become the successful
organisation it is today. In gratitude for his generous legacy, the Trustees decided that an
annual lecture should be established in his memory.
Alan Cotton Draws at Base Camp
Jelly: Exhibition of Paintings Monday, May 28 2012
Exhibition of Paintings by Jelly, Hon. Swac. Until 29th June 2012
Exhibition of recent paintings at the offices
of Charlesworth Nicholl & Co, Solicitors - 31 High Street, Crediton.
View Google Map.
The exhibition will be open during office
hours Monday to Friday, 9am - 5pm.
If you are travelling any distance please ring first to make sure all rooms will be
accessible as the conference room is sometimes used for meetings (01363 774706).
Peter Mallison: 2012 Open Exhibition Monday, May 21 2012
The SWAc Open Exhibition 2012 will be held for three weeks at the Gloss
Gallery, Exeter from the 19th October to 10th November.
Full entry details for Academicians will follow later.
Call for Entries (the details for public submissions) to be
Alan Cotton: Exhibitions and Talks Tuesday, March 6 2012
Exhibition and Talk at the Lewis Elton Gallery
University of Surrey
Monday 16th April 2012
An exhibition of paintings from Provence, Piemonte, Venice, Ireland and Hartland in North Devon, in
association with Messum's Fine Art, will open in the Lewis Elton Gallery at the University of Surrey
on Monday 16th April. Alan Cotton will attend the opening Preview at 5.30pm and the evening
includes a talk about his work and stories of people and places from his travels, including his recent
Everest expedition. The lecture will take place at 6.30pm in the Griffiths Lecture Theatre.
For more information visit the University of Surrey Website.
To book for the lecture contact the Box Office on 01483 686876 or by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Talk at Tremough Campus Festival
University of Exeter
Sunday 20th May 2012
A talk by Alan Cotton called "A Painter's Journey to Everest", will take place on Sunday 20th May at
3.30pm and will form part of the Daphne du Maurier Festival held in Fowey in May 2012. The talk
will reveal not only the artist's physical journey and experiences in the Himalayas, but will explore his
journey through a few earlier paintings and encounters, which led to the opportunity to fulfil a long
held dream to travel to Tibet and to paint the world's highest Mountain. In May 2011 and again in
October, he was Expedition Artist to Everest with the explorer David Hempleman-Adams.
Exhibition: Messum's Fine Art
8 Cork Street, London
12th - 29th September 2012
Alan will be exhibiting paintings from his travels up Everest as Expedition Artist.
Wednesday 12th September - 29th September 2012. www.messums.com.
Ray Balkwill: EGM Monday, March 5 2012
Under the chairmanship of Alan Fynn, a well-attended EGM was held
on the 18th November 2011 in the Cavendish Room of the Rougemont Hotel in Exeter. Immediately
following this was a highly successful Social Evening, which was attended by over fifty
Academicians and partners, friends and associates. Guests wined and dined to the music of a
live band led admirably by fellow Academician Richard Thorn.
The elegant Cavendish Room boasts a magnificent collection of large William Widgery
landscapes that provided a fitting backdrop to a memorable evening. Special thanks must
go to Alan and Sonia Fynn and Penny Keen for organising the event, our hosts the Rougemont Hotel and
Michael Beach SWAc, who very kindly donated an original painting for first prize in the
Raffle, won by Michael Carter SWAc.
Ann Jones: News Monday, February 20 2012
The Royal Albert Museum in Exeter has opened again after several years of refurbishment.
The transformation is amazing with the complete reorganisation of the gallery space,
better lighting and the rearrangement of many of the old and familiar museum exhibits.
Search for the giraffe!
The many hands on activities available for young and old alike, and the museum's fresh
and appealing new look, are already attracting many new visitors. Its avowed aim is
to be a centre of excellence for art in the South West of England.
The special exhibitions which were launching to coincide with the opening are well worth visiting.
