Wilderness Festival 2017

Hamley Jenkins


Wilderness is a festival of the arts held in the midst of Cornbury Park, a beautiful nature reserve in the Oxfordshire countryside - it’s a must-see event in the calendar of anyone who values the arts and nature. Thanks to a recommendation from my friend and former drawing tutor, Alex Cree, I was chosen by Secret Productions to sketch at Wilderness festival in 2014, 2015 and 2016, (links to these drawings appear at the bottom of this page).

This year I chose to do a live painting during the festival of the scene at Wilderness lake, based on a famous piece called ‘Bathers at Asnieres’ by impressionist painter Georges Seurat. I have never painted in such a public position before and the reaction from the festival-going public was overwhelmingly positive - giclée prints will be available for purchase soon, thank you for all your kind words and encouragement. In return I was thoroughly entertained by those revellers who bravely dived into the icy waters and emerged breathless and exultant. Bravo!

The final piece under the protective gaze of two members of the security team.

Click on the sketchbooks above to see the drawings inspired by previous years, I hope they give you a flavour of this wonderful festival. Open-air opera, theatre, music, hot tubs, banquets, debates, comedy and wandering players; with so much to entertain and inspire it’s always difficult to commit to one scene!

Tess Acheson, Director at Secret Emporium:

“Annette delivered a work portfolio far beyond our expectations. We asked her to live draw within a live event arena, producing a number of sketches. The sketches were polished, finished and accurate yet retaining the ‘live’ touch we were after. I can see and feel the event in her drawings and she captured some amazing vignettes.”

My pencil crayon copy of Seurat’s original ‘Bathers at Asnières’ which is on display at the National Gallery. Both the Courtauld and the National are very supportive of artists; they allow you to spend all day sketching, even providing a stool.