Saturday Talks
Our new season of Saturday talks opens on September 15th – The schedule through to the New Year is as follows:

15th Sept          Alistair Baird, from The Dark Room. He will discuss printing options and what The Dark Room offers for artists
20th Oct            Rachel Drury, will demonstrate in acrylic – her subjects are generally British wildlife.
17th Nov           Frances Whitman, will demonstrate a ‘Spiritual’ approach to painting, she gets a feel from places that she has visited, ie, Glastonbury, Stonehenge.
15th Dec           AGM and Christmas Party
19th Jan            Andy Dice Davies, who organises the Cheltenham Paint Festival which showcases street art.
16th Feb            Celia Bennett, who will do a painting of Paris in mixed media. 

Earlier this year we linked into the programme of workshops run by Nicky Harvey of Artworks. This gives us access to a much wider range of workshops and Nicky offers a 10% discount on all workshops for Cotswold Art Club Members. Details of available workshops are provided on the Cotswold Art Club website and the  Artworks website.  

Club Exhibitions 
Our next Club exhibition will be held at the The Pop Up Shop, Bath Road, Cheltenham from Saturday 29th September to Friday 5th October. Debby Hooper has sent out full details and application forms. We will be able to exhibit around 200 pictures and members have been invited to submit 10 works (8 for exhibit and 2 reserves). Applications and details of availability for stewarding are to be returned to Debby by 10th September.

Looking further forward The Gardens Gallery has been booked for September 2019.

Anyone for coffee………….
On the first day of the Bath Road exhibition we will be having a coffee morning at the Exmouth Arms on Bath Road. The idea is to add a social aspect to the exhibition and to provide an opportunity to make the Cotswold Art Club more visible and potentially attract new members. Come along and join us from 1030 – 1200 hrs. If this proves popular we will introduce this as a quarterly event to add to the Club activities.

Local Exhibitions
Quartet of Artists – Lower Slaughter, Wednesday 5th September – Tuesday 11th September 10am – 5pm. Featuring Cotswold Art Club members Mike Kingston, Dawn Niven, Leanne Courtney-Crowe and Alan Williams.

Two Artists and a Craftsman – Gardens Gallery, Wednesday 21st November – 27th November 10am – 5pm. Featuring Cotswold Art Club members Dawn Niven and Leanne Courtney-Crowe along with Roger Harrison.
The Cotswold Hare Trail – where several members of the Cotswold Art Club and other local artists have decorated hares. Don’t miss a pre-auction viewing of all the hares from 16th to 21st September at the Kings Head Hotel, Cirencester. The viewing will be 10am to 6pm daily, entrance fee £1. The online auction will go live on the 21st September. Visit: to go online and purchase your favourite hare.
The Cheltenham Paint Festival is happening this year on Saturday 8th September and Sunday 9th when artists from all over the Country will be descending on Cheltenham utilising their skills around the town. There is going to be some amazing street artwork around the town on walls, in alleys, on buildings, etc. Some of them are truly amazing. It is supported by the Arts Council England and Cheltenham Borough Council.

Recent Demonstrations

Christine Russell – Saturday 21st April 2018
Christine Russell provided an entertaining demonstration using ink wash and pastels to capture a colourful and vibrant image of the Cornish coast.
Christine started her demonstration by showing us photographs of the Cornish coast near Newquay and Porthleven. She explained that she would take different elements from the two photographs to compose her picture. Her approach is based on using an acrylic wash and then working over this with pastel. She was using U-Art paper as it was waterproof and would take the wash. Her pastels were various types of soft pastel. She stored these in a box with ground rice or semolina to keep them clean. While this works well she has had occasions when the pastels stored in her garden shed have provided a meal for the local mice! She had a box of Inscribe pastels with 16 different shades which she found very useful for travelling as they are slightly harder. For the wash she used Bombay Indian ink. There are various different types on the market. She uses it neat with just a tiny bit of water.

The painting was started by roughly drawing out the composition with a brightly coloured pastel. Christine referred to the golden section and divided the paper into thirds. There was a tower on the headland which she placed at the intersection of one of the thirds, thus providing a focal point. The next stage of her painting was quite dramatic, if not to say scary! Christine applied the ink wash, using different coloured inks to cover the whole picture. She explained that the ink doesn’t fill the ‘tooth’ in the paper and keeps some abrasive surface to take the pastel. If you used acrylic it would fill the tooth and not work. The ink wash was dried with a hairdryer and then Christine moved on to the pastels.

Christine started from the top of the picture and worked down, applying dark tones first followed by lighter tones. Firstly she used dark red (Sennelier no.45) to highlight the main rocks. The ink wash tends to dry lighter and Christine deliberately left some areas of the ink colour to show through. She uses the top half inch of the pastel which can be used for both broad strokes and detailed marks. She explained that she was not attempting to replicate the colours in the photographs but rather to react to the warm and cool shades. Indeed the picture was much more colourful and vibrant than the rather grey Cornish weather in the photographs. With each colour she looked to see where it could be used, this helps to give cohesion to the overall picture. The greens became brighter and fresher as she moved into the foreground. As the picture developed she worked on the rocks and then moved on to the sea. She applied some white on the horizon line to delineate it and keep it in the distance. Blues and greens were applied lightly to build up the sea colour. The final element was to add the foam to the sea, especially around the rocks, which was done with a softer white pastel, brighter by the rocks and then fainter as you move away out to sea.

