Who: Scribbly Roo (Hatty Leith)
Fantasy and children’s illustrations… 3D felt creations… mixed media… acrylic and watercolour paintings…
Where: Fisher Theatre, Bungay, NR35 1EE
When: 13th August till 7th September
I work with another Hatty at Big Blue Sky, in North Norfolk. It’s a lovely artsy shop selling paintings, sculptures, jewellery and other trinkets, all made by artists in North Norfolk. We’ve got to know each other well during the weekend shifts and Hatty invited me to the private viewing of her first, solo art exhibition in Bungay.
I’ve seen her crochet and felt roses, handmade cards and bits and pieces, which she sells in Big Blue Sky but I was really excited to see her paintings and illustrations.
Hatty founded ScribblyRoo Studios in 2012 and uses the pseudonym as an expression of her passion for writing and drawing but also in loving memory of her secret, University flatmate Rupert (Ru) her pet rat. She graduated from Bath School of Art and Design in 2013 with a degree in Graphic communications with a previous years specialisation in printmaking under her belt from Maidstone UCA.
Here are my three favourite pieces from her exhibition, inspired by fairytales but some with a rather curious twist!
Red and Wolf
Red Riding Hood sits comfortably on the back of the big bad wolf; turning the innocent little girl into a powerful, cloaked figure and the wolf into an elegant steed. I almost expect her ‘to whip a pistol from her knickers’ as Roald Dahl’s version of the fairytale goes (Revolting Rhymes, 1982).
What I really like about this piece though, is the intricate, symmetrical boarder. It looks like it has come from the depths of a mysterious old book, high up on a dusty shelf. Hatty’s Uncle is an antiques restorer and inspired the backdrop to ‘Red and Wolf’. He loves folk lore and medieval history and has lent Hatty lots of books, one in particular was about celtic knots and this inspired the delicate pattern. Her Uncle uses the celtic style for restoration on mirror frames and furniture but as the boarder on Hatty’s painting, it looks magical.
Helena, Sean and Maggie
The trio of digital prints were part of a project in Hatty’s final year at Bath Spa. But I’ll let you in on a secret, they were originally for an illustration competition for Hunger Magazine. The brief was to create illustrations for three celebrities and Hatty worked on Helena Bonham Carter, Maggie Smith and Sean Bean right up till the competition deadline. Then when she emailed in her work the email bounced back and she never made the competition deadline!
Hatty paired up each of the celebrities with an animal which she felt suited the character. For Helena, a cuckoo to match her crazy persona. She placed the portrait of Helena amongst objects like keys and fossils, which you might find in a curiosity cabinet. She felt Helena suited being a piece on display in a curiosity cabinet as she so often is Tim burton’s puppet in his films.
Hatty paired Maggie Smith with a cat to match her regal nature and well respected acting career. As for Sean Bean, she drew influences from his role in the TV series ‘Sharpe’, which is why he holds a rifle that turns into a tree.
Down To Tower’d Camelot
This watercolour painting is based on the poem ‘The Lady of Shalott’ by Lord Alfred Tennyson (1832). Originally Hatty painted the scene in an A5 sketchbook but enlarged the print so that it has a child-like quality.
The painting is her idea of what the Lady of Shalott would put on her tapestry, from what she sees in the reflection of the mirror in her tower room.
Here are a few stanzas of the poem to get an idea of the parts of the story that you can pick out in the painting:
“And moving thro’ a mirror clear
That hangs before her all the year,
Shadows of the world appear.
There she sees the highway near
Winding down to Camelot:
There the river eddy whirls,
And there the surly village-churls,
And the red cloaks of market girls,
Pass onward from Shalott.
Sometimes a troop of damsels glad,
An abbot on an ambling pad,
Sometimes a curly shepherd-lad,
Or long-hair’d page in crimson clad,
Goes by to tower’d Camelot;
And sometimes thro’ the mirror blue
The knights come riding two and two:
She hath no loyal knight and true,
The Lady of Shalott.
But in her web she still delights
To weave the mirror’s magic sights,
For often thro’ the silent nights
A funeral, with plumes and lights,
And music, went to Camelot:
Or when the moon was overhead,
Came two young lovers lately wed;
“I am half sick of shadows,” said
The Lady of Shalott.”
Take a look at the rest of Hatty’s extensive exhibition… but to get a proper idea of her talent, visit her exhibition before 7th September!
To follow ScribblyRoo’s (Hatty’s) progress you can connect to any of her social media outlets or simply look at her website http://www.scribblyroo.co.uk .
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