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January 2020 SASA Members’ Meeting

The prize-winners from the 2019 selection weekend were invited to kick off the 2020 SASA program by giving us a demonstration of their considerable talents at the first members’ meeting for the year.

 

 

 

 

On Thursday 30 Jan, we were pleased to welcome Mariaan du Plooy, who won “Best Oil”; Sonja Frenz, who won “Best Drawing”; Val Watt, who was awarded “Best Pastel”; and Cliff Davies, for “Best Print Media”.

 

 

 

 

We were also lucky enough to have two of our SASA Fellows there on the evening – Penny Steynor did a wonderful demo with acrylic paint, using only a palette knife and Evan Douglas showed us how he executes his beautiful watercolour birds.

 

 

 

 

There were about eighty members and guests who arrived to watch and gather useful tips, so the hall was buzzing – quite daunting for those doing the demos. It was amazing to watch as the different artworks took shape – there was such a variety of media being used in such a variety of techniques, producing very different, yet uniformly beautiful finished pieces.

Thanks and well done to our “demonstrators” for keeping calm and carrying on! It was a most interesting and entertaining evening.

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January Members’ Meeting Date Correction!

Typo Alert! It was stated in the SASA newsletter and in the last post re Jan meeting that it will be held on 28 Jan. This is incorrect – as usual, our members’ meeting (2019 selection weekend prize-winners demo) will be on the last Thursday of the month, which is the 30th of January 2020. Sorry about that! 🙂

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Thu 28 Jan Members’ Meeting

On Thursday 28 January, our first members’ meeting for 2020, we will have our very popular “demo with a difference”, where the prize-winners from last year’s Annual Exhibition show us how they create their award winning works. Three of our SASA Fellows will also be joining them. For more info, please see the latest newsletter.

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Portrait in Oil – Demo With Laura Wenman

Our October monthly members’ meeting was a treat! We had Laura Wenman – senior SASA fellow – demonstrating her marvelous oil technique, painting a portrait from a live model.

 

 

 

 

 

Laura started with a canvas already tinted in a pale green, which harmonised with her choice of colours – viridian is one of her favourites – and various pre-mixed skin tones, which made the process a little quicker.

 

 

 

 

 

The paint Laura uses is French-made and contains beeswax, which doesn’t mix well with our usual oil colours.

 

 

 

 

 

 

There was a great turnout and everyone got as close as they could to the action – no-one wanted to miss a single detail, as we watched the face emerge, from planning, through drawing, to application of paint and a very close likeness at the end of the evening….and her model was great – she didn’t move a muscle for two hours!

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Watercolour Demo With Marcelle Lyons

On Thursday the 26th, at the SASA members’ meeting for September, we were lucky enough to have Marcelle Lyons – renowned artist and teacher in watercolour, oils and pastels – give a demo in watercolour.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From the selection of subject matter and paper, Marcelle took us through her steps and process. We saw how she produces one of her wonderful watercolour paintings from the stretching (or not) of the paper, through the blocking in of shapes with simple lines, the addition of layers of carefully-chosen colour washes with very large, laden brushes and sponges, to the final details applied with much smaller tools and brushes.

 

 

 

 

 

It was fascinating to watch as the piece took shape, emerging from the paper at it’s own gentle pace, from the soft pastel colours and shapes of the background to the stronger foreground forms.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Notebooks were filled with points to remember and everyone took with them some new bits of knowledge and techniques to try out at home.

Thanks Marcelle, for giving us of your time and knowledge. A most enjoyable evening.

 

 

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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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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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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.