Friday 9 May 2014

Out and About

Easter Break etc


Hello once again and thanks for the company! It seems a while since I last posted anything, yet I guess it was really only a week or so ago. Since then we have been closed for the Easter break, our local group at Margaret's was also missing a week as Margaret had some business to attend to which meant she could not accommodate us at her home, so we have all been left to our own devices! I've been trying to keep busy on some of my other work (some acrylics I have promised someone as opposed to watercolour), and Brian has been very busy going about the organising of what is to all extents our main exhibition - the summer one at the Waterways Museum in Goole. Earlier followers may remember we hold it aboard an old river barge, which has to be one of the best venues for an exhibition we can think of.

Before diving in to what's in store for this blog post, I have to put you all out of your misery and tie up a loose end from the last blog post I did. My local art friend and travel companion Philip - who completed his Mexican Bandit Zapata has indeed struck again, with a new work started in his beloved acrylics. Instead of going off with a complete curve ball, he has sort of gone off on a tangent and kept to his 'western' theme. His new work is of the famous North American Indian Geronimo.

Philip's Geronimo start.

As you can see from the picture at the side he's doing it using that textured paper that is suitable for both acrylics and oils. Like I always do I will endeavour to keep you all up to date with this work as progress (or not - you can't be too sure with art) is made over the next few weeks until Philip deems it completed and fit to hang at maybe this years Summer Exhibition aboard the Barge. Maybe you would like to pop over and have a look at it in the flesh (so to speak) if he did?

I have to admit that we are indeed keeping a close eye on him as we speak and type as the more keenly observant of you will have noticed a distinct lack of yellow ochre at the moment. Last post we explained of Philip's continual use of that colour, and how he finds a way to justify and include it in each of his works. To try and put it into some kind of perspective, if Phil was, shall we say, some sort of cowboy, then he could very well be referred to as the 'Yellow Ochre Kid' - such is his affinity with the colour.

I am sure that it's only a matter of time before it rears it's earthy head upon his palette before transferring it's way into his current work. If you ever get the chance to invest a few pounds (we are English), then go for yellow ochre stocks and bonds, I'm sure you will reap a handsome profit upon your investment - as long as Phil keeps painting, that is!

There are some other pictures I took on my mobile of the latest work that some of our members are undertaking at the moment and I have posted these below.

Terry's pencil work.
Another of Terry's works.
Terry has been working on this left hand side picture for a number of weeks now, each time bringing his materials in and quietly working away. He said that he was wanting to try and capture quite a busy city street scene (unfortunately I can't remember which city) that includes a busker sat to the left hand side and the low, setting sun, casting long shadows along the pavement, added to this is a lady wearing a red tee shirt which grabs your attention, but does not take over the composition as there is so much more going on. We think he's done a really good job on this and everything in it works very well indeed.

On the right hand side is the traditional - 'and here's one I made earlier'. This is more the style I have come to know from him since I have joined the Society. Terry has quite a large portfolio of portrait pencil works of various folks - some famous, others not so, along with a very nice selection of members of his family and friends on the Continent who have either asked for him to do a portrait of someone special, or he has decided to have a go and see if he can work something out as a suitable gift.

Overall he's done a terrific job, taking great care, pride and attention to each and every drawing he works on.

Right, what else have we been up to then I hear you all crave? Well, something that is a little unique to us and hopefully something that we will do again and again - especially as it gets warmer!

Earlier in the year as we were all sat around painting and chatting away, thinking of new things to have a go at, it was suggested that for something 'different' did the Society fancy doing a 'plein air' session one day? I think every member there said 'yes', which was something of a pleasant surprise. So with this last Monday the 5 May and being a Bank Holiday here in Britain and the College being closed we decided that would be a good time to put our master plan into action. We chose what was thought to be a good piece of riverbank to sit along and have a go at in our various favourite mediums, time was agreed and from that there was to be no stopping us!

