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Sonja Frenz Charcoal Drawing Demo

 

 

For 29 April’s Members’ meeting we had our own, very talented Sonja Frenz giving us a demo on her charcoal drawing practice.

 

The meeting was opened by our president, Liz Pearson, who thanked Audrey Innes and Adrian Larkin for getting the zoom meetings going – without them we wouldn’t have been able to “meet” at all for the past year, so well done you two!

Liz also assured us that we’d be able to return to the Athenaeum for our meetings from next month and asked that we check our shelves at home for outstanding library materials!

Since this was an online meeting, Sonja had put together a video presentation for us, which started by showing us all the equipment and materials she uses. Who knew there were so many different types of charcoal available!

She showed and demonstrated for us the very loose charcoal dust, applied with a cotton ball; soft willow charcoal; compressed charcoal, which is harder and more difficult to smudge; charcoal pencils and woodless charcoal. We also saw how she uses various erasers, for drawing into darker areas as well as for rubbing out – soft putty eraser, eraser pens – both round and square, battery operated eraser tool, as well as white charcoal and chalk to add sharper highlights and a smudging tool to soften and create gentle lines.

What takes hours and hours to create, we saw in about thirty minutes and it was fascinating to watch the image emerge. Using her cotton ball and working from a photograph, Sonja starts her charcoal pieces by mapping in the largest, darkest areas with charcoal dust, then moving on to the various sticks and tools, editing all the time – smudging lines and adding them, darkening and lightening areas – finishing off with the lightest lights and brightest highlights.

Sonja stressed the need for using a very high quality paper, when using this technique, as well as resisting the urge to use a fixative, as this tends to flatten the layers and loses the “history” of the piece.

Than you Sonja for sharing your secrets with us and for a fascinating demo.

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Plein Air Workshop With Beth Lowe

Beth Lowe, plein air artist extraordinaire, held a workshop on St James Beach on Wednesday the second of March. There were nine participants gathered near the tidal pool, as Beth took us through her process.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Her equipment – obviously simple as it needs to be carried with her – consists of a French easel, a golf umbrella, which she ties down with guy ropes and tent pegs and of course, her paint-box of carefully chosen colours for outdoor painting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Beth illustrated the importance of good drawing skills, composition and choice of focal point, as she worked on her demonstration piece.

 

 

 

 

 

After observing her painting for a while, we set up our easels and got going on our own canvases, while Beth walked between us, assisting where necessary and solving any problems that might have arisen.

 

 

 

 

 

By midday it had become rather hot and a little windy, so after watching Beth complete her painting, some of us jumped into the tidal pool to cool off. A refreshing end to a marvelous morning. Thank you Beth.

 

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October Zoom Meeting With Yvonne Ankerman

 

 

 

 

 

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.

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Don’t Miss the SASA October Zoom Meeting With Yvonne Ankerman!

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.

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September SASA Members’ Meeting

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.

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September SASA Members’ Meeting

Don’t forget this month’s Zoom meeting! On Thursday evening, 24 September Helen Van Stolk will be giving a talk and a demo – “Elevate Spirit through Art” – our own and others’ connection to our work. Not to be missed! For more info, please see the latest SASA newsletter.

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August SASA Members’ Meeting With Erika Van Zyl

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.

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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.