Art Showcase

Julie Connor

February 2020




I am a self taught multi-media artist from Colchester in Essex.
I have had a passion for art since I was a small child, having an artist uncle who was a big influence. Despite this I
somehow ended up training to be a nurse instead of going to Art School, so my career for the past 32 years has been
predominantly in the medical profession.


My love of art was resurrected about 10 years ago when I did some face painting for a theatre company. I started working professionally as a face painter and progressed on to body painting when designs started to demand more skin space!
At the same time whilst working for the BBC on a continuing drama series, my doodles on the back of scripts quickly turned into portrait work and I began commissioning portraits and

I love the challenges and rewards of each of the disciplines I work within and frequently find inspiration cross overs. I love creating realistic portraits but equally enjoy the
unpredictability and endless possibilities of abstract pieces.

Working predominantly from my home studio, I plan to
develop my art business into a full time endeavour over the
next 2 years.
Julie Connor

See more from Julie here


Jamie croft

Januay 2020



Jamie Croft works in the art department 3 days a week and his main interests are Liverpool Football Club and Marvel Cinematic Universe. Jamie is a skilled drawer and model maker and has tried his hand at lots of different things whilst at Level Best Art Cafe. This is a small selection of his work.

 See more from Jamie here


Jessica Allum Brown

December 2019




Jessica Allum- Brown is our latest artist to exhibit her art work on our breakfast bar wall, our show case space for ARTCO trainees. Jessica works with us every Tuesday all day, doing art in the morning and seasonal session work in the afternoon. She is a big fan of the Big Bang Theory, especially Sheldon. She also likes to  draw and paint  houses and imagine friends and family living there.

See more from Jessica here


The Level Best Winter Show

December 2019-January 2020





At least twice a year ArtCo @ Level Best Art Cafe presents a group exhibition of work created by our in-house artists, reflecting the diversity and energy of our Trainees.  We like to foster an atmosphere of open mindedness and acceptance of all art forms.

See more from Level Best ARTCO here


Sam Carter

December / January 2020


I have been doing art since I was 14 years old. I did lots of art when I was at school and I have been drawing and painting ever since. I am 26 years old and I go to a training centre for people with special needs, called The Level Best Art Cafe in Colchester.

See more from Sam here


Coco Care "Space"

November / December 2019



CoCoCare is a unique new day service for adults with learning disabilities based on vocational opportunities and learning, enabling you to become a confident, valued member of your community.

See more from Coco here

Grant Owens

October 2019



Grant Owens is our current trainee to display their artworks on our breakfast bar wall. Grant was interested to have a show after seeing fellow ARTCO trainees express themselves and he delighted in choosing which pieces to show. Grant helped to frame his work, which involved taking work out of some frames, cleaning the glass (if the frames had been in our basement for a while), screwing hooks to the back and tying picture cord to hold the work. Grant has been coming to Level Best Art Cafe for a number of years and has produced a varied mix of works.


See more from Grant here


Henry Linstead

October / November 2019

Henry is a trainee in ARTCO on and off between art tutelage at the Wilson Marriage Centre in Colchester and travels abroad.

Henry is a big fan of local artist legend Charles Debenham and he knows him well.

Mr Debenham and Henry can be seen drawing and painting out in the world, the scenes before them.

This exhibition is a mixture of scenes from Edinburgh, Orkney, New York, Clacton and Colchester zoo animals, including an aerial view of the zoo which Henry began at Level Best from photographs, and has worked on until recently with us every Tuesday morning.

See more from Henry here


Marcus Monteverde

September / October 2019





I’ve always been an artist and as far as I can remember I was told that I was gifted. Well, I am glad I am; cause I couldn’t Live without it. So I bless God for it. My first formal art education was in Italy from the age of 6 until 13 at school.

I came to England when I was 24 years old and since then it has been a hobby to attend any available art group. My longest training full time in art was in Southampton institute of Higher Education for a diploma in scientific and Technical illustration. As part of my training I attended Southampton University Department of Human Morphology where, while still at college, I helped with the illustration for a book from Prof. D. Mayor “Essentials of Neuroanatomy”. I have also helped for a month in St. Bart’s Hospital in London with a video on sickle Cell Anaemia. During my training in Southampton I learned to use a lot of media but myself my favourite are pencils, ink and acrylic , which sometimes I mix together. My favourite subjects are: animals, flowers; landscapes and humans.

