NEWSLETTER – Easter 2019 Happy Easter to all our members.

Coffee Morning

Our last coffee morning in January had an excellent turn out with nearly 20 members enjoying a chat and a coffee at the Exmouth Arms. Our next coffee morning will be on Saturday 4th May to coincide with the start of our Bath Road exhibition. We will again meet at the Exmouth Arms 10 – 12 am.

Next Saturday Talks

The next Saturday talk is on 20th April and will be Rosie Lomberg demonstrating floral painting in acrylic. The schedule for the next few months is as follows:

• 18th May: Graham Findley
• 15th June: Phil Madley is an innovative, contemporary artist working with en-caustic wax techniques
• July/August – summer break
• 21st September: Mike Duckering, acrylic
• 19th October: Nick Dawe, wildlife painting in acrylic


Preparations for our spring exhibition at Bath Road pop-up shop are now in hand. The exhibition will take place from 4th to 17th May. Debby has sent out the invitation to members to apply for space at the exhibition. Please provide you support and help us put on our usual good quality exhibition. We have a further 2 exhibitions planned for 2019:

Gardens Gallery 18 – 22 September
Bath Road 19 October – 1 November

Cheltenham Art Club – En Plein Air Events

As many of you will know Cheltenham Art Club organize a number of en plein air events during the summer months. They are always happy for members of other art clubs to join these. The current dates are:

Wednesday 1st May:- Syde Manor, GL53 9PN
Monday 3rd June:- Sandywell Barn House, GL54 4HF
Wednesday 3rd July :- Boddington Manor, GL51 0TJ
Thursday 1st August:- Sharpness Shipyard, GL13 9UD

If you are interested in attending please contact Jane Few (

Donation to Open Studios

Last year we raffled the painting kindly donated by Christine Russell with the intention of using the proceeds to support a local arts activity for young people. Cheltenham Open Studios, in conjunction with the University of Gloucestershire, will be inviting 10 local schools (5 primary and 5 secondary) to select 10 pupils who will produce a work based on ‘creative thinking’. These 100 pieces of work will be brought together as a huge collage to be displayed at the Hardwicke Campus. The 100 pupils will also be invited to attend a workshop run by the University, each workshop involving 20 pupils. The Club has agreed to provide £200 to support the delivery of these workshops. The Club will get a mention in the Open Studios guide and will be noted as the sponsor of one of the workshops.

Recent Demonstrations

Andy Dice Davies – Saturday 19th January 2019

Andy entertained us with a fascinating insight into the world of ‘street art’ and the Cheltenham Paint Festival. He started to work on the Cheltenham Paint Festival 5 years ago and this year it will be the biggest festival of street art in the country.

Andy has been pleasantly surprised by the positive reception he has had from the local Council and people in Cheltenham generally. The tunnels on the Honeybourne line have been designated as ‘free walls’ for anyone to have a go at painting. These tunnels have been transformed from being dark and dingy to welcoming and bright. The Council responded positively to the idea of a paint festival. With this support Andy put together a successful bid to the Arts Council for funding which enabled him to organise the first Paint Festival. The next Paint Festival will take place from 2 – 8 September 2019 and will see it expanding into new areas of the town, including Hesters Way, town centre locations and Montpellier.

Andy took us on a fascinating tour around Cheltenham showing numerous examples of the work that has been produced. It was interesting to hear how international the street art world is and how Andy had attracted artists from all over the world including California, New York, Brazil, Argentina and Holland. Many of these artists have an international reputation and can earn significant sums from doing commissions.

The work almost always results in an area looking better and once residents see the quality of the art they take ownership of it and ensure it is looked after. More information can be found at

Celia Bennett – Saturday 16th February 2019

Celia Bennett provided an interesting demonstration using a range of multi-media techniques. She explained that her approach is based on being fun and free, not worrying too much about exact details, perspective and other technical aspects. If things go off the edge of the paper that is fine and can add extra interest and life to the painting. She uses acrylic paint and also incorporates collage and lettering into her work. The subject for her demonstration was the Moulin Rouge in Paris based on an old postcard.

Celia used the non shiny side of ordinary brown wrapping paper to paint on. There is no preliminary drawing, just straight on with the paint. She applies the acrylic paint like oils with very little water and tries to be free and expressive.

She started by painting the Moulin Rouge windmill in alizarin crimson and then the sky with Paynes grey. The adjacent buildings were then added by using PVA glue to stick on sections of ripped up newspaper. Celia described how she now collects cuttings from newspapers and magazines and keeps then in separate bags organised by colour. Another tip was to always use the excess paint at end of a painting session and apply it to any paper to hand. These can then be torn up into colours pieces for use in collage.
She continued to develop the painting using a variety of bright colours to capture the illuminated shop fronts and the reflections of the wet pavements. The various signs were put in using coloured fabric pens which enable you to write in paint. It is important the lettering is not to precise as the rest of the painting is fairly loose and it would look out of place.

The foreground in the original postcard was full of people. Celia described how she used a few simple shapes and squiggles to represent the different people, depending on the eye to make these recognisable as people. To end the demonstration Celia encouraged the audience to remember that painting should be fun. She noted that we can all lack confidence in our ability to paint but just have a go and try and express yourself!

Betty Harrison – Saturday 16th March 2019

Betty Harrison is a professional artist based at the Lansdowne Art Studios in Cheltenham. Betty obtained a BA Hons in Fine Art from the University of Gloucestershire in 2009. She explained that her paintings are inspired by her love of the British countryside and the subtle hues of Autumn and Winter. For her demonstration she was going to paint an atmospheric seascape. She showed us some examples of her work which were quite often almost monochrome and focussed on the quality of the light.
Betty had pre-prepared an MDF board by priming it with acrylic paint. She prefers to work from a mid-tone background rather than white. Sometimes she uses Black Gesso and creates a composition working from dark to light. For this composition the background had been prepared in three sections, with a mid tone top, some reddish colour in the centre (which would show through in the finished picture) and a bottom section using sand texture gel to provide texture. The composition was based on a photograph taken at Weston super Mare. Her oil paints are diluted with a proprietary non-toxic white spirit called Zest – It (available from Jackson’s Art) and applied in quite thin layers. She doesn’t use linseed oil as she prefers the matt finish obtained with the Zest – It. She also doesn’t varnish her pictures. Her approach is to gradually build up the paint in thin layers.

The paint is applied with large painter’s brushes and a dry brush was used quite extensively to blend the paint and produce the effect she was after. Betty also uses sticks of graphite to add other effects to the painting. She also uses various tools to scratch away paint and do fine lines, grasses etc. Betty gradually developed her painting and you could she how she captured the atmosphere of the place with the light coming through the clouds and reflecting off the sea. In the beach area Betty diluted her paint further and allowed it to run down the canvas. She went through a process of turning the canvas through 90 degrees to control the flow of the paint as it dried. We could also now see how the pink/reddish area of under painting worked effectively in representing the sky on the horizon.

Betty provided an interesting demonstration which showed us some different techniques, especially when working with oils. Betty will be taking part in Open Studios in June and her work can be seen at the Burford Garden Company.

Further Afield

Exhibitions you may be interested in:

Edouard Vuillard: The Poetry of Everyday Life Holburne Museum, Bath – 24 May to 15 September
Pierre Bonnard: The Colour of Memory Tate Modern, 23 Jan to 6 May
Gaugin Portraits National Gallery, 7 Oct 2019 to 26 Jan 2020
Van Gogh and Britain Tate Britain, 27 March to 11 August

Please click on the blue link below to read in word. – includes images

COTSWOLD ART CLUB_Apr 19 v2 Newsletter-1

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