Prize Winners for Hertford Art Society 65th Open Exhibition - April 30th - May 13th 2017
2017 Hertford Art Society Open Exhibition Review
I have to say that I am totally awe inspired as to how people can find the words to form a review of an exhibition. With so many varied and intriguing pictures to look at and then somehow describe them will always amaze me. So when I was asked to write a review of the 2017 Open Exhibition I was daunted but definitely up for the challenge.
On thinking how to start I decided that the best way was to be as if entering the exhibition and ambling around as I would if just viewing.
On entry to the exhibition I noticed straight away “The Bubbles” by Sharon Wright, this item brought on great feelings of serenity and calm. The colours were moderate and the subject thought provoking, as well as very well executed. As I continued to shuffle around the pictures I was very impressed with the overall standard, as always. The mix of colour, shape and form was mind boggling.
Hertford Art Society 65th Open Exhibition 2017
Hertford Art Society is fast approaching its 65th Open Exhibition. One of the most prestigious Open Exhibitions in the South East, it welcomes amateurs and professionals alike. The exhibition takes place at Cowbridge Halls, Cowbridge, Hertford SG14 1PG and runs from Sunday 30th April to Saturday 13th May 2017 (closing at 2.30pm).
Handing-in day is Saturday, April 22rd between 8.30 a.m. and 10 a.m. only.
There are two private views: Saturday, April 29th in the evening and Sunday morning, April 30th.
So, whether you are a ceramicist, a painter, a sculptor, if mixed media is your thing, or perhaps you prefer pastel, graphite, printing, in fact, pretty well any artistic medium with the exception of photography, here is your chance to exhibit with the best.
The Making of “The Trinity” - a sculpture by June Pickard for the garden of the United Reformed Church, Cowbridge, Hertford
When the elders of the URC Church in Hertford asked if anyone in Hertford Art Society could make them a sculpture for their Church Garden I immediately thought of the planks of wood I had seen on numerous times on the balcony of the church. Whenever I saw them they suggested that they would make a lovely sculpture.
Working from photographs of each piece mounted on foam board I decided to make 3 standing figures representing the many forms of the number 3 in the bible. After deciding which pieces looked best together it immediately suggested the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost.
The planks of wood must have been originally cut direct from a tree as they had not been trimmed because they still had the bark on in places and had natural holes and edges. These I left to give character to the figures. The Father is the most solid piece, the Son is made from the two narrowest planks and the Holy Ghost uses the planks that are most irregular. I also carved the top corners off the Father and Son figures so that they appear to connect with each other.
The pieces have a centre post cut from one of the planks and are bolted together with stainless steel bolts. To keep them securely in place they have brackets which are bolted into the ground. The planks were given 3 coats of preservative which enhanced the colours in the wood. To display the sculpture the sculpture at the 2017 Hertford Art Society Open Exhibition base is was covered with pea shingle.
I hope the URC members and others get enjoyment from my interpretation of The Trinity for years to come. They will be installed in the garden to the right of the URC Church, Cowbridge, Hertford, during the summer of 2017 and can be viewed and contemplated by walking through the garden to the patio at the end where they will be positioned.
Art Workshops at Hertford Museum
14th June 2017 - Printmaking with Geoff Bennett
27th September 2017 - Clay Sculpting with June Pickard
15th November 2017 - Collage with Kathy Burman
In collaboration with Hertford Art Society, Hertford Museum is running a further series of Art Workshops during 2017. These Workshops will use the exciting and varied range of artefacts available at Hertford’s Museum as a starting point for the design of the finished article and are suitable for beginners and those more experienced. The first session, on Watercolours, was run by Denise Allen and was a great success. The downloadable leaflets give full details of times, cost etc. Booking is directly with Hertford Museum - www.hertfordmuseum.org (Tel: 01992 582686)
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.
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.
Public Art in the City of London - Illustrated talk by Alexandra Epps - 18th April 2017
Alexandra Epps, a graphic designer, NADFAS lecturer and City of London Guide was welcomed back for a talk on Public Art in the City of London, concentrating on modern and contemporary art. The City has been her home for over twenty years and since qualifying as a guide she is keen to share the stories of its public art, iconic architecture, and fascinating history.
