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Spring Tales 2020

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Join the family From designer collections in Childrenswear to out of this world gifts and gadgets in Toys and Technology discover endless experiences for all the family to enjoy at Harrods Sign up for Harrods Rewards at harrods com Rewards

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welcome My 14 year old informed me last week that he was going to give up looking at paintings for Lent all of those trips to the Tate and the Royal Academy of Arts clearly have had an impact just not the one I was expecting I love a game of fantasy art collecting you know a little like fantasy football but where you put together the collection you most covet and would acquire in the event of a colossal EuroMillions win or the death of an unknown but fabulously wealthy relative For me there are some perennial entries to the list but there are always a couple of spots for works to move to or from the bench It s a source of discussion and debate around our table but one that illustrates how personal and unique our tastes are When I was at school our art teacher was widely regarded as a dragon and not in a good way this clearly being pre Game of Thrones and Purple Dragon For one project she gave us a cut out from a magazine of a piece of furniture that we then had to incorporate into a room design I was horrified that mine was the ugliest armchair I d ever seen in a print fabric best forgotten I took the only reasonable course available and in my design the armchair went in a cupboard When presenting her with the armchair free room design I explained that I believed the purpose of the project was to design something that I believed in and that the armchair failed to meet that bar so it went in the cupboard And that s just it there aren t any rights or wrongs in art just opinions Forming opinions and taking a stand comes easily to some but less so to others Access and exposure the ability to have an open mind and see through fresh eyes are all invaluable in forming the confidence to put your ideas out there In our Art Lab there s no such thing as being bad at art It s about giving it a go and if it doesn t look quite the way you wanted it to that s OK Many a great artist struggled to manifest the ideas in their heads We talk about the process the people and works that inspire us and then use these as springboards for creativity Encouraging our members to say what they think without fear of being judged is as important as the sculpture drawing or collage they ve created Last year we took our boys to the Royal Academy to see the Antony Gormley exhibition On the way out after seeing Clearing which Lukas believes to be a giant slinky the Labrador messed up and Host the chap next to us wondered if it was a burst pipe we spotted an iron baby curled up alone in the courtyard prompting Connor to opinion cheerful fellow Gormley isn t he As long as it s making you think challenge and discuss it s got to be good Sharai Meyers Founder CEO PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM Iron Baby 1999 by Sir Antony Gormley in the Courtyard of the Royal Academy of Arts NO RIGHT OR WRONG

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CON TRIBU TORS ELLIE FAZAN Discovers Old Masters p48 Both a stylist and writer Ellie contributes to The Telegraph and Cond Nast Traveller among others and is also our Purple Dragon Editor When I was at school I wanted to be an artist more than anything and my art teacher wanted me to go to the Royal Academy But others told me that there weren t any jobs at the end of it Untrained I ended up making costumes and props for TV and music videos for years I think it s important we re educate people on the opportunities that are out there XENIA TALIOTIS STEVEN SHORT Makes an artistic evaluation p36 Lifestyle journalist and collector of short stories Steven also edits an international lifestyle magazine and has written for ELLE Decoration Country The Telegraph and Livingetc I ve loved art since I was a teenager and saw Matisse s Snail at the then Tate Gallery now Tate Britain I love the way an artwork can change the way you see or feel about the world Muses on peaceful painting p54 Xenia is a writer who specialises in wellness travel lifestyle and business She s recently been rediscovering the work of Giacometti I see such strength in those tall spindly figures of his and particularly so in the ones that are moving forward They are my motif for this year MEET THE TEAM ACTING EDITOR ELLIE FAZAN CREATIVE DIRECTOR DARREN HOLDWAY ADVERTISING SALES TAMSIN IRVING FOUNDER CEO SHARAI MEYERS For editorial contact ellie fazan purpledragonplay com advertising enquiries contact tamsin irving purpledragonplay com Purple Dragon Play HQ Thomas House 84 Ecclestone Square SW1V 1PX purpledragonplay com PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM purpledragonplay

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CONTENTS THE ART ISSUE I S S U E 6 F E B RUA RY A P RI L 2 02 0 Every child is an artist The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up Pablo Picasso Go to p22 and see how Purple Dragon does art 08 spring tales PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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in this issue 22 22 16 18 THE GALLERY From dates for your diary to ideas for artistic living creative suggestions for your next holiday and perhaps the world s most beautiful book 42 IN THE PICTURE A portrait of the artist as a young man Purple Dragon Play Mentor Ignacio Gorostidi takes us on a tour of the Art Lab Photographer and Purple Dragon member Susheel Schroeder on freezing time in a world that moves too fast 36 IS THERE A FUTURE Contrary to what you might think art is central to our economy By investing in it we all profit PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM This year Ghent celebrates Jan van Eyck an artist who gave the world new ways of seeing THE ART ISSUE Cover_final indd 1 54 THE ART OF ZEN Create your very own master peace 58 CREATIVE THINKING Musings from specialist tutor and our columnist Alexa Toy WE PUT CHILDREN IN THEPICTURE NOTES ON CHANGING PERSPECTIVE MAKING INSPIRED CHOICES ALSO THE ART of ZEN IN the FRAME THE ART ISSUE 32 CAPTURING THE MOMENT 48 THE ART OF WEEKENDING S P R I N G Issue 6 Can art encourage us to be more fearless Two artists tell us how it works for them Collecting art for children can spark a passion that lasts a lifetime TA L E S 28 ARTISTS DREAMERS 42 AN INSPIRED CHOICE S P R I N G Getty Nato Welton TASCHEN K ln Nieders chsische Staats und Universit tsbibliothek G ttingen Cnidarians and Siphonophores Art Forms in Nature 1899 1904 plate Three Men and a Cat L S Lowry 11 36 4 95 FREE TO MEMBERS 14 01 2020 12 57 ON THE COVER Photography Nato Welton Prop stylist Wei Tang Hair and Make up Rebecca Hadfield

