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Christopher Reid at the SASA May Monthly Meeting

On 30 May, Chris Reid will be talking about the International Watercolour Society of South Africa and the benefits for watermedia artists the society offers. As a bonus he will also be doing a watercolour demo for us.

The evening is a must for all waterbased media artists and those oil artists amongst us should also pick up a few useful tips from Chris.

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April Monthly Meeting with John Pace

 

 

 

 

The monthly meeting on the 25th April was very well attended by members eager to hear John Pace, well known as the winner of the 2015 Sanlam Portrait Award, give a talk on his experiences at the School of Art in Florence, Italy

 

 

 

 

 

John, in his relaxed conversational way, told us how his wife had given him the two week course as a gift for his birthday.


 

 

 

 

 

Using slides to illustrate his talk, we could see the beautiful studio in Florence where he spent many hours grappling with the sight size method of drawing, which he found very challenging at first, and ultimately very satisfying.

 

 

 

 

 

Drawing a sculptured bust to begin with, he progressed to working with the live model. Having finally perfected the drawing he then transferred that image from paper to canvas using tracing paper coated with oil paint to create a type of carbon paper. 

 

 

 

 

 

While painting, he was instructed to continually ask himself:1) What colour is it? 2) Is it warm or cool? 3) Is it light or dark?

 

 

John brought all his drawings and the finished portrait for everyone to see.
An enjoyable meeting, finishing up with the usual sociable tea, coffee and eats.
 

 

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SASA March Members’ Meeting

 

 

 

 

 

Boniface Chikwenhere kept everyone fascinated as he explained and demonstrated his unique process for creating his wonderful sculptures. His gentle but assured manner of speaking lent great sincerity to his words as he told his audience how he takes a pride in using only very old indigenous woods for his work. This also  helps him when he exports his sculptures, as he seldom has problems with the regulations governing the treating of insects in wood, as the wood is so old and dry. Because collecting the wood is time consuming, he has assembled a team of gatherers in various parts of South Africa and Namibia. They search and dig for old roots and pieces of trees and for driftwood. Many of the pieces are very old, hard and dry. He had some examples with him, including Mopani, Sneezewood and a small root of unidentified wood that looked almost fossilized.


 

 

 

 

 

Sneezewood is called that as the shavings and dust cause you to sneeze. It was used by early settlers for fence posts – one could still see the holes in the piece he had, and as a result, became extremely rare. Boniface explained that the most time consuming and important part of his process was deciding what animal or bird was to be created from a particular piece of wood, as he works in a semi abstract way, leaving large parts of the wood completely unsculpted, allowing the grain, colours, and textures of the wood to suggest the particular creature that he sees in it. This part of the process could take days, months or even years.


 

 

 

 

 

Once he has decided on a particular species – birds make up a large part of his sculptures – he then carves appropriate portions of the wood, using an instrument called an Adze. This is made especially for him, to suit his stroke and the way he carves. It has a very sharp flat metal blade on a heavy wooden handle. He held his audience spellbound as he used this almost clumsy looking implement to fashion the head of a water bird from the piece of Mopani wood, leaving the rough bark to suggest parts of feathered wings. The audience gasped in horror as a large piece of wood was chopped off the beak, but he laughed as he explained that he had intended to do it, as the beak was too long.


 

 

 

 

 

He wears safety goggles and a mask while he works, as the wood is extremely hard and pieces fly off in all directions. At times he also uses electrical grinders and cutters.


 Once he is satisfied with a piece, it goes to his team of polishers, who use grinders and fine sandpaper to bring out the natural grain and beauty of the wood, he never paints or stains the wood, only using oils to enhance the shine and colour of the grain. He does use metalwork to mount the pieces, and sometimes to create legs for various bird sculptures.


Boniface spoke of putting his soul in his work, and balancing that with the need to be businesslike assessing what will sell, and the marketing of his work.


He learned his craft from his grandfather as a very young boy in the rural areas of Zimbabwe, where he worked in soapstone. He now passes his knowledge on to others, including his brother and his children, but said that his wife has been his best pupil, her speciality is making small bird sculptures.

Judging by the many questions and the participation from the audience, it was a very successful and enjoyable evening.

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SASA 2019 AGM and Drawing Competition

The 116th SASA AGM was held on Thursday 28 February, at the home of our society, the Athenaeum in Newlands.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As has become tradition, SASA Fellow, Solly Gutman very kindly agreed to chair the meeting, doing a great job and adding gravitas to the formal part of the evening, as he smoothly worked his way through the set agenda.

