Remembrance Sunday - 11th November 2018

Display of paintings in All Saints Church, Hertford

Christian Soldier - Chris Hewitt
Christian Soldier
- Chris Hewitt
John Jarratt
Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted;
And beauty came like the setting sun:
My heart was shaken with tears; and horror Drifted away ...
(Siegfried Sassoon)
- John Jarratt

The Vicar of All Saints Church, Jo Loveridge, asked the Art Society if artists would provide large aisle paintings to commemorate the hundredth anniversary of the signing of the armistice. A chance to paint & display large, dramatic pictures? Well, of course we would.

The result was seven very different images – three were figurative (Chris Hewitt’s Christian Soldier, Gillian Harman’s scenes from the war in Egypt and Sudan, Geoff Bennett’s despondent ploughman); one – John Jarrratt’s ‘Everyone's voice was suddenly lifted’ - was largely textual; and three combined figurative and symbolic images (Janet Dobney’s Hertford Lad, a soldier returning to scenes from Hertford, Persis Limbuwala’s biplanes flying over text and poppies, Janet Benge’s wry reference to WW1 Propaganda).

The overall effect of the seven pictures hanging down the central aisle of All Saints Church gave a varied representation of the Great War. The Vicar felt that these heartfelt images would be very well received during the service. They will remain on display for a further 3 weeks.

Gillian Harman
In memory of my grandfather William Angus 1884 -1919
In 1917 & 1918 he served in the Royal Army Medical Corps in Egypt as A.D.M.S. (Sanitation), 1st Echelon with the rank of Lieutenant – Colonel. I have a good collection of his photographs from this time, showing rarely seen views of WW1 in the Middle East, and have used some to create my picture. - Gillian Harman

Untitled - Janet Benge Hertford lad - Janet Dobney
[Left] Untitled - Janet Benge. [Right] Hertford lad - Janet Dobney.

Geoff Bennett
No more the ploughman turns the turf
Exploding shells now churn the earth.
He gathers up their bitter harvest.
And dreams of home.
- Geoff Bennett
Persis Limbuwala
“Standing on the ridge it is possible to see what a lot of the country we have taken now."
(from a letter home)
- Persis Limbuwala

Review of 21st Members’ Show

2nd - 4th November 2018

The 21st Members' Show took place in the well lit and spacious Cowbridge Hall in Hertford from 2nd to 4th November 2018. Two hundred framed artworks, submitted by 58 Members, were on show and browsers were full of unframed work. Thirty five pieces of work were sold as well as a good number of artists' greetings cards.

The Visitors' Choice Award:
'Port Vale, Sunset' by Chris Baker - Oils.

The range of subjects and styles made this a truly enjoyable show to visit, with something for everyone and prices to suit all. The Children's Quiz was appreciated by children and parents alike and, as usual, tea and coffee and cake were a popular attraction. Although Friday was a quiet day for visitors, the weekend was particularly busy.

Everyone who visits and revisits the show has their favourites. The problem is choosing which one to vote for! Particularly popular among the visitors were the following: 'Nose in the Air' (camel) by Donna Chamberlain; 'Quinbury in Winter' by Sandra Edney-Lynch; 'Ladies at Ascot' by Jill Elliott; ' Rose and Cow Parsley' by Stella Green; 'Tufty' (squirrel) and also 'Alpes-Maritimes' by Pete Kelly; 'Gazebos, Ware' by Chris King; 'South Devon, plein air' by Craig Lee; 'Strolling in the Sun' by Linda Radford; 'Lion No.1' by Alyson Sharpe; 'A Sunny View' by Paul Swinge and 'Panshanger Country Park' by Fiona White.

For full report, click here for more details.

Portrait in Oils Demonstration - by Rob Wareing

16th October 2018

Rob Wareing was born and grew up in South Africa and still spends a great deal of time there. He studied the techniques of traditional classical painting and became a professional portrait painter at the age of 23. Since then he has had a very fulfilling career spanning over 40 years. He has painted numerous portraits of people of all nationalities and travelled extensively. His work is regularly featured in art magazines. He runs workshops, has demonstrated (on TV and YouTube) and published DVDs of his tutorials.