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Debbie Harry 1980 Private Collection of Phyllis and Jerome Lyle Rappaport 1961 2019 The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts Inc Artists Rights Society ARS New York and DACS London THE GALLERY POP art attack This spring the Tate Modern bursts into life with a bold new Andy Warhol exhibition from 12th March Best known for his paintings of modern day icons from pop stars like Debbie Harry to Coca Cola bottles Warhol reimagined what art can be The show will take a fresh look at the life and work of the world s first art superstar and explore how we can use art to relate to contemporary issues of our time including race gender and politics Alongside the show the Tate Modern s caf s and restaurants will be serving a menu inspired by the names of some of his artworks Tunafish Disaster anyone as well as his reputed sweet tooth Tuck into sundae making masterclasses Coca Cola jellies and Mars bar cakes tate org uk PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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art attack DIARY WONDERLAND Kate Bailey Senior Curator of Theatre Performance at the V A ANCIENT TREASURES Over 3 300 years ago Egypt s top artists were summoned to create all the items that the boy pharaoh Tutankhamun would need in the afterlife Today more than 150 glittering artefacts tell the fascinating story of the life of the child king from a bed with carved lion paw feet to a dainty portable board game and pretty cases to hold the food for his journey Celebrating the 100 year anniversary of the discovery of his tomb Tutankhamun Treasures of the Golden Pharaoh presented in London by Viking Cruises runs at the Saatchi Gallery until 3rd May tutankhamun london com 12 spring tales At the club 1 Mini Sculptors A complete 3D clay adventure From moulding coloured FIMO to getting messy squishing clay into different shapes or spinning pots and bowls on our specialist children s potter s wheels Smocks at the ready 2 Life Drawing From Cubism to Impressionism different genres and techniques are used as inspiration in this life drawing class It s a fabulous opportunity for children to discover and explore materials such as charcoal and sanguine 3 Da Vinci s Workshop This class showcases the work of a range of artists from Picasso to Pollock Monet to Matisse and Banksy to Botticelli and offers the chance for children to create their own masterpieces inspired by the greats 4 Junk Modelling Funny bunnies brilliant boats crazy inventions fantastic surprises are created in this class from a vast selection of upcycled materials Play Buddies fire the children s imaginations to come up with something new and exciting each time PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM Laboratoriorosso Viterbo Italy Alice in Wonderland The Royal Ballet Zenaida Yanowsky ROH Johan Persson 2011 Costumes by Bob Crowley Paul Gauguin Portrait of a Young Woman Va te Jeanne Goupil 1896 oil on canvas 75 x 65 cm Ordrupgaard Copenhagen Photo Anders Sune Berg Alice encourages us all to question to learn to explore and to dream You are invited to journey down the rabbit hole into the wonderful world of Alice The V A s fantastical exhibition Alice Curiouser and Curiouser opening in the summer explores her origins and adaptations over the past 157 years Imagined by award winning theatre designer Tom Piper best known for his stage designs and 2014 Tower of London poppies installation the exhibition will reward curious visitors with secret doors and interactive displays vam ac uk

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art attack DIARY First impressions Colour What a deep and mysterious language the language of dreams said Paul Gauguin one of the pioneers of the Impressionist movement A complete revolution from what came before it Impressionism saw painters inspired by scenes from everyday life experimenting with colours and brushstrokes to show the movement of light and life as it really happened This spring the Royal Academy of Arts showcases 60 works by painters including Manet Monet Renoir Pissarro Morisot and Degas many of which have never been seen in the UK from 29th March Families can take part in free drop in workshops where they can design and print their own Impressionist inspired exhibition posters 8th and 15th April royalacademy org uk

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art attack ART DESIGN Flower power From hand printed murals to bespoke silk wallpaper artists such as Anna Glover are taking our walls to new heights A combination of fine draughtsmanship highly detailed imagery and a clever use of scale and colour gives her hand painted wallpapers a sensory narrative that draws viewers into a surreal world where art craftsmanship storytelling and innovation meet From a bespoke linen wallcovering for an Austrian farmhouse to a vast 110sqm artwork for a members only workspace in Dubai no two creations are the same annaglover co uk ADD TO YOUR COLLECTION The Other Art Fair presented by Saatchi Art returns to the Old Truman Brewery in March Cutting out the middle man it gives artists the opportunity to sell straight to buyers Saatchi is serious about nurturing talent so not only could you bag a bargain you might just find yourself in possession of a future classic too theotherartfair com 14 spring tales I have been passionate about art from a young age expressing my creativity in a number of styles and disciplines I studied graphic design and am particularly inspired by the work of artists such as Jessica Walsh The classes we offer the children provide them with the inspiration skills and resources to explore their artistic endeavours It is very rewarding seeing them explore their creativity in a variety of ways Celia Garcia Senior Play Buddy STREET ART Artist Camille Walala is on a mission to imbue the world s urban landscapes with eyepopping colour and soul stirring energy She began her journey into art as a textile designer and has travelled all over the world to transform homes workspaces and buildings Vibrant colour and bold pattern can create environments that stimulate the senses and inspire joy she says camillewalala com PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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art attack ART DESIGN Artists in residence When Andria Zafirakou an arts and textiles teacher at Alperton Community School in Wembley won US 1m for being the best teacher in the world she used the prize money from the Varkey Foundation to set up a charity Artists in Residence is dedicated to getting prestigious artists into schools to inspire young minds to explore pathways into the creative and cultural industries Cuts to arts in schools mean there s a risk that a generation of children will not be exposed to art she says It is about real exposure to inspirational experiences lasting creative relationships and inspiring children to start a journey into artistic industries artistsinresidence org uk Getty Produced by artist Sarah Pimenta and the students of Foxfield Primary in Woolwich The pleasure of pottering Clay is a grounding medium humble and of the earth Working in clay grounds the individual and it s a relaxing break from modern city life says Lucy Attwood cofounder of Studio Pottery London Located in Eccleston Yards a formerly derelict space in Belgravia now a vibrant hub for the local community it s one of many such places springing up in London providing a soothing space for urban creatives Here the ancient craft of wheel thrown pottery is shared in a modern light and airy space through classes and bespoke sessions The skills we are nurturing are therapeutic and have a contemplative effect upon the practitioner And they ve taught our Play Buddies at Purple Dragon too studiopottery london com Heist The theft of Francisco Goya s famous portrait of the Duke of Wellington on a sweltering August night in 1961 was one of the most notorious crimes of the Sixties Retired bus driver Kempton Bunton handed himself in to police four years later revealing he d snuck through a loo window and made off with the painting in protest at BBC TV licence fees for the elderly The unlikely tale is now being made into a film by Path starring Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren pathe com

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art attack BOOKS Natural beauty Artists have long been driven to bridge the gap between humans and the natural world around us From the earliest cave paintings depicting animals plants and flowers to contemporary visions of the future that draw attention to the fragility of the planet and the damaging effects of modern life art reflects the world around us and gives us new ways to see and think about our environment Eco Visionaries at the Royal Academy of Arts until 23rd February is one such exhibition A spine tingling installation invites guests into an underwater world filled with jellyfish Warm water is a disaster for anything that breathes says a biologist narrating the story of global warming and a dream come true for anything that doesn t breathe much like jellyfish The conclusion of Rimini Protokoll the artist collective behind the work is that humans are more fragile than we think Art has long sought to express our tiny size in comparison to the awesome scale of the planet In Fan Kuan s hanging scroll painting Travellers among Mountains 16 spring tales and Streams part of a series of landscape paintings made in China in the 900s vast cliffs swamp the human world We are but tiny people lost in an ink drawn landscape Ernst Haeckel a 19th century artist biologist created hundreds of detailed drawings watercolours and sketches in an attempt to show the real world he saw around him and found beauty in the most unlikely of places A new book from Taschen The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel includes 450 prints from his most important publications from bats to the box jellyfish lizards to lichen and spider legs to sea anemones He sought to discover and explain emphasising the essential symmetries and order of nature As biodiversity is ever more threatened these exquisite images are a scientific artistic and environmental masterwork They show that from the micro to the macro art is a record of our changing encounter with nature and reveal that we are just a tiny part of a greater whole The Art and Science of Ernst Haeckel by Rainer Willmann and Julia Voss published by Taschen 150 Hardcover taschen com

