NEWSLETTER – January 2018

Happy New Year to all our members and welcome to the first newsletter of 2018.

Anniversaries in 2018:

25 years – Start of the European Single Market! (1/1/93)
50 years – Assassination of Robert Kennedy (5/6/68)
100 years – End of World War 1 (11/11/18)
100 years – Death of Gustav Klimt (6/2/18)
250 years – Death of Canaletto (10/4/1768)

Annual General Meeting

The Club held it’s 85th AGM on December 16th. This was well attended and covered a review of the year’s activities, club finances, this year’s exhibitions and the election of the committee.There have been quite a few changes to the committee – below is a current list 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
Workshops: Traceyjane Rees
Website/publicity: Leanne Courtney-Crowe

Recent Demonstrations

Jenny Westbrook – Saturday 16th September 2017

The first demonstration of the new season was by Jenny Westbrook. A great demonstration it was too! In the abstract style, using pastels Jenny gave us an insight of where to start and how to invigorate our work with music and wine! Jenny started her art career after going on an art course after her children were older. She has more recently used pastels for her work and has been doing this solidly for the last 18 months. She explained that using pastels gave her the immediacy and intuitive response to her painting.  Her work is abstract and she bases her work on the influences of memories and objects that surround her that she sees in the corner of her eye. She will put up images she likes around her but will not directly copy these into her work. They merely act as an influence. Jenny explained that she has no fixed idea where to start, except for the colour which she limits to neutrals for starting point. It helps her to start drawing shapes and dividing the page into sections editing and adding as she goes. She brings the areas together using lines that tie up the elements on the page. Once the basics are mapped out Jenny suggested that it’s always a good point to go and make a cup of tea and stand back from her work. Occasionally she comes back to it a few days later with fresh eyes. If she needs more energy she will then listen to music which helps invigorate her and her work. Feeling bogged down with a piece or its starting point, she suggested that we all think of the work as doodles. Sometimes it’s like doodling while you’re on the phone, you’re more relaxed about it. That’s when Jenny suggested a couple of glasses of wine will help! It breaks down the apprehension, don’t worry about the results. After getting the main sections working, Jenny reworked areas using soft but quite large brushes to soften the hard edges of lines and continued to add shapes and lines with more intense colours to give it a zing. She explained that knowing when to finish, comes with practice and knowing what marks have no purpose. Sometimes she walks away and re-evaluates the piece later, reworking it if it needs it.

Paul Weaver – Saturday 18th November 2017

Paul is a watercolour artist but dabbles in other mediums when needed. His demonstration was dramatic as he ‘thrashed out’ his basic idea for a painting in charcoal first. This was a quick sketch of a street scene but it was apparent that this was a much needed exercise to work out the eye line and to ‘carve out shapes’ on paper first. The initial plan he said is always to ‘work out what you want to capture’. If this is light, warmth, etc using a camera flattens this out so it’s best to remember it while you are in a place rather than rely on the photograph’.Paul talked about being able to leave certain parts out of the composition and also remembering that you can use ‘artistic licence’. Paul went on to say ‘squint’ at the picture if it becomes too complicated, as this can help ‘simplify the tones and shapes’.Paul, when drawing out the picture initially he does not use the point of the pencil as this will ‘dent or tattoos’ the paper. His paper of preference is Bockingford as this dries quicker than most and he can use it while en plein air painting. If he wanted a picture to dry a bit slower, then he would use a cotton rag such as Saunders, this being better for painting in hotter climates.What was amazing with Paul’s demonstration was that he used only one very large brush for everything, only using a finer (but still large) brush for three telephone lines. His use of a limited palette was also interesting as he mixed all of his colours from this, raw sienna, viridian green, cerulean blue, alizarin crimson, yellow ochre and the occasional other colours such as rose madder. But using the crimson and cobalt blue to give the darker shadows of buildings and burnt sienna for shadows of skin tones. Paul gave great advice to use hot colours for a ‘hot’ place and cool colours for a ‘cold’ place. But more importantly by sketching your composition first, this will give you more confidence in the final painting. Paul demonstrated the result of ‘spraying’ the painting with water to give a softer dappled light and using his finger on wet areas to remove some paint giving the illusion of rays of directional light. In conclusion he said that we actually see things in and out of focus all the time and so the edges of most things could be softened in that suggestive way, which gives the painting a looser but more natural feel.

Roger Matthews – Saturday 21st October 2017

Roger Matthews asked to us to consider ‘What is Urban Art?’ Urban art doesn’t always mean it has to be purely ‘urban’. Roger suggested that you can see the countryside within a town and vice versa. With the views of tree lined streets and parks you could almost be in the country. So a mixture of city or townscape as well as open spaces can be a part of urban art.Roger helped us understand that with the use of photographs he was able to translate certain structures into his work without being restricted by the weather. He showed us some natural oak charcoal that was produced in the Forest of Dean. Using this charcoal was very different from the traditional willow charcoal as its tone and texture varied widely. Its marks were rough and much lighter and so made for an interesting pre-sketch. The paintings Roger produces using acrylics are sketched out using a B&Q ‘detail’ brush which has an angled painting edge. Roger builds up his paintings gradually using different types of collage.After discussing with the group his method of painting and demonstrating a selection of work he had already produced Roger went on to work on a sketch of an old piece of machinery which gave a starting point to a more ‘urban’ still life. Following this Barbara became the star of the show by volunteering to have a go at sketching out using the ‘detail’ brush with great effect.

