Art for all abilities

A new weekly course in Chingford gives people the confidence to create, writes Christine Baker

The Dovecote

A drawing of the Dovecote in Pimp Hall Nature Reserve, by Lori Shearer

Something arty is happening at the Pimp Hall Nature Reserve in Kings Road, Chingford.

Arts Commune, based in the Pimp Hall Learning Lodge situated adjacent to the historic Grade 2-listed Dovecote, offers a welcome retreat for artists keen to unleash their inner creativity but who need help to find it.

The part-time courses, run on Tuesdays, are a new concept in adult creative art with an easy step-by-step guide to drawing, painting and creating. It’s ‘hands on’ and all about having fun while learning new skills.

Arts Commune is run under the auspices of artist Adelaine Frank, herself a local resident in Chingford’s Kings Hill. Adelaine, originally from South Africa and a freelance illustrator, came to England in 2000. She says: “I see how much pleasure drawing and painting gives to people but so

many are scared to start. Students in our classes are having a fabulous time being creative.”

The Franks are a talented family with daughter Kelly, age 22 and eldest of four children, a keen artist working out of a studio in the garden. While a student at Trinity School, Kelly was put forward by her art teacher to produce a drawing or painting to celebrate the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, with those successful being presented to the Queen.

Kelly’s portrait of Nelson Mandela was selected and she indeed duly met the Queen: “I was thrilled and quite overwhelmed to meet her. It was a fabulous experience and one I will remember for the rest of my life.”

The writing, as they say, should have been on the wall after such a tremendous accolade but, as Kelly says: “I was set on becoming an architect and created a strong art portfolio of technical paintings while doing my A Levels. Following university and working for a year in industry I realised it was not the best use of my skills.”

After a stint at Barcelona’s Academy of Art last year, Kelly is now carving out a better suited career and also picking up commissions.

All Adelaine’s classes have the added benefit of tutor Jim Jack, a sculptor and local artist. She also runs similar classes at Loughton Methodist Church on Wednesdays under the mantle of ‘Seasons Art’.

Adelaine says: “So many people think they can’t draw and are put off. We show them how easy it is, and more importantly, how good it feels to create something they can be proud of. That’s our job – theirs is to enjoy the process.”

For more information about Arts Commune and to find out how to get involved:

Call 020 8935 5962