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Artists of the Month

Every month The Circles of Art newsletter features an artist who has captured our attention. Members vote for our annual award recognising the artist whose work they find most outstanding. 


Maria Bell-Salter, June 2022 – Artist
Maria Bell-Salter has painted professionally since the 1990s – initially in the States and then in Paris, where she lived and exhibited her work for seven years. ‘I started out in pastel, then was encouraged to experiment in oil on canvas,’ she says. Now based in London, the borders of Regent’s Park are a source of inspiration among the many gardens she has visited. Vivid paintings of flowers – tulips and irises stand out – are hallmarks of her work.


Nicola Stratton Tyler, May 2022 – Artist
When Nicola Stratton Tyler takes her oil paints and heads for the coast, her mission is to capture not just the extraordinary landscape but also the sounds of the sea. The thunder of breakers pounding on Cornish cliffs or wind whispering through Suffolk reed beds is as integral to her work as the dramatic interplay of scenery, sea and sky. “I aim to give an immediate sense of being outside, of natural forms, the play of light, the rumble of the waves” she says. Her vibrant paintings convey pure delight in the contrasting countryside around her low-lying East Anglian home, with its vast skies, and the rugged West Country, where she regularly holidays.


Charles MacCarthy, April 2022 – Artist
Painting in his rural Herefordshire home, Charles MacCarthy focuses on his immediate surroundings, drawn to depicting everyday things in his studio. Through a slow process, using a limited oil palette of earth shades toned with white, and having found the composition and proportions through cropped photographs, he pares down to simplify what he sees: ‘It’s about light and space and the placing on the canvas,’ he says. Coming from a long line of artists, he trained at Camberwell School of Art and Brighton Polytechnic, and exhibits widely in the UK.


Abi Ola, March 2022 – Artist
Vibrant colours, bold geometric repetitions and dramatic monotones race across artist Abi Ola’s work. Her dazzling creations – which span paintings, photography, collage, performance and other media – evoke an air of mystery and wonderment. Ola is clear about the response she strives to ignite: “I want to overwhelm you with patterns and to draw you inside my world.” A recent Goldsmiths and Slade graduate, this Londoner’s work won the Bloomsbury Festival Art Competition and has been shown at venues including the Saatchi Gallery and Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. When not busy in her studio you will likely find Ola at the British Museum or V&A, studying textiles from Africa and Oceania and William Morris designs.


Hoa Dung Clerget, February 2022 – Artist and sculptor
Hoa Dung Clerget came to London from her native Paris to work as a banker, but changed tack to study at the Royal College of Art. She applies the same mathematical rigour that she one used for qualitative models across painting, sculpture and performance. Drawing on her French-Vietnamese heritage, she chooses everyday objects such as brooms and fishing baskets to deconstruct, explore and refashion. She currently focuses on installations that elicit times past through different senses: sight, touch, hearing and smell. Her graduate work recently attracted attention at London’s Saatchi Gallery; more is due on show at the Jerwood Space later this year.


Rita Parniczky, January 2022 – Multidisciplinary artist
On her course in textile design at Central St Martins, Rita Parniczky developed through photogram her own weave technique to show the invisible structures or ‘X-Ray’ of her woven work. Her novel approach caught the attention of The Worshipful Company of Weavers which, in 2009, commissioned her to create the first woven hanging in her X-Ray Series (pictured), transferred to the V&A’s permanent collection in 2017. Working from her studio in Shepherd’s Bush, she has moved to mixed-media, transforming her woven sculptures with plaster and exploring structure in drawing, all on display on her website.


Tim Gilpin, April 2021 – Painter
Artist of The Year 2020/2021
Tim Gilpin’s paintings not only capture the eye but envelop you within the lush surroundings of their canvas.  He chooses the slow-drying intense medium of an oil palette to bind together the brilliant colours he loves. Working initially from a photograph of a room or hotel interior, Gilpin draws a composition of lines and shapes that he then manipulates and scales onto large, square-format canvases.


Emily Wilson , August 2020 – Painter
Artist of The Year runner up 2020/2021
Portrait artist Emily Wilson captures the elusive essence of childhood with her iridescent watercolour paintings.  The arrival of her first-born son rekindled her artistic creativity and she has progressed from depicting him to taking photo-to-portrait commissions. Her passion for painting and drawing, conveying a child’s pure joy for life, appears in every piece.