“The role of Public Art is to enrich the environment in which we work, play, learn and live” - Listing Team, Historic England.
The work of Mary Beale (1633 - 1699)
Visit to West Lodge Park, Hadley Wood - 21st March 2017
We were made very welcome by Mr Andrew Beale the current owner of West Lodge Park, a Beales Hotel - originally a hunting ground for kings and queens. It is a family run hotel with a beautiful Arboretum and a heliport within its grounds. The main purpose of our visit was to see the collection of paintings and learn about his famous ancestor, Mary Beale.
Talk and Show - Mixed Media by Val Pettifer - 31st January 2017
Val Pettifer visited HAS on Tuesday 31 January and gave us an interesting evening called “Talk and Show” on Mixed Media.
The evening started with a large selection of materials and books laid out on three long trellis tables and a few examples of finished pictures in mixed media with a variety of finishes. She introduced herself as having a passion for art in childhood and after retiring this passion was rekindled. She did various courses with great enthusiasm over a few years before investing in the "Old School Studios” in Whittleford Cambridge - just off the M11 at Duxford. She runs various Workshops and Drop In days. These are very convivial surroundings and Val is encouraging and works to each individual’s strengths. She also has visiting artists leading some of these courses.
Birds of Prey - An opportunity to draw and paint four birds of prey presented by Kirsty Allen, Falconer - 24th January 2017
Pennine Falcons is situated in the heart of the Pennines and is led by Kirsty Allen; a young falconer who has been practicing the sport since 2007. She has had a lifelong passion for all birds, particularly birds of prey. She has experience working with the BBC and Silverback Films, Vogue Magazine with Helen Macdonald, has featured in the National Press and is highly regarded within the industry. Kirsty is the daughter of Member Denise Allen and we were delighted to welcome her and four of her Birds of Prey for this very different Members’ evening.
Tonal Values Workshop with Chris Christoforou - 12th November 2016
Chris Christoforou has been a professional artist for 30 years and has built an international reputation for his work, since he started as a commercial artist. He is well known for his depictions of wildlife, although he enjoys painting all manner of different subjects. He has written many articles for art magazines on various art materials, including his own painting techniques. He visited us on the “Critique” evening that began our Winter Programme for 2016 and when he was invited for a workshop with us he suggested the topic of “Tonal Values” as this subject had arisen during the Critique. Thus this was the subject for the day and it turned out to be a very interesting and enlightening tutorial.
The workshop began with monochrome sketches using photographs which the artists had selected as suitable for this exercise. To create an image with a clear foreground - middle ground - background in black and white for example you can use just black (ink or paint) and progressively dilute it to get a vast range of tones from initial black all the way through shades of greys by reducing the strength of it till it reaches no colour at all. This tonal range can also be achieved in pencil or charcoal. Chris suggested that we experiment (later) with creating a “Grey Scale” for our own use.
The 19th Members’ Art Show and Sale
28th - 30th October 2016
For only the second time in its history, this took place at the Cowbridge Halls, Hertford. Once again the Members rose to the occasion and put on a varied and vibrant show of work of a very high standard. The light and spacious surroundings made this a show which was a delight to walk around and, of course, there was the lure of tea and homemade cakes at the back of the hall! Visitors have told me and other stewards how much they enjoy this show and what a credit it is to the Society. Thirty six paintings were sold and also many cards (always a popular feature of the show).
As always, the subjects of the paintings were many and varied but I did notice that the effects of light on the subject, be it landscape, portrait or still life, were a strong feature of this show. Atmospheric lighting was evident in all the award winners' paintings.
Award winners were:
There was great variety of paintings, in a range of media - something to suit every taste. In addition to the framed paintings, artists contributed unframed works and some 3D items. Our 3D artists are encouraged to contribute more of their work in future shows as the Cowbridge Halls is an ideal space to display sculpture and other 3D items.
Finally, our thanks go to all those Members who worked hard for their Society's Show, whether setting up or dismantling, stewarding or making teas (and cakes!). You are too many to name but we all know who you are and we all appreciate the time you put into making this show such a success.
