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portrait Archives | South African Society of Artists
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!
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.
On 31 March, we had our first members’ meeting after the AGM and this year’s council members and their portfolios were announced. Glenda Chambers is serving her second year as president, with Adrian Larkin as vice president. We have three new council members this year – Irene Oxley, Stephen Gibson and Michele Batchelder – and look forward to a year of smooth, efficient and productive running of our society.
The highlight of the evening, for which the packed hall waited in anticipation, was a demonstration in oils by accomplished portrait artist, Elize Bezuidenhout.
Elize started with a sepia-toned under-painting, which she’d prepared the previous day, from a black and white photograph she had taken of her subject. A colour copy of the same photograph was her reference for the finished portrait.
The limited, but versatile palette she uses produces some wonderful skin tones and by adding small amounts of the different colours, she achieves amazing effects of highlights and shadows.
From the moment she painted the eyes – the darkest colours in the painting – the character of her subject began to emerge and it was fascinating to watch as the rest of the face started taking shape, radiating outwards from the eyes. With painstaking care, painting exactly what she sees, is how Elize creates the extremely life-like likenesses, which are her portraits.
There was no way Elize was going to finish the portrait in the time allowed, but we got a very good taste of her technique. She answered all the questions fired at her throughout the evening and gave us all some very useful tips regarding everything from colour, to medium, to brushes and the cleaning thereof and copious notes were taken.
Thanks, Elize, for taking the time to come and share your skills and with us.
For our March members’ meeting, we are privileged to have Elize Bezuidenhout coming to share her secrets with us. She will be demonstrating her technique for painting a portrait in oils. Not to be missed!
The September SASA members’ meeting was held on Thursday the 24th – what a great way to end off Heritage Day. We had quite a full hall and were lucky to see Adolfo McQue in action from really close up, despite (or perhaps even because of) the projector issues!
Adolfo demonstrated how to paint a portrait in oils, from memory, in about an hour. An impossible sounding undertaking. Of course Adolfo’s many years of experience in portrait painting and his knowledge of the anatomy of the human face make it a lot easier for him than it might be for a lot of us. Thanks, Adolfo, for sharing it all!
He gave us many pearls of wisdom as he worked on his canvas and a new perspective on the use of paint as well as brushes. He showed us how he laid out a very simple palette and started off with the simplest silhouette of his subject. He used relatively narrow brushes, simply turning them sideways when he needed a broader stroke.
The finished product was as much a surprise to him as it was to us. As Adolfo said, painting a portrait like this, from memory, is like meeting someone you’ve never met before.
This month’s members’ meeting was held on Thursday 30 July at the Athenaeum in Newlands.
The evening started off with a presentation by Di Metcalf, from Artsauce, of their “Sketchpack Project”, a wonderful initiative which encourages creative expression through daily drawing.
Each sketchpack is a zig-zag of water colour, or sketching paper, with enough pages for a sketch a day for the month of August and these will be exhibited at Artsauce in October.
The second part of our meeting was dedicated to the Life, Still-life and Landscape competition. A competition for “alla prima” (Italian for “at first attempt”) paintings and drawings. This is a competition for work done on the spot, with no fiddling about, or fixing up afterwards and the only competition in which our members are encouraged to enter unfinished works.
Catherine Moss, of Artsauce and our own Lyn Northam, very kindly agreed to crit the entries on the evening and had words of encouragement for every artist.
We had a lot of lovely work to look at and vote for. Difficult decisions had to be made, but the winners were Lyn Northam, for her beautiful “Sunlit Trees” in the “Landscape” category, while Penny Steynor took well-deserved first place in both the “Still-life” and “Life” categories.
Well done to both of you. Have fun spending your prizes – vouchers, generously donated by Artsauce.