A few words from our judge, Sharon Hurst:
Everyone should be very proud of their work, I was most impressed with the standard put before me. Choosing was very difficult indeed. I think the one thing that is consistent is the quality of light that each and every one of you has managed to imbue in the work. I have felt the heat from where I have been standing in the shadows, watched the wind whip through the grass on Bodmin, seen the sunset on the Nile, and heard the sea on both English and Mediterranean coasts. I want to sit on that bench looking out across the sea. You have created the atmosphere perfectly. Thank-you for the imagined journeys…
1st prize went to Stuart Baker (Samaria Gorge, Crete), 2nd prize to Margie Haslewood (Under an African Sky) and 3rd to Cally Palmer (Solstice Dreaming). Works by Rosemary Gunkar (London Unlocked), Gillian Berryman (Memories of Iceland) and Colin Kyte (Solitude on the Reef) were highly commended.
The Autumn Fair ended on 31st December and although sales have been modest, the Members Gallery has never had so many visits and so we can count the event a success from that point of view.
In all 44 members took part and we thank you all for participating in our first on-line exhibition. We are pleased with how smoothly the whole project went and have learnt a lot should this year also be ‘upset’ by Covid 19. We sincerly hope of course that that doesn’t happen and we all get back to some kind of normality soon.
The Challenge has been met and the results of our efforts have been available to see on the website. The committee would like to thank all those who participated – all winners in our opinion. There were a few problems with the voting procedure at the beginning and consequently it was decided to rely on the votes of our members to select the front-runners. The overall winner was Carol Morgan with 'Tulips and Stripes' followed by Carol Morris with 'Bulb Planting' and there was a tie for third place between Iris Hawkes with 'A Mystery' and Margie Haslewood with 'Just Three'.
With thanks to Paul, our Chairman and to committee member Barbara for throwing open their beautiful gardens for members' sketching mornings. Sadly rain threatened a wash out for the first event held in Barbara's garden. But a few hardy Members braved the rain, one member describing it as 'the first time they had painted wet on wet in the wet!'. Luckily the rain held off for Paul's garden event which once again was a huge success and thoroughly enjoyed by all.
A huge thank you to Paul Potter for throwing open his beautiful garden to members of the art society for a morning of sketching and painting. It was a glorious warm (and partly sunny) morning, perfect conditions for Plein air painting. We were spoilt for choice when it came to subject matter with lots of plant filled nooks and crannies to explore, although the lily pond and apple trees proved to be firm favourites along with the plant covered trellises. Plus there was plenty of space to comfortably social distance. A very successful event enjoyed by all.
There was a great response to the challenge of the painting competition and Ronnie Ireland was faced with a daunting task in choosing the winners. After much deliberation he chose Barbara Thaxter as first prize winner with her delightful rendering of 'The end of my garden in lockdown'. She was just ahead of Stuart Baker with 'Sunrise in Bushy Park' and Jo Ellis with 'Walk on a quiet side'. However, as far as the committee is concerned everyone who took part is a winner and the quality of work across the board was exceptional. Arrangements for a new challenge are under way.
CANCELLED! Unfortunately because of the ongoing Coronavirus crisis this workshop had to be cancelled.
Following on from the previous evening’s demo by Chris Forsey, members gathered to attempt their own evocations of a coastal landscape. It was another full house and Hildegarde was on hand to offer help and encouragement as well as illustrating some hints and techniques with a painting of her own. At the end of the session the 'gallery' of work made an impressive display and the afternoon was rounded off with an appraisal of the paintings by Hildegarde with plenty of useful advice.
A full house welcomed back the ever-popular Chris Forsey for a demonstration of his approach to acrylic painting. His subject was the harbourside at Polperro bathed in early morning light. His surface was mounting board prepared with gesso and his paints were a variety of brands - including some budget ones - as he said 'it's quite possible to achieve that 'ooh-la-la' effect using relatively cheap materials'. On a cool background he quickly established the structure of the painting by introducing the dark areas and then in a deceptively effortless process developed the picture into a convincing evocation of this Cornish harbour. Finishing off with some white highlights, the demonstration concluded with a spontaneous round of applause from the audience - very impressive and a great example to follow at the workshop on Saturday.
