Welcome to the Hertford Art Society Website
Demonstration – Head in Clay - Cast of finished Head
By Ben Twiston-Davies
The material is Crystacal Lamina, to which Ben added a little bit of Jesmonite brand Terracotta pigment.
Hertford Art Society 25th Members’ Show
Cowbridge Hall, Cowbridge, Hertford SG14 1PG
These are just a few of the comments made by visitors during the course of this year’s Members’ Show in Cowbridge Hall, a light and airy venue which shows work at its best. All Members are invited to contribute to this Show and this year 56 artists exhibited 197 works. There were atmospheric landscapes, townscapes and seascapes; lots of boats; still life images (one of two fried eggs!), delicate flower paintings and bold leaf prints; engaging portraits and figures; abstracts, and a lovely variety of animals (including a sleepy Alsatian, a curious chimp, two portraits of fluffy tabby cats, mother and baby elephants, a herd of sheep and lots of foxes this year). Some works were colourful and bold, others subtle and elusive in a wide variety of mediums. There was 3D work in ceramic and a display of carved translucent alabaster shapes in the form of a calm Japanese garden.
A childrens’ quiz kept children (and their parents) engaged as they explored the hall for solutions. Vibrant greetings cards were also for sale.
Grateful thanks go to all the Members who worked hard to set up this 3 day show. It was a great success – over 160 votes were cast for the Visitors’ Choice prize. There was something for everyone and the opportunity to relax with coffee, tea and homemade cake while admiring the artwork was appreciated by many.
Marie Goldsmith Award for a Member with a high standard of work who has served the Art Society well without formal recognition
Stephen Lowe Award for most intriguing work
Visitors’ Choice Award
Enid Fairhead Award for best work chosen by Members
Collage Workshop - Animals
Led by Sally Hunter
This workshop was led by Sally Hunter, a Member who has developed her own style of collage using photographs of animals and pets as a starting point. Her work has energy and personality; she often tailors the image to suit the pet’s owner. One portrait had elements of buildings and structures hidden in the form of the charming dog whose owner was an architect. Sally also enjoys creating portraits of people and landscapes in collage.
Members were asked to bring a chosen image and Sally kindly supplied paper, gluesticks, pencils, scissors and a stack of magazines.
Demonstration – Head in Clay
By Ben Twiston-Davies
Ben Twiston-Davies has been a figurative sculptor since 2000. He has been a Visit-ing Lecturer in sculpture and drawing at the University of Hertfordshire, since 2014. His statue of Ebenezer Howard, the founder of the Garden City movement, was in-stalled in the centre of Welwyn Garden City in April 2021 to celebrate the city’s cen-tenary. Ben has recently completed a statue of Agatha Christie for her hometown Wallingford, in Oxfordshire.
Ben has visited the Society previously to demonstrate his approach to sculpture, to critique Members’ work and as a 3D judge. He was warmly welcomed back.
Hertford Art Society Summer Programme Weekend Away – Broadstairs, Kent
23rd – 25th June 2023
This year a small group met up in Broadstairs. The weather was stunning and we had perfect conditions for creating art en plein air. Highlights of the weekend included two very enjoyable sessions at The Chapel Bar & Bookshop, live music in the pub and bandstand, and a picnic on the beach. On our final day, we visited Turner Contemporary in Margate and had a dip with Anthony Gormley.
Recent Summer Programmes have included a weekend trip and these have proved very popular. Broadstairs had a stunning beach and some very interesting architecture which gave plenty of opportunities for sketching and painting, as well as varied enjoyable social events. A “fabulous” weekend was the verdict.
Winter Programme 2023 - 2024
The Winter Programme 2023-2024 begins on Tuesday 5th September 2023.
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 with tutor-led workshops, from still life arrangements, or with a life model. The remaining evenings are taken up with talks, critiques of paintings brought along by Members or demonstrations from a professional artist. Visitors are welcome to enjoy the non-practical evenings (marked with an asterisk).
Saturday Life Workshops will recommence on 30th September 2023 and non-Members are welcome - see details on Life Workshops below. The Members’ Show will be held from Friday 27th to Sunday 29st October 2023.
Saturday Life Workshops
WHY LIFE DRAWING AND PAINTING? – Some may say it is old fashioned, but practising Life Drawing enhances observation and accuracy. Interpreting the shape of the human body trains the artist to see almost every curve line and subtle undulation found in nature. The satisfaction of producing an acceptable image can be quite intense. It does not happen immediately and demands a great deal of practice to achieve.
Hertford Art Society runs Life Workshops in Cowbridge Halls, Hertford, SG14 1PG on the last Saturday of 9 months during the year. The only exception is the October Session which is sometimes changed when it coincides with the Members’ Show. Although these are primarily run for Members we welcome enthusiastic visitors at £17.00 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 for lunch. We work in in all mediums including prep work for sculpture. Bring whatever medium and equipment you require with you. The photographs below illustrate the exciting variety of work produced by the artists.
There are many different approaches to life drawing which become very obvious during the sessions. We are a very enthusiastic group of artists and in a relaxed atmosphere we learn from each other different skills and methods of working, as well as experimenting with different mediums etc. We do not have a set programme of poses, but usually include short poses and longer poses for artists who wish to produce a more finished piece of work. So why not join us if you haven’t already?
Workshops take place on the last Saturday of the month (except for October) 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.
Life Models Workshops within HAS Winter Programme for 2023 - 2024 - 10am - 4pm at Cowbridge Halls, Hertford, SG14 1PG
If you are interested please contact [email protected] for further details.
Painting and drawing
In the West Garden of Hatfield House
At the kind invitation of Lord and Lady Salisbury a limited number of Hertford Art Society Members had the opportunity to spend an evening in the West Gardens of Hatfield House as part our Summer Programme.
The spectacular house, steeped in over 400 years of history, has extensive gardens that offer 40 acres of tranquillity. Built by Robert Cecil, in the grounds where Queen Elizabeth I spent much of her childhood, Hatfield House is home to centuries of historical treasures collected by the Cecil family.
Hertford Art Society 70th Open Exhibition
April 29th – May 6th 2023
This year’s Exhibition celebrated 70 years of such shows, at different locations around Hertford as the Society changed venues for meetings and Exhibitions. See Trevor Chamberlain’s article below for his recollections of Exhibitions past.
Each year the style of the Exhibition varies. The selection of work is made by a panel of practising artists who are completely independent of the Society. This year we were delighted to welcome Olivia Bishop, Jude O’Sullivan and Mike Todd as judges for both the 2D work and 3D items. The wide variety of work submitted each year and the range of expertise and opinion of the judges ensures that each show has a unique mix of artworks. 110 artists submitted 435 items for consideration this year. 316 2D works were selected for hanging and these, together with 20 sculptures and 3D items, provided visitors with a varied, colourful and stimulating Open Exhibition at Cowbridge Halls. The work of 104 artists in total was displayed. This included work by 57 Hertford Art Society Members. There were many new exhibitors this year and the Society thanks all the artists whose contributions combine to make our Exhibitions so exciting.
The exhibits included oils, acrylics and watercolours; etchings, lino and screen prints; digital images; pastel, pencil, charcoal and ink; collage and 3D works in a stunning variety of materials. There was something for everyone: townscapes and seascapes, atmospheric landscapes, abstracts, figures with stories to tell, still life images (lots of lemons, flowers and jugs), birds and various animals including some very dramatic zebras and elephants. This year’s show included a great many beautifully executed and very moving portraits. Some works were bold, others delicate, some rich in colour, others monochrome. Work to suit all tastes. Additional works were displayed at other venues in Hertford.
Open for 8 days the exhibition attracted many visitors from a wide area. Hundreds of visitors cast their votes for their favourite exhibit - the winner was Love by Helen Tansley.
This Exhibition, the 70th Annual Open, was very well received and thanks go to all the people who contributed their time and effort in making it such a success.
The exhibition takes place at Cowbridge Halls, Cowbridge, Hertford SG14 1PG and runs from Saturday 29th April to Saturday 6th May 2023 and these are the Prizewinners
70th Open Exhibition
Reflections and recollections by Trevor Chamberlain
This year (2023) we are celebrating 70 years of activities since the Society was formed in 1953, and as I am the longest serving Member, I have been asked to recall and record some past artistic activities and events since inauguration.
I was not one of the twenty or so people involved with the newly formed Society as I was serving 2 years National Service, but I can recall visiting that first Exhibition and Sale at the Durrant Hall which was located by the weir in Old Cross, Hertford. The Exhibition was held in aid of the Lord Mayor of London’s Flood and Tempest Fund and 113 exhibits by Hertford Art Society Members together with invited works by notable established contemporary artists of the day including Henry Moore, Frank Brangwyn, Adrian Heath, Terry Frost, Wyndham Lewis, Ben Nicholson, Rodrigo Moynihan and Victor Pasmore resulting in a very successful show. At the time I remember thinking that I would like to become involved in such an impressive society, so in 1954 I submitted an Oil “Lago Di Como” which was included in the exhibits on show at the Corn Exchange that year.
Dance and Draw Workshop
Butoh Dance demonstrated by Fabrizia Verrachia
Butoh (舞踏, Butō) is a form of Japanese dance theatre that encompasses a diverse range of activities, techniques and motivations for dance, performance, or movement. Following World War II, Butoh arose in 1959 through collaborations between its two key founders, Tatsumi Hijikata and Kazuo Ohno. Common features of the art form include playful and grotesque imagery, taboo topics, and extreme or absurd environments. It is traditionally performed in white body makeup with slow hyper-controlled motion.
