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.
Rather pleasingly the pictures line one side of the subway opposite a permanent display of work by an internationally-famed artist, Alan Davie, who lived for many years at Rush Green, just west of the town. It’s the closest one of my pictures will ever get to such exalted company.
Congratulations to Mitiko Murata, Joe Rowson, Angela Roberts, Ray Ward, Trevor Chamberlain and Kay Fride.
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.
Using a large flat brush (“Master’s Touch” angular shader No 6) a “Dagger” brush and a mixture of Burnt Umber and Ultramarine Blue, Mike follows the line work of his sketch. This flat brush is ideal for fine marks for the windows etc. and for dry brushing the buildings in shade. Dark areas are applied to the shadow side of the towers. At this stage the painting is all about tone. Areas can be lightened later as needed.
Changing to a Rosemary & Co No 7 nylon flat brush, Mike uses mixtures of Naples Yellow and White to indicate the strong light coming from the left to strike the steep towers and to detail the distant buildings catching the sun.
Mike uses student quality acrylic paint for this demonstration. It is fine for layering as it contains less pigment than artists’ quality. He also likes the flip top!
A bold purple wash is applied to the building on the left. Burnt Sienna is dry brushed onto the distant roofs and added here and there to the painting to add some warmth. Yellow Ochre alters the purple area and warms the stonework on the right and building, windows are detailed with a dark mix and this is used to add additional shadows to the towers and distant buildings and a couple of small figures.
Final highlights are added using Titanium White on the towers, roofs, the car in the foreground and dragged across the roadway to give a wet and snowy appearance.
The resulting image is bold and full of atmosphere. The buildings on either side lead the eye to the stunning towers of Prague’s Old Town Square. Mike gave many hints and tips throughout the demonstration as well as sharing details of his artistic career. His experience in the theatre impacts strongly on his paintings. He likes his artwork to tell a story. His use of strong tones was inspirational and he was warmly thanked for an excellent demonstration.
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.
Hertford Art Society 24th Members’ Show
“Once again the Members Exhibition at the Hertford Art Society has been a very enjoyable experience. What struck me the most was how eclectic the show was; there was a wide range of artworks to be seen, styles to please all tastes and to fulfil everyone’s expectations!
From paintings of movie characters portrayed by Uma Thurman, Audrey Hepburn and Sharon Stone to picturesque landscapes, cityscapes and flowers; along with intriguing abstract paintings, beautiful and fun sculptures and 3D works among others. All of the artworks were very considerately priced and once again I have found another lovely painting that became part of my collection.”
Prizewinners - October 2022
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
Expressive Drawing and Drawing Workshop with Susan Dean
Animal Portraits - 11th October 2022
Susan Dean has experience of teaching art to primary, secondary and adult students and began by talking about artists such as Warhol and Durer and their animal portraits. She admired the boldness of Warhol’s prints and inspires her students to be equally courageous.
Susan showed us a variety of her own work and did a short demonstration using a large photo of the head of a rhinoceros. She likes to work to a large scale with charcoal and pastel, using the colour to add character. She started by positioning the eye and made bold marks defining the angles and positions of the ears and rhino’s horn, smudging the charcoal to correct the drawing and show texture. She was careful to leave the light in the eye and quickly filled the paper with a bold portrait, adding orange, ochre and some blue for shadows. This demonstration was brief to enable the Members to make an early start to their own portraits.
Susan had a great collection of photos to share and artists began to work on their chosen image. Drawing animals was quite a departure for many but it presented an exciting challenge and Susan spent time giving tips and advice. Some artists did two or more sketches as the evening progressed.
This was a very enjoyable workshop. The completed sketches, drawings and paintings were colourful, bold and varied and Susan was warmly thanked for sharing her approach to animal portraiture.
Watercolour Demonstration with Keith Hornblower
Buildings in a landscape - 27th September 2022
Following a very successful career as an architectural illustrator (a Fellow of the Society of Architectural Illustration) Keith Hornblower turned to a much looser, expressive approach with his own work in watercolour. He is based in Hitchin, regularly exhibits and runs courses and workshops.
His approach is dynamic and spontaneous, applying paint at speed, moving and adjusting washes as he progresses and for this demonstration Keith has chosen a photograph of the Gazebos on the River Lea at Ware.
He has taped a sheet of Saunders Waterford watercolour paper, 140lb Rough, to a board on an easel. He mentions that he does not tend to stretch the paper before painting. If needed, he does this afterwards by damping the reverse and then stretching onto a board. He sometimes works on a flat surface but rather likes the runs and unpredictability of using an easel.
