Welcome to the Hertford Art Society Website

Winter Programme 2016 - 2017

From September each year Society Members and visitors enjoy a Programme of talks, critiques, demonstrations and workshops. These sessions are on Tuesday evenings from 7.30pm to 9.30pm at Cowbridge Hall, Cowbridge, Hertford SG14 1PG. Approximately half the evenings in the Winter Programme are for Members to paint or draw either from still life arrangements or a life model. The remaining evenings are taken up with talks, critiques of paintings brought along by Members, demonstrations from a professional artist or workshops. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the non-practical evenings - see separate Programme.


This year’s prizewinners - 64th Open Exhibition

The John Goss Prize - Best in Show
Hydranga by Stella Green - Acrylic


The Lady Laming Award for Abstract Art
River Bank by David Quantrill - Acrylic


The Bill Dale Award 
Old Blue Coats School Hall by Trevor Chamberlain - Oil
(the picture showing the most merit, chosen from among works by Members who regularly support the whole of the Society's activities)


The Edward Mason Award, Best Watercolour Painting
Instant Colour by Anne McCormack - Watercolour


The Mayor's Award - Best 3D work
Queue of Life by Maria-Luisa Wilkings

Hertford Art Society 64th Open Exhibition 2016 - May 1st - 14th

Award Winners

  • The John Goss Prize for the painting the judges considered best in show - 'Hydrangea', Stella Green.
  • The Lady Laming Award for Abstract Art - 'River Bank', David Quantrill.
  • The Bill Dale Award is chosen from works by Members who regularly support the whole of the Society's activities - 'Old Bluecoats School Hall', Trevor Chamberlain.
  • The Mayor's Award for the best 3D work - 'Queue of Life, Bus Stand 7 figures 7 stories', Maria-Luisa Wilkings.
  • The Edward Mason Brushes Award for the best watercolour - 'Instant Colour', Anne McCormack RI, SWA.
  • Visitors’ Choice Award - ‘Show me the way to go home’, Jill Rolfe.

Visitors’ Choice Award
Show me the way to go home by Jill Rolfe - Watercolour

The Exhibition was decidedly Representational this year although there are some abstracts and near abstracts but they are well dotted around.

I love 'kitchen-sink' type art. Top for me was 'Broken Road' by Andrew Naish a close-up of decaying double yellow lines with damaged kerbstones, pitted tarmac, all blues and dull ochres. Yummy! Other delights were John Hardy's steam-engined 'Country Terminus' and the vessel 'P.S.Waverley' by Bill Dean.

I also enjoy striking pictures, ones that are colourful, clever, masterful or even just prettier. My visitor's vote was , 'Down to the Sea, St Ives' by Gillian Flack. Wonderful, gentle colouration in yellows, oranges, palest greens balanced by delicate purple, blue and brown shadows.

Then 'Holkham Beach' by Daniel Hutchings, 'Fish Restaurant' by Roger Dellar, Trevor Chamberlain's 'Old Bluecoat School Hall', a lovely evocation of evening light. The simplicity of fine pen work 'Olive Tree' by Chris Hewitt stood out as restful and delightful. These five high on my Best of Show list.

I find abstracts rather difficult. A couple, very clever in their execution, seemed quite cold to me. More to my taste are semi-abstracts like Terry Bedford's 'The Gate' a Cezanne-ish park scene with a convoluted orange gate to one side. Was it there or not? A semi-abstract sculpture by Heather Jukes called 'Mother and Child', showed a curled female figure with a Henry Moore hole in the centre containing a small child figure with a hole and an even tinier figure within that. Thought provoking. In the 3D works there are a number of ceramic vases and plates beautifully made and finished. 'Purple Vase' a real tour-de-force, brightly coloured in purples, greens and pinks with added flowers, some laid on the surface others sat at the end of deep blue stems, painted leaves and birds. Beautifully made wooden objects, in particular from Dr Waring Robinson whose, 'Flower Stand Mahogany' was the strangest piece of work I have seen for a long time and displaying the highest craft skills.

The Mayor's Award for 3D work went to 'Queue of Life', a bus stand and seven figures. Separate pieces arranged on pavement plus tiny booklets with each story. I couldn't help thinking 'what about the dusting!'

A couple of odd items. Firstly Richard Saunder's 'My Dear Watson'. Surreal in every aspect, a nightmarish, surreal scene with stars, brain coral, bones with blood and stuff, wisps of blue ectoplasm! In the 3D section two tiny little perspex boxes by Diane Loan contained musicians and instruments – 'Fab 4' and a golfer with bag – 'Fore' neatly made from tiny electronic components.