We are delighted to welcome Rob and his model, Amanda Allen, for this demonstration. He has prepared a canvas, painted in muted shades of acrylic - a typical background to his portraits. His first step is to sketch the model lightly in charcoal, indicating the features and measuring the distances from hairline to eyebrow, eyebrow to mouth, mouth to chin. This initial drawing is critical. He measures and plots the relationships of the model’s features, sketches in the hair, the curve of the cheek and roughly indicates her clothes. The eyes are boldly drawn followed by the nose and the lips. He remarks that the drawing will alter as the painting progresses. He then sprays the sketch to prevent the charcoal mixing too much with the paint.

For full report, click here for more details.

Winter Programme 2018 - 2019

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 (marked with an asterisk).

Winter Programme 2018-2019 (pdf) - click here for more details

Summer Sketching & Painting Evenings 2018

Phew, what a scorcher!



That expression describes simply the wonderful weather we have experienced for our outdoor sketching evenings this summer, which was in complete contrast to last year’s cold and dull Tuesdays. For over 25 years now I have organised the Hertford Art Society’s Summer Programme and do not recall better conditions.


For the start of the Art Society’s Summer Programme we met around the Port Hill area of Hertford, followed by a Tuesday evening at Dobb’s Weir then another at Chapmore End Pond. The weekend at Blakeney in early June was thoroughly enjoyed by those attending with good work produced.

For full report, click here for more details.

Wildlife in Acrylics

Demonstration by David Hyde - 18th September 2018

David Hyde is a self-taught professional artist who lives and works close to the river Great Ouse in St. Ives, Cambridgeshire. He has combined a keen interest in wildlife and bird watching with a life-long passion for painting.

Having worked mainly in watercolour, David has, over time, developed a technique in acrylics to suit his style of portraying wildlife. He works mainly from photographs and had chosen an image of a barn owl against a dark background for his demonstration. He favours MDF board as a support, primed with several layers of Liquitex gesso on both sides and then sanded to a smooth finish as fine brushwork and detail is needed for wildlife painting. (He uses a board cut to the size of his framed painting with the area for painting masked around. The process of adding a mount and framing is thus simplified.) He favours Liquitex Soft Body acrylics as they can be applied thinly, rather like watercolour, without loss of colour. He uses a Liquitex medium to thin the paint and normally paints standing with the work on a tilted board.

For full report, click here for more details.

Visit to Henry Moore Foundation -14th July 2018

A small group of artists from the Society enjoyed an extensive pre-arranged tour of Exhibitions, Studios and Gardens at the Henry Moore Foundation at Perry Green, Much Hadham. Our Guide, Diana Dale, was extremely knowledgeable about the life and times of Henry Moore and gave us an insight into his early life and emergence as a sculptor, his working practices and the themes his work followed throughout his career.

Large Figure in a Shelter 1985-86

The current Exhibition - Out of the Block - displays some of his early carvings alongside later pieces which echo his abiding themes. These are: the reclining figure, mother and child and forms within forms. (This Exhibition runs until October 2018.) There are huge sculptures within the grounds and many in the various studios that we visited - they ranged from a tiny dog (his first effort at sculpture) and grew in size over the years to spectacular forms to walk around in, such as his last sculpture, Large Figure in a Shelter, 1985-86. Depending on location and commission some had to be made at foundries abroad and at home.

For full report, click here for more details.

Summer Painting Weekend

Blakeney, Norfolk - June 8th, 9th and 10th 2018

Work from John Jarratt

The charming coastal village of Blakeney was historically a medieval commercial port transporting spices and oriental cloths, as well as a few smugglers! The estuary today is an amazing landscape of marshes, mud banks and sand hills. It made an ideal venue for the Hertford Art Society annual art weekend.

Malcolm Norris from Lea Valley Art Society joined us on our trip to Blakeney. Inviting other art groups is something we will continue to do in future as it opens up the club to all who are interested in painting outdoors. So feel free to invite others.

