Chart Farm in Newlands is one of our favourite plein air venues and we gathered there again this last Monday, the 16th of November. The weather was lovely and the roses were spectacular.
Some of us found a shady spot and painted the pretty cottage visible over the tops of the rose bushes, while others got up close to the gorgeous roses and yet others concentrated on the beautiful mountain vistas around us.
It was quite busy for a Monday morning, so the cafe was bustling at lunch time, but we were able to have a well-spaced coffee and catch-up after painting and sketching all morning. We had a wonderful time out in the fresh air, surrounded by so much loveliness and the heady scent of hundreds of roses in full bloom.
Thanks Sonja Frenz, for yet another very happy plein air outing. If anyone else would like to join the group, please email Sonja on firstname.lastname@example.org
Wonderful news! – We’ll be having our final exhibition for the year at the Richard Crowie Hall, Kirstenbosch from Monday 30 November to Wednesday 9 December. For more details, see your November SASA newsletter.
On Thursday the 30th of October we held our SASA members’ meeting via Zoom again, with Yvonne Ankerman as our special guest for the evening, speaking about the use of sketchbooks and her travels to exotic lands.
As Yvonne said, you can sketch anywhere, anytime. Anything around the house, or garden may become the subject for a page or two and these little drawings, or paintings don’t have to be perfect – they’re just for you. The more you do it, the better you’ll get.
Yvonne is never without her “sketching pouch” – which she unpacked for us. It goes everywhere with her, whether when traveling to far-off places, or just going for a walk. Her pouch contains a small journal, or zig-zag watercolour pad, a watercolour palette, a bottle of water, a variety of different pens and pencils, a selection of brushes – even a toothbrush for a splattering effect – in fact any sort of tool one might need.
There are no set rules when you’re sketching. You may want to use a pencil or ink pen first and then fill in the colour, or go straight into watercolour, without the lines. You can even add a little white with gouache, or black lines with ink afterwards.
You can work wet into wet and create lovely runs of colour, or work wet on dry, for more precise capturing of your subject. This can become a piece in itself, or reference for another in the studio. Smaller sketches can also serve as gift tags, or birthday cards.
Yvonne finds that she remembers a place or experience way better having done a sketch of it, than she does from a mere photograph and often also writes a few words to go with her sketches. She urged us to get into the habit of carrying sketch-book and tools with us, so we can take advantage of any opportunity that may come our way to commit a scene to paper memory.
Thank you, Yvonne for a delightfully inspiring demo and to all involved in facilitating the evening.
Tomorrow – Thursday 29 October – we’ll be holding our monthly members’ meeting via Zoom, once more. Yvonne Ankerman – travel sketcher/nature artist/urban sketcher/expedition artist in residence – will be doing a “Watercolour and Sketchbook demo”. Yvonne will show us how she captures those wonderful travel moments. For more info please see your latest SASA newsletter.
We had perfect weather for our outing to Greenpoint Urban Park last Wednesday, the 21st of October. It was a cool, but sunny, windless day. The park is such a peaceful place to sit and sketch, like a little oasis in the middle of the city.
There were so many birds about, including masses of waterfowl, providing wonderful background music to add to the ambience, making us forget that there was traffic just a couple of hundred metres away.
The blooming waterlilies and their many-hued leaves made very interesting combinations and juxtapositions of colour to paint, making us rethink our preconceived ideas of what lily-pads should look like!
There wasn’t a huge amount of shade to sit in, but that didn’t bother us – we brought our own, in the form of “Versa-Brellas”, very useful equipment for plein air painting, as they clip onto your easel, or chair, providing shade wherever you need it.
Thank you Sonja, for yet another lovely plein air outing. If anyone would like to join future outings, please email Sonja Frenz and she’ll add you to the whatsapp group. email@example.com
Our members’ meeting for September, held on Thursday the 24th, was once again held via Zoom and hosted by our president, Audrey Innes. Our October meeting will also be online, but we are hoping to have a “garden party” at the Athenaeum for the last meeting of the year, at the end of November. It will be good to see everyone again in person, so watch your newsletter for details and updates.
Back to September’s meeting! Our guest for the evening was our lovely Helen Van Stolk, who spoke to us about elevating our – and our viewers’ – spirit through our art. Her key-word for this talk, as well as for her own recent work, was “connection”.
She let us see how our work transforms when we really feel connected to it – feeling valued; seen and heard without judging or being judged. She likened her new process to a journey, not meticulously planned and mapped out, but rather just going where the road takes us and seeing what happens.