Cotswold Hare Trail 2018 – A new challenge

Over the next few months some of our members will be embarking on a new challenge this year, The Cotswold Hare Trail. Artists Dawn Niven, Leanne Courtney-Crowe and Mike Kingston have had designs accepted for the 2018 Hare Trail and will be busy painting these 5ft sculptures. Once a sponsor has been found for each 5ft hare as well as the smaller leverets they will be displayed throughout the Cotswolds. For those of you who are not aware the award winning Cotswold Hare Trail Festival has teamed up with the Cotswolds Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) to run another large hare trail from May to September 2018 within the Cotswolds AONB and surrounding areas. The Trail will feature 100 5 foot hare sculptures which will be decorated by local and national artists, both amateur and professional. The sculptures will be auctioned in October 2018 to raise funds for two brilliant AONB projects – “Caring for the Cotswolds” and “Glorious Cotswold Grasslands”.

More information can be found at or by searching on Google – Cotswold Hare Trail 2018.

 Cards For Good Causes

‘Cards For Good Causes’ are interested in any pictures you may have (paintings or photographs) of local scenes with snow or frost on them – possibly for next years cards. There is no money involved but plenty of interest and some publicity, and of course it is all for good causes. These are the people who organize the ‘pop-up’ shops at Christmas. There is a lot of work involved and the profits are divided between 10 charities.

Contact : Lyn O’Toole – Area Organiser at or any queries to Chairman Evelyn Howson via the contact page.

 Tony Robson

We were sad to hear of the death of Tony Robson in December. Many of you will know Tony who was a member for many years and regularly exhibited with the club. We offer our condolences to Janet and family.

 Changes to Club Rules

The committee have had a review of the Cotswold Art Club rules and updated them. This was mainly a case of tidying up the rules, the key changes being:

  • to clarify that membership runs from 1st Jan to 31 Dec each year and clarify the payment dates
  • to remove the role of vice-chair (we never had one!)
  • to remove the limit on membership

A new set of rules is currently being printed and we will have some available at the Saturday talks. A copy can be found on the new page Cotswold Art Club Rules on the Members area or via this link. CAC Rules

Saturday Talks

The next Saturday talk is on 20th January. We have had a last minute change in the schedule due to illness, but Lynne has done a great job of sorting things out. The forward schedule of talks is now:

January 20th – Trudi Hayden who uses acrylics inspired by nature and will demonstrate the use of observations of light, shade, season and atmosphere in her paintings.
February 17th – Araminta Fogden who paints hares, owls, badgers and other creatures in acrylics, oils and sketches, will demonstrate the use of gold leaf.
March 17th – Jan Whitton, will demonstrate the painting of Trees in Landscape using pastel.
April 21st – Christine Russell, will demonstrate a Cornish Seascape in Acrylic, Ink and Pastel.


Lower Slaughter continues to be a successful and profitable exhibition. This year we had a 40% increase in overall sales on last year. Unfortunately the popularity of Lower Slaughter Village Hall as an exhibition venue has meant the Village Hall Committee has decided to limit all future bookings to one week only.

Cirencester was a complete change of format with our exhibition being held for a whole month in the Corinium Museum. It gave us the luxury of not having to provide stewards each day and all day. The sales were not the best but we benefitted hugely by raising the profile of the Club. We had an application for membership on the first day and were also visited by the local newspaper, the Wiltshire and Gloucestershire Standard. We had a great write up and lots of photos featured in their on line version of the newspaper. All visitors were very impressed, not only by the look of the exhibition space but also by the high standard of the paintings on display. We should all be very proud of that fact.

We are always looking for new venues in which to exhibit and now have our own screens which affords us a lot more possibilities. We aim to hold 2 exhibitions each year, one in the Spring and another in the Autumn.

Due to the changes by the Lower Slaughter Village Hall Committee our annual exhibition will be held on different dates this year. The Spring Exhibition will take place from 18th to 4th April. Debby and Dawn will send out more details closer to the time.

 Cheltenham Town Hall

The Cheltenham trust is the organisation that runs amongst other things Cheltenham Town Hall. In conjunction with the Borough Council they are currently looking at plans to develop the Town Hall and maximize it’s benefit as a venue. Amongst the options being considered is the creation of a community arts centre within the Town Hall. We have been in touch with the Trust to offer our support for the idea of a facility that could support local artists and art activities. The Trust are keen to hear from all local residents and to understand what we want from the development. There is a very simple on line questionnaire at and I would encourage all members to use this to offer support including the arts related options in the future plans for the Town Hall.

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This