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2015 Every Picture Tells a Story


We transformed the Common into a studio gallery, bringing the art of London’s major art Museums: National, Tate Modern and Tate Britain, to inspire our local community. We hosted over 1600 people who were guided in their creative endeavour by 150 enthusiastic volunteers. You could work with the Chislehurst Artists and paint likeTurner, oil pastel a Constable-like scene of the Common with the Trustees, paint a Kandinsky with a four foot brush, graffiti a t-shirt like Banksy or colour a badge like Peter Blake. Two favourite activities were to pipe a Mondrian design on a graham cracker or splatter and splat like Jackson Pollock. The day was filled with sculpture, painting, drawing, carving, weaving and being entertained by puppets, local musicians and indulging in home-made cakes and a BBQ from our local butcher Higgs.

The day was generously sponsored by The Chislehurst Society and JDM Estate Agents. We in turn were able to donate £4000 to the Trustees of Chislehurst Commons.





2014 Our (Amazing) World-Discovering the Art within Science


We had glorious weather - attendance went from 1100 to 1600 and we didn’t even run out of supplies. We had such fun with the theme: “It’s Our (Amazing) World-Discovering the Art within Science”. We printed and displayed posters explaining the Science behind the Art. There were over twenty different art gazebos filled with activities to draw, paint, build, invent, discover, create and enjoy. You could launch a water propelled rocket to shoot up thirty feet in the air, build a lego space ship or a spaghetti/marshmallow tower, set in motion a pendulum to eclipse a design of florescent colours or sculpt a clay Tyrannosaurus Rex. Best of all was mixing up and eating a test tube of sherbet delight. One could discover scientific facts across the Common and create dazzling art along the way. There was music and singing from local school children, birds of prey dazzled and fascinated on their perches and an animal menagerie was open for stroking, petting and sketching.

We mustered a dedicated crew of one hundred thirty local volunteers, plus sixty teenagers from Challenge, a charity that teaches teenagers how to become good citizens. Our generous major sponsors were The Chislehurst Society and jdm Estate Agents. £5000. proceeds was donated to The Trustees of Chislehurst Commons to help ensure the future upkeep of our beautiful Commons.




2013 ‘Books on the Common’ Trail Blazer Award

It is amazing to think we have been hosting the Chislehurst Big Draw on the Common for ten years. We celebrated this year with a metre long cake in the shape of a red pencil. The theme was “Books on the Common”. You could walk through a magical Narnia wardrobe into our very own pop up book event . Each marque activity was based on a different childhood favourite story book.
The Tiger who Came to Tea was on hand for photo shots and little artists could make tiger- food- pencil-pots. Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory was a hive of industry with all the Um-pa-lum-pas making Wicked Wang Doodles . Sparks were flying at the Harry Potter stand as the children fashioned magical wands and painted purple and blue Hogworts. The Society helped everyone make a Mr Man badge of their choosing. The artists could watercolour an iconic Quentin Blake illustration with The Chislehurst Artists. Friends of Walden Rec. created confusion with multiple life size Wallys painted with four foot brushes. Punch and Judy created quite a stir and lots of giggles. Wishworks puppets enchanted the little ones with the tales of Red Riding Hood and Goldilocks. You could earn a helium balloon for adding a woodland character to the Enchanted Tree or you could duck through the walled Secret Garden to paint and decorate a special keep sake box. GCSE and A-Level students encouraged pen and ink illustrations at our Drawing Hot Spots. The Scouts, with the inspiration of Just William, made catapults. There was a Mad Hatter’s Tea Party piled up with delicious hand made cakes to refresh one’s spirit and Higgs’ Barbecue to keep everyone going long into the afternoon.
It was a brilliant community day with 140 volunteers from across Chislehurst helping to make the joy of books come to life. Twelve hundred people, young and old, took up the challenge to have fun being creative and helped to raise £2500. for The Trustees of Chislehurst Commons. A huge thank you goes to our sponsors The Chislehurst Society, JDM Estate Agents, The Mills Family Ltd, Art for Kids and Higgs Butcher.





