On Wednesday 15 September a group of SASA plein air enthusiasts met at Keurboom Park in Rondebosch, for a morning’s painting and sketching.
The weather wasn’t exactly warm, but there was a definite feel of Spring in the air, with trees budding all around us and flowers dotted around in the long grass. The park was full of dog-walkers, mums and their little ones and nannies with their charges, enjoying the lovely fresh air.
We had a really good day, surrounded as we were by trees, lush greenery and rivers spanned by bridges, with our beautiful mountain in the background, giving us all beautiful choices of subject matter and composition.
In fact, everyone enjoyed the setting so much that we’ll be back there again next week – Wednesday the 22nd of September – and perhaps more of our members would like to join us? If you’d like to be a part of the plein air group, please email Sonja Frenz – email@example.com – and she’ll add you to the whatsapp group.
Hopefully our September members’ meeting will be held at the Athenaeum, but for our 26 August meeting we were still on Zoom.
Liz Pearson opened the meeting by welcoming new members and reminding us of the latest change in dates for selection weekend – if you’re in any doubt, please email Nicole, the SASA secretary – firstname.lastname@example.org . Liz also told us how very well the current Members 2 exhibition is doing at Kirstenbosch – very uplifting news, after the long months of slow sales – and then introduced Natalie Hirschman, our guest for the evening.
Natalie did a live demo for us, her first attempt at doing a portrait demo before a live audience, as she generally takes a lot longer than the time we had to complete a portrait. Actually, most of us would’ve been happy to watch her paint all night! It was truly amazing to see how she “builds” her portraits. We were shown stages of some of her others, from nearly beginning to completed work, so we could see where she was heading.
After showing us her selection of colours on her big glass palette, Natalie started on the background, with really big brushes, putting down shapes, rather than drawing lines and then added the basic face shapes. To her the background and face are integral to each other and need to be painted as such, rather than separately.
She likes to give her work a sense of movement and mystery with her brushwork, marks and undefined edges, constantly changing brushes, mixing colours, cooling and warming, lightening and darkening, adding and removing as she goes.
She paints “around the features” rather than the features themselves with brushstrokes rather than line and letting the features flow into each other. Natalie prefers to paint wet into wet paint, so nothing is static, putting down the basic structure of the face in one go and working out the details later.
Thank you Natalie for a totally absorbing evening. We’re waiting in breathless anticipation to see how the portrait eventually turned out, although, I think we all agree, it was rather beautiful just as you left it.
On Friday morning, 13 August, we hung and opened our Members’ 2 exhibition at Kirstenbosch in the Richard Crowie Hall. It still feels strange not having the official opening in the evening, but at least we’re there.
We were given very little notice of the dates, so seem to have caught many of our artists on the hop! Even though the number of artworks submitted was less than usual, the quality was not and we have an exhibition we can be proud of to show for it.
Our group of helpers arrived nice and early on a bright and sunny, if a little chilly, morning and we soon got ourselves set up to receive everyone’s work. With all covid protocols in place, the process went very well and smoothly, as did the hanging. We had some of our new members helping us, which is a great way for them to get to know how things work and to meet other members of the society.
Thanks to all who came to lend a hand – it makes the task so much easier when we have a good team – and thanks to Avril, for keeping us fed and “watered” throughout the day.
To cap it all, we even managed to sell a few paintings while we were busy setting up, which certainly bodes well for the remainder of the exhibition. Well done to those who have already sold a piece or two and, fingers crossed, the sales carry on going so well.
The exhibition will run till Tuesday 31 August, so be sure to let your friends and fans know. Entrance to the gardens is free on Tuesdays for pensioners with SA citizenship.
On Thursday 29 July we had our monthly members’ meeting, as has become usual, via Zoom and we had a record 49 participants. We’re getting the hang of this!
Liz Pearson opened the meeting by welcoming new and returning members and gave us the good advice to “keep creating, no matter what”! She reminded us that the annual selection weekend has been moved to the weekend of the 4th and 5th of September – if anyone can lend a hand on the day/s, please let Audrey know – email@example.com
As is traditional for the July meeting, we held our (slightly modified) Landscape, Life and Still-Life competition, which was extremely well supported. We had so many beautiful entries, the judges had a really hard time choosing the winners, but they eventually managed to decide.
We had three “critics” – Lyn Northam, Laura Wenman and Beth Lowe – who discussed the winning works and the possible reasons they caught the judges’ eye.
In the “Landscape” category, 3rd was Lyn Northam’s “Foraging Ibis”, 2nd Beth Lowe’s”Virga (Ghost Rain)” and in 1st place Mary McMillan’s “Any Way the Wind Blows”.
The winners in the “Life” category were, in 3rd place, Katherine Sutton’s “Inky Play”, 2nd “Serenity” by Lesley Charnock and 1st was Val Watt’s “Contemplation”.
Lesley Charnock featured again in the “Still-Life” category, placed 3rd with her painting entitled “From Margie’s Garden”, 2nd was Wyn Rossouw’s “Hibiscus Sunlight” and in 1st place, Penny Steynor’s “Home Grown”.
The critics congratulated the judges on their choices, where “out-of-the-ordinary” featured well in the winning works. The paintings were complimented on their unusual composition, colour choices and values, as well as a sense of movement, even in the still-life category. The critiques also included the beautiful use of brush-strokes and negative spaces, as well as mark-making done with alternative tools, each painting masterfully executed in it’s own unique way.
