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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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SASA Zoom Meeting for July

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 – exhibitions@sasa-artists.co.za

 

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!

 

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An Evening With Helen Van Stolk

Our members’ meeting for June was held on Thursday the 24th via Zoom. The meeting was opened by the SASA president, Liz Pearson, who welcomed new and returning members to the society and assured us that we’d be meeting in the Athenaeum as soon as possible – we just have to “wait and see” when that will be. She assured us that this years selection weekend would definitely be happening, but with strict COVID protocols in place.

 

 

 

 

Liz introduced our guest for the evening, Helen van Stolk, who gave us a wonderful slide presentation, showing how our art can expand our lives. She told us how lucky we are, as artists – especially in these challenging times – because our creativity allows us to journey within, when it’s not possible to go anywhere else.

 

 

 

 

Helen told us of her own steps to creating more than just a painting, but a whole experience for herself and her viewers. She encouraged us to experience more – to notice what we’re attracted to and open ourselves up to our deepest desires, gathering inspiration along the way.

 

 

 

 

 

A vision board is a good way of collecting all these bits of inspiration and opening our subconscious to ideas and possibilities.

 

 

 

 

 

Helen told us of her dreams of visiting the studios of various artists, of drawing amongst an orchestra, of hosting workshops, all of which she made real by reaching out and making them happen.

She showed us a little of her studio practice and gave us a taste of her latest exhibition.

Helen’s advice to us was to dream big, be open to the unexpected and let the magic unfold, till our whole life becomes a masterpiece.

Thanks Helen, for a most inspiring evening. In case anyone missed this meeting, it was recorded, so please email Nicole – the SASA secretary – secretary@sasa-artists.co.za – for information.

 

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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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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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April SASA Monthly Members’ Meeting – Sonja Frenz Demo

Sonja Frenz will be our guest at the SASA members’ meeting on Thursday the 29th of April. Sonja will be giving us a demo of drawing skills and techniques. The meeting will once again be held via zoom. See the April SASA newsletter for details.

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SASA March Members’ Meeting – Celeste Barnard Talks About Paper

On Thursday 25 March we had yet another members’ monthly meeting via zoom. Audrey Innes, our outgoing SASA president, handed over the reins to Liz Pearson, who will be taking on the role. Liz began by welcoming new members to the society and especially our new council member, Val Watt (Yay Val!!).

If anyone else would be willing to serve on the council, there are a couple more empty places. The society cannot be run without it, so please consider stepping up and giving a little of your time.

 

 

 

 

 

The main attraction of the evening was Celeste Barnard, from Kuhne Conservation Studio, who gave a talk on paper and paper conservation.

 

 

 

 

Celeste began by telling us a little about the chemical structure of paper and the different natural materials used in the making of paper. It was interesting to learn how the different fibres, found in different plant sources and even parts of the same plant, have such an effect on the type and quality of the paper produced, thereby explaining its suitability for different applications.

 

 

 

 

We also learnt about the additives used in paper-making and the reasons water has such an impact on the paper itself, as well as the artwork on the surface of the paper. Water plays a large part in the paper-making process, so when too much is added at a later stage the paper reverts to it’s original pulpy state, whereas if the paper dries out too much, it becomes brittle and crumbles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The way a piece of paper reacts to water can also tell us a lot about how the paper was made, if by hand, or machine.

 

 

 

 

The conservation and restoration of paper is a very complex subject, into which Celeste gave us a little insight, stressing the importance of acid free materials when painting or framing, as well as the correct storage conditions. She also gave us tips on the prevention of potential risks.

 

 

 

 

Thank you Celeste for a hugely informative evening and for answering all our questions. For anyone who missed it, the complete presentation will be available from SASA.

 

 

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Feb Members’ Meeting, AGM and Drawing Competition

On 25 February, the last Thursday of the month, we held our monthly members’ meeting for the eighth time via zoom, our first AGM to be held using this platform. We’re getting the hang of this!

 

 

 

 

The meeting was opened by our President, Audrey Innes, who welcomed new members to our society and introduced council member, Adrian Larkin, as MC for the evening. Great job, Adrian, it all went very smoothly.

All the usual AGM protocols were adhered to, with Audrey giving the annual president’s report, which was a little sparse, due to the most peculiar year we’ve had, and Mike Forrester – SASA treasurer – giving the financial report.

A useful suggestion was made by one of the members attending that some sort of schedule of events be drawn up at the beginning of the year so that new members would know what to expect. It was also suggested that one of our more long-standing members should be at our monthly meetings to welcome newcomers to the society. Lyn Northam very kindly volunteered for this role.

Then came the drawing competition, for which 18 entries had been submitted via email and for which votes could be cast either again via email, or over the zoom “chat” after the meeting.

We had some very beautiful entries, but the overall favourites, voted for by members who attended the meeting were…..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

in first place,”Rainy Days are the Best”                        second was “Hidden Treasures”                                           by Sonja Frenz                                                      by  Penny Steynor

 

and third was “Fun Times” by Sue Paulsen.

 

Well done you three and enjoy spending your vouchers, which were very kindly sponsored by Deckle Edge.