Doncaster artists' exhibition dreams come true

Nearly 60 years ago, Barry Millington had high hopes of becoming an artist.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 11 July, 2018, 09:22

Nearly 60 years ago, Barry Millington had high hopes of becoming an artist.

Fresh out of art school, he soon got his first job in art.

Mark Holiday, group tutor, pictured with members of Hayfield Art group, during their annual exhibition at Bawtry New Hall. Picture: Marie Caley NDFP Hayfield Art Group MC 1

But after two years, he became disillusioned. Low pay and an exhausting commute wore him down, and he packed it in and moved into a career in sales.

Now, decades later, the passion for art is back for Barry - and for many others he has now met.

He is one of dozens who have signed up for lessons in fine art, and now he and many of his colleagues have just taken their work on the road for the first time after organising an exhibition together.

They may not be the oldest arts group in Doncaster - but The Hayfield Group is growing and seeing its profile rising.

Established 15 years ago as a night class for adults at Hayfield School in Auckley, the art group has seen a boom in its numbers.

With a core membership of enthusiastic amateurs, it held its first annual exhibition at New Hall Bawtry earlier this month, with artists working at the venue for visitors to see, as well as showing their paintings.

They are looking at doing similar shows every year, and even want to take their shows out of Doncaster into other towns and cities as their confidence grows.

The class at Auckley looks at fine art and fine detail - there is no modern expressionism there.

All the members start off by painting an ivy leaf with a detail of a dew drop on it, and then a kingfisher perched on a twig. Once they have completed those two projects they can go on to paint whatever they choose, with the help of their teacher

Course teacher Mark Holiday said: "The group is a bunch of people who meet Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday at the school. I was approached by the school and asked if I could run a an art class for the night school.

"We needed a certain number to take part. The uptake was slow initially, but I went to open days, and slowly it built up. We initially did one day a week, then two, and now it's three, with about 60 members over the three days. It's booming a bit at the moment, and I think that's down to Hayfield School."

Barry, aged 71, of Bessacarr, has been going to the classes for 11 years.

He went to Doncaster School of Art in 1961 on a scholarship after he left school. At the time, the art school was on Dockin Hill Road.

After he left, he got on a graphic design course and found himself a job as a commercial artist, drawing for national adverts for a company in Sheffield.

His work was used in national papers, and he drew ads for firms including HL Brown, Barker and Wigfalls, and the Kenning Motor Group.

But after two years in the job he became disillusioned. He did not feel well paid and become tired of the commute from Doncaster to Sheffield.

He did a number of jobs before settling into a job as an auctioneer and worked in sales.

"I got out of art altogether, and did it as a hobby instead, although I did just the odd commission by word of mouth. I joined the Hayfield Group in 2007, and I've found it a fantastic little group. I love the informality.

Another who has taken to the group has been Rose Goodlad, from Armthorpe.

After leaving school, the 71-year-old went off to train as a teacher in Bath, teaching home economics at junior schools after qualifying.

She was later asked to teach junior art to pupils at Hill House School, even though she was not a trained artist. It developed into a interest in painting, and she joined the Hayfield Group in 2010.

"I always dabbled in painting, but I never had any training. I got to the stage where I was stuck and couldn't get any better - so I enrolled for the class. I've really enjoyed it and I think my work has blossomed because of Mark. I'm really proud of what I've achieved. I really like to draw flowers.

"I sold some postcards of my work when we had the exhibition at New Hall, and it really gave me a buzz to think that someone likes my work."

Weeraman Karu, aged 65, from Cantley, is one of the more recent members. He has been coming to the classes for two years. He worked as an anesthetist at Doncaster Royal Infirmary.

He never had any training before coming to the classes, and now loves painting in water colours.

"I want to do portraits," he said. "That's my ambition. I'm doing one of my son, although he's not seen it yet. We're all very different at the group , but everyone encourages each other, and I feel really valued."