Art and Writing Class (January – April 2021)

Art and Writing Hearth is run by Jane Ray, Sita Brahmachari and Ros Asquith on Tuesdays at 3pm.

This term each week we choose a different colour of the rainbow. Come to the art and writing hearth each week and wear or bring something of the colours of the rainbow.

Be inspired by the art, song, poems and conversation

The Garden

The Garden of my Mind

In Lockdown I have painted
planted and painted
In Lockdown I have painted
m way back to Spring
In the garden of my mind
flowers and fruit have blossomed
In the garden of my mind
I have survived
now I hear bird song
calling me outside

Poem and blossom tree painting by Ntela

Below are some of the images and poems that inspired our work

The Elements


Communal Poem

We see the colours of the rainbow
Drift, and blend, until brown emerges.
Brown is all the colours in one
The colour of our Earth, our planet.
We see the whole world in our hands, as Stevie Wonder did,
And we imagine the Earth sifting through our fingers,
to fall to land and grow new life.
We think of Mother Earth as Mother Nature,
Resting amid mountains, her coverlet made
Of fields and forests
Her tears cry rivers, lakes and seas.
We name ourselves and tell of our brown beloveds:
Potatoes, bread, chocolate, nuts, caramels, coffee.
We speak our admiration of earthworms,
And our revulsion as they slither and squirm.
We admire the rings of a tree trunk, telling both its age
And the climate of its years,
Like the layers of Earth itself,
A history of civilisations.
The pigments of Earth, sienna, umber, ochre,
Used by Rembrandt for his portraits,
Used by native Americans
to paint the rough, majestic, powerfully muscled bison.
Beautiful brown bison.
We visit the underground world of animals,
The dens and warrens and sets of foxes, rabbits and badgers,
We see the brown angel winged horse,
As if imprinted on a rock, like a fossil.
We dream with the hibernating big, brown, bear.
We gather round our Earthen hearth
Contemplating our planet.
And if we were to handle the red dust of Mars
Or the silver dust of the moon,
Would we call it Earth?


From waters to waters


placing hands in the water
stirring words
Splash, wavy, flow, trickle
Percolate, gush, surge, spray, icy cold,
shiny, shimmery water
Reflection sparkling
Finding a river
Picking pebbles from the sea shore
Star fish, shells
ceramic sardines
Blue wave cresting on a page
Shells shape and wave-arc repeated
Patterning of sea and shore
Hearing the call of the sea in the conch shell
We’re away now on watery tides
Sailing in a boat of hearts


IMG_5721Reflecting on water lilies floating under the bridge
Picking up speed
Surging to the rapids
Water horses
Cresting waves
Surging blue of tails and manes
White horses galloping
Then diving down to treasure chests
Sailing with Seurat to serenity

different-faces-2-2Relaxing, bathing, contemplating water
Lulling us to sensation
Lowering into warm water
a babe in arms
taking her first bath
From waters to waters
Natural sponge on skin.



Artwork by E.E

Mapping the oceans
Swimming along the river to the sky
Collaging in art and words
Discovering mermaids and the mysteries of the deep.

Funny tales, fishy-faced
Legs where mermaid’s fin should be
Telling jokes ‘Is an anemone your friend or your enemy?’
Snorkling for platypus, narwhale, tortoise, jellyfish,
Seaweed, crab, dolphins, starfish, eels
Meandering through the underwater weeds
Spying creatures of the deep
Singing a river lullaby
‘The River is flowing, flowing and growing’
Sailing from waters to waters
Mother earth carries us
back to the sea

Below are some of the images and poems that inspired our work


Fire Bird

Fire Bird
Spark life
Fire Hearth
Flowing a Diwali candle river
Rose poem, flower petals
Word confetti

Eyes rising to stars and Planet fire
Toasting socks by the Hearth
Heart- fire, focus, core
Fire in the belly

Fire burst
Painting sun
Bright rays of Turner’s fire sky, water reflections
A herd of fire horses galloping
To our Hearth, collaged sun
Mane, hooves, spirits ablaze

From mouth watering Barbecue
Cooking on summer fires
Where food always tastes better
To a volcanoes eruption
Lava of sunflowers
Light fantasy
Sparking humour
What if Christmas trees dressed humans with candles?
Fired up
Embers glowing
Down to earth again
Decoding words
Under fire, Fire up.Fire off, Can’t fight fire with fire