I hope that you enjoy the exhibition

See more from Marcus here


Kris Palmer

July / August 2019






I am Kris Palmer and I am 26 years old. I have been attending the Jigsaw Centre for a little over five years and all of the work on display has been created there.

The subject matter for my work is generally inspired by two things;
current events and cultural references. My style is influenced by the Pop-Art of Andy Warhol.

The usual process to making my paintings begins with increasing the contrast of my chosen image using the Word programme. I then cover the reverse of the image with oil pastel before defining the tonal areas, tracing them onto card. I generally use acrylic paints, with the
exception of my landscapes; for these I chose to experiment with
water colour.

See more from Kris here


Jacqueline Wilkinson

June / July 2019





Paintings with themes of animals music scenery and abstract art by emerging artist Jacqueline Wilkinson. Jacqueline lives in Kelvedon and this is the first time she has seen a lot of her work together in one space.

See more from Jacqueline here


Sheila Martin

May / June 2019





I have taken all kinds of art techniques from the courses I have been on and use masking fluid and vitro acrylics to do all kinds of effects with acrylics and watercolours, and mirrored paper and gels to do 3D work. Flowers and forests are her main works.

See more from Sheila here


Tommy Greenley

April / May 2019



Tommy is a very a creative individual who takes a lot of influence from children’s books and cartoons. There is often a lot of humour in his work and he will use this as a tool to communicate with his peers. Tommy has Autism and Learning Disabilities, so his Art Work gives him the ability to interact with others and is often a starting point for conversation and storytelling.

Tommy spends a great deal of his spare time on Microsoft Paint creating different pieces of work and pays very close attention to detail. Tommy seems to use Art as a way of; escaping, self-soothing and as a way ofcommunicating and you can see he is proud of his work!

See more from Tommy here


Honour Hope

March / April 2019




I have always loved colour from a young age, it gave me a sense of solace in difficult times. I work with a variety of different mediums including acrylics, pastels and pens to name a few.

My art is based predominantly on positivity, hope, spirituality and healing and nature is very much as big part of my life. I am currently in the process of putting 4 books of my inner child healing online, these are all in verse.
I work with crystals and I am a Rahanni celestial healer and teacher therefore there is always an element of healing in my work.
I hope you all enjoy the exhibition as much as I love sharing it all with you.
Blessings to you all
Honor Hope x


See more from Honour here


Andrew Houghton

February 2019

This current body of work includes ‘Manga themed pictures based on original characters created by Akira Toryama as featured in the ‘Dragonball Z’ animated series. Also featured are worked based on ‘Pokemon’ characters created by Asatoshi Tajiri.

The inspiration for this work was while independently researching the works of the artist Kyle Duka and Linda Gleissner and their depictions of the aforementioned characters. As a member of the ‘goku vegeta’ social media group that celebrates this style of artwork I was encouraged by the aforementioned artists to pursue and share my own depictions of these characters.
This body of work is produced with mixed media including pencil drawings for composition with acrylic paint and marker pen work. My character depictions use a vibrant colour palette with striking, nold detail. My hope is that this work will enable me to collaborate with other artists with a shared interest with a viw to expand this style of work.

See more from Andrew here


Community 360 Group Exhibition

January 2019

Community360 is a charity which was founded in Colchester in 1968 with the complementary aims of improving quality of life and of enabling local community involvement and action.   It does this by supporting other voluntary sector organisations and by delivering a range of services and projects, many of them directly to local people.

Amongst the Community360 staff there are a number of experienced and budding artists, who are taking the opportunity offered by the Level Best Art Café to display some of their work.

The artists are: Tina Bullen, Alison Woolnough, Jo Bryant, John Livingstone & Becky Jordan.

See more from Community360 here



John Mansell

November 2018

Artco artist John Mansell has been painting lampshades for a long time at Level Best Art Cafe and they are uniquely exquisite. They have been lovingly worked on for a long time featuring the artists interests and when they sell, he will receive a cut of the earnings along with our art department where they were created.

See more from John here



Barrie Strawson

November / December 2018

I first discovered Colour in 1992 doodling with felt tips, going on to do over 300 patterns.

2017 I moved into paints and became more obsessed with how colour could be mixed using acrylics, inks, marbling paint and anything from cooking oil to food colours

I would like you all to share my vision and hope you enjoy the inside of my brain.

