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.
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.
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.
On Thursday 25 Feb we’ll be having our monthly meeting, once more via Zoom. This meeting will include the AGM and drawing competition. See the latest SASA newsletter for details.
Thursday 28 January was a busy day for SASA members, with the hanging of the Merit Exhibition in the morning and our members’ meeting – once again by “Zoom” – in the evening.
Well-known South African artist David Bucklow was our guest for the evening, chatting to council member Adrian Larkin, about his work and “life in art”.
Born in Johannesburg, David did most of his growing up in KZN and moved to Cape Town in 1987. Though always an artist at heart, David has had no formal training, but refined his skills through practice, dedication and determination, often painting late at night, while working in other fields during the day to earn his living.
The sea has always been a big part of David’s life and features largely in his work – he painted his favourite lighthouse from many different angles – but he also loves animals and his wildlife paintings became a big “income generator” amongst locals and tourists alike.
David’s advice to anyone hoping to make a living by selling their art, is to paint what sells, yet still remain true to yourself, painting what makes you happy in between.
During the first days of hard lock-down, when galleries couldn’t open, David did a series of small paintings of favourite views around the Cape Peninsula, from Muizenberg to Cape Point and Chapman’s Peak. Working quickly, in acrylics, he did a painting a day, selling them to locals at very reduced rates and it’s this entrepreneurial spirit that got him through the lock-down.
As one of the thirty-two participants put it, David was “refreshingly normal and humble” and an inspiration to us all. Thanks David, for taking the time to talk to our members and share a little of your journey with us.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.