Ten weeks to the Summer Exhibition

Our Summer Exhibition will be in the Church Hall at the Dovetail Centre between 19 and 28 August (Bank Holiday Monday).

If you are exhibiting, you will need to get your submissions in, and your artwork ready according to the guidelines. But the committee have been busy with it for months.

The biggest activity has been the commitment to our own display stands. Roy and his team have been constructing, knotting (painting the knots with stain to stop them bleeding), and painting our new stands, which are kept in the storage space at the Dovetail Centre. And that had to be cleared out before we started!

We have a Sunday in July set aside for the last push on display stands, and apologies to the keen life artists that we had to steal the hall booking from them.

This is how the layout should look:

graphic of the layout for the exhibition

So, look out your best paintings, sculptures, needlework, tapestries, cards, browsers, and get them ready for submission.

And please advertise it to your friends, colleagues, neighbours, aunties, and anyone you think you can drag in off the street. The poster will be available soon.

Flaming June already?

June is here, and how long this lovely weather will continue is anyone’s guess. It’s a great opportunity to get out for some plein air painting, but don’t forget your waterbottle (for drinking!), hat and sunscreen!

Since we’ve already succeeded at having our cream tea event, the month starts with our workshop… although the postcard portraits are still on parade outside the Dovetail Cafe until Saturday 3rd.

Saturday 10th June – Paul Berryman

This ‘Figures and life Drawing in Charcoal‘ is a must for everyone who enjoyed Paul’s Zoom demonstration last winter. You may remember his approach to the ‘terminator’ – the line dividing strong light and darkness, where the contrast is greatest, then shading away from that.

For those that have been trying to apply this in their life drawing (or even when painting figures), this workshop is a must. At time of writing, there were one or two places available, so do sign up, via Roy Brophy or Bev Dunstan (members only). 9.30 to 3.30 in the Church Hall.

Drop-In session

Wednesday 14 June sees our midsummer drop-in session. This is probably the only event that continues month in, month out, so if you want to meet up regularly with some like-minded people and get on with your own project, this is the space for you. Members only, £5 per session, at the Community Large Hall on Hursley Road.

Sunday 18 June – Life session

This gives you a quick opportunity to put that learning from Paul Berryman into practice, but you can do any style you like. 2-4 in the Church Hall (members only).

This will be the last life session until September, due to the Summer Exhibition using the same venue.

Wednesday 28 June – Roll Up, Roll up for our Demonstration

We are delighted to welcome Curtis Tappenden to give our demonstration this month on Circus Art. 7.30 – 9.30 in the Methodist Church. I suspect he has many stories to tell about circus life!

If you enjoy this, watch out for details of the workshop that Curtis has kindly agreed to next year.

Getting loose with a knife – and some paint!

by Jacky Pett

Stephen Foster’s workshop on 13th May was his second this year, and presumably just as much enjoyed by us as it was for our predecessors!

This was entitled ‘Spontaneous palette knife landscape/seascape painting’ and Stephen gave short talk beforehand on methods and materials, showing examples of his work. Then he picked one to demonstrate the techniques of using a palette knife on a prepared board.

Looking from a distance, the way Stephen blurred and moved the paint around to create clouds and trees was amazing. It was even more amazing, as I saw later, his spiky trees emerging from the clump were really just rough squiggles in the paint when you looked closely. His clouds showed the scuff marks on the board, too, but from a distance, they looked fantastic.

Despite the word ‘spontaneous’ and Stephen’s advice that if we wanted a reference, to look at it once, then put it away, quite a few people carefully drew out their landscapes and proceeded to fill them in. Maybe they were being more spontaneous with their paintwork than usual. They were certainly more beautiful than mine, which I thought were a mess. But then this was my first workshop with the group, and the first time I’d used acrylic paint in nearly twenty years. Thank you to my table mates Bev and Valerie for making me feel at home, and also for helping me get the paint caps off!

Although we’d been around the room and admired each others work, we also got a critique at the end from Stephen, who went through each painting and made useful comments. I think they were useful learning points for us all, anyway. And I came away with plenty of ideas about painting with a palette knife that I hadn’t had before.

Thank you to Stephen, and to Bev for organising it. A good time was had by all, I think!

Postcard Portraits are up at the Dovetail Centre!

by Roy Brophy

The self-portrait postcards are now up in the Methodist Church Linkway – near the Dovetail Café entrance. We had just enough to fill the two boards perfectly – amazing!