Keith sketches the buildings using a blunt, 4B pencil, holding it by the end so that the drawing doesn’t get “tight”. He defines the basic shapes and angles with the horizontal lines defining the eye level. He decides what should be focal point of the painting - in this image, the white walls. Tonal values are very important to him, ensuring there is sufficient light and shade in his pictures. He uses colours for dramatic effect rather than trying to reproduce them literally, thinking mainly in terms of warm and cool, and often working with a simple triad of primary or secondary colours. Some colours are transparent and mix cleanly, allowing layers of paint to be added while maintaining clarity. Other shades are opaque and tend to create muddy mixes – fine if that is what is needed. His palette is created by squeezing tubes of colour into the pans and he recommends Schmincke paints. For this demonstration he uses Pthalo Blue, Transparent Orange, Alizarin Crimson and Yellow Ochre mainly as these will give the shades he needs.
With a large squirrel-haired brush (holds a lot of paint and comes to a fine point) Keith applies a Transparent Orange wash of varying strengths across the paper, defining the roofs of the gazebos, carefully preserving the white areas. He adds Yellow Ochre to the wall, keepings the wash moving, working quickly. He intensifies the roof colour with Alizarin Crimson being quite bold as watercolour always dries a lighter shade. He tones the reflections a little with a blue wash.
He mixes Pthalo Blue and Transparent Orange to make an intense blue/green and outlines the roofs working across the woodland area. Some of the paint drips make good reflections. Keith uses tissue to lift some areas and dries his brush now and then to drag across areas. Dark tones create the shadow sides of the buildings. He works back and forth across the painting, intensifying and creating strong contrasts, using his fingers now and then to blend or smudge. Hard edges draw the eye. Keith describes his approach and welcomes questions and comments as the painting progresses.
Keith begins to add detail and using a smaller brush buildings and roofs are defined, features added, reflections enhanced using warm and cool darks. The tones are constantly reworked. Final touches include adding a “greener” green to the foliage, painting a few bold tree trunks with a rigger brush, scraping out branches with a sharp painting knife, adding streaks to the water with a fanned out bristle brush and spattering some paint over the background.
Keith finds watercolour a medium of endless possibilities and constantly explores different ways of using this exciting medium. The finished painting is bold and vibrant and Keith is thanked for giving such an interesting and informative demonstration of his approach to watercolour painting.
Portrait Workshop with Keith Morton
13th September 2022
Keith Morton’s art education was gained during four years at Hornsey College of Art. A prizewinning artist, Keith is an enthusiastic tutor and believes that good observation leads to good paintings. He now tutors Portraiture, Still Life and Life workshops, demonstrates Still Life and Portraiture to art societies, undertakes commissions, and paints people he admires.
Keith is a very popular visitor and this Workshop was very well attended. He began with a short demonstration of his technique on commencing a portrait. He had a photograph of a woman, almost life sized, taped up alongside his board, which had been prepared with an orange ground. Working with Alizarin Crimson acrylic paint and a small brush he began by marking the top of the head, the chin and the approximate eye line. He measured from chin to eye using the length of his brush and transferred these measurement to the drawing. He placed the position of the right eye and, again, using the brush to establish the angle, he drew a line across at eye level indicating the slant of the face. Positioning the brush against the photo at key points enables one to replicate the angles on the drawing. Each feature was plotted and marked in relation to each other, with constant checking of angles and distances, re-measuring and correcting looking at changes in direction. He emphasised that the angles of these small marks were important – they act as a guide. He established the line of the cheek. The model wore spectacles and these were an important element. Horizontals and verticals help to check that things are going to plan. He uses the same technique when working from life, holding his brush to measure and transfer angles and distances to his drawing.
The drawing gradually began to take shape as Keith repainted and corrected. He mentioned that it is equally important to place clothing (collars etc.) correctly thus giving credibility to the image. Using a larger brush and a diluted wash of colour, Keith applied bold shadows to the right hand side of face and concluded the demonstration. He felt that this measuring technique may not suit everyone but that it can be really helpful when encountering problems with a likeness. There may just be one or two points where measuring will help correct things.
Members had been asked to bring a photograph and an art medium of their choice and everyone got to work, the concentration was intense as we all tried to achieve a good drawing. Some used only pencil or charcoal, others watercolours or acrylic paint and during the remainder of the Workshop Keith managed to spend time with most people, giving tips and encouragement. The variety of work was inspiring.
Keith was warmly thanked for sharing his knowledge and experience with us. This was a very enjoyable Workshop with some excellent portraits achieved in a very short time.
