Thursday, 8 June 2017

May Meeting and Art Challenge

Sonja Frenz was the guest speaker and demonstrator at our last meeting on the 30th of May. With her warmth and ease, Sonja drew us into her appreciation for oil painting, making for an intimate session that captured the capacity audience's imagination and attention.

Sonja Frenz
Sonja is a born teacher and had so much information to share on the subject of colour and tone. She loves working in colour, but emphasised that hue, tonal value and saturation were the first steps to consider before tackling colour. She emphasised the importance of underpainting, how to use opposite colours to desaturate, how to use white to cool a colour (except for yellow which it intensifies instead) and how to push your paint into the canvas whilst keeping the darker colours transparent. 

Sonja's Still Life

Sonja brought an underpainted canvas for the potted daisies still life scene she was using to demonstrate the intricacies of colour mixing; concentrating on identifying the hue and tonal value (with some nifty toys she brought along), establishing saturation and determining temperature. As she explained how to find the hue and tonal values, she casually pecked away at her artwork and the painting came to life in front of our eyes. Some members even took to crawling along the floor to get to see the work from all angles!


As a natural teacher, Sonja encouraged us to explore our art personas, to keep on learning through workshops and meet-ups and to try our best not to get stuck in comfort and predictability; as there is no growth potential in that.















Saturday, 29 April 2017

April 25 Meeting and Art Challenge

Art restorer Richard Mitchell gave us an entertaining and informative talk and slide show on the preservation of oil paintings on canvas.

Richard Mitchell

He first told us all about what we paint on and how to prepare it. It is very important to use a properly stretched, sized and primed canvas. If there is not a layer of size (such as rabbit skin glue or gelatin) and ground (primer) between the canvas and the oil paint, the paint will soak into the canvas and destroy it. Once the painting is finished and the painting has dried properly, it should be varnished to protect the paint. Richard answered quite a few questions from the audience, then showed us some slides of works he has restored.

Varnish discolours after a few decades, and then has to be removed and reapplied. Richard showed us a photo of a painting where the old varnish had been removed to reveal the original colours.


He showed us other slides of painting he had restored. One with a bloom on:




Another with cracks all over it.


This one was badly torn.


At the end of his talk, some members had brought some old works to show Richard, and he gave his expert opinion. A fascinating evening, thank you Richard!

Our theme for this month was water, and quite a few works were brought along to the meeting for everyone to look at. Here they all are:

Mandy Herdien

Kirsten Slater

Richard Jacobs

Angela Stannard


Mandy Herdien

Janet Spurr

 

Linda Gotlieb

Linda Howe-Ely

Kirsten Slater

Tuesday, 11 April 2017

April 4 Meeting and Art Challenge

Contemporary artist Helen van Stolk was the speaker at our meeting on April the 4th. Her presentation was titled "The Creative Influence".



She told us that for the last few years she had been painting street scenes and scenes of groups of people, all in a limited palette of neutral colours. She was selling well but galleries were asking for more of the same and she felt the need for a change. She felt like breaking free and using more colour. She was also inspired by a slogan she saw a sign at the Tate Modern: "Art Changes, We Change" 


She ordered a lot of large canvases and bought acrylic paints in bright colours and started playing and experimenting with colour. 
She started working through "The Artist's Way" by Julia Cameron and said it had been an amazing support to her. The writing of morning pages helps clear the issues that come to the fore and help free one to be creative. 
She also dreamed of having a larger studio, and made a collage of pictures of studios.
She then heard of a studio which was available and it was very like the one she longed for.
Helen's advice is to let the painting lead one; to start painting, and see what happens, rather than having a set objective in mind. Don't judge it too soon. She now doesn't say anything is wrong, and any experimental colour work can be used as an underpainting.






Helen keeps an inspiration board in her studio and puts up things that make her happy. She also finds that collage assists her work, and cards of different images give her ideas. 
She has been painting from a model a lot lately and incorporates her colour experiments into these works. She usually has several paintings on the go at the same time.


