WAG – Still Lively art sessions

The Still Lively morning group continues to go from strength to strength with around 20 people attending on a regular basis. As people grow in confidence they are continuing to develop work which is very diverse and surprising. As the weeks go on we are spending more time in the Galleries and the work is almost completely self directed.

We begin most sessions with an opportunity to look at the concertina drawing books which are evolving and are certainly a valuable way of capturing each persons creative journey.

At lunchtime the invitation to drop in and draw in the gallery has been met with approval from visitors. It is wonderful to see Wolverhampton Art Gallery filled with visitors aged 55+ feeling a confident sense of ownership of this great public space.


Our new afternoon group is also proving to be extremely popular. The emphasis is very firmly on drawing as making marks with meaning.

“We’re not just colouring in, we’re creating!”

We are continuing to get more wonderful stories from tenants taking part in the Still Lively sessions across the four Choices Housing ShireLiving Retirement Homes:

“I thought it would be good for my wife to come to these sessions, but now I realise it’s been good for me too. I’d never thought about drawing for pleasure before, even though I used to do mechanical drawings at work – you know, sketching car parts for other departments to see where repairs were needed etc. The last time I drew anything not work-related was in 1952 when I was in the Air Force. It was a wet day and I had no money, so to pass the time I sat by the window and drew what I could see. I did actually get quite a sense of satisfaction from that, and these sessions have brought back that same feeling. I shall carry on…” Mike, Maywood


“I really didn’t want to come out this morning. I didn’t feel too well and it would have been easy to stay indoors, but at the same time I didn’t want to miss class. Now I’m here, I feel much better. You’ve got to push yourself to do these things. I went to art college, so I have got experience in some of the techniques we’re using, but I hadn’t done any painting or drawing for ages. I’m surprised at some of the people here, and how good they are becoming. Having a professional artist leading the class makes all the difference you see – we’re not just colouring in, we’re creating. His enthusiasm for our art inspires us all.” Hazel, Maywood

Choices Housing – Change Story

Tenants taking part in the Still Lively sessions across the four Choices Housing ShireLiving Retirement Homes are really finding how much of an impact the programme is making to their wellbeing:

“Most surprising thing for me about this Still Lively programme is how relaxed I am – indeed how relaxed we all are.”

“I tend to avoid things I’m not instantly good at, and I’m not instantly good at drawing or any kind of visual art. So it’s come as a bit of a shock to me that I’m prepared to sit here every week, give it all a go, and see what happens next, knowing I’m not going to be creating an immediate masterpiece. I am just enjoying myself.”
“I didn’t expect to be inspired like this so late in life. Today for instance we’ve talked about creative writing, and I’m feeling moved to have a go. I haven’t written for years – I used to enjoy jotting things down but as the years rolled by I lost the motivation. Now suddenly, today, I’m inspired by what we’re discussing, and the drawing technique I’ve learned has got my brain ticking over and given me an idea for writing.”
“I think the atmosphere the artists create in the workshop is the important thing. Looking around the room I see people who genuinely struggle to concentrate and engage in any other activity, real restless souls. Yet they’re here joining in and looking completely comfortable. Indeed, there are people around this table who don’t tend to get involved in anything else at all, and it’s a wonderful sight to see.”
Mary, Beechwood.

Drop in and Draw @ WAG

New session starting at Wolverhampton Art Gallery from Wednesday 28th February 2018 – 1-2pm

Drop in and Draw will take place at WAG every Wednesday lunchtime between 1-2pm.

This is a FREE activity for people age 55+, so come along to the Gallery, help yourself to a piece of paper and pencil, set yourself up with an easel and enjoy.

We would love to see what you create, so please take a photo of your work and share it by emailing


Wolverhampton Art Gallery – weekly art sessions

Artists Tom Jones, Sam Rowe, Carolyn Morton and Jaqui Rowe all help to deliver the weekly art sessions at Wolverhampton Art Gallery.
The weekly sessions are very different from a traditional art class. Participants have been invited to embark on a creative journey with each person working independently in a concertina sketchbook to explore and develop their own creative interests. Some of this is happening at WAG and much of it is happening elsewhere.

We are working both in the education rooms at the Gallery and in the Galleries using the collections to inspire the work. The focus so far has been on drawing and mark making:

Session 1- Magic marks – We explored making marks with meaning, introducing the concertina books and the idea of narrative notebooks. We made speedy drawings and linear silhouettes.

Session 2 – Taking Our Time – We focused on drawing for a purpose and quickly. Speed as a way of improving hand eye more closely and less self-consciously.

Session 3 – Taking a Line for A Walk – We looked at merging writing and drawing and spent time making visual notes in the galleries.

Session 4 – Unruly colour – Involved lots of visual experiments using our eyes and squares of coloured paper. The emphasis was on colour as we see it rather than colour theory.

It’s very exciting to see how varied the work being produced is. People are increasingly confident to set themselves up in the Galleries to make their work.

“I’ve lived in Wolverhampton all of my life and I’m ashamed to say that I’d never been in the Art Gallery before this project. I’m loving it and intend to make up for that now.” Mike, WAG

Still Lively Art Clubs – Choices Housing

Artists Jim Morris and Kim Fuller are working across four Choices Housing ShireLiving Retirement homes.

In the first sessions, the tenants made a variety of graphic abstract patterns using the letters of their name. They added colour using ‘Super Ferby’ pencil crayons.
Each setting made their own set of ‘A-Z’ templates to use between sessions.

In the second sessions, the tenants experimented with ‘Inktense’ watercolour pencils and ‘water-brushes’, creating washes and other watercolour effects. New ‘Star’ and ‘Heart’ templates were used – and added to each Club’s resources.

Tenants are beginning to include some ‘journal’ text in their work, and to explore the ‘Art Card’ activity prompts for themselves.

“Taking part in the workshops is really helping me to keep my brain working. I’m using techniques that are new to me, but it’s fun and sociable, and I can’t believe how good the art is that everybody is producing already.” Joan, Beechwood (ShireLiving, Choices Housing).