At the same time I started to write poetry, over 300 poems later, I now perform on stage, mostly light hearted funny verse about any subject that pops into my head.

See more from Barrie here



Lawrence Walker

October / November 2018

See more from Lawrence here



Sam Carter

October 2018

Sam Carter has an exhibition of her latest artwork about Harlequin and Poison Ivy (of Batman, DC Comics fame) above our breakfast bar.

Sam's is the first trainee expose to feature there since we used the space to showcase the work of Bernadette Sloman, former trainee of Level Best (see blog post here) and we hope it will become a regular feature after Sam's show finishes; that more trainees will wish to show off their talent in this space as an accompaniment to our main gallery, which mostly features work from the public.

See more from Sam here



Rebecca Clinch

September / October 2018

We have many more of Rebecca Clinch's Drawings now on display. Rebecca has produced so many observational drawings and colourful imaginative pieces during her Thursday afternoon art sessions, that we wanted to show off as much as we could, SO we have put them all in a folder which is on display in our gallery, on a plinth in the corner. See a small selection below and remember you can visit the real thing Monday - Friday between 9am and 4pm until Friday the 12th of October, at the Level Best Art Cafe, 3 D'arcy House, Culver Street East, Colchester CO1 1LD, T: 01206 366 059

See more from Rebecca here



Jane Ostler

August / September 2018

How I create the work. 

I start a picture by outlining very faintly, in pencil or paint, a basic compositional structure.  This gives the work an inherent order to build upon.  I use geometric shapes and human forms. Geometric shapes offer a neutral ground.  They can be repeated into a pattern.  Human forms offer a more subjective, narrative way into the painting.  Sometimes I repeat a compositional structure if I like it, ditto with the human subject.  I then paint areas with oil paint on stretched primed canvas or water colour on stretched water colour paper.  Quite often I like to combine canvases into diptychs and triptychs. This works for me on two levels.  One is the surprise of combining disparate elements.  The other is the potential for visual narrative.  Oil paintings are left, sometimes for years, between work sessions.  The electric sander can be used to take oil paint back to a point where I am happy with it.

I have tried to combine plants with my paintings, because I want to help maintain good air quality.

What my work means.

I leave the meaning of my work open.

Painting offers a reflective space.

The process.

A painting can start from a sense of ease enabled by spending time early in the morning in a garden, watching the light change and pass through the petals of flowers with their vibrant, translucent forms or from the seemingly futile repetition of driving around the same roundabout twice every day on my journey to and from work for ten years, looking at the crows’ nests and the cars and waiting for my turn to join the flow of traffic.  Seeking avenues of escape, or circumnavigating these blockages, of seeking clarity, resolution…freedom, and then moving on, is the process.  I choose fragmentary subjects from ordinary life, plunged into extreme situations, like a comfortable armchair, people sun bathing on a beach, a boat vanishing over the distant horizon.

Being stuck and how to avoid it is a recurrent theme.  Trapped by comfort.  Trapped by inertia.  Trapped by prioritizing the wrong thing.  Trapped by habit.  Trapped by ignorance.  A blockage is a problem I have to solve.  I can try to unblock them if I make art.    They are the problems I try to understand.

The impulse to make something, to be busy, to create, continues behind other necessities of my life.  It’s there in the background all the time.  A continuous niggling wish to comment.
This persistent thread carries me along.  If I don’t try to use it then I stagnate.  It is to give up to the somnambulant sleepwalker, walking towards an abyss of pointlessness and lost opportunities.   I try to solidify emotions in an art form.  Circumstances, human histories and considering the whys, the wherefores, the assumptions, the comedies and the errors.  Making things bigger or smaller, scaling them up and down and retaining a sense of proportion, space and perspective.

Jane Ostler
3 August 2018

See more from Jane here


Chrissy Brown

July/ August 2018

"Taking up space is key to the normalisation of all types of bodies. It will result in the reclamation of spaces – conceptual and physical—that have been too long dominated by those with power and privilege.

My aim is to find and represent joy, comfort, and safety in bodies that have been cast out of the acceptable Western mainstream. I want to clear a space from the bombardment by a monotony of thin, heteronormative, able-bodied, capitalist advertising and aspiration.

We all exist in different bodies, and allowing each person to thrive and feel no shame for this uniqueness is key to creating a more feminist society. We are each whole as we are.

Fighting against oppressive norms takes many forms. This is mine."

Chrissy Brown 2018.