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TASCHEN K ln Nieders chsische Staats und Universit tsbibliothek G ttingen Cnidarians Art Forms in Nature 1899 1904 plate 8

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SHOPPING What could be better than a gigantic art project that becomes inspirational transport for imaginative voyages This Children s Cardboard Eco Rocket offers endless play opportunities from building and creating to wonderful open ended adventures 34 99 from 3WM at notonthehighstreet com Play is a child s way of discovering the world around them says CANDY WELLARD our new Group Head of Play Here are some of her favourite pieces to encourage your own budding artists 18 spring tales It s time to do more than just Instagram your pets Kitty Forbes s illustrations capture the essence of your beloved dog and her playful style makes them ideal memory makers and inspiration for your young ones From 250 kittyforbesillustrations com A delight for aspirational designers Personalised Unicorn and Rainbow Bracelet Making Kit 16 95 from Cotton Twist at notonthehighstreet com You re never too young for art history Inspired by Mexican artist Frida Kahlo this unique bear from the Steiff limited edition range wears a crown of handmade felt flowers and leaves reminiscent of the traditional Tehuana clothing worn by Kahlo and featured in her work Frida Bear 199 steiff com PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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art attack Help your child paint collage and draw their way through an array of creative projects using this easel table with built in paper roller Extending legs means it will grow with them Growing Activity Table 145 gltc co uk A lovely introduction to art for little ones Miffy the Artist by Dick Bruna 6 99 shop tate org uk Ar e ad ar P t tis Perfect for drawing while on the go this set of colouring pencils has a handy sharpener in the lid Happy Cloud Colouring Pencils 2 95 rexlondon com 3D Budding architects can help design their own personalised playmat with this new toy Start by choosing the map of where you live then personalise it by adding buildings people and icons from a beautifully illustrated selection Want to add dinosaurs and k a skatepark next to your school u g or Or Buckingham Palace and a flock e at of flamingos Well you can p t o t 2 sh Playmap 111 75 s i 1 t ar n playmaps co uk n w sig r o De u M yo d OM l i y Bu le b zz Pu

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GIVING BACK The art doing good of When Sharai Meyers founded Purple Dragon it was to create an environment where families could escape the stresses of big urban centres and enjoy effortless family time together The aim was to create a place of limitless possibility to explore create dance sing play cook design burn off steam splash around and relax Practical philanthropy the concept of doing good whilst having fun has always been part of the core of the business and every quarter we work with charities to support their aims 20 spring tales Over the last quarter our ongoing partnership with Great Ormond Street Hospital GOSH enabled us to welcome GOSH families for a break from the day to day challenges they face Our Christmas Emporium and raffle raised more funds for Borne helping them research and prevent premature birth and our Giving Tree ensured that more children living in poverty in the UK had a gift to open on Christmas morning gosh nhs uk borne org uk and for the Giving Tree kidsout org uk

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art attack T R AV E L Eastern promise Bella vista Is there any better place to spend spring than amid the rolling lemon scented hills of Tuscany Not only does Villa La Massa have 51 gloriously appointed bedrooms an outdoor pool and 22 acres of garden brimming with olive groves and fruit trees for children to run wild in but the nearby city of Florence has some of the world s most renowned galleries and cultural attractions making it perfect for families wanting to immerse themselves in Italy s fascinating art history villalamassa com PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM Located in a Bauhaus style military complex built by the East Germans in the 1950s Beijing s 798 Art Zone is a celebrated arts district in one of the world s top five cities for contemporary art When the military moved out artists looking for affordable studio space moved in slowly transforming the decommissioned factory district into a buzzing area for food culture art and design From the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art to avant garde galleries and sensational street art the little known artists enclave has become an international arts hub with hotels to match Just half an hour away by cab the stylish PuXuan Hotel and Spa sits atop the new Guardian Art Center an iconic state of the art building that houses the headquarters for China Guardian Auctions China s oldest art auction house and an exhibition space as well as the hotel 115 of the 116 rooms have an artwork safe for any little purchases thepuxuan com

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IMITATION GAME Incorporating art history into our programme is crucial to the learning process says Purple Dragon Play Mentor IGNACIO GOROSTIDI P H OTO GR A P H Y NATO W E LTO N P RO P ST Y L I N G W E I TA N G H A I R M A KE U P RE B E CC A H A D F I E L D How to make an optical illusion like Bridget Riley An iconic artist from the 1960s and 70s she put colours shapes and patterns together in clever ways to create optical illusions Paint can be messy so we used black tape in different widths to recreate some of her most famous artworks Does it look like it s moving to you 22 spring tales

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portrait of an artist On the first Wednesday of every month our whole team comes together for shout outs awards and training David Crofts came and taught us balloon modelling so we can all be a bit more Jeff Koons In the blue Brogan Blazer 230 Brice Trousers 120 and Smart Oxford White Shirt 79 mariechantal co uk PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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How to make a collage like Frida Kahlo She s known for her self portraits and bold use of colours Once the children have drawn a likeness of themselves we help them decorate it with flowers These are made from paper folded into a fan and then carefully pulled into shape It s simple but really effective In the pink Pink Floral Cr pe Dress 110 at childrensalon com 24 spring tales PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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portrait of an artist ART is a way of expressing ourselves in a different language It s our own personal language And it s an activity that doesn t need to have any purpose more than the pure enjoyment of the activity itself It s not just about painting either There s collage ceramics sculpting in the Art Lab we cover as many techniques processes and artists as we possibly can Things we don t know we learn Experts come in once a month to help the Play Buddies brush up their skills it s one of the best bits of the job At Purple Dragon each week is themed around a different topic and in the Art Lab we link it back to an artist During our Chinese New Year week we ll be recreating Ai Weiwei s Sunflower Seeds installation exhibited in the Tate Modern from 2010 to 2011 creating collages full of sunflower seeds During our Flowers in Bloom week we will recreate the work of Japanese artist Azuma Makoto known for his amazing iced flowers The children will be using fresh flowers displaying them in a tray full of water later on we will freeze those trays Imitation is crucial in every learning process It not only helps us to properly understand the technique behind an artwork but during the process it can lead to new and exciting ways of doing things ending with something you didn t expect Mono magic Grevi Blue Linen Cap 61 and Carr ment Beau Blue White Stripe Top 12 at childrensalon com How to make Picasso plates We encourage children to use different materials and explore their creativity For this activity we used FIMO on a porcelain plate to recreate Picasso s famous face plates

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portrait of an artist Yellow peril Cargo Trousers with Contrast Details 85 Zip up Hoodie Sweat with Monster Face Details 94 Super Dude Colour Block Sneakers 103 and Angry Fish Small Backpack 80 stellamccartney com Children are fascinated by Banksy Art doesn t just have to be in galleries It s on the streets It s all around us And it s something that they can do too 26 spring tales PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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When asked to recreate a famous Yayoi Kusama portrait we had no idea how to do it But through imitation we discovered the techniques she must have used and made something exciting and unexpected it took our breath away With thanks to Ava Stanbury as Bridget Riley Sid Knewstub as Jeff Koons Valentina Panayi as Frida Kahlo Wilf Knewstub as Picasso Penelope Fitzpatrick as Yayoi Kusama and Archie Knewstub as Banksy See our listings for what s coming up in the Art Lab this spring