However, as the 'Famous Five' brave, hardy souls who met up at around 6.00pm soon found out, the venue was perhaps not as inspiring as we had at first thought  - so a quick Plan B was hatched. We drove a few hundred yards towards part of the docks, hoping we would find suitable material amongst the ships and port architecture. Wrong. We only found one ship to be in, and that was as near head-on to us as makes no difference. True, there were two other smaller vessels, but at almost binocular distance away from us, well, they were always going to be a challenge.

Four of the 'Famous Five'
The reverse side of this board read - 'No sketching from this point'.

Not inspired we decided to turn back and maybe find ourselves that elusive subject, when one of the ladies (unsure which) pointed and said 'Look at that!' And there it was, a nice piece of algae encrusted concrete in the shape of a dividing point in one of the dock areas. Embedded onto its surface was an old, metal, weathered bollard and a light stand to which was attached a lifebelt. Perfect! After taking some reference pictures (I think we all turned up with either a small camera or mobile) we got to choose our spot, and away we went. It was such a simple subject in many ways it was perfect, but it also had enough of a challenge for us to set about it with some respect. I think the other four were straight into their sketching mode, leaving me the only one using colour from the start. Most of my watercolours are quite pale, often weak, which is something I have been aware of for some time, so this was going to be the first time I set about painting with plenty of raw colour. My aim was to try and use Charles Reid's technique, but I think I need a lot more 'trying' yet! During the time we were there we encountered a Dutch Captain who had come across the North Sea with his wife and daughter. He makes the run quite regular and we all had a very enjoyable chat as they stood and watched us tackle the subject, each in our own way.

The 'Subject'.

I reckon we worked for maybe an hour before it got too cold and then started to rain, so after deciding we had all got enough material, we then decided to call it a day (or night) and head for our nice, cosy, warm homes, with slipper heated by the fireside awaiting our safe return. Well, I can dream.

Below is my attempt, which I proceeded to take to Margaret's the following night where I tried to tone down some of it. The water has not come out coloured as I thought it would, so I have learnt from that - far too blue and not enough grey, but the algae etc did not end up too bad after a few washes to 'dirty' it some.

My version of the subject.

Right, enough for this week's blog, so I hope you have enjoyed reading it and will look forward to the next instalment.

P.S.  -  I have already got an updated photo of Phil's Geronimo, to be revealed next week!


Monday 21 April 2014

Easter Break

Monday 14 April 2014


Hello once again, and thanks for reading.

This week we have had no society meeting over at Goole due to our premises - namely the town's College - being closed for a 2 week Easter break. Unfortunately, as it is a local authority building we have no real say, so I'm afraid we have nothing much to post about from over there then.

What I can tell you all about, and I know some will say it's a very loose link at best, is that one of us - namely my fellow art colleague Phil, has finished one of his works. Phil works mainly in acrylics, but has also been known in his younger days (well, he is older than me), to have produced some genuinely good oils. He usually likes to work on his own interpretations, which are purely for his own pleasure, of some of his favourite artists, primarily amongst them being the Dutch Master Vermeer. In fact, such is his regularity that if we don't see him hiding behind a surface with a Vermeer on one side, and a tube of Yellow Ochre next to him on the table, then we assume he his ill.

One thing I did want to establish and add to on a regular basis was the work we all undertake individually, albeit primarily worked at on a Monday evening, but also when we work at home. I, along with Iulian, do try and capture them in photographs taken each Monday over however long it takes to complete, of some of our member's WIP's. Below is one of them which you may remember seeing earlier.

Phil's Mexican Bandit Zapata.

Although Phil likes his Vermeer's, he also has the ability from time to time, to go out on a limb and surprise us all by the choice of his next subject. I think it's fair to say that this was one of them! Having said that, he has worked for some weeks on this one and put an awful lot of time and attention into it, both at our Goole Monday nights and at our Tuesday evening's at Margaret's, which is where this was finally completed last week. He is not known for rushing things at all, something of a perfectionist is our Phil, and I think he has done himself proud once again with this. Goodness knows what his next choice will be as I think he has recently done a Matisse and a Gauguin, but whatever it is, I'm sure he will be more than capable of taking it in his stride.

