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Table Mountain Sketching Hike







The weather didn’t play ball on Wednesday 30 September and it was rather rainy, so the scheduled hike had to be postponed, but it certainly made up for it the next day.

We had perfect weather for hiking and sketching and the few of us who got there certainly made the most of it. Tafelberg Road was lined with cars right down to the bottom, so it would appear a lot of people decided to take advantage of the beautiful day by visiting our mountain.

We gathered on Tafelberg Road below the cable station and hiked for about half an hour up the track to the beacon on the contour path. From this vantage point we had wonderful views all round and plenty of choice for sketching, perched like dassies, on the conveniently flat, rocky outcrops.

So absorbed were we in our work, it wasn’t till about three hours later that someone realised the time and thought we’d better be starting back.

Thoroughly inspired, we headed down the mountain with sunburnt noses and wobbly knees, but satisfyingly full sketchbooks.








Thanks to Linda Howe-Ely for organising the outing – we’ll have to do it again very soon!

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Demo with Adolfo McQue


The September SASA members’ meeting was held on Thursday the 24th – what a great way to end off Heritage Day. We had quite a full hall and were lucky to see Adolfo McQue in action from really close up, despite (or perhaps even because of) the projector issues!

Adolfo demonstrated how to paint a portrait in oils, from memory, in about an hour. An impossible sounding undertaking. Of course Adolfo’s many years of experience in portrait painting and his knowledge of the anatomy of the human face make it a lot easier for him than it might be for a lot of us. Thanks, Adolfo, for sharing it all!








He gave us many pearls of wisdom as he worked on his canvas and a new perspective on the use of paint as well as brushes. He showed us how he laid out a very simple palette and started off with the simplest silhouette of his subject. He used relatively narrow brushes, simply turning them sideways when he needed a broader stroke.

The finished product was as much a surprise to him as it was to us. As Adolfo said, painting a portrait like this, from memory, is like meeting someone you’ve never met before.


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August 2015 Members’ Meeting


The hall at the Athenaeum was very full for the SASA meeting on Thursday 27 August. We were privileged to have two of our selection weekend judges – Robert Slingsby and Donna McKellar – to give brief crits of the work submitted for selection.

Members were encouraged to bring all three of their submitted works, for comparison, to be shown what worked and what didn’t, how addition or subtraction of elements can improve a painting. A great way to learn and to improve one’s artistic skills.








Robert and Donna had a difficult task, but rose to the challenge, giving lots of constructive criticism and praise, where due. They generously shared with us of their experience and knowledge and everyone left feeling encouraged, ready to try out some of their useful tips.









Spirits were high, as people left after the meeting. One member was overheard to say “That was the best meeting ever”! So thanks to everyone concerned, for a very well-run event and to Robert and Donna for your time and expertise. Thanks, as well, to Jeremy Day, for stepping in and hosting the evening in his role as vice-president of SASA. A job well done.

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July Members meeting


This month’s members’ meeting was held on Thursday 30 July at the Athenaeum in Newlands.


The evening started off with a presentation by Di Metcalf, from Artsauce, of their “Sketchpack Project”, a wonderful initiative which encourages creative expression through daily drawing.

Each sketchpack is a zig-zag of water colour, or sketching paper, with enough pages for a sketch a day for the month of August and these will be exhibited at Artsauce in October.


The second part of our meeting was dedicated to the Life, Still-life and Landscape competition. A competition for “alla prima” (Italian for “at first attempt”) paintings and drawings. This is a competition for work done on the spot, with no fiddling about, or fixing up afterwards and the only competition in which our members are encouraged to enter unfinished works.

Catherine Moss, of Artsauce and our own Lyn Northam, very kindly agreed to crit the entries on the evening and had words of encouragement for every artist.







We had a lot of lovely work to look at and vote for. Difficult decisions had to be made, but the winners were Lyn Northam, for her beautiful “Sunlit Trees” in the “Landscape” category, while Penny Steynor took well-deserved first place in both the “Still-life” and “Life” categories.

Well done to both of you. Have fun spending your prizes – vouchers, generously donated by Artsauce.


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Sculpture Workshop with Gerda Kenyon




Gerda Kenyon gave a relaxed and fun workshop at the new “Art Source”, on Saturday 25 July.


She shared with us the beginnings of her sculpting process in the bright and airy studio space in Roeland Street, Cape Town.

Starting with a wire armature on a board, we were shown how to build up our sculptures in clay – either potter’s clay, or ball clay, which has wax added to it and never really dries, so can be reworked later. Gerda gave guidance on proportions and valuable advice on details, like sculpting realistic-looking eyes. The final product would be cast from a mould, in bronze, or resin.

