NEWSLETTER – January 2019

Happy New Year to all our members and welcome to the first newsletter of 2019.

Anniversaries in 2019:
30 years – Fall of the Berlin Wall (9/11/1989)
50 years – First Moon Landing (20/7/1969)
50 years – Birth of Henri Matisse (31/12/1869)
75 years – Death of Piet Mondrain (1/2/1944)
100 years – Death of Pierre-Auguste Renoir (3/12/1919)
140 years – Birth of Paul Klee(18/12/1879)
175 years – Birth of Mary Cassatt (23/5/1844 )
200 years – Birth of Johan Jongkind (3/6/1819)
200 years – Birth of Gustave Courbet (10/6/1819)
350 years – Death of Rembrandt (4/10/1669)- see Dulwich Picture Gallery for ‘Rembrandt Light’ Exhibition
500 years – Death of Leonardo Da Vinci(2/5/1519)- see for related exhibition of drawings

Annual General Meeting

The Club held it’s 86th AGM on December 15th. Despite horrible weather this was well attended and covered a review of the year’s activities, club finances, exhibitions and the election of the committee. We have had a positive year attracting new members and holding a successful exhibition at a new venue on Bath Road. The committee has stayed largely unchanged and below is a reminder of who is doing what.

President: Martin Bowden
Chair: Evelyn Howson
Secretary: Paul Johnson
Treasurer/Membership: David Hooper
Exhibitions: Debby Hooper/Dawn Niven
Talks: Lynne Mumford
Website/Publicity: Leanne Courtney-Crowe

At the AGM Leanne advised that due to work commitments she would be stepping down as a member of the committee. However, we are grateful that she has agreed to support the committee by continuing to act as the website co-ordinator.

Coffee Morning

The initial coffee morning associated with the Bath Road exhibition was considered a success and also attracted 2 new members. It was agreed that we would plan 2 further coffee mornings, both at the Exmouth Arms on Bath Road, 10:00 – 12:00 hrs:

Saturday 26th January
Saturday 4 May (linked to the next exhibition)

Please come along and join us.
The lucky winner is……

Congratulations to local resident Sally who won the Christine Russell picture in the raffle drawn at the AGM. Our thanks goes to Christine Russell for her kind donation and to Mark Wright who framed the painting so well and free of charge. We raised £150 for local arts charities. Thank you to all who took part.

The Club held 2 exhibitions in 2018. The key details were:

Exhibition Footfall Picture Sales Card Sales Total
Lower Slaughter
April 660 £960 £140 £1100
Bath Road
October 669 £1410 £166 £1576

Each of the exhibitions held in 2018 was a week long, in off peak times of the year. Lower Slaughter has been our exhibition venue for more than 30 years but it has proven to be increasingly difficult to secure a reasonable date or to hire the hall for more than one week. The Pop-Up Shop in the Bath Road Market was a new venue and proved to be very successful with good footfall and sales figures. Although we had just 9 more people through the doors compared with Lower Slaughter, we took £476 more in paintings and card sales. We had a positive response to the exhibition, not only from the public but also from the owners of the Pop Up Shop who invited us to take 2 two week bookings for 2019.

For information the paintings sold in each price range across the 2 exhibitions is provided below:

Category < £35 £35-50 £55-80 £85-100 £105-150 > £150
Framed 2 7 15 3 0 1
Unframed 4 11 1 0 0 0

We have now secured 3 exhibition dates for 2019:
Bath Road 4 – 17 May
Gardens Gallery 18 – 22 September
Bath Road 19 October – 1 November

Next Saturday Talks

The Autumn series of Saturday talks were very well attended. The schedule for the early part of the New Year is as follows:
• 19th January: Andy Dice Davies – Discussion on street art Andy organises the Cheltenham Paint Festival which showcases street art.
• 16th February: Celia Bennett will be using mixed media to paint a ‘Paris’ scene.
• 16th March: Betty Harrison paints in an atmospheric style using oils.
• 20th April: Rosie Lomberg, floral painting in acrylic.
• 18th May: Nick Dawe, wildlife painting in acrylic.
• 15th June: Phil Madley is an innovative, contemporary artist working with en-caustic wax techniques