Phil proudly displays his newly finished work.

As for myself, well I've been working rather slowly over the last couple of months (on and off as my wife and I have been having some building work done at home which takes up quite a lot of time and creates just as much disturbance and upheaval) on what I hope will be a nice gift for an American friend of mine. I can't say too much just yet in case he, or one of his family members who are much more computer active than he is, comes across my 'master plan' and it spoils things. Please rest assured though that when it's time - you will all get a look. There are a couple of other sketches that I have been having a go at, and one in particular I like the look of and hope to paint it in watercolours in due course. The fully completed thing is of two giraffe's by a water hole in Kenya, but actually I have combined two separate photographs taken at the local wildlife park and put together to create something that we actually experienced when on holiday in that country. My main work at the moment though has to be to complete the acrylics I started and have a deadline for - they have to be finished in about a month's time. After that I will get back to spending as much time as I can on my watercolours.

Apoligies for the shortness of the post, but I do hope to have more for next time. Thanks for reading.


Sunday 13 April 2014

Keith Woodcock

An Aviation Scene In Acrylics

Hello there and thanks for reading.

I have to apologise  for missing posting last week due to a couple of things beyond my control, one of which included the hospital, so now that I have played the sympathy card and got all your attention, let's hope that I can keep it!

Two weeks previously we had enjoyed that rather good Wet in Wet watercolour evening where all those members present had turned their hand to working on a bird of their choice under the guidance of the lovely artist Margaret Barkley. It had been a good learning curve for most of us (including those of us who are  regular watercolourists), so I thought it would be interesting to see who had decided to carry on in that vein last week, either continuing with their work in an attempt to complete it, or simply by having another go using the new techniques they had learnt.

As it turned out there was only Brian with his brace of flying Shellduck, Cynthia with her Bearded Tit and myself with a poor attempt at another Tree Sparrow who did. It appeared that all the others would rather carry on in their own comfort zones or try to complete what they already had going. I'm only gently pulling their legs when they read this because if I had been shown how to use coloured pencils for example, then as much as I would have enjoyed the experience, I would be back with my own paints the following Monday night!

Brian's brace of Shellduck.

Both Brian and Cynthia had endeavoured to carry on with the work they had started the previous week. Both being artists of a certain character they were more than happy to see a project through to the very end if they could. That is something I have to admire in both of them - that they try their hardest to get the very best out of what it is they may have just learnt. There does seem very little point indeed to have a go at something and to then give it up after a couple of days when you have not even completed it.

Cynthia's Bearded Tit.
It is probably something, if we are being completely honest, that we have all encountered in our time as artists, and I include myself here, so raise my long arm high aloft - that no matter what our levels of capability are - that when we have reached a certain point in a work where we think 'No, not going to go on with this, it's rubbish' that we pack in. Now as I see it, if it is something we do on a regular basis then we know, we have an instinct, we are all not silly, that we are safe in our knowledge that it will struggle to get anywhere, to turn out to be good, and so it's filed in the rubbish bin. But on the other hand, to get part way through and leave it just for leaving's sake, seems to me at least, to be a bit of a waste of time. Anyone else any thoughts on this? If so, please leave a comment below at the end of the blog.

Paul's attempt at a Tree Sparrow.




Right, after that quick recap and follow up, on to the main topic of this blog - namely Keith Woodcock GAVA  ASAA  GMA - and his 'Aviation Scene in Acrylics'.

To many people, the name of Keith Woodcock may not 'spring readily to mind' as the phrase goes, but one look at his work and I can assure you that it will be one that you do not readily forget. As you all know I pick up my very good artistic friend Phil on the way through every Monday night, and as the pair of us wandered down the corridor to the room the art society uses, meaningfully talking away (men don't do 'idle chatter(!)', I stopped mid sentence and enthused to Phil - 'Wow - look at that'. I had caught a glimpse through the window at the end of the corridor of the World War One aviation scene that Keith had brought along with him to highlight some of his work. And what A highlight it was! Have a look at it below in all its glory, and make your own minds up.