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easel does it R E L AT I V E VA L U E S BE PERSISTENT JIM FIELD is a British born illustrator who lives in Paris with his wife Sandy and their three and a half year old daughter Lola A shy child who spent his spare time drawing Jim says it s a dream to spend my days drawing bringing stories to life His characters loved by millions of children worldwide include pirate cats savvy squirrels and uncomfortable frogs This year they re joined by Monsieur Roscoe the star of Jim s first self authored book inspired by bringing his daughter up bilingually 28 spring tales PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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There s no right or wrong in art Letting children be free and creative is a fantastic way to let them express themselves They aren t overly conscious of what they re drawing they re lost in the moment and enjoying it Many adults lose that and simply say I can t draw I found my voice in art I was a quiet shy child I spent most evenings drawing my favourite characters or copying books borrowed from the library My dad would often sit and draw with me and sometimes we d make books together In my first year of school my drawing was chosen to be the cover of the flyer for the school summer fair it was my first commission tell the story visually I start by finding the right character You have to break it down to what they are trying to do in the story Teachers don t always know best Although I was known to be good at drawing I had a report that said James is no academic and he s wasting his time with art Fortunately I didn t listen I read to my daughter There is nothing more special than reading your child a bedtime story that you ve had a part in creating She s at the age now where she understands I ve illustrated some of her picture books and I ask her opinion on character design My dream was to make cartoons I studied animation at university It was at a time when technology was totally changing the animation industry I teamed up with a friend making animated commercials music videos and short films and film credits It was going really well and then it wasn t I thought about giving up many times She s inspired my next book I didn t plan to illustrate children s books An illustrated postcard based on the proverb Fish and guests smell after three days was spotted by an art director at Kingfisher publishers This lead to me illustrating my first picture book Cats Ahoy written by Peter Bently which won the BookTrust Roald Dahl Funny Prize And just like that my career took a new direction Luckily Jodie Hodges became my agent and helped steer me on this new path Illustrating books is a bit like filmmaking The illustrator is the casting director set and costume designer art director and director of photography We have to think about how to best Bookmark Monsieur Roscoe on Holiday is published in July by Hodder Children s Books When our daughter was a baby my wife and I were searching the shelves in a local bookshop for English French bilingual books there weren t that many We thought we could create a bilingual picture book introducing children to a foreign language in a fun and engaging way Monsieur Roscoe is an imperfect character he makes mistakes but his charm and friendliness make him a lot of friends from around the world Communication is the foundation of friendship The arts are being pushed out of UK schools Instead schools are trying to put children s abilities into categories It s archaic The UK was always a forward thinking creative country leading the way in music art and fashion If we close the doors on creativity we lose part of what is great to be British jimfield me

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easel does it R E L AT I V E VA L U E S BE FEARLESS LAXMI HUSSAIN studied architecture at university before becoming disillusioned with its constraints and rigidity and shifting her focus to the creative possibilities offered by art After having children she s currently pregnant with her third Laxmi began working on her relationship project Having children is very isolating and you become unsure of how to communicate You need to redefine your relationship with your partner your friends yourself 30 spring tales

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I ve drawn since I was a child I spent hours after school sketching on the counter in my dad s corner shop But coming from an Asian background art isn t something you do as a career I was good at maths and science too so I went on to study architecture But I hated it The first year was all about drawing and exploring After that it became very rigid and structured Being an artist was a dream for me I just didn t feel there was any way to pursue it so I went into an office job and drew in my spare time While I was on maternity leave with my second child a former colleague asked me to pitch for a hotel rebrand which I won I ve been exploring my art ever since Anyone can draw Now that I teach art I believe that more than ever You don t have to be excellent you can still get the benefits No one ever comes to me saying I m an artist But they leave feeling calm and happy and more impressed with themselves than they thought they would be It s a fantastic tool for therapy and wellness You get to slow down Do something else Be calm Becoming a mother made me fearless You realise that if you have enough energy and strength to do something so big that nothing else is overwhelming anymore I think this is what I want I have an unstoppable energy to pursue this dream day or night and I ve been working to make it grow over the past few years Nothing can stop me Bodies come in all shapes and sizes I began my relationship project in 2016 to explore how I felt about myself The relationship I was in with my body my partner and my friends Having children is very isolating and you become unsure of how to communicate You ask is my conversation adequate Am I adequate I m not the same anymore My body has been through so many phases So it started as a journey to explore myself and I ended up exploring others too I want to be inclusive To show bodies that aren t the same things I don t normally see Art helped me process the loss of my mother I became obsessive about my art when my mum got sick I d drop into my studio whenever I was coming home from the hospital and it s still the place where I deal with the grief the best There are still days when I stumble but focusing on art has stopped me from going to the dark side of it Blue is my trademark colour I started using it around the time my mum got sick but without realising why Then a few days before the one year anniversary of my mum s death my sister sent me a gorgeous picture of Mum She s wearing a blue top with the sea behind her It s one of my first memories of her I remember standing at the feet of the photographer looking up I realise that the colour is linked to my memory of her In the summer I bring the kids to the studio Get creative Join Laxmi s upcoming workshops by visiting her website It s like having studio sharers with me not children They sit and draw and are so happy to be there I love to watch them I think art is one of the most important subjects It lets children explore topics and ideas socially and physically If they have a question it s not a no go zone We talk about everything thislakshmi com

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Capture the moment M E M B E R ST O RY In a world where time passes all too quickly ELLIE FAZAN speaks to photographer and Purple Dragon member Susheel Schroeder about capturing the everyday the days that might otherwise be forgotten 32 spring tales

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in the frame rofessional photography shouldn t be reserved for special occasions it s the simple interactions and the day to day that make up most of our time and deserve to be captured more often Those are the days we will forget says photographer Susheel Schroeder As a mother she has a young baby and a toddler she has a deep understanding of family life while her training as a documentary photographer she s currently working on a series about birth trauma and maternal health in the UK adds a storytelling element to her work Hers are pictures one feels that capture things both beautiful and real I feel really privileged to be trusted with capturing important moments in family life she explains Being a family photographer works well with having a family of my own I choose my own hours and I can work in the evenings when my children are sleeping But it s also important to me as a creative outlet and gives me perspective on my role at home I am able to manage both because I only book a limited number of sessions a month but I wouldn t be able to do it at all if I didn t truly love it I think being a mother makes families more comfortable having me around because they know I understand how it is to have small children I understand if we have to reschedule because they re unwell or that I need to be PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM mindful of not giving a baby more attention than their toddler sibling I get better photos when people are more relaxed so I think it helps a lot in that respect Portraiture was one of the first styles of photography with deep roots in European painting long before that But while the image of the family has evolved over time the way of recording it hasn t quite kept up The most common type of family portraits are artificially lit posed studio shots which in truth aren t so different from the staid portraits of 400 years ago But Susheel s aesthetic is different My pictures have always had a documentary style to them but they ve definitely become more emotive since I started working with families I use light and shadow to create intimacy in photos natural light falls on faces more softly than any artificial light can and I prefer to take pictures of people in their homes amongst their own things People are naturally more comfortable in their own environment where they are for the majority of the time spent raising their children In an age when our mobile phones make us all photographers taking hundreds if not thousands of photos a week InfoTrends estimated that 1 2 trillion photos were taken in 2017 it might feel like the era of official family portraits is over But isn t it exactly this that makes portraiture so important It s nice that we can document our lives so easily with our phone cameras says Susheel But it means we are rarely in photos ourselves save our own mirror reflection now and again I feel strongly about getting mothers into photographs with their children because we re all too

