WHILE McDonald’s may not usually be seen as an opportunity to create works of art, Juliet Wood is exhibiting 10 years’ worth of paintings inspired by the fast food outlet.

The portrait painter was searching for an inspiring public place to continue her interest in capturing groups of people and their interactions when she wandered into McDonald’s in Swindon town centre.

The former Swindon College School of Art teacher is displaying her work, which is called Alone and Together – Brunel’s People, at the college’s School of Art in the North Star campus from now until May 24.

“Being in McDonald’s stirred up early and most deeply felt memories of being amongst strangers; of being caught up in other lives for a short time and then never seeing those particular people again – perhaps an extremely common experience for most of us,” she said.

“And in this arena of light and activity I found the ‘everyday’ to be imbued with a sense of mystery. Maybe because I was acutely aware of the diversity of peoples’ lives, associating briefly before passing on and away.”

Over a period of 10 years she made hundreds of sketches and drawings from observation, which have become a series of paintings.

It includes people getting a quick coffee or snack, eating breakfast after a night-shift, group meals, the sub-conscious choreographed movements of staff, and different types of family gatherings.

The exhibition will be open from 11am to 4pm on weekdays.

The artist thanked Richard Waring at Swindon College School of Art for hosting the exhibition and said she wants those unfamiliar with looking at paintings to come and see these works, but also to own their part as the inspiration behind the series.

Selections from the exhibition as well as a short film about the artist and the series will be featured on the Big Screen in Wharf Green during the School of Art exhibition period, following a launch event on April 17.

Alone and Together will also be exhibited at The Menier Gallery, London, from June 25 to July 6.

Juliet studied at St Albans School of Art and at the Slade School of Fine Art under William Coldstream.

She has exhibited at The Mount House Gallery, Marlborough, New Grafton Gallery, London, and at the Royal Society of Portrait Painters, as well as in numerous group shows.

For more information visit www.julietwoodmorepaintings.co.uk.