Inspirational teachers lead to a life of art

At Grammar School in North London, Diane Hughes had inspirational teachers who were the early influences in her art. Benefiting from these, she started at the Slade straight from school in 1961.

The period after the Second World War saw a monumental change to the admissions process of universities and colleges such as Cambridge, Oxford and The Slade. The demand for higher education was expanding, however there were not enough places. Universities were encouraged to take in students from more diverse backgrounds.

As a child from a working class background Diane believes that this gave her the extraordinary opportunity to progress to The Slade straight after finishing her grammar school education in 1961.

She spent four years at The Slade being tutored by eminent artists such as Andrew Forge, Keith Vaughn and Patrick George. Whilst there Diane undertook painting and sculpture, amongst other things, and she won prizes for both life drawing and sculpture (much to her surprise!).

After leaving art school Diane went on to lecture at both the Lucie Clayton and Dick Sheppard Schools, in London. She has also taught in comprehensive schools in London and Essex. Now retired from teaching Diane spends most of her time on painting, ceramics and sculpture.

Diane describes her exhibition at the Orangery as: “a kind or retrospective. I can see them (the paintings) as a body of work, they might tell me where to go next.

Much of Diane’s work on display at the Orangery started off as sketchbook paintings in front of motive that she was painting. None of the artwork in the show has been drawn from a photograph. Even when using photographs to capture a place Diane explained that she always sketches first, then takes a photograph.

Diane’s paintings are on display at the Orangery from 9th-12th August and 16th-19th August 2018, 2-5pm.