Very enjoyable history of modern art talk last night at OPEN Ealing

I went to second in a series of history of modern art talks last night at OPEN Ealing. Admittedly, the  talks are given by an artist friend of mine Nick Pearson but he’s always been a good talker and I really enjoyed hearing about the radical impact of the Impressionists and Post Impressionists and how they were rubbished by the press at the time in much the same way as modern artists now.

I’d never realised the impact of Japan on 19th century art and how the influence was initially through some goods imported from the newly opened up Japan being wrapped up in copies of prints by Japanese artists. It’s odd how seemingly trivial things can end up having an enormous influence.  Japanese art was very different to Western art. It was more stylised and, for example, whilst Western art would have its main subject clearly visible and obvious, Japanese art might have its subject, such as Mount Fuji, almost tucked away discreetly in the distance.

I also enjoyed hearing that Constable’s painting The Haywain, which is now used on biscuit tins and goodness knows what else, was one of the most radical paintings of its time. It caused a sensation in Paris when exhibited in 1824 and was praised for its honest depiction of a contemporary rural scene. And it had a major influence on artists and contributed to the birth of Impressionism.  Strange how what was once a ground-breaking painting of a rural scene can a century or so later become almost a cliche of a romantic rural idyll.

The talks (12 in total) will take us up to the ‘Young British Artists’ of the late 20th century so there’s lots to go yet. They are every Thursday evening from 7-9pm at OPEN Ealing (113 Uxbridge Road) and cost £7.50 each. So you can always dip in and out if there’s something you particularly want to hear about.

David Highton

Invite to launch of new art exhibition at OPEN Ealing on Friday

OPEN Ealing is launching its second contemporary art exhibition this Friday evening from 6.30-9pm. Please do come along. We ask you to bring an open mind and your imagination with you!

The exhibition is entitled Insert Title Here and we have  asked people to give us written descriptions of how they see particular works of art or images and put these on the gallery walls. What we are asking visitors to do is to use their imagination to interpret these descriptions in their own way and, with our help, produce your version of any one of the descriptions. So, for example, one description is ‘Something too beautiful to describe’. How would you interpret that? Others descriptions are more ‘traditional’, so there is something here for everyone. We will then collect these interpretations and use them as the basis for this exhibition and build up these images in the gallery over the exhibition’s three-week run.

OPEN Ealing is at 113 Uxbridge Road (opposite the fire station) and its number is 020 8579 5558.

David Highton


West Ealing Arts launches its first adult art classes

The community arts project OPEN Ealing, run by West Ealing Arts, has launched its first arts classes and workshops for adults:

  • Watercolour painting on Tuesday mornings and afternoons
  • History of 20th century art on Thursday evenings from 2nd June
  • Silk painting on Saturday afternoons from June
  • Life drawing soon to start on Wednesday evenings

For details of times and costs  visit or call on 020 8579 5558 or drop in at 113 Uxbridge Road on corner of Culmington Road and opposite fire station).

David Highton


Car accident in West Ealing causes traffic chaos

If you were caught up in yesterday’s (Wednesday) traffic chaos at lunchtime on the Uxbridge Road in West Ealing and Ealing Broadway and wondering what happened, I can tell you as I happened to be there at the time.

I was volunteering at OPEN Ealing, the new community arts centre for West Ealing, and a few of us were talking when we heard the unmistakable sound of a car accident. We rushed out and almost in front of our office at 113  Uxbridge Road a car trying to turn right into Culmington Road had collided with one coming along the Uxbridge Road.  There was a large eastbound lorry stopped at the accident so may have had a part in it.

I rang 999 to report the accident, though the odd thing was that no-one seemed to come out to look from the fire station which was 50 yards from the accident. Some minutes later a fire engine turned on its siren and rolled out the 50 yards to the accident scene. In fairness though it probably had to be called in once the police assessed the situation. As it turned out the fire engine was vital as one of the drivers had to be cut out of their car. The other driver was able to get out and she seemed unharmed.

It took quite some time for the driver to be released from his car and I hope he or she soon recovers. It must have been at least an hour for the road to be re-opened.

David Highton

Cinema comes back to Ealing but not as we know it…

city lights postermetropolis posterCharlie Chaplin? Metropolis? Ivan the Terrible? They’re classic films and deservedly great -best of all you see them locally at Ealing town hall on a Friday night. Put City Lghts in your diary for Friday May 13th, Metropolis for May 20th and Ivan the Terrible for May 27th – 7pm Ealing Town Hall, £7.50. You need to be a member so for membership and information : 020 8579 4925

Abundance produce for sale – Hanwell Carnival 18th June 2011

A date for your diary – 18th June 2011

After a lovely day at Hanwell Carnival last year, WEN will have an Abundance stall again this year.  The Carnival takes place on Saturday 18th June, and with this year’s craft fair expanding there will be lots of lovely things to choose from.

So why not join us on the day?  Enjoy the carnival and have a look at what WEN Abundance do, what we produce and talk to us about what grows near to you.


Volunteers needed for West Ealing Craft Fair 27th November

West Ealing Neighbours (WEN) have joined forces with St James’ Church this year for the annual Christmas craft fair at the end of this month.  We have a fully booked venue with lots of different types of stall and we are looking for additional volunteers to help us during the day.

We’d like to have a couple of people who could take tea and coffee to the stall holders as they can’t leave their stalls; three people who are prepared to help out in the kitchen area (a bit of clearing away of tables and some washing up); and we need about 15 people for the end of the day (about 4pm) to help clear up after the craft fair and have the Church ready for the next day.

You wouldn’t be expected to do any of this for longer than an hour so if you have more time to spare, great.  If not, then an hour is helpful.

I know it’s not very glamorous stuff but these are the kind of roles which form the backbone of an event like this.

If you can spare some time, please email  If you have any questions, please post them on here.

Many thanks – and even if you cannot help out, please come to the fair.  It’s a pretty spectacular choice of good (and great food).

Allison Franklin
WEN Committee

Reminder: It’s West Ealing Family day tomorrow!

Just a reminder about the first ever West Ealing Family Day this Saturday.  There’s something for everyone from facepainting for kids, food, music and dance in Melbourne Avenue; 100 varieties of apple at the farmers’ market in
Leeland Road; or freshly pressed local apple juice, local crafts and more in St James Avenue. Do please drop in and join us in celebrating everything that’s good about living in West Ealing.
Just a taste of some of what’s happening in each of the three streets:
Leeland Road – will have an apple themed farmers’ market celebrating National Apple Day (October 21st) with:
  • over 100 rare and different varieties of apple on display
  • cider tasting
  • the longest peel competition
  • apple and spoon race
Melbourne Avenue
  • facepainting and other activities for children
  • Dr Bike to help you get the most from your cycle
  • food stalls
  • an exciting line up of music and dance including a steel band, Sri Lankan dancing, punk/folk with King Ralph, indie/rock with The Grifters, Bhangra dancing and much, much more from 10am to 4pm
St James Avenue
  • WEN’s Abundance stall pressing and selling apple and pear juice from local fruit along with home-made toffee apples
  • a craft market selling locally made goods
  • a cafe in St James Church
  • art exhibition in St James Church
  • a blank canvas for you to paint on to produce a totally unique artwork for the day
  • activities for children
  • WEN stall about the future of West Ealing 2011-2026
We hope to see you there.