A little later than anticipated because of terrible traffic, but finally the eagle landed - or more correctly the Siberian Eagle Owl together with her companions the Harris’s Hawk, the Gyr Falcon and the Sunda Scops Owl and, of course, Alan their handler. For the rest of the afternoon they enthralled their audience. They proved to be challenging subjects but everyone was thoroughly absorbed in trying to capture their unique beauty. A great afternoon.
After Freda's very informative talk on Friday evening, members and guests returned with pastels at the ready for an afternoon trying to put into practice what was learnt in her demo. Working from a variety of sources members created a variety of floral still life studies and Freda was on hand with valuable help and advice. The end results provided an impressive finale to a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon.
The week-end of flower studies in pastels opened with a demonstration by Freda in preparation for the workshop on Saturday. Her wide-ranging talk started with choice of subject, the importance of lighting and composition on the page. The importance of surface was discussed and she recommended 'Colourfix' paper which has a slightly abrasive finish - it's a bit pricey but the final work does not need fixative spray. Her preferred pastels are 'Unison' and she stressed the importance of having a sufficient range of colours to use them without mixing on the surface too much. She also talked about layering different colours to achieve the desired effect and combining the soft pastels with charcoal and hard Conté pastels. At the end of the evening we had plenty of information to put into practice the following day.
At another well-attended workshop Marcia talked to us about the use of pen and ink to enhance existing watercolours as well as employing the medium to great effect in its own right. There were floral items and a variety of photographic references to work from and some of us worked on other ideas in watercolour. Marcia was on hand to give encouragement and valuable advice and the display of work at the end of the session was very impressive, to say the least.
Following the demo on Friday evening, Ronnie returned to oversee a very well-attended workshop. The challenge was to create a landscape using acrylics and try to capture the atmosphere of the scene without worrying too much about fine detail. Ronnie recapped his basic working method and then it was over to us to give it a try and he was constantly on hand with helpful hints and advice. The session was rounded off with his constructive appraisal of our efforts - a very enjoyable afternoon all round.
For the first demonstration of the new year there was a full house to welcome Ronnie for a return visit. He entertained and informed us with an energetic explanation of his working methods when tackling landscape in acrylics in preparation for the workshop the following day. He stressed the importance of capturing atmosphere rather than photographic realism and this was achieved by the use of bold gestures, big brushes and constant appraisal of the picture as a whole. The challenge was laid down for us to take up in the workshop.
In this our Diamond Jubilee year the annual Autumn Fair was held at St Alban's Primary School as usual, but this time in the newly extended and renovated main hall. This proved to be a much better display space for our members to show their work. We welcomed a number of new members whose creations added greatly to the diversity of work on show. Visitors were treated to an exhibition of high quality and this was reflected in bumper sales of both paintings and craft work. A very successful event all round and congratulations to all who took part - both behind the scenes and on the screens and tables.
After last night’s excellent demonstration by Malcolm West we had the opportunity to apply some of the advice we received with the help of a professional model. While the wind blew and the rain lashed down outside, inside Lula adopted a series of ten-minute poses before the tea break and then a longer pose in a change of costume. All very challenging but a good thing to do on an otherwise miserable afternoon.
For the last demonstration of the year we welcomed Malcolm West - an old friend of the Society - who gave us a masterclass in drawing from the human figure. With drawing medium in one hand and measuring device (a long-handled paintbrush) in the other he proceeded to make quick sketches from the young ballerina who struck a series of challenging poses. Observation is the cornerstone of Malcolm’s practice and it was fascinating to see him transfer what he saw in front of him onto paper in an anatomically accurate way but without losing spontaneity or liveliness.
Joan did not actually do any painting. She had, instead, three examples of interiors she had prepared earlier. The subjects were in black and white and she had a good supply of photos to inspire members. She then went round the room stopping at each artist helping and advising them on what next steps might be appropriate. Her comments and help were well received and her examples were inspirational. A very different approach to painting interiors that initially seemed rather daunting but confidence grew with her sensitive coaching.
Roger gave a very interesting demonstration in oils. He prepped his board with 3 coats of gesso but otherwise started with a blank canvas. Using burnt sienna he sketched out the rough areas of interest and scene layout. He selected the interior of a violin maker’s workshop which was really challenging. He mixed all of the colours at the beginning and painted in a diluted version of oils painting in much the way one would a watercolour. He explained what he was doing as he went along so that everyone’s interest was captured throughout the session, answering questions as and when they arose. He worked continuously, reaching an appropriate finish point to set the picture in a frame.