Summer Painting Weekend at Maldon, Essex
24th – 26th June 2022
Maldon is a historic maritime town, a Saxon port and the second oldest town in Essex, receiving its Royal Charter from King Henry II in 1171. Situated on the Blackwater Estuary, it has a lively harbour and the town centre has numerous historical sites and listed buildings. One day was spend in Maldon and the next at the Heybridge Basin. There were some brilliant painting and sketching opportunities to be had and a large group of Members enjoyed great weather and produced some exciting artworks in various mediums, as can be seen in the display.
“The weekend in Maldon was thoroughly enjoyed by everyone , great places to paint as well as the normal plein air problems, try to find a shady spot to set up as well as avoiding the wind !! Great fun though, and great company in the evenings.” Angela Roberts
“Maldon on the Blackwater estuary in Essex has been inspiring artists for many decades: home, not just to a large collection of picturesque sailing barges, but boats of all vintages, shapes and sizes. Couple that with the associated paraphernalia of several boatyards and a broad winding estuary and you have sufficient subject matter to keep any artist happy for several years!
We were extremely lucky with the weather and all but one of our number managed to paint “en plein air” like proper artists while I’m embarrassed to say I did mine safely ensconced in my digs at the “Fish on the Quay” pub - my excuse being my inability to cope with rapidly changing light at 6.00am!” Chris Baker
“Maldon is wonderful town for artists , you can paint and sketch boats and reflections, architecture and water lilies on the river. Maldon and Heybridge Basin are full of life and the joy of colourful boats and flights of gulls. I definitely will come back and paint more and check the trails down the River Blackwater. I hope Hertford Art Society will show the atmosphere from Maldon in the next exhibition in October 2022.” Elena Russu
“It was an enjoyable weekend painting in Maldon, and the weather was good to us. On Sunday most of us went to Heybridge Basin, a lovely area, but very windy, good for sailing but not so good for keeping your easel steady! Kay Frid
"Great weekend." John Jarratt
"Very enjoyable." Ray Ward
Hertford Choral Society - Rehearsal of “All That Jazz” at Sele School
- Drawing and painting the Choir and Musicians - 10th May 2022
We were delighted to be invited to Hertford Choral Society’s rehearsal session at Sele Farm School. Artists gathered to paint and draw the choir and musicians and to enjoy the programme of songs from “All That ‘Jazz”. This was the first session in the Summer Programme and was certainly rather different from the usual challenge of drawing and painting various scenes outdoors. The work produced was colourful and lively and echoed the terrific range of songs which will feature in the Choral Society’s forthcoming concert. The Choir and musicians were warmly thanked for inviting us to this very enjoyable evening.
“All That Jazz” will be performed on Saturday 25th June 2022 at 7.30pm at All Saints Church, Hertford, SG13 8AY.
69th Open Exhibition - Prizewinners
Hertford Art Society 69th Open Exhibition 2022 - 30th April to 7th May
This year's Open Exhibition runs until the 7th May at Cowbridge, Cowbridge, Hertford SG14 1PG and these are the Prizewinners
Three 3D works were Highly Commended:
Watercolour Demonstration of Seaside Landscape by Ian Michael McManus
19th April 2022
Ian Michael McManus is a Member of the Institute of East Anglian Artists and runs classes and workshops in Watercolour painting. His style is direct application of paint with no overlay of washes as he believes this gives the finished painting the quality of transparency which is so essential to watercolours. He describes himself as a “tonal” painter, working from light, through mid-tones to darks and he feels that this is more important to the success of a painting than colour.
Ian had sketched a view of Wells-next-the-Sea (from his own photo) onto a sheet of 140lb Saunders Waterford Rough paper using a Faber Castell propelling pencil with a 2B/2mm lead. He does prefer Arches paper but often uses Saunders also as it is less expensive. Both are cotton rag papers with an internal size, not on the surface. The paper is taped to a board at the top only. Ian‘s advice is that taping on all sides can leave unsightly run marks – taping just at the top allows excess paint or water to run clear of the painting and stops the paper buckling. He mentioned that he always leaves the pencil sketch as he feels it adds to the finished image and also that he does not wet the paper, he feels this gives no control.
Ian begins with the lightest tones first and applies with a wash of a light grey tone over the entire sky, blending pale blue at the top. The sea is painted with a very pale grey for the distant water, gradually strengthening the mix with deeper tones of blueish grey in the foreground. He adds a warm tone for the walkway which has the effect of bringing it forward. Once the sky area is dry he paints the background across the bay in pale shades of soft brown with darker areas for roofs and boats, being careful not to add too much detail as this area needs to recede. He uses squirrel mop brushes in a range of sizes for the washes with a synthetic round No. 10 brush for detail such as masts etc. as this comes to a fine point.
