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Acrylics Workshop With Lynne Menge

On 7 May 2022 Lynne Menge conducted a workshop at the Peter Clarke Art Centre in Newlands. The topic for the day was “painting a large format seascape in acrylics.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lynne is known for – among other subject matter – her large seascapes, which she fills with colour, texture and movement. During the course of the day, we were shown how to create those interesting, varied textures, using smooth and rough media, applied with a palette knife, to create crashing waves and craggy rocks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

While the textured under layers were left to dry, Lynne took us through the colour mixing process, showing us how she gets the many vibrant shades of blue used in her seascapes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tattered old paint-brushes, tooth-brushes and even baby-wipes are among the implements in the arsenal of tools she uses for applying texture and colour to a canvas, to achieve that very realistic sense of motion in her waves.

We all walked away with a whole lot of ideas and techniques to put into practice. Thank you Lynne, for a most enjoyable and inspiring day….and thanks, Irene for organising it for us.

 

 

 

 

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Kim Black – Finding your Voice

Our May members’ meeting was held on Thursday 26th, at the Athenaeum and we were privileged to have Kommetjie artist, Kim Black, chatting to us about “Finding Your Voice in Art”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kim paints large canvases, with – amongst other subject matter – loose and lovely, brightly coloured flowers and she spoke to us about her process – how she went about finding her own “voice”. She stressed the importance of not comparing yourself to others and to just keep going, no matter how challenging it may be, or how vulnerable you might feel. Kim quoted the words of Picasso “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Kim has a plan of five basic steps/rules, which form her pathway to getting where she needs to be with her work and she laid them out for us to help find our own way.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

• Pay Attention – to things like the materials you are using and the observations made by your viewers.

• Visual vocabulary – What is it you are trying to say? Which subject matter do you prefer? She referenced books like “Drawing on the artist within”, “Drawing on the right side of the brain” and “The Artist’s Way”

• Do it Afraid – don’t be brave, just do it scared! When we feel vulnerable, our most authentic self comes out.

• The power of connection – exposing your vulnerability makes you more accessible to more people.

• Comparison is the thief of joy – Don’t compare yourself to others. Our work is unique to us and should always be so.

Thanks Kim, for an evening both entertaining and thought provoking.

 
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SASA April Members’ Meeting

Cliff Davies was our guest for the evening on Thursday 28 April at our members’ meeting at the Athenaeum. He gave us an extremely interesting demonstration of the art of “eco-printing”. The effects he achieves and how he goes about the whole process was quite fascinating.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cliff starts by collecting a variety of pieces of foliage, flowers, seeds, grasses, .etc – in fact any interesting plant material he can lay his hands on. He then places these between heavy sheets of watercolour paper, which he piles about twenty deep, then presses together between two pieces of board, tied tightly together with cable ties.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This bundle is then submerged in water – preferably pond, not tap, to encourage the growth of algae and other microorganisms – where it stays for about a week. Cliff adds bits of iron, lead and other metals, to help create different effects.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once in the water the whole process is out of his control and the end results are only revealed once the parcel is unwrapped.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A wonderful process, full of “happy accidents”, as we were shown when he unwrapped a batch he’d prepared the week before.

A truly captivating evening, full of exciting new ideas to play with and explore. Thank you Cliff.

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Eco Printing Demo With Cliff Davies

The SASA Members’ Meeting for April 2022 will be held on Thursday 28 April at the Athenaeum. Our special guest for the evening will be Cliff Davies – a past winner in our “Print Media” category – who will be showing us how he does his unique mono prints with natural objects, such as leaves and flower heads. A great new technique to discover and get creative with – an opportunity not to be missed!

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SASA January Members’ Meeting and Demo

We kicked off this year’s SASA calendar on Thursday 27 January, with our members’ meeting at the Athenaeum. This, the first meeting of 2022, was well attended in socially distanced numbers and everyone present found the evening totally inspiring – the only thing lacking was a few more hours!

 

Set up and well spaced around the hall, were six of our “best of” prize-winners from last year’s annual selection day giving us a live demonstration.

Laura Wenmann – best oil – showed us how she produces her beautiful portraits, using a blank canvas and a photograph as her starting point.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Jeremy Day – best acrylic – demonstrated the attention to detail necessary for reproducing his hyper-realistic landscapes, focusing for the evening, on tiny finishing touches.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pam Quinlan – best watercolour – peacefully went through the process of creating one of her exquisite paintings, using her particular gift of perfect colour choice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Val Watt – best pastel – took us through her superb pastel techniques, sharing her secrets and skills with us and answering our many queries.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Deirdre Harris – best mixed media – showed us how she builds up the beautifully integrated layers of shapes and colour for her mixed media pieces.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sonja Frenz – our new fellow – did a lovely monochromatic landscape in a range of charcoals, starting with smudgy dust, all the way to sharply drawn black lines and white lines created with different erasers.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was fascinating to watch how the various projects came together through the course of the evening and to be able to talk to the artists, getting replies to questions we’ve needed to ask. Although the time allowed was not enough to complete a piece, we got a very good idea of how each would turn out. Beautifully!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Thank you to our “demonstrators” for your time, trouble and expertise. Thanks as well to all the members who joined us for the evening…..and of course, to Avril for the lovely refreshments.

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Prize-winners Demo

Our first members’ meeting will be held on Jan 27 at the Athenaeum at 7:00pm. Our winners from last year’s Annual will be demonstrating their skills.

Laura Wenman (Oils)
Jeremy Day (Acrylic)
Lucy Cobern (Drawing)
Pam Quinlan (Watercolour and new Fellow)
Val Watt (Pastel)
Deirdre Harris (Mixed Media)
Di Burger (Sculpture)
Sonja Frenz (our new Fellow)

To avoid congestion, the demos will be spaced out in the main hall, the drawing room and – weather permitting – outside. An evening not to be missed!

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SASA Natalie Hirschman Demo

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 – secretary@sasa-artists.co.za . 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.

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Val Watt Pastel Demo

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.

 

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Val Watt Pastel Workshop

A group of about ten SASA members joined us on Saturday 15 May for a wonderful pastel workshop with Val Watt. Starting with the declaration “There are no rules, only options”, Val very generously shared all her experience and expertise with us, never prescriptive, but letting us find our own way, gently guiding us if we got lost.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Val first discussed the materials we’d be using – soft, medium and hard pastels; the various papers available and new textural and innovative ways of making our own supports. As she explained and demonstrated the pastels, ground and supports, we tried them out too, feeling and seeing the differences for ourselves, at times even drawing a line on our arm to test for softness and density of pigment.

Val demonstrated a seascape with two figures on the rocks. We began by drawing in the horizon line, while Val described how to check the size, proportion and placement of the figures.

Selecting our lightest, medium and darkest colours, we began to put all we’d learnt that morning into practice. Starting with a watercolour sky and using hard pastel, we drew in the rocks and sea, which we then washed with alcohol to get wonderful textures, splashes and drips.

It was lovely to see all the different interpretations of the scene, each artist bringing her own special touch. We all enjoyed the workshop tremendously and learned an enormous amount. Thank you Val for a truly inspiring day! Thanks as well to Irene for organising it – and the photos – for us and to Mary McMillan for the words. Looking forward to Val’s demo at the SASA members’ meeting next week.