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Susheel Schroeder in the frame often the ones taking the pictures When we look back at them we ll wonder where we were Motherhood has taught me many things but more than anything it has made me appreciate the fleeting nature of time I m watching it pass in a physical sense now seeing it in how my children grow That s why photos are precious and it s important we take them They are a record of a time we will never get back These beautiful reflections on motherhood and the transient nature of time aside many pictures we take ourselves will never make it off our phones or computers a generation of pictures consigned as it were to a digital dustbin A professional session can provide hard copies of pictures but a good photographer will also capture something that you simply can t My heart swells when I see a photo I know someone will love says Susheel Particularly of mothers and their children because I know that feeling myself of true surrender to life as it is now The glorious days and the difficult ones The expectation of saintly patience and the enduring selflessness Of knowing it too shall pass And of course these precious moments pass all too quickly That s what makes family photography the most valuable kind of photography Those photographs will endure and matter to us more than any others Collectively we can elevate and celebrate other kinds of photography but for each of us personally when the time or the people in our photographs have passed our love for them will grow They will increase in value to us as time passes That s why I prefer to take editorial style family portraits so that we can appreciate them for their beauty now and their poignancy later As mothers know only too well despite the joys of being a parent motherhood can be a lonely time Naturally a mother s focus is her children but it s often at the sacrifice of any focus on her And that s a difficult thing particularly postpartum I always ask mothers to look at my lens so that amongst all of the pictures of her looking at her children she is there too I hope it makes them feel that I see them Contact Susheel Schroeder via her website if you d like to know more Her in home sessions start at 395 and include 50 plus edited digital images susheelschroeder com 34 spring tales PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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in the frame Making memories Whether you prefer paintings drawings or photographs there s someone who can capture the spirit of your loved ones Rebecca Ivatts Every child is unique and I relish the challenge of capturing something of their character I like to meet the children first and then take photos using these to work from in the studio says Rebecca Ivatts Alternatively if you have a particular close up photo that you would like immortalised she is happy to work from that too Combining classical draughtsmanship and bold backgrounds her children s portraits offer a fresh contemporary twist on this traditional art form rebeccaivatts com PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM Alexandra Diez de Rivera Each portrait has a unique storyline so the first step is to brainstorm with the family I am photographing about the right theme for their picture one that reflects their personality and lifestyle says Alexandra Diez de Rivera Once we ve decided on a story we think about the details the wardrobe and props Part family photograph part magazine shoot her surreal portraits have been featured in Vanity Fair FT Magazine Shanghai Daily and Le Point alternativeportraitproject com Nick Bashall The beauty about drawing and painting children is that they don t care at all about how they appear and just want to have fun says Nick Bashall one of England s leading portrait painters It s crucial to keep them animated and retain their interest so we chat throughout Exclusively represented by Fine Art Commissions St James s Nick s many illustrious commissions include HRH Princess Anne and HRH Princess Michael of Kent but he is also renowned for his portraits of children in both oil and charcoal nickbashall com

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art evaluation Artistic futures B I G I N T E RV I E W Art is a springboard for a diverse and lucrative range of careers says STEVEN SHORT Central to our economy the creative industries allow us to explore art and culture ideas and imagination and have a real impact on society too By investing in the arts we all profit

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IN last year s Queen s Birthday Honours List David Clegg was awarded the British Empire Medal for services to people with dementia His work assembling the life stories of people who only remember them in fragments was recognised for advancing understanding of dementia and Alzheimer s disease improving the lives of those living with the conditions as well as those of their families And it has been used to train thousands of care workers up and down the country But David is not an academic or medical professional He is an artist He studied sculpture at the then Chelsea School of Art and sees his work as a continuation of what he learnt there It s not just me he observes Art school doesn t just create artists Within my year was someone who s gone on to be a special effects expert in Hollywood a TV prop maker someone who uses creativity to teach severely dyslexic children His work is an example of how the creative industries add value to the UK s economy and culture in both major and sometimes unexpected ways According to figures released by Arts Council England in April 2019 the arts and culture industry grew 390m in a year and now contributes 10 8bn a year to the UK economy As Arts Council England chair Sir Nicholas Serota points out 10 8bn is more than the agricultural sector and roughly equal to cities such as Liverpool and Sheffield Despite well publicised cuts to the arts Sir Nicholas praises the resilience and commitment of galleries theatres and other arts organisations that continue to thrive

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art evaluation Eyes wide open Artist and stage designer Es Devlin OBE who studied at Central Saint Martins has worked with Adele left U2 and Kanye West adding that the success in the face of adversity tells you about the brilliance of the people running these organisations Many of these people will have studied art at school going on to arts colleges and university degrees in the arts then using what they learnt to forge diverse careers London is of course world famous for its galleries and museums government figures estimate more than 49m visitors during 2018 but the capital s cultural events calendar offers an insight into its wider cultural clout From the Frieze art fair and London Fashion Week to the BFI London Film Festival and London Design Festival all attract both homegrown and international talent London s creative economy is worth 52bn a year notes Justine Simons London s Deputy Mayor for Culture and the Creative Industries One in every six jobs in London is a creative one and these jobs are growing four times faster than the average economy Es Devlin CREATIVE ROOTS These days all kinds of careers have their genesis in art from museum or gallery curator to fashion designer inventor or product designer graphic designer to UX specialist architect to advertising executive filmmaker Ridley Scott began directing ads It s no secret that many famous musicians from the Rolling Stones to M I A are art school alumni but so too are their costume makers set designers and make up artists Adele s recent world tour featured huge projections of her eyes that opened as she rose up onto the stage seemingly out of nowhere The set was designed by Central Saint Martins alumna Es Devlin London born Steve McQueen might not have gone on to win the Turner Prize direct films including Hunger 2008 Shame 2011 12 Years a Slave 2013 and Widows 2018 and bag an Oscar were he not another