French and British painting from impressionism to the early 1920s, two superb Canalettos,
easily viewed at eye level from Artists and Travellers on the Grand Tour, paintings
sourced from many galleries and collections. Plus some wonderful early British
photographs from the Royal Collection - I particularly liked the black and white
portraits by Julia Margaret Cameron (1815-1879). - The Museum now has
Sunday opening, which should attract many family groups - plus an excellent cafe.
We have just returned from a few days in London. We had booked tickets for the David
Hockney exhibition at the Royal Academy. This innovative and prolific artist has made
good use of modern technology, cameras, iphone, ipad etc., to find new ways of
looking afresh at his much loved Yorkshire landscapes.. The result is a prolific
outpouring of work showing the seasonal changes through the use of vibrant colours,
interesting brush strokes, and interesting compositions. The well planned and cleverly
displayed work was backed up by some superb tonal drawings, sketch books, film and photographs.
The result is a truly amazing quantity of work all undertaken in the last 2-3 years.
Alan commented in a loud voice "when did this man sleep?" There was nodding agreement all around.
The exhibition runs until 9th April 2012. Booking is advisable.
There is a different style of exhibition in the Albemarle Gallery (near the RA) by
artist Adrian Wiszniewski. This runs until 25 February. Adrian Wiszneewski is one
of the figurative artists who emerged from the Glasgow School of Art in the mid 1980s.
Poetic paintings light up the gallery with their colours. His paintings are reminiscent
of the stained glass windows which up until recently, he had been involved in designing.
We glimpsed through the large gallery window of Christie's auction house at the late Elizabeth
Taylor's collection of paintings, many from the French Impressionists. The following day
they were auctioned. With prices starting at £700,000 - we decided to give this one a miss!
The opening of an exhibition entitled The Body Clothed in Art at the Chelsea
Arts Club, attracted work from 150 club members including one from myself. All great
fun and with a range of imaginative styles. The work will be auctioned at the club
on Wednesday 22nd Proceeds for a charity for under privileged children and for the club.
There were entries from Peter Blake, Rolf Harris, and Ken Howard and bids have already
reached over £13,000. Non members can bid on-line at any time at the
Chelsea Arts Club Website.
The day we left London the Lucien Freud Portraits Exhibition opened at the National Portrait Gallery.
It is on until May 27th. A friend who managed to see it on the opening day
described it as "quite amazing". Freud's portrait paintings span 70 years and
include one unfinished work which he was working on just before he died last year.
Wishing you all a happy, successful and artistic 2012.
Ann Jones (Ann. L. Roe SWAc)
Peter Mallison: The Academicians Exhibition 2012 Wednesday, December 14 2011
The Academicians Exhibition 2012 will be shown at the Gloss Gallery, Exeter, from 14th April - 4th May. The full entry details will be emailed to individual Academicians later.
Ray Balkwill: Christmas Exhibition Wednesday, October 5 2011
Ray Balkwill's Annual Christmas Exhibition in his Studio Gallery is this year entitled Under
Western Skies and features new paintings from his recent travels in Southwest Ireland
and Cornwall, as well as scenes of the Exe Estuary for which he is perhaps best known.
His dialogue with skies and water still dominate his work and it is a subject that continually
The exhibition also features ceramics by Andy Morley. Inspiration for his ceramics is
derived from the Devon and Cornish landscapes. More recently the rough and rugged
seascapes of the Southwest of Ireland have been a considerable influence. His 2011
ceramics seek to combine the story telling tradition of the Iveragh Peninsula with the rocky
southwest coast of Ireland.
UNDER WESTERN SKIES
Recent Paintings from Co. Kerry to Cornwall
by Ray Balkwill, SWAc.
Ceramics by Andy Morley.
Saturday 3rd and Sunday 4th December. 10am - 5pm.
Exhibition then runs throughout December but by appointment only.