The Open Exhibition was up to the usual high standard and I could happily describe the whole thing but space is short.

The Exhibition results, as always, from the hard work of many members over several preceding days. LOTS of thanks to you all.

T John Jarratt.

East Herts Decorative and Fine Arts Society

For the last five years sponsorship of the award judged to be the best piece of 3D work at the Open Exhibition has been provided by EHDFAS – East Herts Decorative and Fine Arts.

The 2016 winner was "Queue of Life" Bus Stand - 7 Figures 7 Stories by Maria-Luisa Wilkings. Actually it’s 8 figures, I think Maria got carried away when she was submitting her figures. Each one comes with a short back-story documented in a mini-booklet accompanying the figure. Their future stories have yet to unravel: Maria says we may well be seeing what happens to at least some of them at a future exhibition. This saga could run and run.

EHDFAS Members enjoy monthly talks at the Spotlight Centre in Broxbourne on a wide range of arts subjects well beyond the decorative and fine. Among other things we also go on visits to outstanding buildings and galleries, hold Special Interest days and sponsor Young Art in local schools. Our most recent success has been this batik abstract (‘Lollipops’) entered by a 14 year old Sele School pupil into a National competition where the subject was ‘Edibles’. It won first prize in the 14-16 year age group.

Several members of the Hertford Art Society are members of EHDFAS. For more information on EHDFAS please visit their website.

Still Life Workshop Tutored by Paul Curtis NEAC - 9th April 2016

Commuting between London and Sheffield, Paul Curtis delivers workshops and courses on painting and drawing throughout the UK, whilst painting full-time. He is a regular and popular visitor to Hertford Art Society, giving demonstrations and critiques, tutoring workshops and has been a judge for the annual Open Exhibition.

A still life set up was created, spanning the hall and using a variety of levels to create interest. Paul’s treasure trove of objects included jugs, pots, vases - many of which were in shades of white. Flowers and foliage added an extra dimension to the scene.

This was a full day workshop, which gave time to sketch and draw before moving onto a larger work on canvas or paper.

For full report, click here for more details.

Illustrating Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius - A Concert by Hertford Choral Society - 19th March 2016

Our Society was again invited to illustrate Hertford Choral Society’s Easter concert, held in All Saints Church, Hertford on 19th March 2016. This year’s concert was Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius: a significant endeavour involving 140 singers, 55 orchestral players and three brilliant soloists.


Illustrating The Dream of Gerontius proved more challenging than previous HCS concerts. No Great Whales to paint (Haydn’s Creation), no magisterial Pharoes (Handel’s Israel in Egypt), no chariots of fire (Mendelssohn’s Elijah). Instead Gerontius is all thoughts of death, visions of purgatory, spiritual thunderbolts and glimpses of God. Dramatic stuff but not too many strong visual images to get onto canvas.

For full report, click here for more details.

Demonstration & Workshop – Abstract Art by Chantelle Stephenson – 8th March 2016

Chantelle Stephenson is a professional artist who specialises in abstract painting, printmaking, drawing, alternative photography techniques and felt making. She teaches at "The Settlement” in Letchworth where she offers a variety of courses in different art forms. Chantelle has had her work shown in a London Gallery and has travelled to Japan recently where her style of working has been of great interest to the Japanese artists. Obviously she has also brought back a lot of new ideas from that country which will no doubt be shown in her future art classes.

For full report, click here for more details.

A Story of Three Colours in Art- Red White Blue Illustrated Talk by Alexandra Epps – 1st December 2015

We were delighted to welcome Alexandra Epps, a graphic designer, NADFAS lecturer and City of London Guide, to Hertford Art Society. Alexandra is experienced in guiding tours of Public Art and Architecture of the City of London as well as the collections in Tate Modern and Tate Britain.

The talk focused on three colours - Red, White & Blue and Alexandra explored how colour impacts on our perception of art with a wonderful array of paintings as illustration. (Two images from each section are shown here as examples - many are well-known and can be easily sourced on line.)

  • 2015dec-colours07.jpg
    Red - one of the most powerful colours associated with passion, aggression and obsession. Historically it is an earth colour...
  • 2015dec-colours08.jpg
    White is the colour of snow, of mourning, of innocence, honesty, cleanliness, perfection, spirituality.
  • 2015dec-colours09.jpg
    Blue is associated with the unfathomable depths of the ocean and the immensity of the sky - “The Blues”.