See more from Chrissy here



Paul Kopal

June/July 2018

See more from Paul here



Level Best Summer Show

May / June 2018

Examples of the wealth of work produced by trainees of ARTCO in 2018.

See more from this show here



Claire Deacon

May 2018

"I am Claire and I am on the Autistic spectrum.  I love art, drawing, painting and creating pictures on the computer.  I use art both as a form of communication and to relive past experiences and to express my emotions. In the past my art work has been compared to the work of Beryl Cook. I hope you enjoy looking at my work and remember every picture tells a story...." Claire Deacon

See more from Claire here



Emily Lush

May 2018

"My name is Emily and I have autism. This is the first time i’ve displayed any work in Colchester. I started to like drawing a lot when I was 19 years old. I used drawing as a way to deal with a difficult time, express my feelings and also use art to get me through the day and enjoy the process of creating pictures and using different media. My artwork is very varied and some of it is related to nature".   - Emil Lush

See more from Emily here


Steven Harper

April 2018

See more from Steven here



Alison Hirst

February 2018

Thought  Worms & Beyond:

This collection of work includes paintings and drawings created during a period when I was struggling with mental health problems. The combination of a life-long love of nature and newly discovered drawing skills, offered much needed respite from the anxiety I was experiencing as a cancer survivor.
I quickly discovered that charcoal, graphite and pastel would become my favoured media – the tactile sensation of powder and grit feeling earthy and energetic on my fingertips. As I smudged, scraped and swept marks across paper, coaxing to life images of natural forms around me, I began to reconnect with the vibrant world from which I had sadly come adrift.
Art became my healer and still supports me when the thought worms start to stir again. - Alison Hirst, March 2018

See more about Alison here



ARTCO invites...

January 2018


celebating our decennial year and featuring 22 artists who have helped shape ARTCO Level Best over the last 10 years

See more on our blog here



Miranda Boxall

November 2017

I am a self employed artist, oil painter & craft designer who has been selling in galleries since 2006.

I have had a painting selected by th3 Royal Academy in 014. I was on the Sky Arts “Landscape Artist of the Year” programme in 2016 and in 2017 I was one of the ten finalists of Essex life Magazine for Landscape Artists of the year.

Miranda’s Art –

See more about Miranda here


Lawrence Walker

October 2017

See more about Lawrence here


Scarlett & Siam Jitjindar

August 2017


Do You Have Fun?

A collection of drawings, paintings, prints and sculptures with a nature theme. Scarlett is our youngest disp-laying artist (7 at the time) and had help from her dad, an established installation artist).

See more about Scarlett here


Francesca Ucci

July 2017

Francesca is a professional artist who lives near the east coast of England. Her mother was from Northern Italy and her grandfather was from Southern Germany.
Francesca uses bold colour and line to represent her vision of seascapes, landscapes, buildings and people. This work is optimistic and young at heart to reflect her personality and Southern European heritage.

​For more examples of Francesca Ucci's artwork please visit her website at

See more about francesca here


Sophie Newbery

June 2017

I am an artist at Level Best Art Cafe and this is my first canvas it is a famous church in Moscow, Russia.

See more about Sophie here


Emily Clifton Jewitt

May 2017

The works vary in scale and subject matter but ALL are beautifully painted in rich detail and colour and are marvels to behold.

See more about Emily here


Paul Kopal

April 2017 

A collection of pictures and models of mixed media. The pictures "lean towards the use of markers". Paul's works are dark fantasies, intricately detailed and each is a world unto it's own with layers upon layers including work on the glass of the frame too. Truly a unique collection.

See more about Paul here


Jasmin Martin

March 2017

Cityscapes; London:

I am a 19 year old university student who graduated from Colchester County High School for Girls in 2016.

This collection of work is a selection of pieces from my Art and Design A- Level. Our topic for A- Level was scapes and from that I endeavoured into painting cityscapes.

My aim was to portray the feeling of being in a city; choosing different colours and building textures to create different atmospheres.

During the time of developing my work, I spent a lot of time in London, finding places which made me feel certain emotions. I would then return home, experiment with different colour schemes and develop textures to create what you see today.

Inspired by Ricter and Monet, I discovered that artist’s present energy and the feeling of being in a city through different colour ways, subtlety, texture, lighting and composition.

These are the first painting I have ever done, and I hope to continue painting and develop my skills over time.