Demonstration in Acrylics by Hashim Akib - 11th October 2016
Hashim Akib originally worked as an illustrator. This gave him valuable experience in developing drawing skills, conceptual ideas and various painting techniques. Throughout his career he has won many awards and exhibited in many prestigious galleries. His first book entitled ‘Vibrant Acrylics’ was published in 2012, has been translated into French, German, Italian and Dutch and includes a companion DVD of the same name. He has further books - ‘Cityscapes’, ‘Absolute Beginners’ and ‘Portraiture’ - in the pipeline. He contributes feature articles to many art publications and runs regular workshops.
Hashim asked the audience to choose from three portrait photographs and had prepared a large canvas with a turquoise ground in acrylic. He prefers to work with a vibrant ground colour on his canvasses, always has a selection prepared and chooses one to compliment the subject. He uses Daler Rowney System 3 Heavy Body acrylics for his demonstrations. Having worked with them in their relaunch of these paints he finds them most suitable for his style of painting. He has a palette prepared with a range of vibrant colours in deep pans and works with large flat Daler Rowney square head brushes and Liquitex paddle brushes.
Pastel Workshop - 27th September 2016
Following Les Darlow’s pastel demo the previous week we all set-to on Tuesday evening to emulate his bold, confident wielding of bright and dark colours. A large skyscape was projected onto the hall’s end wall and the lights dimmed at that end. Of course this had the side effect of making some of us work in near darkness with difficulty choosing colours. A couple of sensible members next to me got by with the use of torches!
Despite this and in the better lit end of the hall much excellent work was done including other references. Complete silence reigned for most of the session. The standard of work was quite excellent and, hopefully, much was learned from the exigencies of having to use a medium possibly rarely attempted.
Light, Energy and Movement - Demonstration in Pastel by Les Darlow - 20th September 2016
Les Darlow trained as a technical and scientific illustrator (with a 5 year diversion playing in a rock band!) and produced photorealistic images. His art was transformed when someone bought him a set of pastels. He found this medium perfect for painting freely and expressively, creating paintings based on light, energy and movement. He now considers himself an impressionist and loves the medium of pastel for its colour and intensity.
He showed us some examples of recent paintings, introduced us to his chosen materials and announced that he would be producing three paintings over the course of the next couple of hours. The audience was intrigued.
Many artists struggle with pastels and Les feels that this is, to a large extent, due to inferior materials. He often teaches groups where most of the painting ends up as dust on the floor. Having experimented with many different brands he now recommends Rembrandt and Jackson (hard pastels) and Unison (soft pastels) together with Canson “Mi-Tientes” pastel paper containing more than 50% cotton (which reduces absorption of pigments), comes in 50 colours and has one smooth surface and one with an “orange peel effect”. This also comes in a micro abrasive surface, Canson “Touch” (like fine sandpaper). Coloured backgrounds can be created on this paper using inks. He also feels that there is a temptation to use pastels too thickly - in his view “less is more”. The chosen background colour is important as, using his technique, this will be an integral part of the painting, setting the mood.
Summer Programme 2016 - Gallery of Work
Painting Weekend at Christchurch and Mudeford, Hampshire 1st - 3rd July 2016
The wind and rain became our companions over the weekend but that only spurred us on to greater things mainly in the wet into wet style!
Most of the party of eight arrived at Christchurch on Friday 1st July after a painting stop-off at Bolder in the New Forest. Some of the better results came from this stop-off as it was more out of the wind. That evening the group dined out bohemian style at Pinocchio’s Pizza restaurant an eatery full of Italian character and worth revisiting one day. The serious painting started on Saturday as most of the group took the ferry from Mudeford Quay to Hengistbury Head. In spite of my research the parking authorities still managed to empty our pockets somewhat. I should have suspected this might happen as the area is renowned for pirates! All day Saturday the sun came in and out from behind some heavy clouds which occasional dropped their burden of rain on us but we in turn dodged in and out of the showers through invites from friendly beach hut owners who offered shelter.
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.
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.
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.
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.
65th Open Exhibition prizewinners, 2017.
Visitors' Choice Award, TBA.
Art Van Go