Seasonal Variations

31 Aug 2017
by Nick Holker
Watercolour by Alison Sibley

Having sold out of her work in July, we are delighted to welcome Alison Sibley back into the Rare Skills Gallery with four striking canvasses which perfectly sum up this time of year.

Each of these watercolours skilfully use the subject matter and colour palette to evoke a different temperature.

There are three 70cm x 70 cm paintings. A vivid red 'City Sunset' over Brighton, an unexpectedly chilly 'Cold Snap' on the Sussex Downs, and an indicator of the winter to come in 'Winter Signposts'. 'Dog Days' subtly captures the last blooming of daisies in a summer meadow and measures 50cm x 60 cm.

The larger paintings are priced at £800 and the smaller painting is £600. The price includes delivery within a 50 mile radius of the Gallery.

Perpetual Summer

24 Aug 2017
by Nick Holker

We are delighted to welcome Keith Siddle to the Gallery this week.

Keith lives and works just outside Tunbridge Wells. From his airy studio at the bottom of his garden he produces wonderfully vivid and uplifting paintings.

The three we have at the moment feature Sunflowers, Butterflies and Bees and provide the promise of a perpetual, idyllic summer on your wall.

Sunflowers aside, Keith's passion is capturing the vibrancy of colour and movement of fish, particularly Koi Carp, and we will be featuring some of his magnificent, large canvasses in September.

Meanwhile, though, if you're passing the gallery come and be mesmerised by the new three dimensional quality of these stunning Sunflowers...guaranteed to make you smile.

Wonderful watercolours

24 Aug 2017
by Nick Holker

Sonya Tatham's work has long been admired by visitors to the Gallery and we are lucky to have a number of new originals on display.

We are also delighted to announce that there will shortly be a number of limited edition prints available of some very special work which has yet to be shown anywhere.

We'll keep you posted about the prints, but why not come and see the many originals already being exhibited.

Rare Skills @ Trinity Theatre Art Exhibition 'A feast for the eyes'

26 Apr 2017
by Nick Holker

Last night saw the launch of our exhibition at The Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre in Tunbridge Wells. It was a lovely evening with a brilliant turn out and many compliments about the breadth and quality of the art and craftwork on show.

We'd like to thank those of you who came to the opening as well as our fabulous artists who I know enjoyed meeting and chatting to those who admired and collected their work.

The exhibition is on for a fortnight from 10.00 a.m to whenever the foyer is closed, so well into the evening. It's well worth a visit.

This is how the Trinity Theatre themselves have described the event:

Where to begin?! Feast your eyes on our current exhibition by the Rare Skills Gallery, featuring brilliant work which reflects the beauty of the South East. Also some goodies in here for fans of Star Wars and Arsenal.

Hope to see you there.

Rare Skills @Trinitytheatre launch event

06 Apr 2017
by Nick Holker

From 10.00 a.m. on the 25th April to 12.30 p.m. on the 7th May we're holding an exhibition at the Trinity Theatre and Arts Centre in Tunbridge Wells. Entrance to the Exhibition is free.

We will be showing a wide variety of original paintings and prints from George Antoni, Claire Gill, Andrew Redden, RIGS, Graham Sendall and Sonya Tatham.

All of the work, which includes several previously un-exhibited pictures, is available for sale, and can be purchased through the box office. Local delivery can be arranged.

We're having an opening event on Tuesday 25th from 17.30 to 19.30, when we will be serving appropriate refreshments and nibbles and you will have an opportunity to meet some of the artists. Since numbers are limited by the capacity of the Gallery, if you'd like to join us, please contact us on info@rareskillsgallerycom or call the Rare Skills Gallery during office hours on 01342 457443.

During the fortnight, the exhibition is open all the time that the foyer is open, so, from 10.00 a.m until whenever the show starts on a given evening. From the 25th to the 29th the main performance in the theatre is Alan Ayckbourn's Private Fears in Public Places which starts at 19.30. So it could be the beginnings of a very cultural evening.

Spotlight on Rare Skills - Dennis Hales

30 Mar 2017
by Nick Holker
Dennis Hales woodturner

We first met Dennis Hales at one of the excellent Sussex Guild craft shows last year. Dennis described himself as making a 'guest appearance', since his workshop is actually in Norfolk. However, it easy to see why his presence is eagerly sought at all manner of quality craft events across the country including exhibiting at the Worshipful Company of Turners of the City of London, of which he is a member.

