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Festivals, Cattle and Art

British White cattle, reference for Caroline Skinner's art projects

Each summer I volunteer as a festival steward for Oxfam at several music festivals in the UK. If you have the time to help out and you enjoy festival life, I highly recommend it.

Last month I went to Shambala Festival, held each year in a “secret” Northants location. It’s a music festival that also includes cinema, talks, workshops in various crafts  and permaculture, and a wellbeing area with yoga, massages etc. Recycling and clearing the site afterwards are actively encouraged and one-use plastic bottles are not sold on site. 

Also, for the last few years, all food offered by festival caterers is vegetarian or vegan, with a huge range of great food on offer. The cattle that usually live on the field where we were camping may have been relieved about the lack of meat on site!

These cows are a herd of British White cattle, one of the oldest cattle breeds in England, used mainly for beef, with some milk production. This particular herd of handsome cattle dates back to the 18th century, so that is quite some pedigree!  They were in a nearby barn during the festival, so as an animal artist, I naturally spent some time sketching and photographing them for future art projects. 

Here are a few of my sketches (paintings to follow!): 



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You can see original paintings and giclee prints of some of my colourful farm animal art here.

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Art and Random Acts of Kindness

Sooty, childhood memories, puppet, bears, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018
Last Friday I went to London to see the Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition. I had seen some snippets on television and wanted to see how Grayson Perry had curated it. It was only my second visit to this famous art show, the last being about 10 years ago, and before I started selling my own art…
I nearly didn’t go that day. I’m not comfortable in really hot weather, and public transport isn’t a joy in the heat of summer. I’m so glad I made the effort to get there.


As I stood in the ticket queue, a woman approached me and asked if I was waiting to buy a ticket. I thought she wanted to know if she was in the right place, but she offered me a ticket. Her husband had changed his mind about the visit, so her family had decided to give their spare ticket away. They wanted to give it to someone who was by themself and looked like they might enjoy it!
I was going to pay by card and offered my kind benefactor some cash but she wouldn’t hear of it, so paying it forward is the name of the game (or maybe backwards, as I’ve recently run an art competition, and reunited someone with their belongings whilst stewarding as an Oxfam festival volunteer..).
If by some chance you recognise yourself as the kind person who gave me a free ticket, thank you so much for your random act of kindness!! I spent a couple of hours there and I loved the exhibition on several levels:
bear art, Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018, red rug

– There was some great art, and some that made me laugh, or think, or both!

Queen Elizabeth II, Great Britain, British art, Queen in art exhibition, RA Summer Exhibition 2018

Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018, Una Stubbs
– I enjoyed trying to spot artwork by Royal Academy members and celebrities (this one is by Una Stubbs;
art at Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2018, colourful art, art for the people
– My husband was at home (on crutches so he couldn’t come). I sent him a dozen or so photos of various works with quiz questions to entertain him e.g. Who painted this? How much is the price tag? What materials were used here?
– The exhibition made me reconsider my own art prices – I’m not charging enough for some of my wildlife and animal paintings! I won’t be increasing any prices just yet, as I need to do some recalculations first. Check out my shop if you’d like to take advantage of existing prices on my colourful and expressive wildlife paintings.
I may even enter some of my own work for the RA Summer Exhibition next year, so watch this space…..