Malcolm Norris from Lea Valley Art Society

The members who took part all agreed that Blakeney was ideal for painting, it would have been better if the sun had shone on Friday and Saturday but still it managed to do its job on the Sunday enabling me to produce a pallet knife oil painting of the harbour.

Work from Stephen Lowe

The dining experiences were memorable with an above average Fish & Chip meal on the Friday night in the White Horse followed by a top notch private function at the Blakeney House Boutique B&B. The chef excelled himself and for the second year HAS members gave the Chef a round of applause at the end. Accommodation at the Blakeney Manor Hotel was comfortable and well priced.

Next year we are thinking of discovering Aldeburgh and plan to take in Snape Maltings. Depending on what’s on we may go to a concert. This will take place on the first full weekend of June 2019 so please book it in your diary. Members will be advised as soon as details are available. Remember, feel free to bring non painting partners and/or painting friends.

Stephen Lowe

Hertford Art Society 66th Open Exhibition

May 6th to 19th 2018

The style of this Exhibition varies year by year. The selection of work for a place in the Exhibition is made by a panel of four eminent, practising artists who are completely independent of the Society. This year we were delighted to welcome Abel Kestevan, David Sawyer and David Ord-Kerr as judges for 2D work and Jim Brown as the judge for 3D items. The range of expertise and opinion of the judges and the wide variety of work submitted each year, ensures that each show has a unique mix of artworks. This year 145 artists submitted 562 items for consideration. 269 2D works were selected for hanging and these, together with 27 sculptures and 3D items provided visitors with a diverse, colourful and exciting 66th Open Exhibition at Cowbridge Halls.

The exhibits included etchings, lino and screen prints; digital images; oils, acrylics and watercolours; pastel, pencil, charcoal and ink; collage; 3 D works in a variety of materials. A quiz helped to keep children engaged as they searched for elusive entities. There was something for everyone: atmospheric landscapes, townscapes and seascapes, abstracts, figures busily texting, storytelling or on a busy pedestrian crossing., still life images (abundant fruits, flowers, melons and jugs), butterflies, puffins and elephants. Some works were delicate, others rich in colour and boldly executed. Many, this year were in monochrome, ranging from large pen and ink scenes to exquisite life studies in pencil. Additional works were displayed at other venues in Hertford.

Open for an entire fortnight the exhibition attracted many visitors from a wide area. Hundreds of visitors cast their votes for their favourite exhibit - the winner was Storm over NYC by Chris Hewitt. The joint runners up were The River Beane, Hartham Common by Fiona White and 42nd and Lexington by Michael Lawrence.

Thanks go to all the people who contributed in making this, the 66th Open Exhibition, such a success - it was another exciting and popular show.

Award Winners

  • The John Goss Prize for the painting the judges considered best in show - 'Punk Portrait', William Carney.
  • The Lady Laming Award for Abstract Art - 'Still Life', Brian Innes.
  • The Bill Dale Award is chosen from works by Members who regularly support the whole of the Society's activities - 'Blue Storyteller', Marianne Dorn.
  • The Mayor's Award for the best 3D work sponsored by The Arts Society East Herts - Crouching Hare', Anne Gascoigne. Commendations were awarded to Kathy Burman for “Labyrinth Echo” and to Maria-Luisa Wilkings for “TheScrum”.
  • The Edward Mason Brushes Award for the best watercolour - 'Vaporetto Venice', Andy Lee.
  • Visitors’ Choice Award - ‘Storm over NYC”, Chris Hewitt. The joint runners up were The River Beane, Hartham Common by Fiona White and 42nd & Lexington by Michael Lawrence.

For full report, click here for more 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.

Self-Portrait Workshop - 24th April 2018

20 or more artists ventured along (somewhat nervously) to this Workshop armed with pencils, paints etc and each with a mirror. Each set up their mini-studio, some with rather smart mirrors on stands, others with small mirrors attached somewhat precariously to the top of an easel with masking tape. After settling in, a hush descended as each of us made tentative marks on canvas or paper in order to start this most challenging of tasks.


We measured, gauged angles, tried out positions and wondered if Rembrandt and Van Gogh ever felt this anxious when face to face with themselves. Some of us stuck to pencil and charcoal, others mixed paint, and fretted about colour and tone as well as whether both eyes were the same size.