Dennis works with locally grown sycamore, holly, ash and maple - particularly clean white woods which offer him a natural canvas for a wide variety of finishes. He turns, carves and textures the surfaces and then uses airbrushing, hand-painting and marbling techniques and water soluble, modern analyne dyes or traditional dyes such as Vandyke crystals to give a blend of colours and shades which enhance the natural features of the wood.

After decorating and lacquering, some of his work is then treated to elaborate and highly-skilled gilding using 24 carat gold, copper and double weight silver leaf, before being returned to the lathe for further work to achieve an intricate, iridescent patina. A further two coats of lacquer effectively encapsulates the gilding to minimise any risk of tarnishing.

As a result, this extraordinary work achieves a sympathetic balance of form and finish.

We currently have about a dozen pieces of Dennis's work.. but they are very popular, so don't leave it too long to pay us a visit.

Illustrations which leave indelible impressions

28 Mar 2017
by Nick Holker

We have admired Claire Fletcher's work from afar for some time. Last week she brought three enchanting original paintings, some small black and white animal illustrations and a selection of framed and unframed prints into the gallery, which are now on display.

While I was researching her career to be able to put some meaningful background onto the gallery website, I came across the cover of one of the children's books that Claire had illustrated back in 1994.

The book is called The Wind Garden. I can remember reading it countless times to eager children who were capitivated both by Angela McAllister's narrative and Claire's illustrations.

It is one of the wonders of images that they can catapult you back through time and space to when you first laid eyes upon them, often accompanied by the sounds and scents of the moment... even if, as you can see from the quality of the image here, the memories can be a little hazy.

If you've got a moment, pop into the gallery to look at Claire's latest pictures, I'm sure they will bring back fond memories from your own childhood.

May exhibition of B&W paintings and drawings at Rare Skills Gallery

27 Mar 2017
by Nick Holker
Andrew Redden at Rare Skills B&W

Another date for the diary. Throughout May we will be holding an exhibition of mono work in charcoal, pen and ink, acrylic and mixed media contributed by a variety of different artists.

A broad range of themes will be covered including birds and wildlife, seascapes and landscapes.

Many of the works have been created specifically for the exhibition and both originals and prints will be available.

The Exhibition will run from the 1st to the 31st of May and will be previewed on this site and Facebook towards the end of April.

We look forward to welcoming you at Rare Skills Gallery.

We're open from 10.00 a.m. to 5.30 p.m every day excluding Sunday, or out of hours by prior arrangement.

Rare Skills at Trinity. Free affordable art Exhibition in Tunbridge Wells.

16 Mar 2017
by Nick Holker

A note for the Diary. From the 25th April to the 7th May 2017, we will be exhibiting an exciting selection of work by the artists and artisans we represent at The Trinity Theatre Gallery in Tunbridge Wells.

The collection will include affordable original works in oil, acrylic, watercolour, mixed media and photomontage, as well as a variety of framed and mounted prints.

While the Trinity is best known for its theatre and film activities, it has a lovely Gallery space which is open throughout the day and into the evening. There is no charge for admission. There is also an excellent cafe and bar on site.

We will be releasing specific information about the exhibitors closer to the time.

Trinity Theatre is in Church Road, Tunbridge Wells, Kent. TN1 1JP. See more details at

Make Mother's Day

03 Mar 2017
by Nick Holker

If you're looking for something special to give your mother on the 26th March, you owe it to yourself to pay a visit to the Rare Skills Gallery in Forest Row - even if it's just to get ideas.

We've lost count of the number of times that people have paid us a visit after the event and said 'I wish I'd found you sooner, I could have bought everything in here.'

What do we have to suit the occasion?

Many of our original paintings and prints are of familiar local land and seascapes, architecture, wildlife and flora and fauna. They are often bought because they evoke powerful, pleasant memories.

There is a variety of outstanding ceramics whether perfectly formed, colourful and practical or simply stunning statement pieces.

We have eye-catching decorative wooden bowls and plates from a master of the use of gold, copper and silver to enhance the natural beauty of holly, ash, sycamore and maple.

We are becoming particularly noted for our finely crafted handbags, shoulder bags, music bags, evening bags and even shopping bags in leather, tweed or canvas, many of which are one-offs.

Alternatively there are fabulous fine wool or silk shawls and scarves from Kashmere.

Finally we have a range of beautiful cards which are made all the more appropriate because they don't have Happy Mother's Day on them.

Why not come and see for yourself?