visit our Facebook page @hastingsarts on Twitter

Robin Thompson and Margaret Roberts

Paintings by Robin Thompson

“My paintings explore the tensions between contemporary society’s relentless activity and our need for shelter from it”.

A glance at my wardrobe will reveal oil paint everywhere: even my suits sport the odd dash of yellow. For me, painting is immersion in colour, form and texture, but also in smell and touch – I let my fingers do a lot of painting. Samuel Beckett said: “To find the form that accommodates the mess, that’s the task of the artist now”. I try to find form and meaning through my messy painting process.

My paintings reflect the swirl of conflicting feelings we carry inside us. Most of us feel the need for points of calm and quiet as an escape from the assault of constant activity, images, noise and complexity. My abstract paintings are about that tension between the rush of activity and the need for shelter from it. Areas of calm compete with areas of intense movement.

More of my work is on

Clay Expression
My ceramic pieces are intuitive, hand built and individual. Some induce serenity, others suggest liveliness and energy. My ceramic pieces are intuitive – not planned. Each is hand built and individual. Some of my work induces serenity; other pieces suggest energy and liveliness.

Texture gets full expression in the clay. Some pieces are impressions of, for example, tree bark and stone walls. I use a range of stoneware clays, fired in the kiln and by the Raku process.

My long standing interest in Japanese design and ceramics has deepened through several trips, including visits to 4 of the original ‘pottery villages’ – the latest being this March. The natural forms I build reflect the environment they are created in: my farmhouse and the countryside around.



Drawing Life

Drawing Life brings life drawing to people living with dementia.  Picasso said it took him a lifetime to learn to draw like a child.  It can be said that we revert to childhood as we age.  Drawing Life offers people with nearly a lifetime behind them the chance to respond to a life model with a stick of charcoal and a piece of paper.  People who may or may not be familiar with life drawing react in many different and encouraging ways through their sketches, as do their carers, their families and others who view the work.  The drawings have much to offer on many levels, encouraging the viewer to reflect on life and memory, the present and the past.

The drawings to be exhibited at the Hastings Arts Forum have been created by residents at Hastings Court during a term of classes.  The project is supported by the Big Lottery Fund.




Hermit, a life on the margins

Community Arts company, Radiator Arts, join forces with local charity, Seaview to present a unique exhibition exploring the life and times of John Hancox, a hermit who lived in Ecclesbourne Glen cave for 12 – 14 years until his death in 1904.

John Hancox was a professional draper who fell on hard times and ended up living in the cave, which you can still access today, on Ecclesbourne Glen in Hastings Country Park.

John was regarded by the locals as a solitary, well presented and peaceful man who would sing to himself in the woods. He made a home for himself, tended his allotment and scraped a living by being a ‘market gardener’ as recorded in the 1901 census. Nobody knows exactly when he moved into the cave but John was required to pay rent on ‘the hermitage’ upon his discovery.

Many of the service users at Seaview will recognise this story and the sequence of events that can so easily lead to homelessness. It is a story that resonates and is still relevant today as it was 112 years ago.

Seaview and Radiator have been working together exploring the themes around homelessness and feeling on the edge of society through a series of workshops which has resulted in some inspirational, moving art work, poetry and sound recordings which will be presented as an Installation. Including an animation film made by Radiator Arts.

Radiator Arts is a not for profit company of professional artists with expertise and skill in a broad range of disciplines including sculpture. painting, ceramics, textiles, digital media, graphic design, theatre design, performance, music and costume.

We work with community and local government organisations and schools to create tailor made celebratory events, carnival parades, educational and recreational workshops and projects for vulnerable adults, young people and families.

Our work aims to be uplifting and inspiring for both participants and audiences and have a memorable cultural and educational resonance.

For updates and more information visit Radiator Arts Facebook page and @radiatorarts on twitter.


Supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England and Hastings Borough Council

artscouncil      hbc      radiator      seaview



Transformations is a show of work by eleven artists who have taken on the subject in a variety of media and differing aspects.

From representations of physical and environmental changes that come with time, human intervention and cultural practices. The changes and modifications we make to our bodies and identities.

Depictions of narratives that change in the telling, dreams translated into images. Work where transformation is dependent on movement and intervention and where the materials themselves are transformed in the making of the work.


Hastings Arts Forum
20 Marine Court,
St Leonards on Sea
TN38 0DX
+44 (0) 1424 201636

Hastings Arts Forum Ltd is a charity registered in England and Wales Number 1142575

© Hastings Arts Forum Ltd 2022

Website & Branding by Junction44
Junction44 is a design agency based in Hastings