Tutors at Sunningwell School of Art

Patron: Dr. Leonard McComb RA, RWS, RP, RE

We are very sad to report the death of Leonard McComb, our Patron, on 19th June.  Anna Lever and Lesley Williams attended his funeral at Westminster Cathedral on 11th July.

Allyson Austin

Studied Fine Art (BA) at Leicester Polytechnic and L’Ecole des Beaux Arts in Strasbourg, specializing in painting and printmaking.  After gaining a PCGE she taught on foundation courses in Luton and Newbury and completed an MA in Fine Art at Cheltenham, which included a sabbatical in Rome.  A printmaker for almost 30 years, Allyson’s work is primarily concerned with intuitive use of colour and texture to produce large scale works in which to weave a personal narrative.  Commissions include work for Daimler-Chrysler and Fish! Plc.  She exhibits in various galleries in the UK and works from her studio at Kirtlington Park.  www.allyson-austin.co.uk

David Bliss

David Bliss painted for 3 years at Grimsby art school from the age of 16 and went on to gain his degree from Kingston Upon Thames in 1989.  He has painted and drawn almost every day since then. His emphasis when teaching is not to impose a style but to encourage a curiosity through looking. The painters he thinks about most when teaching are: Chardin, Cezanne, Bonnard, Matisse, William Coldstream, Patrick George, Euan Uglow.

His emphasis when teaching is not to impose a style on the student but to encourage a curiosity through observation and how that relates to drawing and painting.  He exhibits at the Jerram Gallery, Sherbourne and also has a website at


Davina Chapman

Graduated from De Montfort University with a B.A.(Hons) degree in Fine Art and a teaching qualification.  She has exhibited work in Oxfordshire and Buckinghamshire.  Davina has many years experience working within the education department of the Museum Service where she facilitates and organizes arts based workshops and activities.

Jo Dixon

Studied Textiles and print at Winchester School of Art, B.A.(Hons).  She now works as an artist in mixed media, exhibiting regularly and her work is influenced by travels and the natural world. She combines teaching and has a PGCE certificate along with many years of experience working with all ages and abilities.  She currently teaches at Rye St Antony School / West Dean College and the Oxford Summer School.  www.jodixon.co.uk

Susan Drew

Studied at Central St Martins School of Art and Design, (BA Hons) Ceramics, followed by a Masters at Cardiff College of Higher Education. After graduating she moved back to Oxfordshire and set up a workshop producing decorative wall pieces and thrown decorative domestic-ware exhibiting widely through galleries and craft shows.

Neil Drury 

For over fifteen years he has worked and exhibited as a painter and printmaker mostly in and around Oxford. Whilst his output is varied in style and medium, his one creative constant is the expressive use of colour. In his teaching at museums, art schools, abroad and at his studio, enjoying and understanding colour is again very much a keynote. A keen interest in art history informs all his work and travel schedules to galleries, museums and exhibitions at home and abroad.

Pam Foley

Pam has been a freelance sculpture for over two decades.  She maintains a sculpture studio practice in Farthinghoe, just outside of Banbury. over 25 years.  Her background is in teaching to children and adults at schools in her native USA (San Francisco and the Bay Area) as well as in the UK.  She is originally from New England USA, but now lives in Jericho, Oxford.  Although her artwork is synthesis of traditional representations depicting the human form, her particular interest is in artefacts and archetypal imagery, and their relevance to contemporary times.  Pam has exhibited, and has work in private collections in the USA, France and in the UK.  She can be contacted at email: pfmail@btinternet.com  and http://www.pamfoley.co.uk

Ron Freeborn 

Studied painting at Maidenhead School of rt/Berkshire College of Art in the 50’s.  Head of Art at St. Birinus and Didcot Girls’ School.
Taught life drawing at St. Mary’s, Wantage and at Sunningwell since 1994.  Run annual courses abroad, mainly Venice over 25 years.  Represented in private collections in all 5 continents and is represented in UK Gov Art Collection.  He has been very involved in Opera/Theatre.

Alison Jones 

Graduated from Camberwell College of Applied Arts, London with a B.A. Hons degree in ceramics. Since then has become a member of the Oxfordshire Craft Guild and has set up her workshop in South Oxfordshire. Alison explores the human form and exhibits figurative drawings, collages and ceramics. Teaches pottery and figurative sculpture courses at Sunningwell and is a tutor in a variety of education establishments, as Artist in Residence and Arts Youth Worker.   http://www.alisonjonesceramics.co.uk

Anna Lever 

Director of Sunningwell School of Art since 1995.  Her previous background was as an administrator working on advanced management courses at Templeton College and Oxford University.  A member of Oxford Art Society and West Ox Arts, her long term interest in figurative sculptural ceramics has led to many exhibitions locally and in London.  She has been a member of the Royal Society of British Artists since 1990 after winning their Annual Sculpture Award.  She has exhibited with RBA at the Mall Galleries every year since then.  She has also had work accepted at the RA Summer Exhibition and the Discerning Eye.  She exhibits regularly at the Russell Gallery in Putney and has taken part for over twenty years in Oxfordshire Artweeks with Lesley Williams, who was Ceramics Tutor at Sunningwell for many years.