Trail-blazing to fairy tales
Mythical, magical flames
Phoenix rising
Hope from ashes
Immortal bird
Lighting fireworks in our minds
Artist magic flame wings fan
As we gather around the warmth of the Hearth
Chatting away
“This bird regenerates every five hundred years”
“There is only ever one Phoenix”
“Bird of paradise”
“Like a golden Pheasant”
“Ruby rising from the flame.”
“Flapping wings”
“All dressed up in feathers”
Watching, learning, fire-colours smudging, toning , blending
Dancing bird, flame-feathered
Sparking life from ash
And here she is this Phoenix
Red, orange, ruby rising

Jewel bird, hot off the press
Gift from the Hearth
Emerging before our eyes
Hope rising
We are warmed by your flame
Fire Bird

Below are the images and phrases that inspired our work.


Our breezy spirits rise and fall with airy signs
Gemini, Libra, Aquarius.
Twins, dancing, swimming, balancing, flying,

We laugh at fresh air trapped, ‘100% pure Scottish air’!
Bottled by tricksters and sold to fools.
And yet, might we breathe this bottled air
and, in our imaginations, be whisked

Luminous sunset clouds, iridescent, thrumming wings of
shimmering, glimmering, humming birds.
And a magnificent shape-shifting murmuration
of starlings.

The eye of a peacock’s tail reflects all our faces.
Our stressed brains and hearts, twisted, shell like,
are soothed by breathing, slowly, in, out.

Ariel’s spirit floats on the breeze,
magic in every part of him, he bears the NEWS,
(North. East, West, South,) in clouds.

We build kites of broomsticks and newspapers,
combine our elements in hot air balloons,
build castles in the air,
ride wild winged horses, wind in our hair.

We flutter, drift, float, we walk on air,
On gossamer threads, light hearted,
Blowing in the wind.

Below are the images and song that inspired our work.

The Rainbow Hearth


Art by Jane Ray

Study 1: Red Poppy by Jane Ray

Red Poppy
Jane paints red petals
shades and blends
her artist’s hands move before us as we share ideas around the symbolism of the Poppy
for those fallen in war
for remembrance
delicate fingers paint papery petals
planted on this page
a poppy grows

Communal Poem: Red Horse

The red horse 
flies through our dreams
through fire
over stone and boulders
or are those clouds that Its hooves ride through?
The Red Horse is Pegasus
of Greek legend
a magical horse that inspires
the spirit of adventure
In its wings and its flying mane and tail
It breathes the fire of grace and passion

Art by Ros Asquith
Art by Ros Asquith

Study 2: Giving titles to Red paintings by artist Ros Asquith

Our Hearth is often humorous
There is laughter and conversation
As we contemplate titles
Share stories and anecdotes 
What title would you give these paintings?
A red land is an angry land
Angry sun reflection
Under the glare of an angry sun
Never any peace
The family were never calm
Every war is the result of anger
The world grows more angry
Social Media red
We’ve always had anger
Everyone is dangerous
Brother in the World
Everyone’s Brexit!
Everyone’s so happy today?
Human relations nowadays
Led by Donkeys
Outside the family portrait
Peace and Quiet
Opposite of this hearth

This week our Red still life contained
A red flower
A pepper
Red chillies
Red beads
Red art 
Roaming to red symbolism 
traffic lights
In our imaginations
tasting the fruits of summer in January
as we watched a beautiful poppy grow before our eyes
and gathered around an imaginary, January fire!

Below are the images and poems that inspired our work.


Study 1: Still life was laid upon our virtual table

A tulip

Treasure Hoard from the Orange Hearth

Orange Bathing

We gathered around the Hearth

to bathe in orange

starting with looking at art




Communal Poem

We found a bird from Brazil
Feeding off an orange
Women in India making garlands of marigolds
We spoke of orange sun on skin
under African skies

We looked at a painting called ‘Orange Rain’
Described a dream of sailing into summer
Sailing into romantic, relaxed, party, picnic time
Serenaded by a violin and a glass of red wine

We rode a magical orange horse into an orange land
Galloping to skylines in Moscow, China and The Alhambra Palace
Orange gave us warmth, energy, sunshine, brightness

It brought the nostalgia of Autumn days
Of morning mists or evening haze on russet glow

We read a poem about an orange
About the simple way peeling and sharing fruit
can brighten a day
We cut an orange In half and quarters
Imagined how it would taste
Wished we could share our bowl of oranges
for real
But glad of the power of the imagination to make mouths water
We could almost taste it
Tangy, sweet, sugary, juicy

We remembered the suns we painted in the art and writing room
Their brilliant brightness
Orange brings sunsets and sunrises
Hot, hot, hot
reflections on skin
memories of old Marigold gardens
Throwing off clothes worn in the cold
It was a joy to gather around our virtual hearth
To feel the heat
To swim
To bathe in orange
To take in the vitamin C
and drink it in

Below are the images and poems that inspired our work.


