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November SASA Members’ Meeting

On Thursday the 25th of November we held our last meeting for 2021 at the Athenaeum and what a fun evening we had. Our president, Liz Pearson opened the meeting with all the formalities, welcomes and thanks.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We started inside the hall, seated at tables decorated with lanterns sparkling with fairy lights and where we were surrounded by a whole lot of very beautiful works of art – the entries for the Eleanor Palmer Competition – but that came later.

Sonja Frenz was presented with her certificate, awarding her Fellowship of the Society. Well done Sonja, an accolade so well deserved. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cups and certificates were also awarded to the winners of both the drawing competition and the Landscape, Life and Still-Life competition, which had taken place during our Zoom meetings for February and August respectively. The winner of the drawing competition was our new Fellow, Sonja Frenz, with her drawing “Rainy Days are the Best”.

Mary McMillan won the landscape competition with “Any Way the Wind Blows”, the Life-drawing category was won by Val Watt, with “Contemplation” and the Still-life by Penny Steynor’s “Home-grown”.

Then came the main event of the evening – the “Eleanor Palmer Competition”.

Glass of wine, or plate of snacks in hand, we studied the paintings presented and duly voted for our favourites. Then, while the votes were being counted, as it was such a beautiful evening, we all moved outside, wine, snacks, tables and all, and the games began. We were each given a numbered, rather random-looking coloured square – a piece of a picture, which we then had to reproduce in paint onto a bigger, blank square….

When placed in the right positions on a backing board, these abstract painted squares miraculously formed a lovely picture of the Peter Clarke Art Centre. Great Game, Adrian!

The Eleanor Palmer winners were then announced…..in third place, “Sunset Herders” by Judy Hilton-Green, second was “African Sky”, by Penny Steynor and in first place, “Mother’s Love” by Laura Wenman. Well done to all of you, your work is beautiful.

Thanks to our tireless council for all the hard work they do and for putting the evening together. Thanks, as well, to all who brought a plate of snacks to share and to Philip Green for the lanterns with their solar fairy-lights, which gave the evening such a festive atmosphere.

Wishing you all “Happy Holidays”, whatever it is you’ll be celebrating. Enjoy the break and see you next year!

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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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Portrait in Oil – Demo With Laura Wenman

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!

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March Meeting – Lesley Charnock Demo

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.

 

 

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March 2016 SASA Members’ Meeting

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.

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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.

 

 

 

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Demo with Adolfo McQue

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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!

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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.

 

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July Members meeting

 

This month’s members’ meeting was held on Thursday 30 July at the Athenaeum in Newlands.

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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.