Kate Hammersley

Kate Hammersley MRBS is an artist and sculptor creating work about landscape and change.  Using the environment as her starting point, the process of making and choice of materials are an important part of her work.  She works with a wide range of materials from traditional drawing media and silverpoint to found objects and experimental media.

Kate has a BA (First Class Hons.) and MA in Art and Art History.  Since being selected to take part in Sotheby’s International Young Art programme she has exhibited nationally and internationally at the Elizabeth Foundation New York, the Royal British Society of Sculptors London, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and Maison de l’lnternational Grenoble as well as many other galleries.  A drawing specialist she taught drawing at Savannah College of Art and Design USA and was awarded a Presidential Fellowship.  She has also created drawing workshops for the Royal British Society of Sculptors where she is an elected member.


Nena Parkes

Studied Fine Art at Chelsea School of Art and as a graduate teaching fellow on a Fulbright Scholarship at the University of Hartford, Connecticut, USA.  Most of my life I worked as a scenic artist in theatres, films and museums.  With the arrival of my daughter I moved us to the rather remote Greek Island where we lived for many years and made ends meet with teaching art to adults and teenagers.  Back in UK I now have to apply myself to making a living and beginning to paint again.  As a young painter I was rigidly abstract but after a varied life/work experience I have an eclectic approach to my work and a piece will evolve from an image or idea and will be led by materials, location and state of mind.  I like to experiment and work with both abstract and figurative images.

Beth Palmer

Beth Palmer was born in Oxford, grew up in Nigeria and returned to the UK at the age of 16.  She studied Art at Epsom Art College followed by London University, at Whitelands College (part of the Roehampton Institute) where she completed a combined degree in Art and Religious Studies.  She gained an Honours in 1980, specializing in ceramics, and then completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Education.  Beth  has spent much of her spare time in her ceramics workshop concentrating on handbuilt ceramics made in stoneware fired crank and porcelain, many based on the landscapes and colours of West Africa.  Recently she has been working in crank, white earthenware and mixed media, in particular combining handmade paper, textiles, wood and ceramics.

Clova Stuart-Hamilton

After graduating in Fine Art from Oxford University Clova attended the RA Schools gaining a Postgraduate qualification in Painting.  Her own practice, which is under-pinned with drawing and working directly from life, is rooted in this early training.  She has been exhibiting and selling paintings for more than 30 years.  Her work has been shown mostly at galleries in London, including having work accepted for the RBA and NEAC Open Exhibitions, in Oxford and in Southern England.  Here, numerous collectors have discovered her work, although many paintings have found buyers in the US, in Europe and Hong Kong.

Since her obtaining her PGCE at Goldsmiths’ College, Clova has become a very experienced and versatile teacher having worked in a range of contexts including Radley College, where she also taught History of Art;  a previous stint at Sunningwell, OLASS and currently a Short Course Tutor at the Ruskin School of Art.  www.clova-stuart-hamilton.co.uk


Jo Shugar

Graduated from UCA Farnham with a BA (Hons) in Three Dimensional Design – Ceramics.
Since then she has taught Drawing, painting and Ceramics in Further and Adult Community Education and has continued to work on various projects which she has exhibited locally.


Sarah Spackman

Has studied at Byam Shaw and Camberwell School of Art, London, BA(hons) Fine Art.  Since then she has worked full time as an artist and exhibited regularly both here and abroad.  Her work is based on a fundamental belief in the value of drawing and the importance of creating relationships within the pictorial space.  Sarah has become particularly well known for her still-life paintings and works with oil paint, watercolour and mixed media.  She has exhibited with the NEAC and the RBA and has had work selected for the Discerning Eye and the Jerwood Drawing Prize Exhibition.  Her work is in the contemporary art collection of the AIB as well as many private collections.  She exhibits regularly in the UK and is represented by the Sarah Wiseman Gallery, Oxford.   For further details please see her website: http://www.sarahspackman.com/

Sarah Wenden

Gained 1st class honours in Fine Art (Painting) at the Central School of Art & Design and took her M.A. at the Slade.  She was Junior Fellow in Fine Art at Cardiff (S.G.I.H.E.) before becoming the first Artist-in-Residence at the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew. There she was painting landscape, which has always been her main concern.  She has also participated in residences in Norway and with ‘Art in Situ’ in France.  She has exhibited widely in London, Oxford, France and Germany.  Commissions include work for St Luke’s Hospital, Bradford and Lord Camoys at Stonor Park.  She has taught at several art schools, including The Royal College.  “The practice of drawing is essential in order to sharpen students’ observation and their understanding of visual relationships.  I encourage students to experiment with different media and be adventurous in their approach to painting”. website: http://www.sarahwenden.com/

Anthony Wilder

Gained a BA degree from Bath Academy of Art and a PGCE from the University of Reading.  He taught Art at Theale Green School and then spent thirteen years as Head of Art at Denefield School in Reading.  During this time he enjoyed a sabbatical year painting, part of it in Italy.  Since 1994 he has divided his time between part time teaching and painting.  In 1998 he left school teaching for tutoring in adult education and to continue painting and other business interests.  His painting, which is predominantly in watercolour, is about feelings for particular places.  In November 2006 he published a book on a group of Victorian artists who lived in his home town of Wallingford.  In 2016 he was elected Chairman of Reading Guild of Artists’.  My work can be seen on the Reading Guild of Artists’ website: www.rga-artists.org.uk

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