For invitation to the Preview please contact:
Ray Balkwill, Studio Gallery, Thistledown,
Marley Road, Exmouth, EX8 4PP Telephone: 01395 270278
Ann Jones: Introduction and Welcome! Saturday, August 6 2011
The Private View of our Academicians' Exhibition was held in June 2011 at the excellent Gloss Gallery in Barnfield Crescent in Exeter. The exhibition attracted many favourable comments and sales from the visiting art enthusiasts.
Our thanks to Francesca Dawson of the Gallery and our own Peter Mallison for their skill and hard work in putting this exhibition together.
A corner of the 2011 SWAc Academicians' Show
Our thanks to all those SWAc members who have submitted news for inclusion in this website. Keep this information coming in and include dates of your own exhibitions and any further snippets of art information that you think might be of interest to our members.
We are indebted to Tom Fynn for this new and exciting website. It is a thoroughly professional job and mirrors the standards of excellence that the Academy strives to attain. Thank you Tom from us all.
Although we will no longer be running the Young Artists'/Schools' Exhibitions (we did have eight hugely successful years), there are plans afoot to involve the younger generation of artists in the future. Watch this space!
Alan Fynn has been managing our finances with his own deft and magical touch, with the aim of placing the Academy on a sound and lasting financial footing. The future looks promising. Our thanks to Alan and Sonia Fynn for this stalwart and positive effort and of
course to our excellent administrator Penny Keen for all of the hard 'behind the scenes' work.
Peter Mallison: Help needed with set up/hanging Exeter Castle, Open Exhibition Saturday, August 6 2011
Volunteers required for the set up/hanging on Tuesday 11th
October. The handing in of work starts at 9am but we aim
to begin hanging at around 11am and hopefully finish late
afternoon. Volunteers also required for the take down/hand
back on Friday 21st October starting at 9am and finish by 1pm.
Alan Cotton: Alan's trek to Everest wrecked by Chinese Police Tuesday, August 2 2011
Invited by explorer David Hempleman-Adams to travel as expedition artist to Everest Advanced
Base Camp, Alan Cotton and his son Robin, who accompanied him, had been in training for over six
months. All the gear had been purchased, the vaccinations completed and on the 27th April 2011 they
flew off to Kathmandu. Alan takes up the story...
This was to be a long standing ambition for me to paint in high mountains. Robin and I both felt
very fit and ready to face anything the tour might throw at us. After several days acclimatising in
Kathmandu we flew on to Lhasa, the home of the Dali Llamas and then on up to Shigatse and Shigar,
stopping to acclimatise to the altitude at each stage. Finally we reached Thringi our last stop before
travelling to the Rongbuk Monastery ready for our trek to Base Camp. On our way through to Tibet
we had been warned about the dangers of altitude sickness, the need to avoid any uncooked food and
drink only sealed bottled water, but we had had no problems whatsoever and were both feeling really
good. What we could never have anticipated however is what would happen in the next twenty four
Everest! (picture not taken by Alan Cotton...)
On the morning of Thursday 5th May we did a trek to 15,000ft with no problems and that night went
to bed very excited at the thought of travelling on to Rongbuk Monastery at 17,000ft, from where
we would trek to the first Expedition Base Camp. We were both fast asleep when at around 1am
we were awoken by a hammering on the door. We opened it to find nine police officers, who came
aggressively into our room. They emptied all our bags, and searched every item - even flicking
through packets of tissues and examining the seams of garments. They took our cameras and looked
at every image. All this time they were videoing us and taking still photos. We tried to ask why they
were doing this, but were not allowed to ask questions. Next door was an American lady who was
more confrontational, she was pushed around, had her laptop scrutinised and ended up in tears. They
finally left, but we had little sleep that night.