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Chelsea alumnus This year Tate Modern is hosting a major exhibition of his artwork 13th February to 11th May poignant provocative portraits of time and place that turn his unflinching eye to contemporary issues His Year 3 project shown at Tate Britain in conjunction with the retrospective brings together 76 000 seven and eightyear old children from across the capital all Year 3 pupils in London were invited to take part in some 3 000 class photographs There s an urgency to reflect on who we are and our future he says To have a visual reflection on the people who make this city work 40 spring tales DID YOU KNOW Out of all UK universities across all subjects the Royal College of Art has the most student start ups according to The Higher Education Funding Council for England s 2015 report Research to Assess the Nature and Annual Value of Student Start ups The work offers us a glimpse of the capital s future a hopeful portrait of a generation to come It s one of the most ambitious portraits of children ever undertaken in the UK But if these children are our future how do we nurture them Arts Council England s Sir Nicholas believes that it is short sighted and morally wrong not to do more to teach children and young people to be creative the benefits go beyond the arts We can revolutionise the whole economy by being more creative he says Organisations such as Tate are running Young People s Programmes that champion the promotion of the arts among 15 25 year Getty Makerversity There s an urgency to reflect on who we are and our future says Steve McQueen of his Year 3 project To have a visual reflection of the people who make the city work

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art evaluation olds The Arts Council also has extensive art and cultural education programmes including Artsmark which aids teachers in embedding creativity across the whole curriculum It also runs The Saturday Club Trust where young people aged 13 16 can study art and design every Saturday morning at a local college or university for free as well as Summer Arts Colleges and creative writing programmes It is becoming more and more vital that we support the next generation to fulfil their creative potential whether as artists or as young people wanting to get a foothold into the creative industries says Diana Spiegelberg deputy director at Somerset House Somerset House is ambitious to change this Not only does its Creative Careers programme give young people from under represented backgrounds the skills experience and networks to navigate the early stages of their careers the organisation also provides highly subsidised workspace for some 100 artists at Somerset House Studios supporting them in developing new work and forging new connections MAKING AN IMPACT Backed by Somerset House since 2013 Makerversity is the largest of the Studios residents Describing itself as a community of emergent maker businesses its mission is to inspire and support makers and grow communities of maker businesses in city centres around the world Makerversity brings together entrepreneurs designers inventors technologists craftsmen and engineers with cutting edge facilities as well as running learning programmes for young people to inspire the next generation of creative and practical minds Talent fostered is as diverse as Presto Coffee with a goal to become the world s most sustainable coffee brand London Bronze Casting a workshop at the forefront of complex metal structures and Luna lab currently working on products to replace single use plastics The work of these young artists artisans and makers will affect all levels of our society and culture Art can transform lives in ways that are both practical generating income PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM inspiring communities into shared action and reducing isolation and profound reducing stigma supporting communication skills asking questions about attitudes by presenting challenging material and changing the way people think and feel about their lives says David Clegg However art has a right to be treated seriously as something worthwhile in itself something to be proud of irrespective of its usefulness Art lessons Steve McQueen s Year 3 project far left and the Makerversity community at Somerset House give us a glimpse of our creative future

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Young love The gift of art opens up a whole new world for children writes NICOLA LONGFOOT inspiring a passion that can last a lifetime My parents committed their first crime of passion just six months after getting married They jumped on a bus to Cork Street in Mayfair and spent their entire wedding gift fund on a small signed L S Lowry print entitled Three Men and a Cat right A couple of years later they became repeat offenders this time blowing the savings they d carefully ring fenced for a new car on a limited edition Richard Hamilton screenprint of the Kent State University protests in the US My sister and I grew up around these wonderful illicit purchases They represented something so daring a side of my parents we didn t see every day As we got older we learnt more about the artists the politics the influences and the huge passion for art that had led to these A list celebrities coming to live in our modest suburban home I now have the Richard Hamilton hanging in my own house and my children have a fascination with both the civil rights movement and the secret life of their granny as a result They all have an eclectic mix of prints posters and watercolours in their bedrooms too children are accepting of creativity and expression where as adults we can have a tendency to overanalyse Art can be colourful exciting messy subversive and experiencing it is no longer about walking silently around a gallery full of grown ups Galleries like the Royal Academy of Arts and the Tate bend over backwards to encourage families into their once hallowed halls with art trolleys sketchbooks and talking chameleons to guide your little ones through the displays 42 spring tales But it s the attraction of taking art home that s a particularly interesting trend both to encourage a love of art and as a creative investment idea for a future generation of collectors James Nicholls of London s Maddox Gallery blogged about the importance of the relationship between children and art commenting that art in the home can help to inspire a child s imagination as a way to help children to make sense of new topics There s definitely something unique about art that can take even the youngest critic out of the day to day Alice Lindley is the assistant gallery manager at Columbia Road s legendary Nelly Duff gallery and she regularly guides children around the unorthodox walls of the two up twodown East End showroom When children think about what grown ups spend their money on it s things like food and clothes So they love the idea of them buying art because it s crazy Alice enthuses It s like their parents are saying I m going to spend all my money on sweets because I love them There s really nothing else you buy purely because of the way it makes you feel It s the exact sentiment of my own experience with Lowry s matchstick men So where do you start We have lots of families who come in here because it s accessible says Alice The kids are pretty vocal about what they love Usually bright and colourful The best visits are when the children have been given money to spend and they can choose something for themselves It s really exciting watching the process guiding them and chatting about the artwork It demystifies the whole experience of buying art Independent galleries like Nelly Duff are particularly renowned for promoting young and emerging artists Glen Hardwick Bruce a programme director at Christie s PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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Three Men and a Cat L S Lowry inspired choice

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Artists like Dave White offer a great entry point for collecting with children Everyone loves animals and children are drawn to the colour and scale Flamingo 1 by Dave White 2019 Nelly Duff nellyduff com Alice LINdLEy Nelly Duff GalLEry 44 spring tales For an unusual art inspired gift try the National Art Pass Launched by fundraising charity Art Fund the annual pass costs 45 for under 30s and gives free entry to over 240 museums galleries and historic places artfund org national artpass PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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inspired choice Clockwise from top left Royal Academy of Arts Young Artists Summer Show winners Anna by Rowan Year 9 Panoramic Place by Olivia Year 8 Me and My Sister by Annie Year 11 Self Portrait by Duha Year 10 My Cat by Virginia Year 6 Education which recently launched The Young Collectors Club recommends searching out up and coming artists when you re buying for children You can follow the artist get to know their story and find an artist whose work resonates with your family values he explains You can grow a child s collection as both they and the artist grow Buy art that you love and spend as much as your budget allows he advises If you make a good decision the artwork will increase in value as well as bring joy Alice agrees although for her the beauty of inspiring children with hands on art experiences when they re young is that it also encourages them to get creative themselves Often children are attracted to art that s quite painterly Who doesn t want to be a painter when they re young Artists like Dave White far left offer a great entry point for collecting with children Everyone loves animals and children are drawn to the colour and scale Of course art also makes for the perfect lasting present in a world where we re increasingly mindful of how we consume as Purple Dragon Founder Sharai Meyers discovered I bought my son Connor a limited edition print through Saatchi Art for his 13th birthday she explains I wanted him to have something that he would have for life Whether it s an investment piece as a christening present or a fun colourful print for a special birthday having a personally chosen piece of art on their bedroom walls can open up a whole new world for children And who knows where an actively encouraged interest in art will lead Last summer the Royal Academy of Arts put on its first Young Artists Summer Show with 329 frankly incredible works from talented young artists aged seven to 19 Maybe that pre school potato print you lovingly framed and hung in the downstairs loo will one day be centre stage in your little one s first retrospective at the Royal Academy Sign up for entry details for the Royal Academy of Arts 2020 Young Artists Summer Show at youngartists royalacademy org uk