2012 ‘Forever England’

Hear Yea, Hear Yea.In Celebration of Her Majesty The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 we held a spectacular Big Draw event on the Common. It was a day of discovering English heritage, folklore, traditional crafts and merriment.

We had King Arthur and his Round Table where we guilded knights, Robin Hood and his Merry Men in Sherwood forest showed us how to make bows & arrows. Brittania ruled the waves as boats were built and Morris Men performed with much merriment and joy. We painted like Constable, and then entered into a Midsummer’s Night Dream with the fairies of Oberon and Titania. Punch and Judy provided traditional English family fun & laughter.

A marvellous day was had by all and you could even have your photograph taken with the Queen and her corgis as a souvenir.



2011 ‘Our World in Common

In celebration of the London 2012 Olympics our theme was 'Our World in Common'.We set off with our passports to join an artistic adventure that took us around the globe.We created traditional crafts and art from each.On our journey we listened to the beat of the African drums, shouted with Punch and Judy or were enchanted with fairytales. Indonesian shadow puppets or Hopi Indian kachina warriors were crafted.We hid behind Venetian masks and twirled hand painted Chinese banners. We travelled down under for Aborigine dream painting or stayed closer to home with golden English brass rubbings of knights in armour. A fantastic day of fun and adventure was had by over 1300 people.Gold,Silver & Bronze medals were received by those completing a number of artistic challenges.Once again we raised substantial amounts for The Trustees of The Common.









2010 ‘Artists in Common’ Trail Blazer Award

We were chosen for the Trail Blazer Award again this year, selected from over 1500 venues across the country. The only other venue to receive this award twice is the National Gallery.

The theme for the day was “Artists in Common”. We based each art activity on different works of art from the National and Tate Galleries. We wanted to help people young and old to connect with our national art treasures, to see copies of the works, be inspired and then create their own work based on what they saw. Each gazebo displayed a work of art and was labelled with the artist’s name and the activity: Rembrandt’s Self Portraits, Gainsborough’s Mr and Mrs. Andrews Photo-Op, Dadd’s Flower Fairy Wishes, Stubbs’ Horses in Action. Thirteen hundred people came to enjoy the Common and ‘have a go’ at the thirty different art activity gazebos (assisted by over 170 volunteers). We were able to raised £2500 for The Trustees of the Commons.








2009  ‘Alice Meets Darwin in Wonderland’  Trail Blazer Award


We were chosen for the Trail Blazer Award this year, selected from over 1300 venues across the country. The award is given to the event committee who repeatedly creates the most innovative and engaging activities in the pursuit of drawing and artistic experience.

We had great fun planning activities to fit in with our Alice and Darwin theme. We painted with gigantic paint brushes, played chess with metre high handmade Darwin and Wonderland figures, took a thinking walk in the woods and delved in the world of microscopic art. We met the challenge of the stilt walking Duchess and the puppeteers, played colourful flamingo croquet, created new species, laughed with Darwin and the Dodo performers and sketched alongside textile artist Liz Lancashire with her knitted ‘Darwin’s Leftovers’.  We recreated Darwin’s desk for careful observation drawing, had Alice and Hatter posing for life drawing, made miniature pocket watch portraits and The Chislehurst Artists led a masterclass in painting watercolour teapots. We finished the afternoon with splendid cakes and tea, of course, at the Mad Hatters tea party.