Communal Poem

It was all yellow in our hearth
E shared her wonderful painting
transporting us to mountains 
The Sphynx watched on as people gathered

We chatted along in sunny paths
Exploring yellow things
Laid on a tray
with their yellow yolks
bright, brilliant yellow daffodils, Narcissi with the sweetest scent 
wishing we could smell them through the screen. 

Sweet corn, feathers, paint, lemons
Cheery, cherry tomatoes, bananas
And a sweet yellow duck
We talked of who had a sweet tooth
who preferred savoury
We watched a flower grow
petal by yellow petal
fading petals at the edges
falling petals too
like confetti
at a spring or summer wedding

Golden, mustard, sunshine colours
forming on the page
layer upon layer
in a creative starburst of collage art

Art by Jane Ray

Study 1: Yellow Flower by Jane

beautiful flowers
The Flower is so nice
Amazing, very amazing
sun shiny
bright and intense

We found Van Gogh’s Sunflowers 
Ros told the story of how he painted flowers for his friend
Who came to visit
so they would never wilt
Flowers of welcome for a forever sunny table

Study 2: E read D’s poem

We talked of the sun she held in her palm
for her grandson 
We looked at random yellow things again
Traffic signs and zig zags
Signalling danger

Talked of:
Yellow vests – Gilet Jaune
Toxic snake venom
Septic infection
We flew to the sun
with winged horses
transported in our imaginations from January grey
by the sun’s bright rays
to the most heavenly summer’s day  
Then down we flew 
Diving beneath the sea
to a sing-along together with The Beatles
in their yellow submarine!

Art by Jane Ray

Below are the images that inspired our work.


Study 1: Green Hearth

Today we gathered around our Green Hearth
Sharing green stories
A green pepper turning red
A branch of a pine tree
alpine scent imagined through the screen
A bright green ribbon, silken soft
A palm full of peas
Grass prompting us to listen to the ‘Green Grass of Home’

Such words that spoke to now
Green for: leaves,trees, nature, emeralds
green in traffic lights
Green money, old pounds notes
Van Gogh in his green coat
Green Party, saving the environment
Green apples, crisp and crunchy
Green forests, astonishing, ancient, majestic
Moss and lichen of lime green
Refreshing mint tea
A tree like a scary movie!

We talked of parakeets, tropical birds
eating  apples on a London railing
Paintings bring us a dancing green woman
Joyful, freedom, delighted
all googly eyed, arms spread waiting for her first hug
after lockdown
Transported with Prospero to an island of magical trees
Marvelling at the details, the dark blue individual texture of leaves
Nostalgic green, aquamarine waters fill us with awe
Green love is for eternity, immortality
A green love never dies
Green eyes meeting, love between them
Romantic cloud drifts them to their futures
Green Pegasus rises, flying to the crescent moon
Coming back to earth to the sweet scent of rosemary for remembrance
Discovering all Shakespeare’s garden of herbs and flowers growing on the metal gate
at the entrance to The Globe
Before turning next week to blue
we collect all our treasure words
in a green bowl to feed the soul

Art by Ros Asquith
Art by Ros Asquith
Art by Jane Ray

Communal Poem

There through the skies swoops a green Parakeet
Brightening the skies over London streets!
Some say the Pigeon is good to eat, the meat is sweet!

Bird song, bird’s sway, bird’s swoop, wings soar over the sea
With a flash of fish tail and fin
Rainbow scales

Along the shore line and into the lush green forests where the elephants roam

landscapes of our minds and hearts
Here! In this silence, we salute them in art.

Below are the images that inspired our work.


Study 1: Blue Hearth Alphabet

Blue Art
Blue Bell
Blue City
Blue doors
Blue Eyes
Blue feather
Blue Girl
Blue Hat
Blue Ink
Blue jug/ white heart
Blue Kite
Blue – Lapiz Lazuli, blue 
Blue Moon
Blue Noon
Blue Ocean
Blue Planet
Blue Queen
Blue- Royal blue
Blue Statue
Blue Talk
Blue underworld
Blue Vase
Blue World
Blue – X rated
Blue Yacht
Blue Zebra

Communal Poem

Beating the Blues 
(Inspired by Louis Armstrong!)