Keith's WWI dogfight scene.

The standard and sheer quality of Keith's work is, quite simply, amazing. He is something of an aviation expert, and his knowledge and love of his subject are clearly repeated in his work. This was carried through in his patter as he began to explain to us how he lays out his palette, the materials and colours he uses and all the other little quirks and things that each artist has. He prefers to work from a 'stay wet' palette which he finds helps him no end, and told those who did not know, how to go about making a very simple one out of a shallow plastic tray, piece of blotting paper which he whetted quite heavily, and a sheet of grease proof paper laid on top. This helps keep the acrylic paint moist for longer, which is just about the only fault with this medium, the fact it can dry out so quickly, especially outdoors or under heavy lighting. It can also save you a heck of a lot of money as opposed to buying one from the current art market.

Starting from a canvass covered art board which he had wiped over with a light blue/grey wash, he then transferred his subject - in this case a Mark 2 Vulcan - onto the board. He had done some preliminary sketches (thumbnails) to asses the size, shape and angle of his subject, and when he was happy with what he had, then he set about positioning it on his surface. He wanted to have a background mainly of darker clouds, with the sun above and behind them, which he would use to help highlight his plane and illuminate it to its best effect. The Mark 2 Vulcan was almost a totally white aircraft, so by using it and positioning it in this way his subject it would stand out as the sun lit it up from slightly above and behind in contrast to the darker clouds. The rest of the work would be made up of a nearer more neutral coloured cloud with a hint of mixed ground way below.

The positioned aircraft, highlighted by clouds and ground.

Like all artists who give demonstrations and workshops, Keith explained to his audience what he was doing,  why he was doing it, and what he was trying to achieve from it all. One thing he did explain in some detail was the need to get the shadows and highlights correct, and by using the white aircraft he showed us that it is not simply a matter of painting everything white, that to get the thing to look convincing you have to think of the many subtle tones as the light hits and crosses the subject. He also took any questions while he worked, but to be honest his work was so self-explanatory that there were few questions as we all understood the logic of his process as he worked away on his roughly 24"x18" surface. There is only so much that can be crammed into a 2 hour slot no matter how good the artist, so Keith could not complete this to his own satisfaction, but he had more than made his point and given us a wonderful insight into the techniques that go towards making up one of his amazing acrylics.

Not only is he an outstanding aviation artist with subjects ranging from World War I biplanes, to the Second World Wars bombers and fighters, to jets of the 60's, but also a selection of later civil aircraft, but Keith also produces some truly remarkable motoring works too. The collection of photographs in his portfolio books were a real eye-opener, covering the 'Golden Age' of motoring up to the speed and flair of Formula 1 racing from the 50's to the 80's. Throw in too the odd sports car and rally car and you can just imagine for yourself what the contents of Keith's books were like!

Keith lives in Barton on Humber in North Lincolnshire and has his own dedicated website which is - but whilst talking to him he did say that his site was undergoing a bit of an update so may not be fully working at the time of posting, so give him a week or two and it should be all there. I do hope that you will agree just by looking at the WWI piece of work he brought in that it will be more than worthwhile to have a peek.

The evening's finished piece.


Keith holding the WWI scene.

We all enjoyed a very interesting and informative evening given the time allowed and would like to thank Keith for his time and efforts, plus we had the added pleasure of gaining a new member who had come along initially after seeing the posters in town and thought he would like to have a go and start to paint in acrylics. Knowing that nothing is ever as easy as it looks when watching someone else do the work, Joe was so impressed he's coming back after the Easter break of two weeks we are about to begin and starting his own artistic journey with us. Fear not though blog readers, I will endeavour to keep posting whilst we have our break and keep you up to date with things.

Regards,  G.A.S.



Friday 28 March 2014

Wet in Wet Workshop

Hello there everyone, and welcome to this week's blogpost.

Margaret Barkley
Well, Monday of this week saw us finally get round to hosting the much anticipated visit and workshop by popular watercolourist Margaret Barkley, holding court with using the wet in wet method for producing some of her stunning bird portraits.