For full report, click here for more details.

Artist, Trevor Chamberlain, visits Bengeo Primary School - March 2018

“Good afternoon, Mr Chamberlain!”

This was the chorus of welcome from two classes of 7 - 9 year olds at Bengeo Primary School in mid-March. Headteacher, Mrs J Starkiss had previously contacted me to say that the school had discovered my paintings on the Internet, had used them as visual aids in art lessons, and that it would be fantastic for the children to be able to meet a “real live artist” and to see some pictures first hand.

Arc Welding, Forge in Doncaster   Nagshe-Rostam, Nr. Persepolis, Iran
Left: Arc Welding, Forge in Doncaster. Right: Nagshe-Rostam, Nr. Persepolis, Iran.

After a little “arm-wrestling” I agreed to come to the school and conduct the visit on the basis of a Question & Answer format. I commenced with the pupils sitting on the floor listening to me giving a brief outline of my career. They were fascinated to know that I too attended Bengeo Primary School, albeit when it was located next to Holy Trinity Church and the boys and girls were separated but that was a few years ago now!

For full report, click here for more details.

Rutter-Requiem and Bernstein-Chichester Psalms

All Saint’s Church, Hertford - 24th March 2018

The Hertford Art Society has been painting pictures for the Choral Society’s Spring concert since 2008 – about 60 pictures and counting. Some years the task has been relatively straight forward: in our first year we went to work on Handel’s Creation which was a delight, with ‘every living creature that moveth’ and Adam & Eve at home in the garden of Eden. 2013 saw Mendelssohn’s Elijah which also had some great pictorial opportunities - ravens feeding the prophet; and his subsequent flight to heaven, conveyed in ‘a fiery chariot with fiery horses’. Other years the challenge has been much greater – this year for example we have three texts deeply introspective, and with a minimum of landscapes, characters or action to set one’s paintbrush alight.

Anthony Parke
I will fear no evil, for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff comfort me Requiem Mass

Anthony Parke

Brenda Thompson
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures, He leadeth me beside the still waters. Psalm 23, Chichester Psalms

Brenda Thompson

Geoff Bennett
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies. Thou anointest my head with oil. My cup runneth over. Psalm 23, Chichester Psalms

Geoff Bennett

Janet Dobney
Awake, psaltery and harp; I will rouse the dawn! Psalm 108, Chichester Psalms

Janet Dobney

We search the libretto for meaning but even the familiar texts are difficult to bottom out: a table is prepared before me in the presence of mine enemies, my head anointed with oil and my cup runs over. The combination is surreal, which suggest one artistic response. Or does one take a literal view and paint a delightful Dutch still life of a table laden with food and drink: but where to put the enemies, let alone the anointing of the head?

I’d like to say we stand back to consider the big themes in a libretto, but more often it is either a moment of drama that catches the eye – let there be light! (The Creation), a rock splits open (St John’s Passion), fire mingles with rain (Israel in Egypt); or a telling detail: a little cloud like a man’s hand (Elijah), a sullen howl (Dream of Gerontius) or, my all-time favourite, the combine harvester that Persis smuggled into her picture of ‘the farmer waits for the precious crop’ (German Requiem).

Jenny Stratfold
The Lord is my shepherd Psalm 23, Chichester Psalms

Jenny Stratfold

John Jarratt
Surely goodness and mercy Shall follow me all the days of my life Psalm 23, Chichester Psalms

John Jarratt

Paul Swinge
Let eternal light shine upon them, O Lord Requiem Mass

Paul Swinge

Hertford Choral Society


The collaboration between our two Societies over the last 10 years has been a happy and creative one; we look forward to the next decade of painting difficult texts!

Geoff Bennett

Demonstration by Simon Pemberton - Illustrator and Artist

20th March 2018


Is there a difference between illustration and fine art? Simon Pemberton is an artist whose illustration work has been commissioned by a wide variety of major design, publishing and advertising agencies worldwide. He was born on the Wirral near Liverpool, studied at Central St. Martin's College of Art and now lives and works in London's East End with a studio overlooking London fields. He was much inspired by Andrew Wyeth and landscape figures quite significantly in his work.

