New Blogsite

As this project draws to an end, so also will this blogsite. I am pleased that I have this comprehensive documentary of my journey over the past 10-months. But fear not, I have started another blog to document what happens from here at:

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The work selected for the Vickers Collection

One of the conditions of the Jonathan Vickers Fine Art Award is that a percentage of the work produced goes into the Vickers Collection. The pieces that were selected were:

One in a Million - 2008 - Oil on canvas 125cm x 125cm


Heavens Above! - 2008 - Oil on canvas 150cm x 100cm

See the new Vickers website here:

Comments from Skimming the Surface

Here are a few selected comments from the "Skimming the Surface" exhibition at Derby Art Gallery:

Fascinating talk and beautiful exhibition - an excellent use of your time in Derby. I especially love the iconic "One in a Million".
FW - Ireland

Most impressive. 'Three's a Crowd' is amusing, disturbing and thought provoking. Should be in the Tate Modern.
Tom, Reading

Don't like the 'lift' works but: Move effective and evocative than Richter (whom I always felt was overrated) or Tuymans. The 'trees', 'Constellation' and 'Million' are very effective. Brilliant work!

Absolutely fantastic! Can relate it all very much to my own practice with photography - displacement, the uncanny, quick glances. RD

Very emotive and atmospheric - deserving of my stock 'art critic' phrases. Makes me feel uncomfortable but warm at the same time, a detached yet involved feeling that allows me to use conflicting description to avoid explaining what I mean but trusting that you as the artist and authority have the insight to understand.
'Fierce', Derby

It's lovely to view live creativity produced by someone I know. I'm very in love with 'Three's a Crowd' - quirky in composition but atmospheric it makes me curious of what has not been included in the canvas.
Gail, Derby

I really liked how you have used oils and brushes in the protraits. CCTV effects also give each portrait a ghostly effect as if the viewer is part of the machine that watches over us. I can relate similarities between the spoken word poem I wrote and performed and your paintings. I think there is a detached feeling for the viewer. In the portraits the machine has no feeling towards that which it sees, there is no colouring of emotion or memory. I think your paintings are very good as you have captured all I have mentioned above and more. Now, how do the paintings make me feel? I don't have enough pages in the book to put it down. JC

Painting which 'imitates' photography and film is futile and pointless (why not just look at the original forms). Also, isolating a 'moment' from a sequence is again rather pointless and contradictory, and inevitably 'second best' to the actual movement itself. However, interesting images and technically competent.
AN, Stafford

I loved the detail of the 'Heights of Abraham' and 'Heavens Above!'. 'Work in Progress' was understated and challenging. I loved the first three canvasses in 'Market Hall Corner'. They caught my imagination more than the last two.
PS, Belper, Derbyshire

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Skimming the Surface at Buxton Dome

Market Hall Corner:


Friday, September 26, 2008

Buxton Dome Exhibition

A selection of my Vickers collection will be exhibited at the University of Derby's Buxton Dome from Wednesday 1st October until Sunday 19th October 2008.

Wirksworth Festival Workshops

Last week I was back at the Parish Rooms in Wirksworth to deliver two days of workshops for school children aged 6-15. I worked once again with the students from Anthony Gell school who participated in the Vickers workshops last summer. Their work was also exhibited at the Parish Rooms throughout the festival.

Students from Anthony Gell:

Large drawings made with charcoal taped to very long sticks!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

The Wirksworth Festival 2008

Well this blog has now gone full circle - see the archive entry here (scroll down to 12th September 2007) featuring the Wirksworth Festival. The Caravan Gallery returned again this year and I was invited to exhibit in the Parish Rooms alongside artists Maggie Cullen and Michael Shaw. The weekend art and architecture trail was fantastic - with many people visiting despite the terrible weather conditions. The exhibition in the Parish Rooms continues until Sunday 21st September.

The Caravan Gallery returns to a great reception:

The exhibition at the Parish Rooms with Maggie Cullen's delicate and intimate sculptures and Mike Shaw's stunning inflatables alongside my paintings and drawings:

A rare break in the weather - I think this was the only convincing dry spell:

Friday, August 29, 2008

Wirksworth Festival featured in AN-Magazine

AN-Feature - Sept 2008:

"Over 160 artists are showcasing work in Wirksworth Festival’s Art and Architecture Trail.

Last year, 7,000 visitors came to the Derbyshire market to view works in venues ranging from private homes, historic buildings, gardens, churches to shops and industrial workshops. The visual arts programme highlights new commissioned work by Mike Shaw, (AHRC Fellow at Loughborough University), Natalie Dowse (Derbyshire Community Foundation Vickers Fine Art Award winner 2007/08) and site-specific installation by Maggie Cullen, on view until 21 September at Parish Rooms Gallery.

Fourteen of the town’s shop windows will host the Art for Windows programme that includes specially-commissioned work by selected artists including work by Johanne Domnke Guyot and Kirsty Smith. John Tunley’s ‘Images from the Natural History Museum’ is showing Derby Museum and Art Gallery at the same time. The festival has also commissioned Maxine Hall to document the people of Wirksworth; using a 5x4 camera and natural light, sitters will take ownership of the chair and command of the lens.

In the Market Place, internationally-acclaimed Caravan Gallery returns with ‘Photographing the way we live today’, while sculptor Laura Bacon has created a new temporary sculpture in cable for the space. Willowbath Mill studios are open to the public, presenting ongoing projects, documented works and installations from ten artists and designers. The Makers’ Market at the Town Hall and Memorial Hall has doubled in size to showcase work by leading East Midlands designer makers, including jewellery, textiles, glassware, ceramics and woodwork. As part of a programme of support for young artists, new work from the universities of Derby and Staffordshire are on exhibition."

