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June 2018 Members’ Meeting








On Thursday evening, the 28th of June, Angela Zehnder joined us at the Athenaeum to tell us a bit about her role in the conservation and restoration of paintings at the South African National Gallery.






Angela gave a talk, illustrated by slides, giving us a glimpse into the fascinating world of art restoration. We were shown how the use of X-rays and infra-red light exposes layers beneath the painted surface, telling tales of previous concepts and compositions toyed with by the artist, before settling on the image we see.





Or perhaps an incongruous support, like the lid of a biscuit tin we see under the painting in one of Angela’s slides.






Angela stressed the importance of correct display and storage of a painting – such as keeping humidity levels controlled and light gentle – to prevent deterioration. She also touched on methods of repairing damage to works not stored correctly and removing layers of discoloured varnish to reveal the original freshness of the paint beneath.






Her subject is vast – too much to cover in one sitting – but we were given a taste of what is involved. Thank you Angela, for an interesting evening.

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Demo by Mel Elliot








At our members’ meeting on May 31, we were treated to a fascinating demo by Mel Elliot. He showed us his 10 step plan for “building” a landscape in oils, using acrylic paints for the under painting and first several layers.






It’s not until he gets to step 6 that he starts using oil paints and the contrast between the two media is remarkable. The acrylic looks flat and dull when juxtaposed with the singing colours and bright lights of the oils, but as Mel pointed out, the acrylics are good for mid tones and the contrast is effective.

Mel has a wonderfully relaxed and chatty manner, as he paints, which kept everyone entertained, while thoroughly absorbed in watching the painting develop.






Judging by the amount of note-taking that went on, this is one demo that our members do not want to forget… many tips and hints to take away with us and start trying out for ourselves.

Mel also shared some very valuable marketing points, such as the importance of a good frame, to make a painting more attractive and saleable.





Thanks Mel, for a most interesting and inspiring evening.

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Talk by Dr Roger Melvill at the April Members’ Meeting




Dr Roger Melvill – neurosurgeon, mountaineer and artist – was the official doctor on the Lewis Pugh expedition to Antarctica and we were lucky enough to have him at the SASA members’ meeting on Thursday 26 April to tell his tale.






Dr Melvill spoke of the wonderful work done by the Lewis Pugh Foundation for the preservation and conservation of the world’s oceans. To draw attention to this cause, Lewis Pugh himself has completed long-distance swims in every one of those oceans, often in near freezing water.





From Dr Melvill’s slides, we saw how breathtaking – both literally and figuratively – the area is, in it’s starkly beautiful scenery and it’s icy cold temperatures.




Luckily, he often had time to set up his easel and paint en plein air, capturing the magnificence of the landscape and birdlife, as have many other artists before him, on similar expeditions, one of whom was our very own Yvonne Ankerman.

The earliest of these did it out of necessity, having no cameras in those days, with which to record events.





Thank you, Dr Melvill, for a fascinating evening. You kept your audience spellbound right from the start, to the final word!

In honour of the “Year of the Bird”, members were asked to bring a bird painting with them – here is a selection of those.

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March Meeting – Lesley Charnock Demo

At our March members’ meeting we were privileged to have Lesley Charnock demonstrating for us how to paint a portrait in oils with a very limited palette.








Neither weather nor long weekend could keep our members away from this one and we had a full hall, adding more chairs, as more people arrived….and they were not disappointed!





Lesley kept us enthralled and entertained for nearly two hours, which was more time than it took for her to pull this amazing portrait together.





She started her presentation by showing us some of the magic found in varying juxtaposition of colour – she’d brought with her three portraits, for which she’d used the same three colours she used in this demo, but in differing combinations and the difference was astonishing.

Armed with her enormous wooden palette of previously mixed colour and a selection of broad brushes, Lesley got to work. It was fascinating watching the painting grow – starting with a few brown brush-strokes on a blank canvas and working up to more and more positive colours, till this glowing face emerged.







There were cheers from the audience when she finally put her brushes down and pronounced her portrait “finished”. Thank you Lesley, for a truly inspiring demo.



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2018 SASA AGM and Drawing Competition

On Thursday 22 Feb we had a good turn-out of members at our AGM at the Athenaeum, with Solly Gutman taking his usual, competent place in the chair.





Judging by the President’s Report, the past twelve months have been an extremely busy – and hopefully productive – time for all of our members. Packed with outings, workshops, meetings and exhibitions as it was, it was certainly not a boring year.

After the formalities of the evening were completed, we could get down to the important task of judging the drawing competition. There were many beautiful and varied interpretations of the theme “Ebony and Ivory”, but winners had to be chosen.






In first place we had Sonja Frenz, with her lovely “Trees at Sunnyside”, second was “Khasab” by Fiona Nichols and, in third place, Frederick Krause with “Pride”. Well done to the three of you, for your very worthy winning entries.

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Hayden Proud at January Members’ Meeting






Welcome back, all our members, to a new year with SASA. Our January members’ meeting on Thursday the 25th was a wonderful way to kick it off.





Hayden Proud, an art curator at Iziko museums, presented a fascinating illustrated talk about the history of SASA, which, having been originally founded in the late 1800s, is the oldest enduring art society in South Africa.





Hayden showed us how their exhibitions were hung, in the manner of the Royal Academy in London and very different from the way we hang them today.





Only the best work was placed at eye-level, so you knew precisely how highly your work was regarded, by the level at which it was positioned!







We also saw pictures of SASA’s first official home – Kamp’s Cafe, 71 Plein Street, Cape Town – and a very different looking National Gallery! Hayden introduced us to some of the art and artists who have been members of our society through the years, some names we recognise and some not so well-known.





In the beginning SASA was a very inclusive society and all art forms were embraced, so that which we now consider “craft”, was then accepted as “art”.




Thank you Hayden, for an extremely well researched talk a and most informative evening.