Friday, 30 June 2017

June Meeting and Art Challenge




Karin Davel was the speaker/demonstrator at our June meeting and the subject was monoprinting. Karin has been in Cape Town for about two years and artist and is recognisable by her colourful outfits and sketchbook, which she is never without. 
She studied a fine arts degree at the University of Pretoria and has taught art in schools and art studios. She ran a gallery and a guesthouse in KwaZulu Natal before moving to Cape Town with her husband At, who was on hand to video the demo for us.

The room was filled with quiet excitement as Karen set up her playspace for her demo on quick sketching and monoprinting. It soon became clear that Karin's approach to art is to have fun with it, take it as it comes and to let oneself grow as opportunities present themselves.

Karin and one of her works.

She always carries a sketchbook with her to make quick drawings for painting ideas. She reminded us that even in a day that has no time dedicated to art, in the periods we spend waiting (in doctors rooms, in church, whilst picking up the kids from school etc), we can let our artist free.
Karin taught us the various benefits of quick sketching just before she challenged a room of nervous artists to do a 1 minute blind drawing:
  • It captures your feeling or interpretation of the item or person being drawn; thus we are always making original pieces as we develop our own art personas. This moves us away from just copying shapes and towards feeling our art. With limited time, we focus more on the energy or story we are looking at.
  • It teaches us to jump in, that rough drawing is okay and to roll with unpredictability as our subject matter moves as humans tend to do.
  • The more we rough sketch, the thicker our skin becomes when we are criticised, as we spend less energy defending/justifying our interpretation than the technical correctness of a piece. We can then simply say that you interpreted it differently and that is okay.
  • It helps us practise our hand-eye coordination frequently, which is one of an artist's most valued tools.
One of Karin's sketches
Karin's demonstration on monoprinting showed us how to lay down our rough sketches onto canvas as the beginning of a painting. She explained how to use acrylics and oil paints in monoprinting, and the benefits of both. Acrylics dry quickly and leave a harsher mark. Oils are used for smoother lines and to add in shadows. She also showed us how to reuse one sketch multiple times in playing with the negatives and the back of the monoprint page i.e. the stuff we would normally throw away.

On the left is a monoprint, on the right the sketch.

She showed us how to add different levels of energy into paintings with various mark directions and intensity. With a page from a magazine, she demonstrated how cheap tools (like cotton wool and turpentine) can make fantastic backgrounds. She challenged us to feel our art by sketching to music and not a specific object in front of us. She showed us how to play with 4 pencils, 2 in each hand, and how our dominant hands make different marks to our non-dominant one and the value of each.

This work has a colour background 

Like a busy, busy hummingbird, she flitted between ideas and thoughts for two hours, giving titbits of advice and insights, making fantastic jokes and making it clear that for her, art is about unadulterated fun and going with the flow.

Proteas with monoprint and stitching


We were left somewhat exhausted on her behalf, but incredibly inspired.

Members asking Karin questions
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JUNE ART CHALLENGE - WARMTH

There was a good response this month, here are all the works brought to the meeting.

Sue Paulsen
Ian Jay

Wyn Rossouw
Philip Cohen

Pauline Fine

Elizabeth Lamprecht


Philip Cohen


Angela Stannard
Linda Howe-Ely

Carrie Lam

Karin Davel

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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.

MAY ART CHALLENGE - AUTUMN

Bonnie Auret
Angela Stannard
Kirsten Slater
Margie Nachmann

Karin Davel
Melanie Meyer

Judy Hilton-Green

























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