The buyer of a work of art often asks the artist, “How long did it take you to paint this?” The rather glib answer is, “Several years.” That’s because the honing of skills and the development of a style genuinely does take that long. It will have been at the expense of hours of work, pieces scrapped, or painted over because they fail to satisfy and a constant striving for that elusive image which the artist is willing to share with the wider public. Artists train in a variety of ways. Some undertake full-time degree study, others join art groups or attend day or evening courses. Some are entirely self-taught. The thing which makes any artist successful is the drive for perfection, which most will tell you they have yet to reach.

The three artists showing their works in this Christmas and New Year Exhibition at Malvern Theatres are all highly skilled in very different ways.

Justin Lewis is a UK-based oil painter who lives and works in a leafy suburb of Sheffield. As well as producing stunning artworks, he lectures in Art & Design at one of the largest Universities in England. Justin’s life-long mentor was trained by some of the greatest artists of the twentieth century. As they’ve imparted their training to Justin, he uses it to create paintings that bristle with life and vibrancy. A central theme of his painting practice is: ‘People at Play’. The aim of his art could be summed up as: ‘Paintings to come home to’, or ‘Day-dreams for the evening’.This is Justin’s first exhibition in Malvern Theatres. He has sold to collectors across Europe and the rest of the World.

Sally Lancaster is a Devon based artist who, like many of the best painters today, is entirely self-taught. Characterised by fine brush strokes on subtle backgrounds, Sally's focus is always on the beauty of the subject itself, often observed from an unusual angle.  She is fascinated by detail, capturing every expression, movement and subtlety of the subject.Sally's original art and portraits are highly respected and she meticulously produces paintings to evoke emotions and allow the viewer to enjoy the beauty and true personality of the subject. She regularly exhibits in London as well as various galleries around the UK and America. Sally is returning to Malvern Theatres after showing here very successfully in the past.

 Sam Fenner is a Worcester based artist who studied Art & Design at Hereford College, Life Drawing at Worcester School of Art & Design, and Art History to degree level. Although she produces work of a variety of subject matter, most recently, she has had considerable success with her beguiling animal paintings, a collection of fun animal faces oozing with life and vivid character. She paints animal portraits, but they are much more than mere realistic images. They have a painterly quality which is an absolute joy. Add to that, the feeling that these animals have almost human characters. Even more pleasure comes from, then seeing, how Sam's witty titles fit the image so closely. “I am continually motivated and inspired by people’s enthusiastic response to the paintings. My aim is to paint only quirky animals with oodles of character and bags of attitude, and then hopefully capture and convey at least some of their personalities on to the canvas … maybe with a little artistic license here and there of course!” 

More of the work of all three artists’ work can be seen by visiting

If you are looking for a Christmas present that will “go on giving” – look no further. All purchases can be bought with the help of an interest free loan sponsored by the Arts Council.

The exhibition is open every day from 7 December until 23 January.