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OH THOSE HALCYON DAYS Are you dreaming of hazy lazy days in the sunshine with your family Those long lovely days uninterrupted by beeping and buzzing the only sounds the kids splashing in the pool and the reassuring pop of a wine cork being pulled We ve more than 400 carefully selected luxury villas scattered across 26 sun drenched Greek islands that combine the indulgences of a five star hotel with the comforts and familiarities of home With excellent local knowledge incredible customer experiences and a willingness to cater to any request no matter how extravagant The Greek Villas concierge team will make your dreams come true All you need to do is sit back and relax or paddle off in search of Greece s hidden coves or zip between islands waterskis in your wake or charter an opulent yacht to take you over the high seas Whatever your pleasure The Greek Villas team is on hand to help Quote Purple Dragon when you book The Greek Villas for an exclusive 5 discount

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0044 20 3286 5400 thegreekvillas com

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Saint Bavo s Cathedral Ghent Lukasweb be Art in Flanders vzw photo Dominique Provost Optical illu WEEKENDER 48 spring tales PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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old masters A year long Van Eyck celebration is underway in the Belgian city of Ghent ELLIE FAZAN finds a weekend there helps put things into perspective sions Gazing eye to eye with the Mystic Lamb in a sublime and sombre experience His soulful face at once human and sheep like and unyielding gaze draw viewers into Hubert and Jan van Eyck s portrayal of the ultimate sacrifice In the dark stillness of St Bavo s Cathedral the luminescent painting seems to glow from within It s here that in 2020 as part of the year long OMG Van Eyck was here festival that s taking over Ghent the 12 panels of The Ghent Altarpiece The Adoration of the Mystic Lamb can be seen together for the first time since their restoration Outside the cathedral I blink to adjust to the low light of the setting sun It s a short walk along a pretty cobbled street to St Michael s Bridge and the riverside where medieval houses and majestic guildhalls are squashed against former grain stores breweries and ancient fish and meat halls There s an overwhelming sensation that something quite magical has happened and a Flemish painting has come to life around me This feeling continues as you walk into 1898 The Post Hotel Behind the neo Gothic exterior interior designer Geraldine Dohogne has kept the building true to its Belle poque origins A dramatic winding stone staircase leads up from a walled garden Gloriously dark walls give a feeling of comfort and luxury Bespoke furniture is perfectly paired with antiques and paintings collected from flea markets across Europe And there are little clues everywhere Changing perspectives Visit Ghent to take in the Van Eyck brothers Altarpiece

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old masters as to the hotel s origins as a Post Office including an antique writing desk in every bedroom postcard and pen waiting After a dinner of local oysters and grass fed beef fillet at the stylish Cafe Theatre just a stroll away I tumble into bed Deep green walls and a deeper still bed usher me to sleep In the morning golden light the kind Jan van Eyck worked so hard to capture pours over St Michael s Bridge the Graslei quay and canal in what must be one of the best views of the city A breakfast of perfectly cooked eggs cold meat and cheese is served with fresh bread and strong coffee by the fire in the breakfast room Set on the meeting point of the Leie and Scheldt rivers the city receives nowhere near as much attention as Brussels and Bruges By most standards it s a hidden gem but that s a matter of perspective In the 15th century its fortuitous location made it a centre for industry and trading after Paris it was the second biggest city north of the Alps Here English wool was turned into fine cloth and grain was unloaded and stored before travelling on to the rest of Flanders Artisans united as powerful guilds and Ghent was at the centre of a cultural and artistic 50 spring tales PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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In the morning golden light the kind Jan van Eyck worked so hard to capture pours over St Michael s Bridge the Graslei quay and canal in what must be one of the best views of the city Make yourself at home Built between 1898 and 1910 the former Post Office now houses 1898 The Post Hotel Although the 38 rooms and suites are individually dressed with antiques a luxurious theme of restored wood natural colours and subtle lighting runs throughout The cocktail bar is one of the finest in Ghent and has an ambience that reflects the historic feel of the city revolution that gave people quite literally new ways of seeing Although very little is known about him including his date of birth Jan van Eyck is the city s most famous son As well as an artist he was a spy scientist and thinker He developed a new technique of layering thin glazes of oil paint to create an astonishing level of realism combined with a hyper naturalistic style it made his paintings seem three dimensional Completed in 1432 The Ghent Altarpiece instantly became the most famous artwork in Europe an object of pilgrimage for artists and thinkers It s been forged pillaged dismembered censored and stolen all or in part six times and a panel remains missing from the 1934 theft Just last year the city s prosecutor s office pleaded with locals not to dig up paving stones in Kalandeberg Square after amateur investigators suggested it might be buried there Instead climb the Belfry tower for rooftop views lunch on more oysters at Pakhuis take a boat trip to learn about the city s waterways and head to the Museum of Fine Arts host to an unmissable Van Eyck exhibition that s part of the year long programme of events The playful name of the festival is a nod to the signature Johannes de Eyck fuit hic Jan van Eyck was here which he signed on a painting in 1434 becoming one of the first pre Renaissance artists to emerge from obscurity With so many activities on offer from walks to concerts and street art tours and light displays the festival is family friendly too For a different perspective on the city return to the hotel bar for an afternoon tipple where cocktails are mixed by one of Belgium s finest mixologists and the city s bright young things begin to gather Stay at Zannier Hotels 1898 The Post from 180 per night zannierhotels com Discover more about Ghent at visit gent be

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ESCAPE TO THE HILLSIDE A family holiday on the sparkling Aegean coast will create memories that last a lifetime hillside BEACH CLUB

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promotion Nestled within privately owned Kalemya Bay surrounded by glistening aquamarine waters and aromatic pine trees Hillside Beach Club in Turkey is the perfect family escape with an added touch of luxury Here parents can relax while children of all ages can enjoy dedicated activities There s a Baby Park where little ones can splash about fun events at Kidside for four to 10 year olds and an Activity Centre where eight to 15 year olds can make new friends and get involved in DJ workshops and dance classes Of course families can also spend quality time together whether on specially curated scuba diving courses or making sweet treats at the chocolate factory at a zen mother and child yoga morning or on a boat trip to uncover hidden island treasures Gliding over the waters on a catamaran alongside a pod of dolphins will linger long in the collective family memory And there s a dedicated art space where guests can create their own magnificent terrarium create intricate henna designs or discover the art of silk painting If the sound of all that fun leaves you feeling exhausted head to adults only Silent Beach where guests are encouraged to switch off from technology and enjoy the peace and quiet For something truly indulgent head to one of Hillside s two spectacular spas one of which merges magnificently with nature All you need to do is wander a little off the trail to discover the Sanda Nature Spa where the natural world takes precedence and trees climb up through the floorboards Hear the sounds of the forest a babbling brook sweet birdsong while enjoying a complimentary 60 minute spa session At Hillside Beach Club 72 of guests return and it s easy to see why Next time you feel like you need a break don t run for the hills simply book a break at this luxurious resort Hillside Beach Club is offering an exclusive 15 discount for Purple Dragon members valid on direct bookings only For stays of six nights or more you will also enjoy a complimentary sunset boat tour www hillsidebeachclub com feelgood hillsidebeachclub com 0090 212 362 30 30

