The Winter Life Drawing sessions will start at the end of June and will run every Saturday morning from 29 June to 27 July. These will be held at the Scout Hall in Newlands, 2 Greenford Road, next to Forries, from 9.30 – 12.30; you can book your place now by emailing email@example.com.
The first of this year’s Winter Workshops will be an oil landscape workshop with Eastern Cape artist, Tony Durrheim. Back by popular request, he has agreed to do a landscape workshop on 8 June.
The workshop will be held at the Scout Hall, 2 Greenford Road, next to Forries in Newlands.
To book please email firstname.lastname@example.org
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.
Friday 22 Feb was a glorious late Summer day, perfect for the SASA outing to Groot Constantia Wine Estate and we had eight artists joining us for some plein air painting.
Because of the beauty of the surroundings and diversity of subject matter – from historic buildings and duckponds to ancient oak trees and vineyards – Groot Constantia is a favourite amongst our members.
We spent the morning wandering and working and met at one of the restaurants for refreshments at midday, where we showed each other what we’d accomplished and exchanged ideas, ensuring we all left with a little more knowledge gained and a few extra tips.
Huge thanks must go to Karen – PRO of the Estate – for always welcoming us so warmly and for the generous gift of wine tasting vouchers for all participating artists.
Thanks as well to Johan Pieterse for organising the outing for us.
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.
On Friday 25 January, we spent the morning hanging the work of the selected artists for the 2019 Merit Exhibition and created an attractive display for the opening that evening.
Our more experienced patrons arrived early so they could have an unhindered view of all the beautiful paintings and sculptures on show – and of course, first dibs on the pieces that caught their fancy.
A comfortable crowd gathered to hear the opening address, delivered by John Pace, the 2015 winner of the Sanlam Portrait Award.
John’s speech was light and amusing, while being very complimentary about the high standard of work on the exhibition and not too wordy, so there was still time for a bit of socialising ….and acquiring artworks! Sales got off to a great start at the opening and carried on in the same vein over the weekend following, which bodes well for the rest of the exhibition.
Our president, Audrey Innes, had a surprise award to hand out on the evening as well – owing to the consistent high standard of his work and high scores at the selection weekend over the past four years, Evan Douglas was awarded SASA Fellowship. Well done Evan.
The enjoyment of the evening was enhanced by the usual excellence of the catering and nicely stocked wine and juice bar, giving our guests an excuse to stay a little bit longer.
Thanks to all involved, for a job well done.
On Friday 18 January, we had a very different Kommetjie plein air encounter! The long – usually white, sunlit – beach was shrouded in cloud and the iconic lighthouse was very well camouflaged in that cloudy background.
The day started off overcast, with sunny patches and was surprisingly chilly for this time of year, yet still a few brave souls came out to do some painting.
It turned into quite an adventure, ending with the intrepid few painting in the rain. Far from feeling disheartened, our artists found the experience quite invigorating and some exciting works were produced.
Thank you, Johan Pieterse, for organising it for us and thanks Kommetjie – we’ll be back!