Playing at The Owen Mumford Gallery

18th-27th May

Gallery Artweeks opening times: 11am-6pm daily

What is CNArts?

For those not familiar with CNArts we are an organisation formed in 2018 in Chipping Norton with a wealth of creative talent in different aspects of the arts. Painting, glass, printmaking, textiles and ceramics are just some of the media you will see represented within the group. Some of our artist members are professionals who have spent many years developing their skills, others are talented amateurs who have started as hobbyists and have found that their creativity has now taken over.

We also encourage lovers of the arts who appreciate the work and minds of the talented artists who live in the locality to join our organisation and be part of something new and exciting where they may join a workshop giving them an opportunity to unleash their inner creativity or to support local art at exhibitions and other events.

CNArts is being supported by the Chipping Norton Theatre for our first exhibition as part of the 2019 Oxfordshire Artweeks Festival. Whilst visiting there will be opportunities to meet the artists and makers who are exhibiting and gain a greater understanding of how they work and what inspires them as individuals.

Who is exhibiting?

There are 14 local artists exhibiting, all of whom find inspiration from their natural surroundings.  If you ask an artist what made them chose a particular subject to create a piece of work, most will happily explain to you how it came to fruition which will give you an understanding of the passion and thought process necessary to make something truly beautiful, be it a painting, a sculpture or a textile design.

For instance, Martin Sanders is a woodturner living in Chipping Norton. He describes the drama of seeing a piece emerge as he turns the wood, working with the colours and grains as they surprise and delight him. The more he ventures into the wood the more it reveals itself and that’s true of many other art forms which develop during the creation process.

One of the professional artists exhibiting is Pam Franklin. Pam’s work is quite abstracted but often the roots lie in the natural world. Walks down the wooded lane next to her home and studio reveal finds such as delicate feathers which can form the starting point for Pam’s works.

Another professional artist is Andrew Wildman. However, having spent many years working to prescribed briefs drawing for TV, comics and games, Andrew now finds the freedom and pure joy of drawing landscapes and trees from the imagination which allows the mind to wander through its own intuitive landscape. The twisting shapes reveal their own path whilst the hand and pencil create the scene.

Several artists are enjoying their art following on from previous careers and what started as hobbies have now become a bigger part of their lives. Rose Atkins is a printmaker but was a secondary school art teacher for many years. She recalls teaching children lino cutting and feeling a sense of jealousy whilst they tackled the piece of lino with a set of cutters. So, on retiring she was given some tools and ink and tried lino cutting for herself finding a style of art that she loved and suited her. Sharp lines, gaunt shapes and contrasting colours and textures lend themselves to this medium and trees are one of her favourite themes


Similarly, Caroline Nixon was a doctor for many years, Caroline now uses traditional natural plant dyes, many of which are grown in her own specially created dye-garden at home to create beautiful textiles. Because the dyes are all from flowers and foliage they can be affected by changes in the climate or the water source which change the outcome of her work so every piece she creates is truly unique.

Jane Abbott worked in publications in the retail sector for many years but having left the chaos of daily commuting into London has been lucky enough to spend time at Blenheim Palace painting and drawing some of the enigmatic ancient trees there. The mystery within the trees and the tales they could tell from hundreds of years ago constantly fascinate and inspire. Jane also has a herd of alpacas on her farm and uses their fleece alongside other wool and fibres sourced locally or from further afield to create soft felt sculptures and pictures.

Another textile artist who will be exhibiting is Lesley Wildman. Lesley works with wools, linens and cottons in evocative, variegated colours and textures to create landscapes and seascapes. The technique of layering gives an effect of painting with fabrics which bewitches and hypnotises both Lesley herself and the viewer.

Dog walking is another way of surrounding ourselves with nature and the woodlands are not only loved by our pets but offer inspiration to many artists. Laura Murphy is a ceramicist working in parian clay which has an undeniably translucent quality offering her designs of hand painted trees, petals and leaves the perfect background. Her finds on woodland walks enable her to start the process of creating these designs working digitally and making handmade templates before working on the ceramic piece. Similarly, Cathryn Jeff collects reference material on her dog walks with her eleven year old Labrador. Cathryn loves woodlands, the sounds of the trees rustling and the way the light burst through the tall silver birches all providing inspiration to her paintings.

For some of the artists, nature’s beauty influenced them early on. Lucy Sylvester is a maker of fine jewellery and her childhood love of collecting woodland finds has continued and now is the basis of her beautifully crafted designs in precious metals. The delicate lines and textures of her pieces are created by casting into intricate moulds she makes directly from her finds so that no detail is lost. Lucy has exhibited around the world and a Hawkmoth ring she made was worn by the character Sansa Stark in the hit TV series Game of Thrones.

As you can see the CNArts exhibitions ‘Into the Woods’ encompasses many different artists and media which will give all visitors something to enjoy. Carol Harvey, a painter who grew up on a farm in Canada spent happy years drawing wild flowers sitting on her favourite log as a child and painting scenes around her sums up our theme beautifully – ‘The wonderful thing about a walk in the woods is that it is universal, it bonds humans worldwide’

Find out more about CNarts

Join the conversation
Networking and mutual conversation is key to CNarts. We have regular meetings for members where we can share thoughts, information and working practices, as well as just generally socialise.