AN ARTIST from Westfield can be seen on television tonight involved in a painting challenge in East Sussex.

Nerissa Deeks will be featured in the Sky Arts programme Landscape Artist of the Year.

Landscape Artist of the Year contestants take on the elements as they paint Herstmonceux Castle

Nerissa appears as one of 50 wildcard entries charged with capturing the medieval, moated Herstmonceux Castle on canvas.

“It was actually filmed in early summer, but it was the most diabolical day,” she said. “Heavy rain, then thunder and lightning all made the conditions really difficult.

“I was painting in oils, which are a bit more resilient against the weather, but I was well wrapped up, which didn’t help. Then I was trying to decide whether to use my umbrella to keep myself dry or protect the easel. It was a real test.”

How did she come to be involved? “I’ve always enjoyed the programme,” said Nerissa, who has lived in Westfield for more than 30 years. “My family, I’ve a husband and two grow-up boys, were supportive, but my nephew is a massive fan of the show and he suggested I should apply.

“I enjoyed it, despite everything. The painting went on for about five hours, with breaks, but it was a chance to meet like-minded people and have a chat.”

She said Joan Bakewell, one of the show’s hosts, with Stephen Mangan, was great. “She came round and was lovely, really encouraging.”

Under the programme format, one of the wildcard entries is selected from the day’s painting and given the chance of progressing to the semi-final.

Nerissa, though, is giving nothing away about the result. “I’m not allowed to reveal anything about how things worked out,” she said.

The Landscape Artist of the Year episode featuring Nerissa airs on Sky Arts at 8pm, Tuesday 22 October.

For the full story get the 22 October edition of the News & Mail

ART has the power to make you feel good, and those benefits are available in the centre of Woking at the Lightbox.

The award-winning museum and gallery is launching a new focus on mental wellbeing, for participants in its many specialised workshops, as well as casual and regular visitors.

A session at an Art in Mind workshop

Residents of Woking and beyond are also being offered a new category of annual membership, where they can bring along a guest for the regular and special exhibitions.

The new focus, in a three to five-year plan, begins this week to coincide with the autumn/winter exhibition Scottish Colourists, which opened on Saturday (7 September).

Cordelia Wren, the Lightbox’s development manager, said the gallery and museum had long been involved in community activities with Art in Mind, a specialist workshop for people with early onset dementia starting in 2012.

Cordelia said there were other outreach programmes, such as Art and Craft for Wellbeing, which was run for Woking hospice.

Day passes will cost £7.50 with an option to add a £1 donation. Individual membership will be £30 with £40 for the “plus one guest” option. Joint membership is £50 with £60 for the “plus” option. This means that two joint members can each bring along a separate guest for £2.50 a month each.

There is a time-limited offer of a £5 discount on all membership categories.

The Lightbox is still free to enter with no cost for the downstairs and mezzanine exhibits. Lightbox Lates will also continue with free entry to all galleries on the last Thursday every month after 5.30pm.

For the full story get the 5 September edition of the News & Mail

LAST year, Georgia Sugg could hardly get out of bed, her energy sapped by health problems which had plagued her since she was a child.

Reading a book, calling a friend for a chat, or any activity lasting more than 30 minutes left her exhausted. Eating was a huge effort and earning a living seemed impossible.

Georgia with some of her paintings

Georgia’s ambition of getting a highly paid City job in data analytics had been shattered. But she is now forming radically different career – and a counter to her pain and suffering – through art.

The 23-year-old has devised a unique method of creating aesthetic artwork, using special mixes of paint, and gravity to spread the colours, as she draws a lot of her inspiration from nature.

Her paintings have found buyers and she is running a series of workshops to introduce others to a relaxing pastime which could draw out their inner artist.

Georgia, who lives in Horsell, suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). She has the symptoms of five active viruses, including measles and Epstein-Barr, alongside Lyme disease, multiple sensitivities and a mould called Patulin.

The condition which was eventually diagnosed as CFS hit her hard when she was 16, at the start of her AS-level year at school. “It was literally overnight that everything changed, and it wasn’t until around three years later that we finally understood why it happened,” she said.

“I had always been an ill child, having regular bouts of tonsillitis, chest infections, digestive issues and several unexplained week-long stays in hospital. I wasn’t exactly surprised when I was hit with another virus, but I still haven’t fully recovered.

Her condition was finally properly diagnosed by a private clinic. She was prescribed a course of immunotherapy, antivirals and antibiotics, which resulted in a dramatic improvement in her symptoms.

Earlier last year, Georgia had found the art supplies which she used while doing her AS-levels at Guildford High School. She managed to spend 15 minutes once or twice a week painting, finding fulfilment in creating pictures of clouds.

The new treatments enabled her to spend up to three hours day on artwork, developing her experimental pouring techniques. “The more I made, the more I began to realise that, now I was no longer constrained by the fear of extreme crashes, I could look into places to start selling,” she said.

She has been approved to display her paintings to weekend events run by Contemporary Art Fairs and has been rewarded with several sales and commissions.

Georgia, who uses the garage at the house where she lives with parents Sally and Chris as her studio, is running classes at the Mayford Centre in Mayford. She is promoting these and her newly-found career at

“It has been the most overwhelmingly wonderful feeling to have both my health returning and a goal to work towards,” she said. “I am so grateful to begin to feel more like myself again.”

For the full story get the 9 May edition of the News & Mail