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30 June SASA Monthly Meeting



Marc Alexander gave us a good look into his processes and procedures at our June meeting. He took us right through, from basic sketches, layers of glazing, texturing and gilding, to the finished, realistic pieces, for which he is widely known.




So many SASA members braved the weather to be there, that there wasn’t a spare seat in the hall and were so fascinated by the techniques Marc shared with us, that we couldn’t get them to leave!

Not only did Marc share his techniques, but he also , very generously, let us into a lot of “trade secrets”, acquired over his years of experience and experiment.

The gilding process itself is a painstaking one and not for the impatient. One needs a quiet mind, a steady hand and a lot of practice to get it right. Marc will be giving a workshop on Saturday, where the lucky ones who managed to book a place, will further their education.






Thank you Marc, for a fascinating evening.

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The SASA 2016 AGM, held on Thursday 25 February, was very well attended – we certainly has a quorum! – and there were some wonderful entries for the drawing competition. The theme for this year’s competition was “Transport”.

The meeting was most efficiently run, without hiccups or objections, by Solly Gutman. Thank you Solly, we appreciate your calm and professional competence.

Glenda Chambers presented her “President’s Report”, illustrated by a slide-show, the fullness of which reminded us just how much we have achieved in the past year, as a society and as artists. This was emphasized on the business side by the financial report, presented by Kim Scarrott.

We said goodbye to three of last year’s council members – Jeremy Day, Helen van Stolk and Kate Pearce, who will all, thankfully for us, be continuing to serve in their various capacities – and hello to three new council members – Michele Batchelder, Irene Oxley and Steven Gibson. Welcome aboard!







When the official half of the meeting had been completed, we got down to the fun part – voting for our favourites in the drawing competition – and while the votes were being counted, we enjoyed coffee and snacks in the drawing room.

….and the winners were…In first place, Penny Steynor with “Rapid Transport”, Mandy Herdien took second place with “Bad Boy” and third was Denise Hansen’s “Reluctant Transport”. Well done ladies and thanks to everyone for a pleasurable AGM.



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October Meeting with Mary Visser



At our members’ meeting on 29 October, we were privileged to have Mary Visser speak to us about her progression as an artist.

Her talk, entitled “The Courage to Play”, took us on a journey through her experiences as a student and a teacher, as well as experiments and discoveries in her studio and on her wanderings in big cities.

For Mary, painting needs to be fun, the studio an enjoyable space, where work becomes play and everything collected along the way becomes part of that work.

We first saw her painting in oils, from photographs in airports, harbours and cities, as through a “window”. Her paintings were representational, though with very expressive brush work. Gradually her focus changed, as she zoomed in on the smallest details.

Her brush strokes became looser and quicker and her paintings more and more abstracted. Eventually Mary discovered acrylic paints, which allowed her to work even more quickly and on many pieces at once.









She discarded her photographic reference and the colour and brush strokes became of primary importance, resulting in her current abstract style.

Thanks Mary, for allowing us to be part of your wonderful creative adventure.

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Dylan Lewis Studio Visit






Our “studio visit” with Dylan Lewis on Friday 23 October was so much more than that. The lucky group who managed to book a place were treated to the most amazing artistic experience.

While waiting for the rest of the party to arrive, we explored his studio cum exhibition space in the most beautifully restored building in the Stellenbosch farmlands.

His circular studio alone, with its huge barn doors, which opened out onto a magnificent view of the property, was enough to turn us all green with envy. Every corner was a still-life, every window, a photo opportunity.

Dylan took us on a guided tour through his extensive sculpture garden, which he has formed himself over the past few years. From virtually flat farmland, he has created an undulating landscape of valleys and hills, ponds fed by lucky natural stprings and shady secret gardens and groves, inviting peaceful contemplation.

We were shown the huge pieces permanently installed in their magical surroundings and given an insight into Dylan’s journey to his work. His interest lies in the contrast between wilderness and “civilisation”, the wildness of the animal world – especially portrayed in the powerful big cats – and the wildness that is in us all.








This piece of land of his is the transition between wild and civilised, with the organic  shapes of the surrounding mountains, echoed by the placement of each sculpture and geometric man made structures in direct contrast.









Thank you Dylan, for a wonderful morning and thanks, Helen van Stolk, for arranging it all.

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Don’t sneer at ‘con art’ …

… an article by Jonathan Jones, Art Critic of the Guardian newspaper in the UK and published on his artblog Jonathan Jones on Art.