Ian uses Windsor & Newton Artist quality watercolours in tubes and a large, plastic closing palette for mixing with the colours laid out in pans. His favoured colours include: Lavender, Burnt Sienna, Burnt Umber, Yellow Ochre, Buff Tint, Light Red, Cobalt Turquoise (very useful in making greens), Sepia and Neutral Tint and Verditer Blue (similar to Cobalt Blue but more transparent).
The roof of The Granary is rendered in a warm tan colour with darker tones for the main structure and supports. Areas are allowed to blend using wet on wet technique. Ian uses a water spray before adding strong dark browns. This complex building is simplified, the paint is allowed to run and small areas are left unpainted to indicate features. Using the synthetic brush, Ian outlines the figures and the parked car and adds extra detail to the Granary. The boats alongside the quay are next painted in the strongest dark tones, in warm and cool shades. Great care is taken by Ian to leave highlights of white paper on the boats and the very dark reflections in the water surface. He is then onto the final stages of adding detail to the parked car, portraying the figures standing on the quay, panting an ochre line on the edge of the quay, two bollard and some birds in the sky. Using White Gouache he adds ropes securing the boats, a mast, highlights on the shoulders of the figures and a white bird.
Ian gave tips and hints throughout this demonstration, reminding us to find a reason to connect elements within our work to lead the eye into and around the painting. He encouraged questions and comments as the work progressed. He stressed that tone is all important and his painting illustrates this beautifully with the moored boats and figures boldly placed at centre stage. All the other elements and the subtle use of colour give the image depth and balance.
This was a very instructive and enjoyable evening and very well received. Ian was thanked for giving us such an inspiring demonstration and for his advice on how to simplify aspects of a scene in order to achieve a successful watercolour painting.
Mixed Media Semi-Abstract Workshop with Carmen Renwick
12th April 2022
Carmen Renwick is an experienced artist and with a background in illustration & design, printmaking, painting, collage and mixed mmdia. She headed Art and Design at Swavesey Village College and taught the Arts in Special Education. She is currently enjoying working in mixed media on a larger scale. We were delighted to welcome Carmen for an experimental mixed media workshop.
We were asked to bring:
• Black or brown ink OR black and white acrylic paint
• Mark making tools – a selection of, say, sticks, string, feathers, bamboo, wood, toothbrush, scrubbing brush, old credit cards, combs, fork etc.
• Container for paint and inks so items can be dipped in to print with
• White paper - 5 sheets A4 - not too thin
• Paintbrushes, scissors, glue, water pot, masking tape
• One colour of another medium, e.g. pen, pencil or oil pastel
• A landscape photo for inspiration (e.g. something torn from a magazine)
Carmen had brought along interesting extras for anyone to use, including liquid charcoal and coloured inks. She gave a fascinating talk on her background. The exercises she planned for the evening were designed to be playful, to free up the way we approach our painting or drawing. Artists (herself included) can sometimes feel in a bit of rut, repeating themes because they have become familiar rather than because they inspire. Mark making with miscellaneous bits and pieces can give intriguing results and effects and lead one in a new direction.
Our first task was to use ink or acrylic (in black or brown) to make a series of marks, in rows, on an A4 sheet, varying scale, using repeat patterns, random prints – anything really to make it interesting. We were asked to note alongside what had been used to make the mark. These sheets were then cut in half lengthwise and half passed to our neighbour who used this sheet for inspiration and embellishment. Some of the items made surprising and interesting marks.
The main project involved taping across a sheet to divide it into quarters and then using inks in varying tones in a manner which worked across the entire sheet, either an actual scene or abstract shapes. Again various tools could be employed, along with brushes, gradually adding darker tones and lastly one colour to the image. Carmen gave encouragement and tips as, gradually, some very interesting paintings emerged. She felt that sometimes one of the quartet of images would give rise to a further, larger painting. They could be cut up and rearranged, collaged or form a starting point for a more abstract work. We were encouraged to go around to see how others were tackling the task and there was certainly a great variety of images. Everyone had their own approach and used their own imagination.
This was a very enjoyable workshop and was great fun. Carmen was warmly thanked for leading us along a very interesting path to, perhaps, more freedom in our artwork.
Winter 2022-2023 programme
Summer 2022 programme
The John Goss Prize
69th Open Exhibition prizewinners, 2022.
Winners of Critique Sessions 2022-2023 season
November 2022 Critique Winner, Derek Carey. Lucy - Pastel.
November 2022 Critique Runner Up, Angela Roberts. Ilvinos - Oil.
November 2022 Critique Runner Up, Jill Rolfe. Geisha - Watercolour.
November 2022 Critique Runner Up, Mitiko Murata. Feathers - Watercolour.