For full report, click here for more details.

Review of Members’ Show - 30th October - 1st November 2015

This year, for the first time, Hertford Art Society members held their annual show at their regular meeting place - Cowbridge Hall, Cowbrige, Hertford, SG12 1PG. In its new premises the Members’ Show took on a whole new look – lots of light flooding in, room for double the number of pictures of previous shows, and a layout that beckoned you around each set of panels like a garden full of nooks and crannies. This larger venue meant that were able to exhibit more and larger artwork and 68 artists contributed 230 framed and 3D pieces as well as browsers full of unframed work and an exciting selection of greetings cards.


Strewards offered coffee, tea and cakes and the result was a totally relaxed and friendly show enjoyed by a good stream of visitors each day. If they didn’t feel like buying a picture there was always a good selection of colourful cards to browse through.

Left: John Godden Award - Members' Choice - Dusk, Woolmer Green Pond by Andrew Clarkson - Oils; Right: May Bennett Award - Still Life with Fruit and Flowers by Maureen Batty - Mixed Media

Awards were made to Andrew Clarkson for his ‘Woolmer Green Pond at Dusk’ (Members award); Maureen Batty for her ‘Still Life with Fruit & Flowers’ (Best Still Life); Marianne Dorn for her galloping horse: ‘I fight the Demons’ within’ (Visitors Choice); and Fiona Pruden for her ‘Forest of Love’ (Most intriguing work). ‘I fight with Demons’ was also runner-up in the Most Intriguing work award and this image by Marianne Dorn and 'Forest of Love’ by Fiona Pruden were lessons in the economy of brushwork that reinforces the ‘less-is-more’ mantra. Maureen Batty’s ‘Still Life with Fruit & Flowers’ demonstrated the power of a good Ink Wash and Andrew Clarkson’s Woolmer Green Pond breathed a gentle Summer’s evening.
Visitors' Choice Award - I fight the Demons within by Marianne Dorn - Ink


Most Intriguing Work - Forest of Love by Fiona Pruden - Watercolour

Among the other exhibits, the following really stood out:

  • - June Pickard’s ‘Circus Acrobat’ was delightful – negative spaces emerging from the views between arms, legs and torso of the 3D model
  • - Amber Richards’ two ‘Fantasia’ models deserved to be snapped up at the modest prices she was setting
  • - Ray Ward’s watercolour of Hertford Basin was bought by Hertford Museum, no doubt to become part of the Museum’s pictorial record of Hertford; a splendid accolade.

35 pictures were sold - 27 framed and 8 unframed together with many greetings cards - all of which were respresentations of Members’ artwork or original images. This compares with last year’s figures of 22 sold (8 framed and 13 unframed).  So we did a lot better in the new premises.  This successful Show was made possible by the efforts of many Members and thanks go to all who helped put up and take down the show, baked cakes, dispensed refreshments or acted as stewards. 

Geoff Bennett

Demonstration – Boat Shed at Richmond in Acrylics by Derek Daniells RBA – 13th October 2015

A member of the Wapping Group of Artists, Derek Daniells is a professional artist who uses a variety of mediums such as oil, acrylic, mixed media and pastel with equal skill on a wide range of subjects. He prefers direct observation, often working on site in all weathers. He aims to complete his paintings in one session and travels extensively, seeking out subjects which excite his eye. He loves working along the Thames and chose to demonstrate an interior scene of one of his favourite boat sheds in Richmond.

Working from a photograph, Derek initially lays down some dilute washes of acrylic in shades of grey, ochre and blue, defining some key shapes of the scene. He likes to paint on mdf board which has been primed by up to four coats of acrylic gesso. These are robust and easy to transport. His chosen palette is: Cadmium Yellow/ Orange/ Red, Yellow Ochre, Burnt Sienna, Naples Yellow, Ultramarine Blue, Cerulean Blue and Phthalo Turquoise.

For full report, click here for more details.

Visit to County Hall Hertford with Blue Badge Guide – 29th September 2015

Members of Hertford Art Society gathered at the main Hall where the two striking stag sculptures stand either side of the entrance. Our Blue Badge guide for the evening was Elizabeth Eastwood and we began the tour at the archive and family tree room in which hung 3 beautiful landscape paintings by a local painter Edward Archibald Brown. Member Trevor Chamberlain, who is a fan of the Artist, gave us a brief history of Brown’s life. He had also brought in a folder with some original sketches by Brown. It was also in the archive room we saw a lovely painting of a farmer burning leaves in Ashridge by the “well-known painter (pause for it) Anon”, Elizabeth joked.