See more about Jasmin here


Samantha Clare Carter

February 2017

Portraits of people in bands i love

Sam Carter is a trainee at Level Best Art Café in the art department (ARTCO).

Sam’s work is a mix of colourful portraits of band members she likes, as well as animals and other interests.

See more about Sam here



Henry Linstead

January 2017

Outdoor Studies:

Henry has been painting and illustrating scenes for a number of years. Henry has managed to capture the essence of these themes in his own unique way and prove that there’s nothing he can’t draw if he puts his mind to it.

See more about Henry here


Olga Brynza

November 2016

I was born in provincial city in Russia in 1976, by the age 22 years old I came to England (April 1999). Since then I studied Art – more than 10 years of my life.
I finished BTEC Art and design in 2001, after that I did my degree BA (hons) Fine Art – both in Colchester Institute.
I did my MA by project in London Metropolitan University in 2011.
This is my first solo exhibition since I finished my MA course.

In my works (I represent in the current exhibition) I tried to draw my feelings, the sense of places I have been, the memories left in my mind, the fantasies.

It is in a way naïve art, but original art works and interpretation of others artist’s art works.


See more about Olga here


Lois Cordelia

October 2016


UK Artist in Cut-Paper, Acrylics and Mixed Media, tutor, demonstrator, lecturer. Loïs Cordelia is a versatile artist and illustrator, based at her studio in Ipswich, United Kingdom. She works in diverse styles, including energetic speed-painting, intricate scalpel paper-cutting, and mixed media sculpture. She most often creates her art live in public and welcomes the opportunity to talk with people while she works, inspiring and being inspired. She maintains a busy schedule of live art demonstrations, workshops, talks, collaborations, publications, exhibitions, and other events. Her work has been featured in a number of public Wild in Art trails across the UK. -

See more about Lois here


Linda Wonnacott

July 2016

Made in Gambia:

All my collages are made from the limited materials available to me when in the Gambia. Mosquito coil holders, odd balls of wool, packs of cards, old plywood, scraps of coloured tissue, end of ribbon rolls, faulty roll of foil, books, off cuts of coloured card, broken fairy lights, grapefruit and oranges.  

See more about Linda here


CO3 Gallery & Studios

June 2016


See more about CO3 here


Marie Bevis

April 2016


I began painting fifty five years ago and sold my first painting aged twelve.

Formal training demanded that the mysteries of watercolours must be understood and conquered. However, Rose (lecturer in art) encouraged me to develop my skills experimenting with acrylics, textiles and ‘found’ materials.

Colour, light, detail, texture and pattern fascinate me, each painting is a visual description of those attributes I have no one style or subject matter. I use the materials which convey my idea specifically for that subject.
I was born in East London, Maldon has been my home for thirty four years. I have a semi-permanent exhibition there (in the Tap Room), which I change regularly.
Since its opening, nine years ago, I have exhibited in the Maldon Art Trail. I am a member of Colchester Art Society and have shown work at The Minories and Firstsite.

I am really pleased that The Level Best Art Café are showing my work, which spans ten years. I hope that you enjoy it.

Please email to commission or buy work you have seen.

See more about Marie here


Sam Luxford

March 2016


Encompasses my love of our coast, charts and stitch. I was inspired by an image on Pintrest of a family that had stitched their holiday road route as a red line onto a road atlas, this got my creative mind working.  I have always loved the lines and colours on Nautical charts and although my first piece was just a line following the coast this quickly evolved into nautical images and boats.

All of my life I have spent my summers on the Stour Estuary and love the serenity of sailing.  It is always a special moment when you see the iconic red sails of a Thames barge or traditional sailing boat coming down the river.  I have spent a large part of my adult life working aboard our beautiful Thames barges and these stunning vessels feature quite often within my work.

I love the chart charts in their own right.  I guess I have become a little obsessive about collecting charts and love to recycle them.  I have been lucky enough to find some quite old and unusual charts, some of which have been used for my NaviStitch work already, some are still waiting to find their right owner.  I do not use new charts, all of the charts I use are old and out of date, some are well used and some have had very little use.  Many of the charts have creases, pencil or pen marks and show general signs of wear and tear, this is the natural patina of a used chart and I think add to the story that the chart tells.

I have always been a stitcher and all of the work is stitched by hand very carefully directly through the paper of the chart.  I want the lines to enhance and add to the chart rather than detract from the beauty underneath.  When I prepare a piece for stitching I look at the contours of the coast, colours in the chart and consider the frame and the mount colours at the same time.

