The Big Draw: The Finale of The Custodians #thebigdraw

I did a portrait drawing day as part of The Big Draw.

A Great finale to celebrate the end of The Custodians at Croft Castle.
A Big Thank you to everyone who took part.

Here are some photos from the day taken by me as I drew their portraits and they created drawings of the paintings in Croft Castle.

Photos below were taken by Rebecca Farkas from Meadow Arts.

checkout what participants thought about the drawing day.
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Family Arts Festival Event – The Big Draw at Croft Castle: Time Will Tell

Don’t miss out on another portrait workshop at croftcastle. I’ll be armed with pencils and paper as you join me to create your version of TheCustodians.



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Hanging and Curating

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Louisa Assistant Curator Meadow Arts works with me to choose positions for the oval paintings in the Gallery, a long corridor of ancestor’s and associates from CroftCastle’s history, depicted as oval and miniature paintings.

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Victor guides us where to hang his portrait in the Oak Room. A fitting and grand position for a worthy Custodian. I think Victor was some what moved by his portrait and his first response was ‘oh yes a masterpiece………Very Good’. Followed by observing himself admirably in the painting without appearing to be vein. It’s an interesting think to see how one responds to having had their portrait painting. How should you respond vs how you want to respond.

I eagerly await the others responses that I’ll capture at the Private view tomorrow.

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Ian’s portrait awaits hanging into position.

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Anne de Charmant, Director Meadow Arts moves the oval portraits around into different positions curating the exhibition to show its maximum potential.

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George is my blogs, silent witness as he’s been following the progress of the paintings but hasn’t yet left me any comments! George if your watching I hope you like what you see, and I’ll look forward to hearing what you think?

There were two positions for Georges portrait, on the side wall which left it cramped in the space or the end wall under a single miniature which echoed the green colours in George’s portrait perfectly. so here it stays.

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Anne de Charmant, Director Meadow Arts said the portraits were ‘amazing’

Louisa Assistant Curator Meadow Arts said ‘I loved the plate you’ve used’.

Tweet from Meadow Arts (@MeadowArts)

Meadow Arts (@MeadowArts) tweeted at 8:24 AM on Fri, Mar 08, 2013: @tanyaraabe @ntcroftcastle Smashing! Even better than the photos of it when u see it up close! ( Get the official Twitter app at

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Ovals united


Really coming together now. Painted the edges to frame them and how they all sit together creating a sense of inter generational family. The Custodians of 2013 who look after croftcastle, past present and future. Left to right-George Cebo, originally from poland, buggiy driver and listerner of people. Ian Grafton, property operational manager, carer of the teams welfare takes on a guise of a Saxon from the Hill Fort in Croft. Anna works in the office and so is the organiser of people and watcher of the hidden spirits of the house who appear from time to time. James Pearson originally trained in civil engineering but a calling from Croftcastle led him to become a gardener and is now doing RHS in Practical Horticulture. The oval portraits will hang in the Gallery of the house.


Left is Una Heap now in her 90’s was in the ATS during WW II and has been a volunteer at Croftcastle for 12yrs. She loves the family history of Croftcastle and often spends hrs on the internet researching Croftcastle’s family history that she shares with the public when she is on duty voluntering at the house. Finaly on the right we have Victor Chelula, house steward of 12yrs, looking after the conservation of the house- previous to this Victor was an accountant for the National Trust and in total has worked for the National Trust for 25yrs. A fine and outstanding Custodian. Deservedly Victor retires this year and will be sorely missed by all at Croftcastle. These two portraits will hang in the Oak Room, Croftcastle. Opening soon from 9th March 2013-September 2013.

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Music inspired by Croftcastle

Music inspired by Croftcastle by Adrian Utley. Very serene and atmospheric.


looking forward to being back at Croft Castle 27th october 1pm -4;30pm to start on my next portrait. George Cebo volunteer and buggy driver will be sitting for his portrait. hoping it’ll be a beautifull autumnal day as i’m counting on that light to capture George with his beautiful white hair that frames his face, as we explore his who is George Cebo and his present relationship with Croft Castle, house, parklands and the wonderful stories he tells about the visitors he encounters as he drives them to and forth from the castle.