Wendy Winfield

Wendy Winfield,  artist, 1933 – 2023

Marcus Oliver writes:
With the recent passing of Wendy Winfield, Drawing London Group lost a much-loved and inspirational fellow member.
The accompanying photograph, by the group’s leader Bill Aldridge, encapsulates so much about Wendy’s character. She stands in relaxed mode, leaning against a chair in the House of St Barnabas Club, Soho, drink in hand (note too the back-of-head reflection in the mirror and try to ignore Bill’s armpit!). As always, she is smiling and has clearly just shared a wonderful anecdote with Jessica Saraga, fellow member. However Jessica responded it will remain with her! 

This is the Wendy I will always cherish and remember. She was vivacious, feminine and a fund of pithy comments and humour. But above all Wendy was a superlative artist, someone who inspired the rest of the group at our monthly sketching days. 

Wendy died in her 90th year. She studied art and design at Kingston School of Art between 1949 and 1953. Her first job was with the renowned McCann Erikson advertising agency as a graphic designer. Then through the 60s and 70s, while raising her family as a single parent, she taught art and ceramics and worked in galleries. Eventually, in the 80s, she returned to advertising. Wendy continually sought out art courses (painting, drawing and etching) to develop her art practice and, realise a lifetime ambition, of creating her own studio.

She studied with painters such as the Expressionist Roy Oxlade and the American Abraham Rattner.  At one such class Wendy met the woman who would pose for her over 20 years. A series of many of these drawings has been on show at the recent RuptureXibit. At an adjoining gallery there was also an exhibition of large oil paintings showing Wendy’s remarkable range from carefully observed still-lifes to ambitious landscapes. 

According to her friend Peter Smith, who prepared notes on her work, “These drawings (and the paintings on show) are characteristic of Wendy’s approach to life. Always looking, thinking and committed to projects that kept her alert to the wider implications of her work. Her way of broadening hearts and minds, as she put it, was in keeping with her practice which in its way represents a perfect antidote to the misogyny and prejudice in the art world and more generally.  

“The drawings on show are studies of a friend and fellow artist. They are presented at RuptureXibit in an exhibition planned by Wendy and it is a great sadness that she is not here to see this magnificent display. It is one of her finest achievements. We are honoured to enjoy these drawings and the other works that accompany them,” said Peter. 

Writing about her drawings Wendy said: “My work is figurative, and I have a particular interest in figuratively and expressively women. Reviewing these drawings some 20 years on, I was astonished at the power of them en-masse, how they revealed her changing mood; from disgruntled to feeling strong and happy, or engrossed in her new role as a mother.” 

A slight woman but Wendy was a huge personality and a superlative art practitioner. She will be sorely missed by the DLG membership. RIP Wendy 

Wendy (left) with the DLG at Orleans House Gallery, Twickenham Riverside, July 2021


Bill Aldridge writes:

I’ll always remember Wendy’s inky fingers, evidence of the energy she put into her work. Black and brown and muted colour thrown onto the paper creating an expression of the scene that could only be Wendy’s. An energetic and exuberant view of the life in front of her whether it be a ruined church or a lighthouse. Wendy was always very critical of her own work, but I loved every dash and splash.  She didn’t use oils when she was with us, so seeing her larger works at ‘Life Lived’ was a revelation, displaying a restrained and subtle palette veiling, but not hiding the energy of the underlying drawing. She was a great artist and a great friend and we will all miss her.

A selection of drawings from the recent show at RuptureXibit

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After Wendy’s death, the family decided to expand the exhibition by including a selection of Wendy’s oil paintings, and an example of one of her sketchbooks. There is also a video of Wendy in her garden.

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From Wendy’s sketchbook

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Wendy’s sketches with Drawing London from 2009 to 2023

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