Next morning we were told that the road to the monastery was closed as there had been an avalanche
during the night. This we knew to be untrue because a vehicle had travelled down from the monastery
that morning. It wasn't until later that day we discovered that a group of Americans had staged a
protest at Rongbuk, with flags and banners, to mark 60 years of the Chinese occupation of Tibet. This
had brought about a massive influx of both the military and police and it is certain that our night raid
was to check for any inflammatory material to see if we had been part of that group. Although it
would have been obvious following the search that we were not, we were nevertheless not allowed to
travel anywhere by vehicle and watched closely as we walked around the town. We were advised by
our team leader not to phone or send text messages with any of this information as they might well be
intercepted. It was also suggested that our rooms could have been bugged. We were later told that the
road could be closed for the next ten to fourteen days but there was no guarantee that the route would
be opened then.
The utter frustration of getting so close and knowing that had we been one day earlier we would have
been through the pass and at Base Camp was hard to bear. We had much discussion and advice, but
our guides were adamant that we needed to leave Tibet, so we had to pack our bags and make our
way back down to the border with Nepal at Freedom (how ironic!) Bridge. All the way down we were
stopped at road blocks to have our documents scrutinised and at Freedom Bridge it took almost four
hours to get through the Police Check Point - once more all our luggage being searched and camera
images checked. The American lady again had her laptop examined and was body searched.
The team of climbers, lead by David Hempleman-Adams, were ahead of us, already at Advanced
Base Camp and had been to the North Col, to acclimatise for the final ascent to the summit.
David had made the trip down to the first Base Camp to meet us only to be told that we had been
prevented from making the trek to Base Camp and that we were now back in Nepal. In an attempt to
compensate, David phoned down to Kathmandu and arranged for us to have a flight in a small aircraft
around Everest. Kind thought, but it was little compensation, because the pilot was not allowed to fly
over the Chinese Territory of Tibet, so we only glimpsed the Himalayan Range from a great distance.
David and his team hope to make their attempt on the summit on the 18th May, so we wish them luck.
Back home in Devon I am still trying to come to terms with having prepared for so long, travelled so
far and got so close, but - through no fault of my own - having not made it to Everest and having no
drawings or images for my 2012 London Exhibition. Will have to re-think that one!
Note from Ann Jones
Alan has told me that he has recently been invited by David Hempleman-Adams to make a further
attempt in October this year.
I am sure that the thoughts and best wishes of all of our members will be with our President Emeritus
as we await the news of 'Part 2' of this great adventure.
Alan Cotton: Honorary Professor of Arts, Bath University Tuesday, August 2 2011
This year the Senate of the University of Bath conferred on Alan Cotton the position of Honorary Professor
of Arts. Over the past three years he has had a developing relationship with the University of Bath,
advising on the University's new "Centre for the Arts" project and using his extensive contacts to help
support the fundraising initiatives associated with it.
Alan's Inaugural Lecture "Alan Cotton - A Sense of Place" Wednesday 2nd November at 6.30pm
East Building, University of Bath. Alan will be introduced by the Vice Chancellor, Glynis Breakwell,
and will present stories about people and places from his travels, and, with illustrations of his
work, show how his paintings are produced.
Academicians are welcome. The lecture is free, but advanced booking from the ICIA Box Office is
necessary as there are limited places.
Alan Cotton: Exhibitions Tuesday August 2, 2011
Alan Cotton is currently exhibiting in the British Impressionists Exhibition at Falmouth Art Gallery.
This Exhibition continues until 10th September.
He will also be exhibiting at Messum's Fine Art, 8 Cork St, London W1S 3LJ, with
paintings from Isle of Skye, Cornwall,
Hartland, Italy, Provence and the
West Coast of Ireland, from
14th September until 1st October 2011.
Brockhill Studio, Colaton Raleigh,
Devon EX10 0LH,
3rd - 5th December 2011,
10am - 5pm each day.
The South West Academy of Fine and Applied Arts
Registered Charity No. 1087350
Company Registration No. 4243361
A charitable company limited by guarantee registered in England and Wales
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