Our president, Audrey Innes, gave a slide-show presentation on the past year’s activities of the society and, looking back on it all, it’s quite amazing how much we fitted in!

 

 

 

 

 

Mike Forrester delivered the treasurer’s report and the council was elected. There was a call for nominations for prospective council members to be put forward and any points of concern to be raised, but none were, so we must assume our members are content with the status quo.

 

 

 

 

 

With the dry half of the meeting out of the way, we could get down to the real reason we came – the annual drawing competition, the theme of which for this year, was “Water”.

There were some lovely entries to choose from, but the loveliest of all was “Church Street”, by Marcelle Lyons, which won first prize and the trophy. Well done Marcelle.

 

 

 

In second place was Liz Pearson with “Submerged” and third was Avril Retief’s “The Rescue”. All beautiful work and worthy winners.

A big thanks to “The Deckle Edge” for donating vouchers for the prizes and to “Artland” who gave us a very good deal on their imported sketchbooks.

 

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First SASA Members’ Meeting for 2019

We had a record attendance for our members’ meeting held on Thursday 31 January and the hall at the Athenaeum was full to bursting.

Five of the category winners from last year’s annual selection weekend – Helena Jordaan (oils), Jeremy Day (acrylics), Christopher Reid (pastel), Penny Steynor (sculpture) and Pam Quinlan (watercolour), as well as SASA Fellow, Solly Gutman (scratchboard) – agreed to come and do a demonstration for us.

The crowd was fascinated by the progress of the pieces being worked on during the evening and by the diversity of the different media. The artists were extremely generous with their knowledge and their secrets, answering every question members put to them as fully as possible, giving very useful tips for simplifying and beautifying their own work.

 

 

 

 

 

As artists, our growth and learning is continuous and we are very fortunate to have those who are willing to share, as they did this evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Members were invited to feel for themselves the scraping of the tools on Solly’s scratchboard and the chiselling away of the stone at Penny’s sculpture demo.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Even those artists who were a little apprehensive about working with such an “up-close” audience, were pleasantly surprised at how much they enjoyed the interest shown and the sharing of skills.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thanks to everyone involved, for a most enjoyable and interesting evening.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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31 January – Demo with SASA Annual Prizewinners

At the SASA monthly members’ meeting, on 31 January, we will be treated to a demo by five of the prize winners from last year’s annual selection weekend, who, together with two of our “fellows”, will be showing us some of their winning techniques. A meeting not to be missed! See the January newsletter for details.

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SASA End of Year Function

 

 

 

 

 

The SASA end of year function was held last night – Thursday 29 November – at the Athenaeum. As is our tradition, the “Eleanor Palmer Competition” was the highlight of the evening. This is the one “in-house” competition where there are not too many constraints regarding your entry – one original piece per member, any subject, any medium – and we had some truly beautiful entries to choose from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our members strolled around the hall, plateful of snacks in one hand and glass in the other, studying the paintings and making their choices. While the votes were being tallied, we were kept amused by the wonderful art quiz, compiled by Christine Cherry-Jones, which not only taxed our brains and history of art knowledge, but also provoked much hilarity. Thanks Christine, for your hard work in putting it all together.

 

 

 

 

 

The winners of the competition were: first – Marcelle Lyons, for her painting “Newlands Forest Winter”, second – Laura Wenman, with “Always Remembered” and in third place – Chantelle Van Zyl, with “Beach Buddy” Well done you three!

 

 

 

 

Though bordering on chaos at times, it was a wonderfully festive and light-hearted evening, with plenty of wine and a great spread of snacks – thanks everyone who contributed a plateful, it was really enjoyed and appreciated.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A very Happy Christmas to those who celebrate it and happy everything else to those who don’t.

Have a wonderful holiday and we’ll see you in the new year.

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October Members’ Meeting – Sonja Frenz Demo

Sonja Frenz, well known for her charcoal and pastel wooded landscapes, did a wonderful demo for us at the October SASA members’ meeting on Thursday the 25th of October.

 

 

 

 

 

Using charcoal powder and black and white pastels in all their shapes and forms, Sonja showed us how her unique technique can be adapted to suit other subject matter – for this demo, portraiture in particular.

The hall at the Athenaeum was packed that evening and everyone enjoyed themselves immensely, watching enthralled, as the beautiful portrait emerged.

Sonja kept us all entertained with her down to earth commentary and gave us a lot of tips and helpful hints to make the materials work successfully.

This is a wonderful new take on working with pastel and charcoal and we all went home inspired and ready to experiment.