Congratulations to all the winners, and well done, our three critics. Great job everyone!
Last Saturday, 26 of June, was the penultimate of this season’s life drawing sessions at the scout hall in Newlands. We had such an enjoyable morning drawing Gomez, new for us and a wonderful model.
He posed very comfortably, his shapes and gestures were beautiful and it was good to have some masculine muscles to draw.
We were once again well socially distanced – plenty of room in the hall – and adhered to all the rules with masks and hand-sanitisers. Everyone had another very satisfying morning of drawing and painting, producing some beautiful work.
With just one more session to go, there’s still space for a couple more “drawers”, so if you’d like to join us, please email the SASA secretary, Nicole Riedler at firstname.lastname@example.org
On Saturday 19 June, we had the third of this season’s Winter life drawing sessions at the Newlands Scout Hall. We were all masked up and well socially distanced and even though a door had to be kept open for fresh air, it was pretty warm for the middle of Winter, so nobody suffered too badly….although we still needed heaters on to keep our model comfortable.
Our model for the morning was Jessie – and what a wonderful job she did. Not afraid of getting into peculiar positions, she gave us some very interesting poses to draw and kept us all totally absorbed. Some beautiful work was produced and everyone went home happy.
Thanks to Val and Chris for admin and to Avril for the tea……and of course, all those who helped pack up afterwards.
If you’d like to attend the remaining two sessions, please email our secretary, Nicole – email@example.com – the cost will be R80 per session.
Our Winter life drawing sessions are on again. There will be five in all – 5, 12, 19, 26 June and 3 July – held at the Newlands Scout Hall. For more info, please see the latest SASA website and to book a spot, please email Nicole at firstname.lastname@example.org
We had a great start to the SASA Winter Life drawing sessions – our first was on Saturday 5 June – with Sinead modeling for us. We were well socially distanced and all masked up.
Though the scout hall is always a little chilly, it was warmer than expected and our model was kept nice and warm with all the heaters going. The rest of us had our woollies to keep us warm.
Sinead is the perfect life drawing model. She is totally relaxed in her body and presented us with beautiful and interesting poses, that together with her lovely “Renaissance” colouring, inspired us to new heights of drawing.
The morning went very smoothly, thanks to Chris, who did all the admin; Val, who took charge and Avril for the catering.
It was good to see everyone again – old and new faces making beautiful art together – and all lent a hand with the set-up and take-down, for which we’re very grateful.
There may still be space for a couple more artists, so if you’re interested in joining the next session, please email Nicole Riedler – email@example.com
Our members’ meeting for May was well attended via Zoom, with over 40 people watching. Everyone was looking forward to Val Watt’s pastel demo.
The meeting was opened by SASA president, Liz Pearson, who welcomed new members and council member and thanked those involved with videoing and presenting our Zoom meetings. She also sent condolences to friends and family of Dale Elliot, a long-time SASA member, who sadly passed away a week ago.
Val began her presentation by showing us all the materials she uses, starting with the pastels themselves, pastels being the closest medium one can get to pure pigment. The softest and most intense colour comes from pan pastels, which are applied with a chamois-covered applicator and used for covering large areas.
She then went through all sorts of different pastels and pastel pencils, the softer of which have more pigment and less binder. As the binder increases, the pigment decreases, which give a lighter, less intense colour and these are usually the pastels used underneath the softer ones. She uses the “arm test” to check the “power” of each pastel.
Next we saw some of the many different papers available, from sanded, which has more tooth and can hold more layers, through to much smoother papers which are not as durable…..and for storage and shipping, a sheet of tracing paper is used to prevent smudging.
Val began her portrait by drawing the face with a hard, light pastel pencil, then adding yellow to place the highlights. She carefully chose her colours for lights, darks and mid tones before she began mapping out her portrait, going from hardest to softest and blending with a harder pastel, rather than a finger.
She splashed alcohol on the pastel to make interesting texture and carried on on top of that, darkening and lightening as she went, correcting drawing and tone, often using colours one would never think of using in a portrait.
It was fascinating to watch the portrait emerge.
Thank you Val, for presenting your process to us and for answering all our questions. If you’re interested in attending one of Val’s workshops, her next one will be held sometime in July.
Plein air painting is not for sissies! You’ll find members of the plein air group out and about whatever the weather. They’ll bundle up warmly, or put on a hat, finding shelter from the weather where they can and producing some amazing work.
This past week there were two outings – one to the harbour at Kalk Bay on Monday 17 May and one to the beach at St James on Wed 19 May, both firm favourites, with lots of choice of subject matter.
The sunny skies disguise the chill in the wind and clear blue can turn to cloudy grey in a matter of minutes, but overcast skies can produce some lovely atmospheric effects, which out artists are adept at capturing on canvas.
Every outing is enjoyable and invigorating in it’s own way. Thanks to all who take the trouble to organise the venues and to those who participate.
If you’d like to be part of the group, please email Sonja Frenz – firstname.lastname@example.org – and she’ll add you to her list.
Strictly Necessary Cookies
Strictly Necessary Cookie should be enabled at all times so that we can save your preferences for cookie settings.
If you disable this cookie, we will not be able to save your preferences. This means that every time you visit this website you will need to enable or disable cookies again.