She has done an ASTAR workshop, www.astar.co.za and went on a course with American contemporary figurative painter Martin Campos when he visited South Africa. Other artists who inspire her are Helen Frankenthaler, Chris Waltney and Dan McCaw. 

Helen ended with a quote by Robert Hodgins- see photo below.




Thank you Helen for inspiring us and giving us so many new ideas!


Below are all the entries brought along for our monthly challenge, which was "Green".

Angela Stannard
Bonnie Auret

Angela Stannard


Retia Lamprecht

Ian Jay

Janet Spurr

Janet Spurr

Karin Davel

Kirsten Slater


Linda Gotlieb
Kirsten Slater

Linda Howe-Ely

Richard Jacobs


Selwyn Griffiths
Richard Jacobs





Sunday, 5 March 2017

February Meeting and Art Challenge

The speaker at our last meeting on 28 February was artist and sketcher Craig Paton-Ash.
There was an excellent turnout; extra chairs had to be borrowed from the coffee shop outside the auditorium!

Craig told us that he had no formal training, but has sketched and painted since his school days. He has only been able to devote himself to art full time since his retirement a few years ago. Since then he has won awards for his paintings and drawings.

He showed us some slides of his older work to show how his style and skill has developed. He started painting in oil but then changed to watercolour and now hardly ever paints in oil. He discovered along the way that paintings of cows sell very well! His subject matter is varied and includes, wildlife, street scenes, flowers and people.

He travels a lot (always with his sketchbook) and while in Spain did a lot of buildings. He showed us how he treats each window pane differently to avoid monotony. He advised us to have a plan before starting as to what you intend to create. 

Craig Paton-Ash - Street in Spain

He also told us that it is essential to learn to draw people as it is impossible to avoid them when sketching! Try and get a different angle on a subject - here he showed us a painting of a bird seen from below.



Craig works from photographs unless he is sketching en plein air. He told us that one can paint anything (and to illustrate this showed a slide of a drawing he had done of a sugar packet) - bird's nests, chairs, etc. He loves detail: skin lines, folds, texture and fur, and this is evident in his work, which has an illustrative quality. 

He uses devices like lines to lead the viewer's eye into a work. An artist he admires is the Bahamian realist watercolourist Stephen Scott Young.
Other tips he gave us: The background is as important as the subject. Drawing should be the cornerstone of your art. Look first at the shape is this is the basis and you need to be able to draw this. Also don't forget the negative spaces.

Craig then showed us the different stages of a sketch he did at an airport. He looks for perspective and outlines everything quickly in case things change, although he does look for subjects who look as though they will remain in position for a while! Background figures can be treated simple as shapes. 

Craig shows us how he treats background figures.
He then showed us the different stages of a detailed watercolour of minstrels marching. he starts with a detailed outline drawing and adds washes, gradually building up the colour and tone. He moved some objects and eliminated some details to improve the composition.

A stage of the watercolour.

Craig is also an enthusiastic participant in the annual Sketchpack Project organised in August by ArtSauce and brought his Sketchpacks along. At the end of the meeting members were able to look at these, as well as his sketchbooks, and chat to Craig.

The theme for the challenge was "My perspective", and the works brought along are shown below. Thanks to the members who participated!

Selwyn Griffiths

Karin Davel

Karin Davel

Karin Davel

Elizabeth Lamprecht




Wednesday, 15 February 2017

JANUARY MEETING AND ART CHALLENGE

Our first meeting of the year was a fascinating talk on the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood given by Dr Rosalind Malandrinos. We had a very good attendance - there was hardly an empty seat to be found.


Rosalind Malandrinos and Linda Gotlieb

Rosalind studied in Italy, and is an art historian and lecturer at UCT. She went into great detail about the Pre-Raphaelites and their work. We will now be able to appreciate these works and their symbolism when we see them. 

There is a detailed write-up on the subject in the February edition of our newsletter, The Palette.


The subject of our challenge for the January meeting was "Happy Holidays" and members responded by bringing some bright and creative works. See below:

Angela Stannard

Anne Stepto

Janet Spurr

Karin Davel

Retia Lamprecht

Sue Paulsen
Richard Jacobs