Simon originally worked in traditional materials. His grandfather was a commercial artist and Simon initially followed in his footsteps. Having experimented with photography, 3D, welding, printing (in all its forms) he was intrigued when his wife won an Apple Mac in a competition. This provided a new and fascinating direction for Simon as it made the process of creating layered images much quicker and easier than by traditional methods.

For full report, click here for more details.

Workshop with artist, Paul Regan - Using photographs, without copying

13th March 2018

Paul Regan is the founder of Insight School of Art, North London, where he mentors professional practicing artists and teaches painting. His background is in Graphic Design and Illustration.

The hall was set out with three intriguing workstations and began with a short presentation of work by various artists who had used photographs as their starting points. These included David Hockney’s photo collages and Tracey Emin’s loose figure sketches.

This Workshop focused on using photographs as an inspiration for artworks and not in a literal way.

For full report, click here for more details.

Painting with Pastels - Demonstration by Heather Brown

13th February 2018

Mention Squirrels to most artists and they’ll think you’re referring to brushes; not so HAS member Heather Brown, whose one time pet, Cyril used to accompany her on country walks safely tucked in her pocket!

Completely self taught, Heather has loved the countryside since childhood when she particularly enjoyed painting trees and sunsets and it was a rural scene she chose for her pastel demonstration.

Working on her favoured cream “Fisher 400”support, she lightly washed over her initial purply darks with water, softening the edges, having previously sketched out her composition in pastel pencil.

For full report, click here for more details.

Still Life Workshop - Tutored workshop with Paul Curtis

10th February 2018

Paul is a professional artist who is based in London and Derbyshire. A Member and regular visitor to Hertford Art Society, he has tutored various workshops, often gives his advice at the monthly critique and has also been a judge at the annual Open Exhibition.


This workshop was well attended and we were greeted by a large and very quirky still life set up which ran the length of the hall. Our first task was to wander around with small paper squares and a pencil in order to observe the items and quickly sketch areas which caught our interest. This exercise encouraged us to look closely at the interaction of the objects on display, the negative spaces between them, and to observe the colours and textures of the items and the fabrics on which they rested. It was a good warm up and, after choosing our favourite sketch, with advice from Paul, we set up to paint or draw a larger version.

As this was an all-day workshop there was time to experiment. Most artists concentrated on one piece but several produced two or more images, perhaps torn between different interesting aspects of the still life set up. Some used watercolours, others acrylics and oils.

For full report, click here for more details.

Birds of Prey - An opportunity to draw and paint three birds of prey presented by Kirsty Allen, Falconer

16th January 2018


We were delighted to welcome back Kirsty Allen of Pennine Falcons, a very experienced and knowledgeable falconry team and breeding project based in the heart of the Pennines. Kirsty and her team offer a range of experiences with birds of prey at various locations. She regularly takes birds across the border into Scotland for exercise and hunting.

For full report, click here for more details.

A talk on Hans Holbein the Younger and a review of the BP Portrait Awards 2014 by Clare Gittings

19th December 2017

Portrait painting is a risky business!

Bad enough that your subject disapproves of your efforts but when several of your sitters have been executed for disagreeing with your boss, it takes things to a whole new level!

Hans Holbein the Younger, self portrait

In Clare Gittings excellent illustrated talk about Hans Holbein the Younger 1497 -1543 (Yes, there was an Elder) the life and times of this incomparable artist were brought to life with familiar and not so familiar images.

The painting of Thomas More for example ( just one of Holbein’s sitters who perished at the block ) is one most of us would recognise; less so is this beautiful drawing of one More’s daughters Ceciley Heron; a superficially simple study in black and coloured chalks which is so full of life one can imagine she is about to continue in conversation with the viewer after some momentary distraction. The sitter’s bodice has been loosened to reveal her yellow kirtle beneath, showing her to be pregnant. The drawing was a preparatory study for a group portrait of More’s family.

For full report, click here for more details.