5-21 September 2008

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wirksworth Festival and Buxton

I will be showing the work from 'Skimming the Surface' in the Parish Rooms at this year's Wirksworth Festival alongside Maggie Cullen and Michael Shaw. The Festival runs from 5th September to 21st September.

The work will also be shown at the University of Derby Dome in Buxton from 1st to 19th October 2008.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A scary picture from the Derby Telegraph

Hmmm not one of my best - but still it's all part of the story.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Mapping Landscapes Exhibition

Here's an image from the Mapping Landscapes exhibition. The culmination of the work produced during the four schools' workshops. A total of 73 canvases are on show until the 10th August at the Derby Museum and Art Gallery. To see more about the project and more images visit:

Monday, July 14, 2008

Five questions for ...

Five questions for... by Wayne Burrows (Metro 27.06.08) - Click here.

Your paintings often resemble photographs. What attracts you to these images?
I walk around shooting digital film and then select frames to paint at the studio, so the style is part of the process. I'm fascinated by the points where photography and painting blur into one another visually. One piece, Constellation, is a grid of anonymous faces I've glimpsed in crowds.

Doesn't the new work result from an award you received?
Yes, the Vickers Fine Art Award is given every two years, and offers a ten-month studio residency at the University of Derby to the winner. This show brings together the paintings I've made on the theme A Sense Of Place during my time here.

Did you choose the theme yourself?
The award specified it, but I only entered after I'd already spent time in Riga, Latvia, making paintings based on my awareness of being an outsider. I've used a similar methodology in Derby, looking at the city through a newcomer's eyes.

How do the animations fit in with the paintings?
They're based on digital film, so come from a similar process. The idea was that the people I've drawn are in Derby, but could also be anywhere in the world. I wanted to raise the question of what creates a local identity.

Did you come to any conclusions?
What you see in the pictures is sometimes unmistakeably a local landscape, but often it's harder to tell where they are, and I like that ambiguity.

I thought this was quite amusing! Did I really say all this?

Schools' Exhibition

Today I've been hanging the schools' workshops exhibition 'Mapping Landscapes' . There's a preview tomorrow evening from 5.00pm - 6.30pm at Derby Museum and Art Gallery. The exhibition continues until Sunday 10th August. Photographs to follow very soon.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Skimming the Surface featured in the Guardian Guide

Today I'm featured in the weekend Guardian Guide - thank you Robert Clark :-)

"As a culmination of her Derby artist-in-residence stint, Natalie Dowse presents paintings and animations that reflect something of the awkward bemusement experienced by any first-time visitor to a typically nondescript shopping centre. Working from digital portraits, Dowse fleshes out the photographic glimpses through the more painstaking process of painting. The anonymous faces appear transfixed by the mundane quandary, their meticulously delineated features belying a tendency to become absorbed back into the crowd. Other works focus on the consumer treadmills of escalators and cable cars." RC

You can see it online here:

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Gallery Talk

Skimming the Surface gallery talk. Thursday 10th July 1pm - 2pm, Derby Museum and Art Gallery, The Strand, Derby.

Constellation (detail) Oil on canvas - 2007


There is a 32 page colour catalogue to accompany the Skimming the Surface exhibition. Please email for further details.

Kindly sponsored and printed by Colourstream Litho, Derby.

Early at the Preview

Here are some images from the private view (thanks Rachael). A big thank you to all the people that attended and offered their support. A busy night in the end with over 70 visitors.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Skimming the Surface Exhibition

Skimming the surface opened a week ago and finally I have managed to take some images of the installed work. The Award has officially come to an end but I will be participating in a few more events - so watch this space.

Thank you for all those who attended the private view - especially those who travelled miles and miles and miles to get here in Friday traffic!

Sinfin Community School

The fourth school workshop was delivered on the 25th June (two days before my exhibition opening). The workshop was really successful and again all the students involved worked really hard. Their work is now on the Mapping Landscapes blogsite.

Sian Byrne - The Silk Mill, Derby

Friday, June 13, 2008

Three out of four...

Today I ran a painting workshop at Noel Baker Community School, Derby. Once again some fantastic paintings now published on the Mapping Landscapes blog.

Hope Valley, Derbyshire - painting by Emma Houghton

Work in progress

Work in progress from Philip Howard School, Glossop

Photographs: Liz Colley

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Anthony Gell School, Wirksworth

Painting by Melissa Kenny

It's been a busy week. This Monday (9th June) I visted the Anthony Gell School to deliver their painting workshop. It was a successful day although the weather was a little hot on Monday. You can see the work at

Yesterday three of the four schools came to visit the University of Derby degree shows and my studio. This gave the students a chance to see the many different departments in an Art & Design faculty and to see my work in the flesh.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Philip Howard RC School, Glossop Workshop

Yesterday I delivered the first of four schools' workshops. There were 15 students involved and you can see their work published here: Mapping Landscapes or follow the link above. I felt it was a really successful day and the students have set some very high standards.

The aim was to deliver a one-day painting workshop relating to the Vickers Art Award theme 'Sense of Place', whereby each of the students involved produced a finished artwork ready for exhibition. To fit with the project brief the students were asked to pick a picture postcard from a location in Derbyshire. They were then asked to plot this location on a map to produce a group drawing as well as interpret their chosen image in a way that suited their subject matter through the exploration of the materials. Each student was provided with a box canvas and quality acrylic paints and brushes. All four schools' workshops are kindly sponsored by EDS.

Painting by Luke McDonnell: