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!
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.
Collage Workshop at Hertford Museum - 15th November 2017
This was the last in a series of Workshops, led by artists from Hertford Art Society, which have run throughout the year in the well-appointed studio at Hertford Museum, 18 Bull Plain, Hertford SG14 1DT. Sara Taylor, Museum Curator, presented some well-known images from 20th Century artists who have used collage in their work. 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 who coined the term Collage (from the French: coller, "to glue). Many artists enjoy working in this medium and examples by David Hockney and Robert Rauchenburg were included in the presentation.
A still life had been set up using items from the Museum’s varied collection of artefacts as a source of inspiration. These included a globe and a Tutankhamen bust.
Deconstruction / Reconstruction
Workshop with Denise Allen - 7th November 2017
The principle of this workshop involved tearing up old paintings, rearranging and making a new image out of the pieces. The session was led by Denise Allen, an experienced artist who runs workshops and classes in painting with acrylics and watercolours.
Members were asked to bring along two or three paintings which they were prepared to tear up. These could be either watercolour or acrylic, preferably on paper. This was an ideal opportunity to reuse paintings which, for one reason or another, did not quite work out. The best paintings to choose for this are ones that have some structure in them. This could be buildings, people or objects. Also needed was a new piece of paper to work on, pencil or pen, Pritt stick or PVA glue, and painting materials, whatever medium the artist prefers.
Art Society Members’ Art Show and Sale
27th - 29th October 2017
This was the 20th Members' Show and the third to be held at The Cowbridge Hall in Hertford. It was open over three days from 27-29th October (with a preview on the 26th) and showed work by 64 artists. Twenty two framed works were sold, also 11 unframed and 110 cards.
This is a show which is always a joy to visit, as our visitors regularly tell us. There is such a wide variety of subject matter and painting styles and the standard of work is high. So much to see - so difficult to choose a favourite (the Visitors' Choice voting box held over 225 votes!). The tea stall (offering home made cakes) at the back of the hall was a good place to sit and admire the paintings. There were portraits, like Anthony Parke's masterly 'Edward Lucie-Smith' and Sharon Wright's gentle and delightful portrait of an elderly person, 'Blue'. Glorious landscapes such as Rosemary Tinney's ' Burnham Overy Staithe' with its luminous sky, and Linda Radford's glowing watercolour scenes (she sold out!). Animal paintings, like Malini Croxson's extraordinary red and white zebras, 'Tangled' and Margo Ward's colourful and lively 'Hens in the Snow'. There was finely painted work such as Paul Swinge's 'Goldfinch and Pot' and Christine Flintham's 'Rosehips' and more expressionist work which describes the scene in a few expert brush strokes and colours such as David Quantrill's 'Carlton Marshes'. June Pickard's sculpture 'What on Earth' used an abstract form to describe the many textures and features found on the planet - fascinating: I wish we had more sculptors exhibiting! An unusual entry this year was a 3D miniature train layout with the countryside depicted (by Gillian Harman) in the style and colours of David Hockney, which created a lot of interest. At this stage I have to stop and apologise to all those artists who remain unnamed here. Their work was certainly appreciated.
East Herts Decorative and Fine Arts Society
Each year for the last 6 years EHDFAS has sponsored the 3D award at Hertford Art Society's Open Exhibition.
In 2017 the prize was awarded to Nigel Earle, a local ceramicist. The winning piece is titled ‘After GR’. This alludes to a living artist, Gerhard Richter, whose paintings and textures inspired Nigel to translate Richter’s 2D work into a 3D format. The images are Nigel's work, and one of the pictures that inspired his piece.
Nigel has a studio in Hertford where he creates highly original table-top ceramic pieces ‘that explore layers, recesses and hidden spaces’.
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.
Several members of the Hertford Art Society are members of EHDFAS. For more information on EHDFAS please visit their website.
Wildlife Painting in Acrylics
Demonstration by Marie Antoniou, Wildlife Artist - 17th October 2017
Marie Antoniou won the BBC Wildlife Artist of the Year 2013 and has been a finalist or highly commended in recent David Shepherd Wildlife Artist of the Year Exhibitions. She contributes to Artist magazine and runs workshops in Essex and elsewhere. Her unique depictions of wildlife have earned her numerous awards and accolades. She enjoys using acrylics as they allow her to explore traditional subject matter in a more contemporary way.
Marie introduced us to her kit. She uses a large lidded nibbles tray for her paints. This large tray is loaded with her chosen acrylics - 2 blues (Process Cyan and Cerulean), 2 reds (Alizarin Crimson and Cadmium Red), 2 yellows (Cadmium Yellow and Yellow Ocre) plus Burnt Sienna and Phthalo Green. The paint remains usable in this sealed tray for ages, she simply tops it up. Marie mixes colours on a large tear off palette and works with a variety of large flat brushes (both artist quality [Liquitex] and decorating brushes) from 4” to ½” wide. These give the expressive brush strokes which are her signature style.
Abstract Art - What is it about?
Talk and Demonstration by Chris Tkacz - 10th October 2017
Chris Tkacz was welcomed and began the session with an illustrated review of Abstract Expressionism, the term applied to forms of abstract art developed by American painters such as Jackson Pollock, Mark Rothko and Willem de Kooning in the 1940s and 1950s. Many of these strange images were ridiculed at the time but have since opened doors in visual art.
The artists of the time drew on the work of previous masters. The world became smaller in the 19th century. Early 20th century artists were influenced strongly by the Impressionists, their lives and struggles. Van Gogh and Cezanne expressed themselves with bold colours and mark-making. Gaugin experienced primitive cultures. Primitive objects such as masks had a great impact on Picasso and his peers. Symbolic, spiritual influences from previously hidden places found a place in their artworks. Cubism emerged. Artists had a new language to explore. Mondrian took his initial tree sketches on a journey, abstracting them by degrees. They were simplistic but significant. Kandinsky, Malevich, Gorky explored in their art the rapidly changing new world, creating images about energy, force, colours, shapes, forms. In Britain, the work of Ben Nicholson, Barbara Hepworth, Peter Lanyon and their contemporaries leaned heavily towards abstraction.
Clay Sculpting Workshop at Hertford Museum - 27th September 2017
The third Workshop in the series by Members of the Art Society at Hertford Museum was to make a relief on a tile inspired by an exhibit in the museum. This Workshop was led by June Pickard, Artist and Sculptor.
After the introductory talk on what to look for in the museums artefacts and having been shown examples of what could be done at different levels, the seven members of the public who attended looked around the museum to photograph or sketch items suitable for a relief. On their return the various tools and how they were used were explained.
When they had decided which design they wanted to use the outline was lightly etched onto a flat tile they had made by rolling out and trimming the air drying clay. Once this was done the serious work began by adding small pieces of clay to produce a raised image.
Summer Painting Weekend - Rye and Camber Sands - September 8th, 9th and 10th 2017
The HAS annual art weekend away for 2017 saw us visiting Rye and Camber Sands. Having moved the weekend to the latter part of the outdoor painting season we had a slightly better response from Members.
Rye proved to be an ideal venue enabling a choice of marine or town subject matter, however, as the streets were narrow and busy with tourists the majority of us stayed in the Old Harbour area.
Winter Programme 2017 - 2018
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 2017-2018 (pdf) - click here for more details
Summer Programme Review 2017
Each summer Hertford Art Society Members enjoy painting and sketching out of doors on Tuesday evenings at various venues in the Hertford Area.
Printmaking Workshop at Hertford Museum - 14th June 2017
At Hertford Museum’s request Hertford Art Society is running workshops on different creative techniques during 2017. In June it was the turn of Printmaking and this session was led by artist Geoff Reynolds. The seven members of the public who signed up to the 2½ hour workshop were given an introductory talk describing what can be found in the Museum. They were then let loose to hunt down exhibits that would make good subjects for printing. Some quick design work, mostly on polystyrene tiles, and then the messy part of the workshop began as folk rolled out their ink and transferred it to the etched tiles.
The result was a wide range of images reflecting what is to be found in the town’s Museum. Within a short while complete novices were turning out attractive patterns on paper and cloth, based on the exhibits on display. They left the workshop full of enthusiasm and looking forward to the next HAS Workshop. This link between the Art Society and the Museum can only be good.
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)
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.
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.
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.
Haydn’s Mass and Te Deum - All Saint’s Church, Hertford - 1st April 2017
65th Open Exhibition prizewinners, 2017.
Art Van Go