I see Kingdoms of blue
Forget me-nots-too
I see clouds swirl
For me and for you
And I think to myself
What a wonderful world

I see fire of hot blue  
And frozen ice white
The bright arctic day
Magic moonlight
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

The colours of the hearth
So pretty on the screen
Are also on the faces of paintings we admire
I see friends 
reaching through 
Saying how-are- you? 
They’re really saying
Let’s not be blue

Art by E.E
Art by N

I hear laughter of Hope 
I watch her smile
She’ll see much more than we’ll ever know
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

The spirits of the hearth
So bright before our eyes
The chatter and the stories
Jewels of wonder and surprise 
I hear voices sing
Spirits rise
They’re really swaying
imagination tides

I see the moon rise
Watch ocean surf
See dolphins ride surges of blue
And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

And I think to myself 
What a wonderful world

Below are the images that inspired our work.


Communal Poem

Purple Pegasus
Angel horse
Galloping through enchanted forests
Art and writing
Purple books
Collaged moon of collaged mood
Sweet violets
Purple earth stars
Purple ribbon, vase and beads
Still life on a purple towel
A crown of thorns laid on the purple alter cloth
Inspiration in Buddhism and Hinduism
A praying child wearing a purple hijab
Head wraps, aubergine, grapes and onions
Flowers and blouses
Shiny silken shirts and jackets
Twenty pound note purple
Liberties of London purple
Purple umbrella carried by the queen

Art by Ros Asquith
Art by Ros Asquith

Prince sings
Purple Rain 
Seasons change
Summer fields of lavender purple
Sweet, bringing scent of relaxation
Heavenly perfumed sleep
Blue woman holding a red cat, becomes a purple woman
Paint and imagination mixing
Pre-Raphaelite woman in a purple dress
Wrapped in a romantic shawl 
Hiding or waiting 
Happy purple, mysterious
Purple amethyst, jewel  of  earth
Cloud gazing into a dreamy sky
A purple milky way
Or is there behind that haze an explosion?
Chagall floating across our vision
Tracing faces
Jimmy Hendrix in glittering purple
Jouneyers, Illumitanatae
Sandy Witch at play

Below are the images that inspired our work.


Communal Poem

Today is a celebration of all our work
From our virtual Hearth
Inspired by the colours of the rainbow
A rainbow jumper is worn for the occasion
A rainbow embroidered coat
A rainbow coloured dress
Rainbow silken scarves waft across the screen
We name ourselves and our favourite colours
Yellow, red and white, green, purple, blue and orange 
We talk about a rainbow arc
And what’s at the end of it
Arc du ciel, sky-bridge 
While an artist’s face freezes on the screen
In a perfect picture book smile
Small cut squares of coloured paper
Layer over layer arranged in a wheel of colour
Tuning into shades
Like tones in music
Laying down notes and tints and shades
Dealing out a Kaleidoscope of colour
Wheel of colour into wheel of fortune
Pick a colour card
Lay your colours on the table 
Red, lime green, Turmeric yellow, blue, green
Fingers tracing colour swatches till the right colour is identified
The rainbow’s not a bridge at all but a circle in the sky
Artists share the work of our hearts

‘I started from the heart and the heart turned into leaves
A boat sailing heart-leaves of every colour of the rainbow
Fiery yellow rays reach from the page’
A whole book of rainbow colours
Mixing paint reds and blues to grow
A purple flower, fruit, sunshine Lotus garden flower, green trees 
Blue rivers flow up to blue sky 
Blossoming into a beautiful rainbow
Art appreciation of:
The ancient fable of a Norse legend
The story of Noah sailing from the storm
With the Rainbow promise of brighter days lighting up the sky
A rainbow girl in her rainbow world
Poetry reading from our Yellow Hearth
Memories flying sparks  among us
Lighting Rainbow readings from Gibran and Rossetti 
Words of Rainbow wisdom from Byron, Maya Angelou and Dolly Parton!  
A hippo animates a rainbow,
Turning a grey day full of the spirit of play
Bringing smiles and laughter 
Singing ‘Somewhere Over The Rainbow’ together
Discovering in the end
That’s what’s at the end of the rainbow is friendship
Colour wheel spinning
Slowing, coming to a stop where we are in the hearth today
Collaging priceless rainbows 
Beating from this community hearth

Below are the images that inspired our work.

If you would like more information on our Art and Writing class please email us at