Against a backdrop of her paintings Professor Estelle Thompson of The Slade School of Art, and current Head of Media, Art and Design  at Glyndwr University, spoke to a packed gallery, inspiring all the artists – staff, students and alumni, including seven of us Inside Out artists, with an honest, fascinating and uplifting glimpse of her artwork, her thinking and the progress of her work.

It was a curated exhibition showing a mix of works from four different bodies of work over the last 17 years. Thompson’s work developed from an initial political interest and motivation through to other concerns such as presence, distance, and an awareness of being alive in the world, and currently fundamental things such as colour space, surface, space and inner space – simpler things that resonate beyond their own parts.

The emotional power of a Van Gogh drawing called “Sorrow” seen when she was very young, had a strong affect upon her and still does to this day.


We are swamped by images in our technological world, but regardless of this the original painting can suggest and tap into the broader human struggle and speaks and feeds a different side of us in much the same way as literature and mathematics etc. We can empathise, understand and in the face of it, re-think.

Experimentation with paint, particularly the luminous potential of oil paint, led her to see that it will do “other” things and do things of itself. Some of her earlier works allude to the natural world, but exist also in their own right. She found that colour and light can be used to suggest atmosphere and space without specificity, and spoke of how changes in the actual materials of the painter -for example tubes  of paint allowing artists to work outside, the invention and use of acrylic paint etc and that these always spearhead a different approach, making the process exciting. Thompson utilises rollers to apply paint.

Myra, Dorothy, Sandy, June, Josie, Rob and myself met for coffee in the foyer, thoroughly enjoyed the talk, and then five of us, feeling inspired and motivated enjoyed a superb lunch at the Pant yr Ochain at Gresford. It has been a good day today!







The exhibition is on until the 15th January. Well worth seeing. In the Sycharth Gallery, above the foyer in the Main Building.