For full report, click here for more details.

Visit to Gibberd Gallery - 15th September 2015

This year‘s Winter Programme includes three evenings which have been arranged at interesting local settings and the first of these was a visit to the Gibberd Gallery in Harlow Water Gardens.


The Gibberd Gallery is a purpose built contemporary exhibition space in the centre of Harlow on the mezzanine floor of the Civic Centre. It is run by Harlow Art Trust, a charity formed in 1953, which also commissions and purchases sculpture for the town. It is home to the important collection of British watercolours donated to the town by Sir Frederick Gibberd in 1984. This collection is permanently on display and includes pieces by John Nash, Edward Bawden and Elizabeth Blackadder.

The Gallery Director, Corinna Dunlea gave an interesting talk on the origins of the Gallery and the importance of art in the original concept of the design of Harlow by the architect Sir Frederick Gibberd. There are currently 79 public sculptures situated throughout Harlow.

Members then spent the evening looking closely at the permanent collection of watercolours and sketching the various sculptures, including Harlow Family Group 1954 by Henry Moore, an imposing larger than life work in Hadene Stone which greets visitors to the Gallery.

The gallery also has a variety of on-going temporary exhibitions worth looking out for and it is open and free to all visitors - very conveniently situated between Asda and Matalan in Harlow town centre.

Collage Workshops at Hertford Museum - 17th June 2015

Following a successful Printing Workshop in March, Hertford Museum ran two workshops using Collage as a medium - with a still life set up using items from their varied collection of artefacts as a source of inspiration.

Two Collage workshops took place on 17th June (one in the morning and one in the evening) in the well-appointed studio at the Museum, 18 Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT.

For full report, click here for more details.

Collage Workshop - 21st April 2015

While artists have been layering images and incorporating elements into their work since the advent of paper, collage truly emerged as a medium in its own right in the early years of the 20th century with the Cubist experiments of Pablo Picasso and Georges Braque. The term collage was coined by these artists in the beginning of the 20th century when collage became a distinctive part of modern art. (from the French: coller, "to glue).


For full report, click here for more details.

Saturday Life Workshops

Hertford Art Society runs Life Workshops in Cowbridge Halls, Hertford on the last Saturday of 9 months during the year. Although these are primarily run for members we welcome enthusiastic visitors at £14.50 per session, this includes coffee, tea and biscuits, available all day.

The sessions are untutored and last from 10.00am – 4.00pm with a break of 1hr at lunchtime. We work in in all mediums including prep work for sculpture. Bring whatever medium and equipment you require with you. These photographs are from a recent workshop and illustrate the exciting variety of work produced by the artists.

We are a very enthusiastic and relaxed group of artists and welcome looking at each, others’ work (the best way to improve). Even so, we try to keep the working area reasonably quiet. There are normally 2 models unless the group is small, when there is only one. We do not have a set programme of poses, but usually include short poses, mostly in the morning and longer poses for artists who wish to produce a more finished piece of work.

Workshops take place on the last Saturday of the month for nine months of the year. They do not take place in April, August and December due to the annual Open Exhibition and holiday periods.

If you are interested please contact workshops@hertfordartsociety.co.uk for further details.

Summer Programme

Every summer following the indoor Winter Programme and the Open Exhibition, Hertford Art Society Members enjoy painting and sketching out of doors on Tuesday evenings at various venues in the Hertford Area.

Painting in the grounds of Hertford Castle
Painting in the grounds of Hertford Castle

Any local artists from the villages or areas to be visited are welcome to come along for the outdoor painting sessions etc. Parish dignitaries or councillors are also invited to join Members socially later.

Society's aim

The Society's aim is to encourage interest in the visual arts and to provide opportunities to practice, study and exhibit art in Hertford and the surrounding area.

It is well regarded for the high standard of artworks on display at the annual Open Exhibition. Submissions are received from across Hertfordshire as well as other parts of the country.

Members work in a range of media and styles from traditional painting in oils, pastel, watercolours and acrylics to printmaking, collage, multi-media and digital – computer based imagery. Three dimensional work in wood, clay, stone and metal is also well represented.

This diversity and an approach to art which values traditional skills alongside contemporary art forms combine to make Hertford Art Society a leading light in the local art world.