Damien Hirst
This spring has seen a wave of scepticism unleashed against contemporary, or conceptual, art. We have been introduced to the pleasant term “con art” to mean, you guessed it, art that is conceptual … and a con. Some reviews of a certain exhibition at a certain Tate Modern have taken a similar line and, even in a Guardian editorial, the contrast between current shows by artists who can make and others who get things made was pondered – Freud and Hockney being the makers.
I laugh with scorn at highfalutin attacks on today’s art by people who don’t actually care very much about the art of the past. I am going to pull rank here. I spent the Easter weekend writing about Raphael, examining his frescoes at the Villa Farnesina and comparing his work The Fire in the Borgo with a passage in Virgil’s Aeneid. I reckon I give as much attention to the great art of earlier centuries as anyone around, and love it as much as anyone around, and I am quite happy to concede that some of my tastes are “conservative”.
Anyway, I went yesterday, direct from early 16th-century Rome where my mind had been, to Tate Modern … and was I appalled? Was I mystified by the idiotic fraudulence of it all? Er, no. I was fascinated and delighted by the art of our time. I contemplated Richard Serra’s impossibly balanced slabs of steel and found myself thinking of Michelangelo’s Prisoners . You can sneer at that comparison if you like… But are you sure you care about Michelangelo more than I do?
There is a lot to dislike in modern art. There are plenty of inflated reputations. There’s a bland establishment vogue for it that grates on me – but perhaps what is happening is the end of that vogue. If modern art stops being respectable, that can only be good for it.
But polemics against it are so dull. No, I don’t get all the aesthetic satisfaction I crave from the newest art. Why would I expect to? These are tough times, strange times. The best art of our age is bound to reflect that age. We are not imprisoned here. As human beings, we also have access to the heritage of great art going back through the centuries. No one is forcing us to sit around brooding about why Gillian Wearing is at the Whitechapel instead of Beryl Cook. Why not go and look at Raphael in the National Gallery instead? He is so perfect that it is as pointless to compare him with Hockney as with Hirst.
People who denounce con art are the true con artists, claiming the mantle of the great tradition while sometimes not really loving it, or knowing it at all.
Published on Wednesday 11 April 2012 on
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For information on the art world and what is happening in the art world, click on Jonathan’s name at the top of the page or click here.  Include this blog on your daily rounds for an informative look at the world of Art.

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John Smith, our Kwa-Zulu Natal “correspondent’s” latest Thoughts.. published under “Interesting Articles” makes for very interesting reading this month.  It concerns plagiarism generally and painting over giclees in  particular – or as he has titled it Prostitutes and Pimps? – Is the Fine Art Industry becoming a Brothel?  John’s articles are now also being published by SA Art Times.

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Advice from Wet Canvas

Every week, Wet Canvas send out a newsletter promoting their facilities and giving hints and tips to aid the artist with his or her work.  This is the kind of article that they publish and we would encourage you to subscribe to their weekly newsletter.  Email them on []
to be added to their mailing list.
On the side bar (under Web Sites of Note) there is  a link to their web site, so you can access them through there.

The Control of Water in Watercolor

Welcome to your WetCanvas Weekly Tips Newsletter! This week we are talking about controlling the water in your watercolor. WetCanvas member Arnold Lowrey wrote a terrific article about how to do this. You can see the article in it’s entirety by subscribing to the newsletter. Here’s what Arnold suggests:

Most watercolors fail because too much water is used and the results are a wishy- washy mess. So, let’s come to grips with this important subject.

So here are the five most important ways of water control. -Dry on Dry
-Wet on Dry
-Wet on Wet
-Dry on Wet
-The Half-loaded Brush

Dry on Dry[description]

This is where the paper is dry and all the water is squeezed out of your brush, so that when you pick up paint and paint it on the paper, virtually no water is involved and the result is a scumbling mark.

(No water on the paper and virtually no water in the brush.)
Wet on Dry[description]

If you load you brush with wet paint and paint on dry paper, an area is produced which is soft and flowing in the middle but with hard edges.
(No water on the paper and water in the brush)
Wet on Wet[description]
When the paper is wet and the brush is fully loaded with wet paint, the result is two lots of water on the paper. Consequently, the paper can’t handle this amount and the paint pigment flows on the surface. Tipping the paper will allow the pigment to flow around creating a lot of interesting shapes but accurate control is missing. Useful for backgrounds but you are relying on “happy accidents” to produce any meaningful shapes.