Butoh is an attempt to uncover the dance that already exists, it must emerge from within, and not be imposed from without. Butoh uses 'reduction' to great effect, for example, stillness and slow motion are well known to audiences of Butoh.
Hertford Choral Society Easter Concert
J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion
Each year the Hertford Choral Society invites Hertford Art Society to illustrate their Easter concert with paintings to hang down the central pillars of the church in which the concert is performed – All Saints Church, Hertford. The concert is always a serious theological work, very often a Passion - the Christian term for the short final period before the death of Jesus Christ.
This year’s concert was J S Bach’s St Matthew Passion – glorious music, two orchestras, six principal soloists, 8 choir soloists and two choirs. It was a big production and met with huge acclaim.
Spring Equinox Celebration
Still Life Workshop with Flowers, leaves and buds
Members brought along some lovely spring flowers for this untutored workshop. There were tulips in a stunning white ceramic jug with soft velvety willow branches, daffodils, hyacinths and anemones in a variety of vases displayed on a bright magenta cloth (which was a gorgeous contrast) and one of softly patterned flowers.
Artists were free to sketch, draw or paint in any medium of their choice. This was a very enjoyable workshop. The artworks produced are colourful studies and just right for this time of year.
Mixed Media Workshop based on the Old Masters
Led by Marianne Dorn
Marianne Dorn is an accomplished artist and Member of Hertford Art Society. During the course of the evening we would each study three different paintings of our choice and build up a multimedia interpretation of each. Marianne had set out several examples of her own work to look at before the session started and also a sketch by Frank Auerbach.
Auerbach was inspired by the Old Masters in the National Gallery and went there on an almost daily basis to stand in front of a painting to study it and make sketches. Aspects of these sketches then informed his own paintings. A study of a portrait could influence his landscapes and vice versa. Many of Auerbach’s sketches are on display in the Espresso Bar at the British Museum.
Opening of display of posters
Underpass connecting St. Andrews Street to Aldi supermarket on A414.
The good folk at Hertfordshire County Council are doing a grand job brightening up Hertford’s subways by commissioning large scale reproductions of pictures by local painters – school children and older citizens.
In mid-2022 the Council put out a call for pictures depicting Hertford and its surrounding area, for hanging in the underpass that connects St Andrews Street with the Aldi supermarket. Seven of the chosen pictures were from Members of our Society; Mitiko Murata had two of hers on display. On a particularly cold afternoon in December we turned out to celebrate the opening of the display, presided over by the town’s mayor, Sue Barber.
Cityscape in Acrylics
Demonstration by Mike Rollins - 29th November 2022
Mike Rollins is a professional artist, demonstrator and tutor who trained as a scenic designer. This has influenced his paintings and he thinks of them as if they are a stage set, open to rearrangement for dramatic purposes. He rarely paints a location exactly as he finds it, preferring to alter weather, lighting or viewpoint to suggest an alternate narrative. Mike showed us a few examples of his work. They had lots of atmosphere and drama.
Mike had chosen one of his photographs of Prague for this demonstration, a narrow street with a view of the Old Town Square and the gothic church of Our Lady before Tyn with its famous towers. It was a snowy day. He approaches acrylic painting as if it was watercolour using light washes to build up the image. He had prepared a canvas board with two coats of white gesso and using cerulean blue he applied a scumbled wash to the sky area and then proceeded to sketch the scene in the same colour. Using a rigger brush as an aid in determining and transferring angles, Mike drew a very accurate sketch detailing the slope of the roofs, the church towers and the angles of the windows and stonework on the buildings on either side. There is a low eye line in this scene and steep angles to the vanishing point.
Still life -polished, reflective and shiny objects
Untutored drawing and painting workshop - 15th November 2022
Members were invited to bring something shiny to this workshop and several different collections of objects were set up, using gorgeous magenta and golden cloth as backdrops. There were trophies, tankards, vases, decanters as well as a stork and miniature train with some colourful objects adding variety.
Artists were free to sketch, draw or paint in any medium of their choice. This was certainly a challenging workshop but very enjoyable. The artworks produced are exciting and colourful studies of these interesting and tricky subjects.
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.
The Hertford Art Society Winter Programme takes place at Cowbridge Halls, Hertford SG14 1PG on Tuesday evenings from September through to April, 7.30 - 9.30pm.
For the Summer Programme, Members usually meet at around 7pm (or beforehand by private arrangement) for sketching and painting, also on Tuesday evenings, then gather socially at the suggested public house when the light fails.
Full details on Calendar page, quick over view below.
December 5 DIY: Critique.
December 12 Xmas party: Character as song.
January 16* Estelle Lovatt: “History of art”. Lecture.
January 23 Naomi Jayne: “Figurative art”. Workshop.
January 27* Saturday life workshop.
January 30 Jude O’ Sullivan: Critique.
70th Open Exhibition prizewinners, 2023.