What a mixed bag! We have some from artists who find portraiture easy, but it’s not simple to make a portrait – and some have been very inventive. We now know that Peter not only struggles with noses, but also with apples – or is it a plum, or a pepper or avocado? – who nose?!

I have to be honest about my offering – I cheated. Of course, I would claim that I just used the tools that were available to me at the time – isn’t that what Caravaggio did in the 16th century, and plenty of others since?!

Full marks to everyone who entered – thank you very much. It takes some courage to put your work out there! But you had a go, joined in and put forward your portrait. It’s actually not about the individual pieces, it’s the whole, and you are part of it – well done! As we were leaving this morning there were a group of people around the boards in animated conversation, pointing, laughing and thoroughly enjoying the work. It made all the effort worthwhile!

Do pop along to see the two boards of self portraits, and have coffee/tea in the Dovetail Café at the same time – best (and cheapest) place in Chandlers Ford – the teacakes and crumpets are excellent.

The Dovetail Café is open to all in the mornings – Monday to Friday 9:30am to 12 noon. Saturday 10am to 12 noon. Closed on Sunday – for the congregation to use.

The display will be there for two weeks. Let us know what you think.

Rags to Riches story of Joaquin Sorolla

by Jacky Pett

Following our AGM on 26th April, Dr Anne Anderson treated us to an exclusive tour of the life and works of Joaquin Sorolla.

Despite the name not ringing any bells for me, the pictures Anne sent in advance certainly did. It turned out there had been an exhibition at the National Gallery at which these beach scenes were featured. I must have seen them online…

Catalan’s own

Sorolla is Catalan, hence his name is not the Castillian spelling. He was born in Valencia in 1863, and was adopted after his parents succumbed to various ills. This was a stroke of luck, as he came to a family who recognised his drawing talent, and was admitted to Valencia’s Art Academy relatively early.

If you take a trip to Valencia you will find Sorolla everywhere – a whole walking tour of places related to him. But most of his painting took place on the beach, at Cabanyal. What started as a simple recording of honest fisherman at work (with oxen pulling the boats into and out of the water) developed into amazing studies of light on and through sails, and even in the shade of the backstreets where the women worked mending them.

He moved to Madrid, where he is exhibited in the Prado, but he also built a studio house there, for himself and his family, which has artworks displayed all over the walls.

His wife and daughter are featured in the painting of him painting them on the beach at Cabanyal. Huge canvases on a windswept beach. How did he keep the sand out of his oils? Or stop the canvas tipping over?

He died a rich man in 1923, thanks in part to making good in the American market, and is recognised as Spain’s most important artist of his time. That ‘of his time’ is a sop to Velasquez and El Greco!

I’d really love a trip to Valencia and Madrid to see more. Thank you to Anne for an excellent talk, and looking forward to more.

You can see more of Anne Anderson’s talks on her YouTube Channel (Anne Anderson Art and Design History), and via her website, which also gives details of tours she is leading.

anne anderson

May Delights

After last week’s packed AGM and the weekend’s Exhibition, we can go racing ahead with more summery events this month, weather permitting.

Regular events

As usual, the Drop-in Session is on the second Wednesday of the month at the Community Hall. (apologies for last month’s confusion).

The Workshop this month is a second chance for you to have a go at Stephen Foster’s Palette Knife landscape if you missed the first.

Life Drawing will be on the third Sunday, as usual. Please note some calendar clashes have been identified during the summer, and you will hear from the Treasurer if your booking is affected.

Fine weather on order

Let’s hope the weather is kind to us so we can go ahead with the first date for our Cream Tea day at the Hillier Gardens on Saturday 20th. Full details here.

Postcards on Parade

We’re expecting an avalanche of postcard portraits from all our members to adorn the linkway at the Dovetail for two weeks from the 22nd. Don’t be shy – look what the earlybirds have come up with…

I didn’t realise Alan Bennet and Ringo Starr were among our members, mind… More details here.

How can you resist our Demo?

This month’s demonstration in the Church is given by Alison Butler. She also earns the prize for the wittiest title of the year. How can I resist?! is a demonstration and discussion of the art of Batik. I can’t wait for 24th May!

Hope you can get along to at least some of these events.

AGM Reminder – 26th April

This members only event takes place at the Dovetail Cafe tomorrow, Wed 26th April at 7.30.