Everyone brought their own references and beautiful sculptures emerged from a wonderful selection of subject matter. A truly inspiring morning and I’m sure there will be a lot more sculpture being created by those SASA members who attended the workshop.









This was the last of the Winter workshops for this season. Thanks to everyone who made them happen and we look forward to a lot more inspiration next year.


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Last of the Winter Life Drawing Sessions








We had the 5th and final life drawing session for this year, on Saturday 25 July. Our scheduled model couldn’t be there, but had given us the contact details of a replacement…….and what a replacement he was!

Although Byron has not had much experience as an artist’s model, he did a great job for us and I’m sure will be very much in demand in the future. Both his face and body were wonderful to draw. His chiseled features and well defined muscles gave us lovely shapes and shadows, angles and planes, which translated so well onto paper and canvas.

It has been such a successful season in our new venue, the Newlands Scout Hall, that most of the regulars would’ve liked to have kept on coming for a few more weeks, but at least there are all sorts of SASA plein air outings to look forward to in the Summer months.







Thanks everyone for your participation and your help and special thanks to Lyn Northam for so generously sharing her space and lending us all her equipment.

See you all next year!

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SASA Annual Selection Weekend

Our selection of work for the annual SASA exhibition at Kirstenbosch took place this past weekend – 18 and 19 July – at Rustenburg Girl’s High School in Rondebosch. We were prepared for a cold and wet Saturday, but were surprised by brilliant sunshine, although it was still pretty chilly early on, when the workers arrived.

All went very smoothly with the signing in and dropping off of paintings, with our assistants doing their assigned tasks quickly and efficiently. The rows and rows of empty chairs in the hall were rapidly filled with an astonishing number of beautiful artworks and their owners left with their hopes high, clutching their numbered slips of paper.

Then came Sunday – “judgement day” – with so many wonderful works of art to show to the judges, we were in for a long haul. Our three judges this year were professional artist, Robert Slingsby; Gallery owner and art curator, Lindy Van Niekerk; professional artist and gallery owner, Donna McKellar.

The judging also went well, with just one little hiccup when unscheduled load shedding put all the lights out. Not to be thwarted by this minor hitch, curtains were opened wide, tables turned to make use of all available natural light, pen and paper replaced computers and we were underway once more.

Mary and her team in the kitchen provided us with a wonderful lunch and lots of hot and cold drinks and snacky things to keep the energy levels up throughout the day. Thanks ladies!






Their last task was perhaps the most difficult job of the day for the judges. Once they had seen and scored all the hundreds of pieces of art, they still had to decide which deserved the awards. Each piece had to be carefully considered and each award had to be agreed upon by all three.

Thank you, judges, you did a great job.
















At last we could let the artists in to collect their work and see their scores. When the last painting had been collected and the hall returned to normal, it was long past dark and it was a weary bunch of workers who headed home that night.

Thanks to all who so happily offered your help. We couldn’t have done it without you.

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Life Drawing, July 11

Ghadija was our model on Saturday for this winter’s penultimate life drawing session. Her serene bearing and peaceful poses made for a lovely calm atmosphere and her fuller figure gave us a whole new, curvier landscape to sketch.








What a wonderful way to escape on a cold Saturday morning – nothing to do but sit and draw, with no distractions and no other demands made of you, a centering and meditative pastime, with positive results on paper.








Thanks everyone, for another productive morning of life drawing.









Remember there is no life drawing next Saturday, as it is the SASA annual Selection Weekend, but we’ll be back on the 25th for the last of our life drawing sessions for 2015.

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Life Drawing Session number 3!

We should have been sketching outside on Saturday 4 July – it was positively balmy for a mid-winter’s day in Cape Town! The scout hall in Newlands was full of artists and their energy, if not too much actual heat.


Our model this week was Desire, with whom most of our members are familiar, as she was one of their favourites from last year’s life drawing sessions.


She has an old fashioned elegance in face and manner, which lends itself most beautifully to life drawing poses.

Thank you Desire, for your poise and your patience. Our artists once again left with sketchbooks packed with inspiration and feelings of fulfillment from their morning’s work.


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Second Winter Life Drawing Session 2015

It was a crisp, cold morning on Saturday 27 June, when we met at the Newlands Scout Hall for our second life drawing session.








Well wrapped SASA members spent a wonderful morning concentrating on their pencils, pastels and paints, as they drew our marvelous model, Robyn.









Despite alternating between burnt and frozen, Robyn gave us some great poses to portray and the planes of her lean body were nicely accentuated by the lighting.

Thanks Robyn, for being brave and thanks again Lyn Northam, for the use of your equipment.