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strapline Creative tonic From supporting our mental health to improving our observational skills and fostering empathy we lose ourselves in art writes XENIA TALIOTIS

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the art of zen Be free Zena El Farra left a former banker founded MasterPeace studio in Belgravia after realising she needed to make more time for both creativity and wellbeing PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM The minute people step inside their mood shifts They might have had an awful day but once that door closes behind them it s as if they dump their emotional baggage in the cloakroom with their bags and tune into a different bandwidth Zena El Farra founder of London s MasterPeace studio is preparing for one of her classes She s sorting the equipment making sure the ambient lighting and music are just right and explaining how her active meditation sessions have the power to calm to boost self esteem and to give voice to suppressed emotions I half expect her to get out the yoga mats and sound bowls but no she carries on laying out the brushes and canvases Zena s active meditation is a painting session There s been so much in the news recently about the restorative powers of art that it s easy to think this is a relatively new realisation something that s been tagged on to our awareness that mental health is a fragile state that can easily be thrown out of balance In reality doctors have known about the positive even curative effects of art for centuries Enlightened psychiatrists were prescribing painting and drawing classes to patients in asylums in the 1840s and in recognition of the fact that even passive engagement looking rather than doing can be hugely helpful to mental spiritual and physical health would fill wards with paintings There was even a belief that something akin to moral contagion could occur when people looked at art that is they could absorb calmness or goodness from images Absorb may not be the right word but a recent study by the University of Arkansas which wanted to prove the value of gallery trips to students showed that critical thinking tolerance and empathy improved after visiting galleries This should come as no surprise sinking into a piece of art can take us to a place of quiet contemplation and depending on the work perhaps even reverence Looking at a painting or even one part of it can boost our observational and analytical skills If we go beyond our immediate and most superficial response do I like this or not we can

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strapline Above Beyonce by Elena Gual Top right Focus by Romy Elliott 56 spring tales reach a deeper understanding of the artwork of what the artist was trying to convey and of other people s reactions to the work As the artist Olafur Eliasson noted art brings people together to share their experience and their opinions Any disagreement is an essential aspect of that experience in other words art teaches us to accept our differences and one would hope to appreciate them Other studies have highlighted other benefits the Norwegian University of Science and Technology questioned 51 000 people for the Nord Tr ndelag Health Study and concluded that those who had an active cultural life one that including going to galleries as well as making art were more satisfied healthier and had lower incidences of depression and anxiety than those who didn t while brain mapping experiments by Professor Semir Zeki a neurobiologist at University College London found that when people looked at art they considered beautiful there was immediate increased activity in the feel good centres of the brain Zena a former banker says she set up MasterPeace in response to having her own feel good activities curtailed by her job Staying well had become another thing on my to do list and I was feeling anxious about failing to be mindful failing to do the things that gave my brain that vital dopamine hit Key of these was painting That had always been my path to flow to being totally absorbed and totally present I m not negating the value of other art classes but I felt there was room for a mindful art experience one that would help people reach that place where everything that s weighing down their minds lifts away MasterPeace she says is a wellbeing studio that uses art as the vehicle to find your flow or zen state To facilitate that all classes even the ones for children start with a few minutes of meditation Novices and children usually paint from photographs A light box projects the image onto the canvas so participants can trace it and professional artists are on hand to teach technique Everyone paints something different their pet their holiday and most people leave with a finished piece which is hugely rewarding especially for children The fact that art is a fast track to the zen state is one reason why it is so therapeutic Susan Hogan professor in cultural studies and art therapy at the University of Derby professorial fellow of the Institute of Mental PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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the art of zen The Nord Tr ndelag study concluded that people with an active cultural life were more satisfied and healthier than those without Health University of Nottingham and author of many books including Healing Arts The History of Art Therapy the most comprehensive work on the history of the arts in psychiatry explains This is a huge subject and one that s not easy to summarise in a few pithy sentences Our relationship with art is complex It works on so many levels and elicits so many responses that to emphasise a few highlights is far too reductive Having said that of course the zen effect is a very important one Art and this applies to whether we are making it or appreciating someone s work helps us zone out and in When we reach that state of absorption that state of mind the noise in our heads and lives quietens and we can find ourselves in a place of stillness PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM If we are painting or drawing or making something while in this place our work can express feelings we re unaware of which is where art therapists can come in The artist Grayson Perry explains the benefits of art beautifully It helps us access and express parts of ourselves that are often unavailable to other forms of human interaction It flies below the radar delivering nourishment for our soul and returning with stories from the unconscious A world without art is an inhuman world Making and consuming art lifts our spirits and keeps us sane Art like science and religion helps us make meaning from our lives and to make meaning is to make us feel better masterpeace studio Get involved Get Creative is a huge annual national festival supported by numerous cultural organisations including the arts councils of England Northern Ireland and Wales Creative Scotland the BBC and 64 Million Artists that encourages people to get creative and to participate in arts events throughout the country at little or no cost From 9th to 17th May getcreativeuk com

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creative thinking PLAY DAYS Having being diagnosed with dyslexia at school A L E X A T OY went on to study at the University of Cambridge before teaching at Clifton College Prep Now a specialist tutor and our columnist here she muses on art in education Gary Newman Meiklejohn Play is intrinsically part of being human Children don t need to be taught to play they know instinctively how to do it In play we experiment we create Through play we create art Art is often said to be an expression of creative skill and imagination or work appreciated for its beauty and ability to engage the viewer thus evoking an emotional response While both of these observations are true to me they are missing an essential element the most crucial element of art that of its creation Through the making of art in whatever guise be it painting sculpture or collage we learn to play with the visual and this play then ripples out into other areas of our lives Art and its creation is a form of experimentation encouraging risk taking It allows us and by us I mean human beings of whatever age the 58 spring tales freedom to explore and make mistakes In making art we experiment we innovate we discover In appreciating art we gain many skills too Looking at and discussing art especially with children and those who see things from a different perspective teaches us to collaborate communicate and empathise Through talking about art we learn to listen we gain new language in order to express what we see and feel we appreciate different opinions By creating and talking about it art allows us to try to fail to see that success can come in unexpected shapes and forms surely all lessons we can learn from Please however old you are and whatever your preferred medium to look at or create with I implore you GO CREATE PLAY PURPLEDRAGONPLAY COM

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THE DENTISTS CHILDREN LOVE FRIENDLY PERSONALISED TREATMENTS PAINLESS AND STRESS FREE DENTISTRY WORLD CLASS PAEDIATRIC DENTISTS STATE OF THE ART SURGERIES IMMERSIVE AND FUN THEMED WAITING ZONES Marylebone Clinic 74 78 Seymour Place London W1H 2EH info happykidsdental co uk Chelsea Clinic 18 Cadogan Gardens London SW3 2RP chelsea happykidsdental co uk 020 7078 0822 happykidsdental co uk instagram happykidsdental

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