Apart from the business end of the meeting, which we will get out of the way pretty quickly, there will also be a (no doubt) highly entertaining talk on Joaquin Soralla.

One of the main aims of the evening is to share and obtain members’ views on events planned or up for consideration, so please come along and let your views be known.

You will find all the documents for the meeting in your email from Bev Dunstan on 18th April.

Joaquín Sorolla

Anne Anderson will be giving a talk on Joaquín Sorolla after this years AGM. Anne is a highly respected art historian and professor, known for her insightful and engaging presentations on art history.

Her previous talk on Monet was well received at the AGM last year, and attendees can expect another informative and thought-provoking talk on Sorolla. Sorolla’s paintings are known for their luminosity, capturing the fleeting effects of light and colour on his subjects. Anne will likely discuss Sorolla’s unique style and techniques, as well as his influence on the development of modern art.

Overall, it’s exciting to look forward to another great talk by Anne, and attendees can expect to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for Joaquín Sorolla’s contributions to the world of art.

Stephen Foster workshop

Words and pictures by Roy Brophy

On Saturday 11 March, Stephen Foster led a workshop where he shared three paintings of Hengistbury Head. He explained why he had chosen particular colours, including Titanium White, Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre, Vandyke Brown, Magenta, and a Terracotta Red, and showed us a framed version which he felt had not worked because he wanted the sky to have more mystery and feeling.

To demonstrate his technique, Stephen then used a blank 40×40 board primed with a light orangey-red and marked out a similar layout. He showed us how to create a sky using white, with his recommended Hobbycraft No. 6 palette knife, using swirling movements and adding a tiny bit of Prussian Blue, which was most effective. By using just four colours, mixing where necessary, and using touches of reds to add sparkle, Stephen produced an image of Hengistbury Head showing the power of using just a few colours to create a coordinated painting.

Although Stephen was not satisfied with his painting, he encouraged us to have a go. Stephen asked us to use the work as a base for our own feelings on the subject, and after two hours, we had produced a variety of images. Our artists created some amazing skies, and one particular image stood out – by Gill Evatt, of two walkers on a windy beach. Everything about it conveyed a sense of wetness and wind, with the white tops of the waves adding to the atmosphere.

Overall, it was an excellent day, ending with a “show and tell” session during the final half hour. Stephen provided constructive feedback on the works presented, leaving us all feeling inspired.

Ali Lindley success – as always!

By Bev Dunstan

Ali Lindley hosted an excellent Cityscape workshop for the Art Group on 1st April, and a good time was had by all.

Ali provided an excellent semi-abstract watercolour workshop, guiding the participants through a series of exercises to develop the technique of introducing aerial perspective in a painting. 

These included pencil sketches, simple loose watercolour brush work and the use of tones and colour to layer up the artwork. 

The two hours after lunch set the challenge to the group to put brush to paper and produce the final work.  It all sounded easy enough and Ali’s demonstrations throughout the day made it look simple; however simple it was not! 

Having the courage to loosen up and ignore the urge to tighten up and define shape and outline demanded concentration and many of the group went home mentally exhausted! 

Everyone had a great day, many having departed from their normal work and coming away wiser and more liberated as a result.

Check out more of Ali’s work at alilindleyartist.co.uk

Busy, busy in April

April kicks off with our monthly workshop, the first of a new membership year. We welcome Ali Lindley back to the Community Hall in Hursley Road for a City Scape in watercolour. Fortunately Ali is no April fool.

With Easter upon us, our Drop-in session is on Wednesday 12th.

That is speedily followed by our Life Drawing session on Sunday 16 April at the Methodist Church Hall. Let’s hope the weather has warmed up a little by then.

A reminder that by this part of the month you should be well advanced with your prep for the Spring Exhibition – clean and well presented artworks, all ready to hang, and no last-minute panics!

But before the exhibition, we have our Annual General Meeting, at the Dovetail Cafe, on 26th April. We welcome back Dr Anne Anderson, who gave such a fascinating talk on Monet last year. This year it’s the wondrous Joseph Sorolla, whose work you probably know even if you couldn’t place his name!

And we wrap up April with the Spring Exhibition over the last weekend, at the Dovetail Centre.

But that’s not all, since by now you should have more or less completed your self-portrait on a postcard for the event in May. And you should also be looking out your plein air painting kit and praying to the weather gods for our first cream tea date in May.

Happy Easter!