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Harry Johnson Sculpture Demo

On Thursday 27 September, we once again gathered at the Athenaeum for the SASA members’ meeting and we were in for a treat!

 

 

 

 

Master sculptor, Harry Johnson was there with his special wax and his special talents to demonstrate his amazing sculpture technique. During the course of the evening he told us a bit about his history and a lot about the wax and the method he uses to create his pieces.

Starting with a vaguely cat-shaped clump, with a few additions and removals of chunks of the wonderfully soft, grey wax, we saw a cheetah materialise before our eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A portrait of a strong young woman was transformed into a dejected figure, using a slight rearrangement of arms and tilt of the head, showing how feelings and perceptions can be altered by mere gesture.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To demonstrate how easy it is to correct mistakes, or change proportions when using wax, to the horrified gasps of his audience, Harry sliced the nose off a sculpted face, pared away a layer and stuck it back on again…..or poked a stick up it’s nostrils to make it “breathe”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry’s work is internationally recognised and admired, in ten years he has created more sculptures than any other South African artist has in a lifetime, yet he still made time to spend with us. Thank you Harry, for a truly fascinating evening.

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Life Drawing at the Athenaeum

13 September was the last of this year’s scheduled Thursday evening life drawing sessions at the Athenaeum and due to lack of interest, probably not to be continued in the new year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These sessions take a lot of organisational as well as practical input from the council members whose portfolio it is and have proved “non-cost-effective” for SASA. So, for the few who actually got there, sorry – we tried! We will, however still be having our usual five Saturday morning slots at the Newlands Scout Hall in June/July next year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Andy was our model for the evening – thanks Andy, for stepping in at  such short notice.

 

 

 

 

 

We were a very small group, but had a good time, with much experimentation and sharing of equipment going on, as well as much concentration, resulting in the need for much relaxation between poses!…..and some really interesting work. Well done everyone.

 

 

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August SASA Members’ Meeting

The SASA members’ meeting for August was held on Thursday the 30th at our usual venue, the Athenaeum in Newlands.

 

 

 

 

 

We were fortunate to have two of our selection day judges – Liesl Hartmann, head of education at Zeitz MOCCA and Virginia MacKenny, Associate Professor of painting at Michaelis School of Art – on hand, to give a critique on some of the work that didn’t make the cut for the Annual exhibition.

 

 

 

 

 

It was a relatively small group of members who attended the meeting, but those who were there were richly rewarded. Because there weren’t so very many paintings to look at, our judges were able to spend more time on each work presented and give a more in-depth assessment.

The criticism was constructive and very useful – pertinent to all those present, not just the artist whose artwork was being discussed – and much note-taking was done throughout the evening.

 

 

 

 

 

The thought-provoking comments and suggestions generated many a “light-bulb moment” causing us to re-think the way we looked at the work in front of us as well as our own and everyone went home with a head full of ideas for improvement.

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you Virginia and Liesl, for an exceptionally enlightening and entertaining evening.

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Evening Life Drawing at the Athenaeum

On a rather cold and wet Thursday August 16, we had our third life drawing evening for the year – there’s one more in September and still space if you’re interested. Have a look at the most recent SASA newsletter for details.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Those who managed to be there were delighted with our model Taitai, with her huge hair and generous curves and inspired to create some lovely work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had to really get to grips with foreshortening (or change position!) for some of her poses, which were deceptively demanding and required absolute concentration. This is when that old rule comes in so handy “….draw what you see and not what you think you know”.

Our regulars were dismayed to realise we only have one more booking for this year, but we will carry on with the evening sessions next year, if there’s enough positive feedback, so if you’d like to attend, let your interest be known.

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Landscape, Life and Still-Life Competition

Last night – Thursday 26 July – was this month’s SASA members’ meeting, which is traditionally combined with the annual Landscape, Life and Still-life competition.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had a lovely selection of entries to choose from, which made voting rather difficult, but choices had to be made.

While the votes were being tallied, Lyn Northam and Wyn Rossouw gave a critique of the work submitted and a marvelous job they did too! Thank you Lyn and Wyn – not an easy assignment, but one you are both most qualified to fulfill. I’m sure all who attended got a lot of tips for improving their work.

 

We also had some sketch packs from Artsauce available for their annual “Sketch-Pack Project” – a zig-zag mini sketch pad with enough pages for a sketch a day for the month of August.

 

These completed sketch-packs will then be exhibited in the window of Artsauce for the month of October. I hope you all got yours?

 

The gift vouchers given to the three winners in each category for the evening were also donated by Artsauce. In addition to a voucher, each winner also received a quality canvas, kindly donated by Winsen’s Canvas. We had some very happy winners, taking home these lovely prizes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

….and the winners were…..In the Landscape Category – first was Beth Lowe with her oil painting of “Noordhoek Beach”, second was Craig Paton-Ash, with his drawing of “Muizenberg” and third, Grazyna Janik, with a painting of “Hout Bay Harbour”. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Life category – first Penny Steynor’s pastel portrait of her “Old Friend”, second was Tressan Verramunder with his watercolour “No Smile” and in third place, Jinty De Villiers with her sketch –  “Finishing Touches”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Still-life category – first Penny Steynor with her watercolour “Class Project” and in joint second place, Grazyna Janik with her oil “My Winter Crop” and Margaret Munro’s watercolour “Tulips”.

 

 

 

 

 

Well done to all our prize-winners – all wonderful work and well-deserved winnings.

 

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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…..so 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.