Helen urged us to seek inspiration everywhere – it can come from nature, music ,words, magazines, even pieces of coloured fabrics or paper. As we were told through a video clip of David Bowie – you should never work for other people. Something inside made you want to paint in the first place, so that’s where it needs to come from, but be brave – wade a little out of your depth!
To feed our art with freshness and imagination, we need to experience new things – things that make us feel inspired and invigorated. Helen proposed taking ourselves on “artist dates” and spoiling ourselves with “self-care” to energise ourselves, as whatever we’re feeling when we’re painting is what the viewer will feel when looking at a piece
……and presentation matters! It is essential to value your work, and paying attention to all five of the senses will allow you and your viewer to fully connect and experience it as a “beautiful encounter”.
Thank you Helen, for a peep into your studio and yourself – and for an exciting and truly inspiring evening.
The most recent plein air outing organised for us by Sonja Frenz, took place on Saturday 19 September. There were eight of us all together, who met up at Maiden’s Cove, Camps Bay, on the most beautiful Spring morning.
It was sunny and windless, though not too hot – a perfect day for sitting around and sketching the magnificent vistas surrounding us. From our hillside viewpoint, we looked over the bay, with the Twelve Apostles dominating the view on one side and the ocean, the other.
The rock formations gave interesting close-up details to paint in their craggy shadows, as did the lone little windswept tree. We sat under our colourful umbrellas, with the sun at our backs and enjoyed a few hours of peaceful sketching.
Thank you Sonja, for arranging it for us. If anyone else would like to join one of our plein air outings, please email Sonja – firstname.lastname@example.org – and she’ll add you to our whatsapp group.
On Thursday 27 August, we had the second of our Zoom meetings and our guest for the evening was well known artist, Erika van Zyl. We saw Erika demonstrating a still life in oils.
She first gave us a run-down on all the materials and equipment she would be using, including the setting up of her still-life in a “shadow box”.
Erika uses large brushes and good quality paints in a limited palette, which gives her painting a certain unity and harmony.
The composition and setting up of the still life is most important, showing what it is you want to say with your painting. Erika begins with a sketch, to which she then adds monochromatic tones for a “value study”, which is used as reference when executing the final work.
She stressed the importance of negative shapes and tonal values, which she considers more important than getting the colours absolutely perfect. It was fascinating to watch the painting grow and quite amazing to see the amount of detail she manages to achieve with her great big brushes.
Erika was able to complete her painting in a relatively short space of time, as she is used to painting en plein air, which necessitates working quickly, so that by the end of the evening we were able to see the finished piece.
She very kindly offered us free access to the video on her school website – Colour your canvas with Erika van Zyl – for a couple of days.
The meeting was well attended – thanks to Adrian Larkin and everyone else involved, for setting it up for us and making it all possible.
Thursday 20 August was a bit of a soggy day, but the cold and rainy weather didn’t stop our intrepid bunch and the Plein Air outing to Cloof Wine Estate in Darling took place as planned.
It was a longer drive than usual for our artists, but so good to get out there to enjoy a change of scenery. The weather added an extra challenge, lending a pleasing sense of camaraderie and the whole trip was great fun.
Artists, wrapped up warmly, did their sketching or painting from the shelter of the farmhouse veranda and at lunchtime enjoyed a light meal at the Marmalade Cat Cafe.
Thanks once more to Sonja Frenz, for organising it for us….and perhaps we can even take another day out to that part of the world when the weather stabilises? If anyone wants to join the plein air group, please email Sonja on email@example.com
Due to an unexpectedly beautiful midwinter’s day, the plein air group gathered for a spontaneous day of outdoor painting. We met, once again, at the Back Area Garden Deli at Oude Molen, with its wonderful views and friendly chickens.
With the sun shining brilliantly above us and fellow artists – dutifully socially distanced – by our sides, despite the masks, it almost felt as if the world was back to normal again. We had superb coffee and lovely conversation to sustain us while painting or sketching and the Deli’s fresh produce to take home with us.
At the end of the day everyone went home happy, with a whole lot of inspiration in their sketchbooks and bags.
Thanks Sonja for another great outing. These impromptu days are totally weather dependent and Sonja will notify artists on the group whatsapp, so if you want to get involved, please email Sonja on: firstname.lastname@example.org
The next “official” plein air outing will be on 20 August to a farm near Darling. For more info, please see the latest SASA newsletter, or email Sonja Frenz.