It is very clear that the location of the chart is just as important as the image stitched on it.  Often people will have a location which is special to them such as where they live, where they sail, where they grew up or just somewhere that holds special memories for them.  That in mind, if you don’t see something today that is right for you I can offer a commission service.  You choose the chart location, image, thread colours and style of framing.  Bespoke design service also available, if you can provide me with a good clear photograph of the required vessel I can stitch your own boat even on your own chart.

See more about Sam here


Richard Gilbert

February 2016

Richard studied Art at the S.E Essex School of Art in 1963, and then spent 5 years as a layout artist doing commercial art in a publisher’s studio in Fleet Street [London] during the 60's. Went to N.E Essex School of Art & technology 1975/77 doing fine art and graphics. Painted copiously during the 1980's in Wivenhoe then spent 10 years making model time machines in the H.G Wells fashion. These were exhibited along with paintings at 'Imperial College. South Kensington London in 1995. The models were also shown at the Paris Utopia Exhibition in France at the 1999 millennium.

Painting exhibitions have become a bit of a rarity, the last one being a display of Life Studies at the Colchester Gallery in September last year [2015].
Richard's paintings early influences include Franz Hals, Joseph Wright of Derby and Salvador Dali.
"I am retired now, though for the past 7 or 8 years I have been tutoring that young master of pen and ink Colin McAllister, in the realms of light & shade. It has been a very rewarding experience". - Richard A Gilbert, 2016

See more from Richard here



November 2015

Colchester Gateway Clubs is a local charity providing services for people with learning disability. We have two clubs in Colchester and one in Clacton. Other services include Gateway Award scheme, Advocacy and Family Support service, Respite scheme, trips and holidays.  At our clubs people can join in with a variety of activities from Art, sewing, cookery, drama, pool, live music, disco, bingo, films or just meet friends and chat.
During the past two years we have transformed our art room and now people study an artist, theme or technique and create their own art work from this inspiration. This is our first exhibition.

See more from Gateway here


Chalemchon Jitjindar (Wan)

August 2015


Originally from Thailand Wan is working in Colchester and has designed an installation specifically for our space. The show deals with nationalism & globalism and the difference between surface and substance (we are all one).
The yellow string represents high visibility clothing, often worn by people in low income employment, denying them a personality (all you see is the uniform) but the same blood runs through our veins, wherever you are from, and whatever global benefits your passport affords you! This ties in nicely with our different nationality guest menus and our general inclusive ethos. Also featuring some of Wan's dry point/chine-colle bespoke prints on issues of language (the dominance of English over indigenous dialects) and issues of equality in a world of haves, and have not's.

See more from Wan here


Andrew Houghton

June 2015

As an artist, I work hard to create paintings that speak both to me and to others about the beauty that exists. I like to paint shapes, still life using vibrant or pastel colours in an abstract style.
Andrew Houghton -

See more from Andrew here


Richard Clements

March 2015

Creativity is the mainstays of my self-esteem. For many sensitive people who have had psychiatric treatment, it could be said that empowerment begins with pride, that pride is good. I write novels, and paint with oil on canvas. I started as a boy. I may have inherited the urge from my Mum. She is much better at it than I am! I enjoy mixing raw colours using rich water-based pigments. I particularly like sunsets and greenish blue turquoise vortexes. My experimentation in ‘papier mache’ is a more recent interest that has offered me the opportunity to apply bright spray metallic lacquer to lift the surface.
I like to try to write on my new trilogy, for a short time, every day. My vocabulary is always improving because I use a thesaurus. I have had two books published in paper-back. My fiction is fun, yet I believe that my memoir “Defender” has never been more pertinent to modern life. It is a tale of survival that can be inspirational to those that have suffered similar problems, and their families. It is perhaps unique: a non-academic work that would appeal to academics, an exciting adventure for the sympathetic, and a case-study for mental health professionals to gain a long look into a private world. Everybody has a story in them. I recommend creativity to anyone who needs to break out of their diagnosis, wants to recover what they have lost, or just to grow and feel appreciated as a real, living, breathing, person.

