The documentary ‘Made in England’ was broadcast Wednesday April 23 - St George’s Day and William Shakespeare’s birthday - on BBC1. The programme was part of a series each of which will focuses on a British artist working in a different field - from wildilfe art to poetry and sculpture.
The documentary makers challenged Pollyanna to 'work outside her comfort zone' and instead of painting the birds and animals she loves, to turn her attention to the 'human zoo' and paint people instead!
On the Made in England web site you can also see an exclusive new clip of Pollyanna giving advice on sketching techniques, which was not inlcuded in the original programme. You can also watch a clip of the documentary in which Pollyanna visits the fashion department at Derby University on the BBC web site.
The thirty minute programme followed Pollyanna, as she left her comfort zone of wildlife and the countryside and travelled into city centres with her sketchpad and paints. The film crew visited Pollyanna's gallery and studio to film her at work in her natural environment of the peak District of Derbyshire, and to interview her about her love of wildlife art. She sketched Angel the barn owl (above) live for the cameras.
During the filming Pollyanna attended her first ever rugby match to sketch the Leicester Tigers in action, and spent a day people-watching in the city’s busy market place and high street.
She also met performance artist Hetain Patel in his studio. “Hetain’s art explores his Indian heritage through photography and video performances” Pollyanna explained “ and it was fascinating to meet an artist who works in such a different way – he often uses his own body as part of his art, painting onto his skin with henna or traditional pigments.” Pollyanna also accompanied Hetain to a Indian Kathak Dance class, and experimented in his studio trying to trace his dance movements in Kanku pigment on Perspex.
Pollyanna returned to Derby University – who recently recognised her work with an honorary degree – to visit the fashion design department, and talk to the students about their work, and even went to a nail salon in Derby to see how women adorn their bodies!
All the different sketches provided inspiration for a selection of final pieces of art, which were unveiled at the end of the filming, and will be exhibited alongside her wildlife paintings in future exhibitions.
Pollyanna said: “The BBC said they wanted to ‘put me outside my comfort zone’ and they certainly achieved that! But it has been a fascinating journey, and has challenged my perceptions of both 21st century England and my own artwork.”
In other programmes in the series of the show, creative personalities such as artist and TV presenter Rolf Harris, musician Courtney Pine, and folk singer Seth Lakeman faced challenges of their own.
'I found the experience quite nerve-wracking" Pollyanna commented "as I have barely painted any people since life classes at art college more than 30 years ago! However I can never resist a challenge, and hope very much people will have enjoyed the resulting programme. An accompanying web site includes hints and tips from all the participating artists.