2008  ‘Carnival of the Animals’


The cobwebs glistened in the morning light. As the fog lifted, the marquees, bunting , banners and balloons went up across the Common. The scene was set for ’Carnival of the Animals’. The historic cockpit in the centre of the Common was filled with a petting zoo of rabbits, goats, ducks, roosters, hens, guinea pigs and even a pony.  The puppeteers and their turquoise blue hedgehog enticed young children to draw while waiting for the puppet show.The beat of the African drums and the smell of the barbecue filled the air.  The day was magical. The Bromley Museum curators invited people to make caveman animal prints. In the heart of the woods children sculpted clay animals, templates of garden birds could be traced and coloured, there was a masterclass in watercolours run by The Chislehurst Artists. Museum butterfly and bug boxes inspired close observation sketching, while Conquest Art, art for the disabled, made animal skin matchboxes filled with miniature animal drawings. There was an ABC animal treasure hunt in the church, a community mural colouring of a Tiger in a Storm, t-shirts to design and the secondary students provided creative animal face painting for the younger children.



2007  ‘Drawn to the Wild Wood’  Runner Up Inspiration Award


All the primary school children in Chislehurst were given a postcard announcing the forthcoming Big Draw event and were invited to draw their own “Wild Wood” picture for our competition. On the day each activity centre was run by volunteers bedecked with badger ears and tail. Our new blue and yellow medieval tent marked out registration. First stop was Rogue’s Gallery to create a self-portrait. The ‘artists’ could choose from a myriad of drawing activities: calligraphy, drawing in the round a 360 degrees panorama of the Common, create a Wild Wood in the pub with painted black trees and warm coloured creatures, storytelling story boards, fancy dress life drawing, over 18’s still life drawing, watercolour master class, butterfly mask making with Bromley Museum, gather together a nature collage in a a sand frame window pane, model a gargoyle in clay, draw and identify local trees or draw the birds of prey as the swooped and soared.






2006  ‘Seeking Common Treasure”  Winner Inspiration Award


We had sketchbooks this year for all our aspiring artists. Spud told stories and sang songs  from the  Caribbean and the children loved the fancy dress life drawing. We had helium balloons in exchange for doing a drawing of the surrounding houses, calligraphy and map-making, a treasure hunt in th
e Church, a community ant’s eye view mural and free lunches in the Pub. The artists could design a t-shirt, create a nature collage along a woodland path, draw a gold encrusted treasure chest still-life or self-portraits. There was even a special tent for the over 18’s to encourage adults to fill their sketchbooks as well.

We developed an exciting mixed media teaching pack for the local schools, based on drawing shoes in 2-D and 3-D.  We created a new dedicated website to display the schools’ work and keep the local community informed about the Big Draw activities.





2005  ‘Colour in the Commons’  Runner Up Inspiration Award


The morning was clear, bright and sunny, notwithstanding the October date. We set up tents and gazebos decorated with bunting and the trees were festooned with six foot high coloured-pencil-banners. The participants collected their artist packs filled with a variety of papers, a fine-line pen and pencil, oil pastels, a How to Begin Drawing leaflet and an information sheet:Everything you need to know about the Common.

Everyone signed in with a self-portrait in a zany pre-drawn frame on a giant paper roll before visiting Crick Crack the magical storyteller. The  children designed their own Power Drawing t-shirts and visited the church to try gravestone rubbing.  We had a nine-foot high dinosaur made out of recycled.  A local cartographer encouraged people to try their hand at calligraphy. Members of the Chislehurst Artists Group dotted their easels around the common to inspire others.  Crayon drawings on postcards were traded for helium balloons.  Even the pub joined in  offering free lunches and the chance to create pastel jigsaw murals of views of the common based on enlarged photographs.



2004  Runner Up Heritage Inspiration Award


Three hundred people gathered on the common to celebrate the Common and draw its open spaces, woodland, historic buildings or each other.  Gazebos offered shelter. A ‘how to begin’ leaflet gave ideas for family activities. The Church and pub invited participants to draw in the warm, making rubbings of brasses and gravestones in the former and a mural of nearby Victorian houses in the latter.  Schools publicized the event, the Residents Association and businesses gave paper, card and even waterproof bags to sit on.  Artists and students provided inspiration and the Library exhibited the results.

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