See more from Richard here


CoCo Care

November 2014


How do we respond to and record nature? How are artists influenced by nature force? How are natural elements altered by our presence?
For our exhibition this year we responded to the natural world in lots of ways.
We used natural materials in our artwork and crafts - we scavenged stones and sea glass, shells, twigs and leaves and re-formed them into craft pieces.
We discovered patterns in natural forms, and created patterns from natural elements, which we then captured in photos.
We sewed a quilt where every owl is made from the same set of pieces yet each is unique. We investigated trees to create a textural and tactile piece constructed from folded, pleated, scored, torn and crumpled paper. We hugged a tree, and responded to its shape and textures to form a hanging forest installation.
We experienced an outdoor space to make collaborative, sensory drawings based on what we could see, feel and hear around us. Other drawings are responses to the patterns, shapes and taste of fruit and vegetables.
Artists have always been inspired by natural. Matisse was influenced by natural forms and after investigation his work we cut shapes from paper, inspired by the fig tree outside our studio, collaging the pieces together to create artworks.

See more from coco Care here


Mara Acoma

October 2014

Ghostly Photography at Level Best:

This show is a selection of Mara's ghost effect photographs from around England, featuring woods, crypts and a ruined Abbey.
Based in the North East of England, Mara enjoys using her camera to document the world around her as well as offering glimpses into the world of her imagination. Her work spans several genres including classic landscapes, cityscapes, automotive, animal, wedding, portraiture and fantasy inspired images.
Mara is an Associate of the Royal Photographic Society which she was awarded in the 'Contemporary Photography' category for 'The Ghost Project'. She is also a member of the 'Society of Wedding and Portrait Photographers' and the 'Society of International Fashion and Glamour Photographers'.
Her images have been used in editorial and advertising work with some images available for licensing. Prints are also available for purchase online. If you are interested in working with Mara or licensing her work please contact us."
Contact Mara - Mobile phone 07580 147 572 - Visit Mara's website

See more from Mara here



Sheena Drayton

September 2014

The work in this exhibition covers a range of interests and media. I love to mix words, textures and images and often work with found objects and collage.   The collagraphs are a form of print making in which the printing block is made as a collage using a mixture of fabrics and papers. Ink is then rubbed in and /or rolled over the block giving an individual finish in terms of colour and density.   My paintings are often based on the landscapes and shorelines of Britain. I particularly love the flat lines and amazing skies of Essex. - 01206 544518

See more from Sheena here



Honour Hope

June 2014


This is a true reflection of my attitude towards life, without hope we have nothing.
Have had many difficult times as have many others, hope and art have been some of my biggest tools for inner healing, in conjunction with this I spent a lot of years working on my inner child, another outlet I found through writing three books based on healing the inner child. The books are all in poetry form and are currently being illustrated hence most of my exhibitions will be inspirational themed, inner connection and of a spiritual nature. I always use the fine glitter dust as this represents my happy inner child giving my art a magical feel.
In the last three months I lost three people very close to me therefore I have created some pictures that reflect their positive traits and energy. These include things they loved and their personalities.
Some of the sales from the exhibition will be donated to open roads support group access to nature to be put towards a tree guard in memory of one of my loved ones that passed. I hope you enjoy the display please feel free to leave any comments in the book, all will be appreciated.
Yours, Honor Hope.

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Jared Jeffers

March 2014

The work included splits into three different bodies of work, some personal art work , class studies voluntary deigns  the personal work is made from a mixture of stencilled art hand drawn illustrations combined with digital. Class studies has the some concept but is focused on particular subjects voluntary designs are local community project designs such as charities and some are paid commissions from companies.
Most have began from a process that relates to a physical or non process source that provides a structure. 
MOB: 07414 636 640 - E:

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Gordon Balkan

February 2014

"Managing Perceptions"

This collection of work is a response to my first semester studying at Colchester School of Art. Undeniably bleak, it explores the fundamentals of the visual language (form, line, colour etc.) through re-examination of traditional artistic practice. The medium of collage demands in the course of its creation, uniquely among media, two-way communication with the artist and is thus the medium most suited for the exploration of the personal response. The choice for formal framing represents the academic cadre of the contemporary art degree, little regard for which is shown by several works.

The title of the exhibition "Managing Perceptions" refers to the role of Art Schools in the artistic education of the student. Perhaps the most pertinent questions that you are faced with, one you which you may not have expected - 'What did you expect?' Gordon Balkan

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Lee Blake

January 2014 


Level Best Art Cafe,
D'arcy House, 3 Culver Street East
Colchester, Essex C01 1LD

01206 366 059


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