Christine never applies a fixative to her pictures as it deadens the colour. It can be used to fix intermediate levels and for this she uses Boots extra firm hold hairspray (which is basically shellac in alcohol). She explained that Degas applied up to 14 layers using this technique, but we don’t know if he shopped at Boots! Paper can be put over the final surface to protect the picture in transit. It is also possible to make a homemade portfolio from two sheets of foam core board held together with tape.

Additional news…….
After the demonstration Christine very kindly donated the finished picture to the Club. At the last committee meeting we discussed how best to make use of it. We have decided that we will raffle the picture during the Bath Road exhibition in September. The proceeds from this will be split between the Club and a local arts related charity, preferably one that encourages young people. 

John Bailey – Saturday 19th May 2018
Despite it being Royal Wedding and FA Cup Final day a good turn out of members were present for an excellent demonstration by John Bailey. John explained that he used his demonstrations to share his experience and help others, rather than trying to produce a good piece of work. He certainly gave us an entertaining demonstration and shared lots of useful tips. John lives in the Cotswolds east of Stroud and has painted all his life. He also teaches and runs painting courses in the UK and France. He is particularly interested in tonal contrast and the role of light and shade in pictures. His motto was ‘shadows maketh the picture’. 

John’s subject was bluebells in the Daneway woods near to his home. This featured the light coming through the trees and a half lit carpet of bluebells. He encouraged us to paint outside and said that this had always given him the greatest pleasure. He recommended using an easel so that you can position yourself more precisely and also so you can step back from your work. Another essential tool he carries is a simple cardboard viewfinder. He normally does a charcoal sketch to aid composition and to capture the tonal values. This does not need to be detailed but provides a plan for the picture which resolves issues around composition and contrast. When working outside he will do a charcoal sketch, fix it and then add limited colour on the spot to provide a basis for his painting.

John did a charcoal sketch to illustrate his approach. He established a high eye line with the horizon placed high on the page. This helps to draw the eye into the scene and adds depth. He noted that shadows follow the contours of the landscape, like a piece of velvet draped over it. The actual watercolour painting is developed as much from the sketch as from the actual scene.

John encouraged the use of a limited palette and felt that too many colours takes away from the picture and loses the effective of contrast. He believes that the secret of watercolour is to always keep it transparent and allow the paint to flow. Thicker paint and less water can be used to add details and a stronger contrast, otherwise you should use plenty of water. He does not have green on his palette preferring to create this colour by combining others. He also recommended using a large brush to avoid being too detailed, noting that a ‘hake’ brush is useful. He did an underpainting consisting of washes in three colours (cobalt blue, burnt sienna and light red) to establish three areas to the painting. The light red provided warmth in the foreground. He does not mix paints but puts pure colour on to the paper and allows them to merge. The second stage was secondary washes to suggest the middle ground of leaves, undergrowth etc. The third stage is to add details in the foreground. He liked to think of the painting as a stage set with these three areas – front, middle and back. 

Alexandra Woods – Saturday 16th June 2018
For most people living on or near a farm it could be a blessing and this so happened to Alexandra. Having lived right next to the Cotswold Farm Park, it was only later in life that this influenced her creative direction. But Alexandra is proud to claim that while growing up near the farm, she was able to meet Johnny Morris the well known TV presenter of yester year. Studying textile design at Manchester and taking on screen printing as a discipline, Alexandra moved to develop her designs for patterns and repetitive imagery for wallpaper and fabric. This soon evolved into graphics for illustrations and advertisements (including on milk cartons) after continuing studying illustration at Brighton. It was when her grandfather passed away and she was given his beloved oil paints she began to develop her skills with a new medium and paint. Subject matter was on her doorstep and with her love of knowing an animals character as well has how it looked she set out to capture both in her paintings, keeping the name of the animal as the title of the work.

Alexandra’s discussion with the Cotswold Art Club group gave us an insight to the mindset of a professional artist who wants to capture feeling and emotion in a piece. By using oils she found it great to walk away from a piece and return knowing it could be worked over as it wouldn’t be dry. Sketching is a big part of developing her compositions, as well as knowing the animal and its habits. One in particular ‘Charlie Cow’ was a beloved cow of Charlie Weaver’s (Cotswold Cheese Company) painted on a 1m square canvas. Before tackling such a big canvas, Alexandra works on small pieces of paper (A4 size) in very quick sketches and takes photographs of the animal.  Once happy with a particular sketch, this will be photocopied in such a way to make a giant patchwork picture the same size of the canvas. Once sello-taped together it’s enhanced using wax crayons or biro. Going back to Alexandra’s printing days she paints the back of the paper and then rubs this as a mono print onto the canvas, thus having the original small sketch transferred. Working on a white canvas, which she prefers, the animal is painted in first, in this demonstration, painting her own dog, using square or filbert brushes and the background painted last making sure the colours are neutral and do not clash.

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