Recent Demonstrations

Alistair Baird (The Dark Room) – Saturday 15th September 2018

Alistair from The Dark Room came to the club to provide details of this local company who provide photography and printing services. Alistair began by giving some background information of how he started as a photographer working locally for 7-8 years in a factory based environment. Throughout the years he then began developing other people’s film in labs. It was in 1992 that he then purchased the business of The Dark Room with his business partner Barry. It was in 2006 that digital totally transformed the way in which cameras and imaging was being used and the move to working with fine arts started. In 2008 fine art productions took off and his previous knowledge of developing film and working with colour helped the move to producing art gallery quality printing.
When artists come to The Dark Room art work is photographed using a digital camera rather than scanned. For anyone wanting something photographed through glass, this can be done successfully with the right lighting conditions and without reflection. Alistair explained that it is always useful to know what the customer wants the images for, as the process can be different for specific requirements.
The materials used also make a big difference to fine art printing and vary depending on the client. Cotton rag papers used with pigment inks give the best quality and this would be classed as a ‘giclee’ print or fine art print. The art work itself affects the best paper to use e.g. a smooth paper for fine pencil but watercolour textured paper can reflect colours better. Colours are colour matched as closely as possible at The Dark Room and it’s always best to go through the process with Alistair.

Rachel Drury – Saturday 20th October 2018

An excellent turnout, including a number of new members, met to watch Rachel Drury do a demonstration based on British wildlife. Rachel is originally from East Anglia and grew up on a farm amongst animals and nature. This experience has stayed with her and provides the inspiration for much of her art which features pheasants and other British wildlife. She is now based in Ledbury and is the resident artist at the Malt House in Ledbury as well as exhibiting in galleries throughout the UK and overseas.
As her demonstration Rachel produced a painting based on a photograph of a green pheasant. Although she uses photographs as a guide her work is based on her observation of animals and experience of holding them. She also brought along ‘Phillipe’ her stuffed pheasant who acts as a model for her paintings. Her starting point was a blank white canvas on which she did a rough pencil sketch of a running pheasant. Her approach is based on applying several layers of acrylic paint. The first stage was to fill in the background. To do this she has a jar of acrylic paint which is her ‘background’ mix and is applied without diluting with water. The exact content varies but this provides a neutral grey background to the painting. She explained that a plain background provides a more modern look to the paintings. The only addition to the background was the application of a small amount of black to produce a shadow under the bird.

Rachel uses a variety of acrylic paints but likes the consistency of Daler Rowney System 3. She never cleans her palette, which just gets thicker and thicker with paint. The second stage was to block in the pheasant and define the main areas that make up the body, head and feathers of the bird. This was quite roughly done and there were still small gaps where the white canvas came through. The picture was then developed with additional layers of paint, more details being added as the painting progressed. In some pictures the head of the pheasant was built up in layers to almost give a 3D look and stick up from the canvas.

The details required a close observation of the pheasant and brushstrokes were consciously made in the directions that represented the different types of feathers on the bird. A further final layer of paint was applied and the details further developed. The final stage was to add detail to the tail feathers, the legs and the feathers on the back.

Frances Whitman – Saturday 17th November 2018

Frances provided us with a fascinating and unique afternoon in which she described her development as an artist and the influence her natural ability as a medium has had on her creative talent. Whilst recuperating from a car accident Frances started to draw animals and this lead to a successful 25 year career as a wildlife artist. Her art then took a very different direction when she started to receive messages from the husband of a friend who had recently passed away. She provided a fascinating description of this experience and how it opened up a whole new artistic channel. It introduced her to an intuitive approach in which she started to create art based on feelings and energies of the soul.

A short time into her talk Frances handed out paper and pens. She asked everyone to make an image on the paper without consciously trying to draw something. She then continued to describe her journey as an artist. Frances described how her art changed gradually. Initially she continued to draw animals, but they appeared in different forms and situations. She attended a psychic art workshop learning how to use energy to create works of art. She now does ‘soul portraits’ which she achieves by connecting with the energy of the soul of the sitter and translating these into vibrant ‘living’ pastel portraits.

Frances took a trip to Glastonbury and then spent a year travelling around ancient sacred sites, absorbing the feelings and letting words come into her head. Her intuitive art work is done in the moment, straight onto the canvas with no planning. Her work often involves creating several (sometimes up to 10) images, one on top of the other, until one appears that she is happy with. Her latest work is a series based on trees. Again this involves several layers of acrylic paint and is mainly done with a palette knife.

For the latter part of her talk Frances asked people to share their drawings with her. These she was able to interpret and discuss their meaning. The whole session gave us a fascinating insight to a very different approach to creating art.

Further Afield

Exhibitions you may be interested in:

Edouard Vuillard: The Poetry of Everyday Life Holburne Museum, Bath – 24 May to 15 September
Albert Irvin & Abstract Expressionism Royal West of England Academy, Bristol – to 3 March
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

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