I know that Margaret is an old friend of Goole Art Society having visited us last year where I met her for the first time. As Phil and I walked in to the room before this week's session she remarked - 'Oh, I remember this gentleman'. Gulp - I'm a marked man I thought, but is it for the right reasons? Last year's visit with us saw Margaret once again giving us a watercolour workshop,  but this time successfully getting most of us out of our 'comfort zones' and trying new materials to have a play with in our watercolours. I remember her asking for us to bring our own sea salt, clingfilm and bag of leaves and wondered what the heck we were going to be getting up to. Trust me, I am not one for experimenting or playing around with other 'tools or props' - the most experimental I get is to use masking fluid! However, by the end of the evening we were all having fun crunching up clingfilm over wet paint and making leaf patterns. Amazing.

Anyway, I digress, so on to this week's session.

Margaret shows members some of the work that inspires her.
Once we had all arrived, and I have to say that testament to Margaret's appeal we had a very good turn-out of our members, even those who have never, or do not really work in watercolour came willing to have a go, it was down to Margaret to introduce herself and set the scene for the evening's work.

As you may be able to see from the first photo's she came armed with a whole library of bird and natural history books, chatting to us about who and why they helped inspire her. Alongside the windowsill she had kindly printed off a selection of some of her favourite bird pictures for us to choose to work on. We all gathered round the front table where she then began to explain to us her principles of getting the basics right, helping us along the way with one of her own printed 'idiot guides' as to how to start and set about the subject. Please note - I am not knocking her at all, it is simply my term (idiot guide) which endears me to something I myself find extremely useful and simple to follow.

One area that Margaret touched upon which I found very interesting indeed was the need to get the bird 'balanced' and looking right. We were shown how to set about to achieving this, and in all honesty it is quite simple, as these things more than often are (when you know how).

Margaret's 'One she made earlier.'
Once we had all taken in and absorbed the system and logic of it all then we were treated to watching a highly skilled artist at work. To help save time and keep things moving, Margaret had brought a prepared couple of sketches with her, along with a partially painted bird, which was a finch sat on top of some prickly bush (I am not a gardener so can't remember what it was) in winter time.

We huddled round as Margaret showed us how she worked quickly but in a controlled manner on a wet surface, letting the paint do most of the work after she had 'encouraged' it to move where she wanted it. Carefully building up layers of colour which all interacted with those adjacent she literally brought the bird to life before our very eyes. If she had brought an MP3 player with birdsong on it we would have sworn it was in the room with us. The photo's I took on my mobile don't quite do it the real justice it deserves, but believe me, it was amazing!

Below you will see that we have two similar looking birds, but there is a subtle difference. One of these was worked on by simply applying washes of colour wet in wet on to watercolour paper as we normally would, (well me anyway as I've previously told you I am not one for experimenting really, with anything). This looked fine, and is in fact very interesting to compare with the second one in which Margaret very gently applied the washes of paint over a slightly more pencilled in sketch, using the differing grades of pencil to alter the colour of the paint. The lines and marks allowed the paint to run some in a controlled manner, and with the grade of pencil used underneath the paint gave a very interesting rendition of the bird's natural plumage. Have you ever noticed the difference of colour between the smart looking birds in your bird guide compared to the one sat in front of you? Breeding time they all look very, very smart, especially the males as it's part of their cunning mating attraction plan to entice those 'playing hard to get' females. Afterwards when they are worn out bringing beak-fulls of nutrition to a seemingly endless number of wide-open young beaks, it's no wonder they look a little dishevelled at best, down-right scruffy at worst!

Pencilled bird on the right (flash on).
Pencilled bird on right (flash off).

Now it was time for us to run off to our seats and get going with our sketches (each carefully chosen by ourselves for us to work on tonight) having no idea just what we might have let ourselves in for. This time was spent with some joviality and chatter as we are all proficient in our own ways with pencil and sketching. Strangely enough there was a kind of silence spreading over certain parts of the room as those who are not confident in or indeed never use watercolour now had to face the sheer terror of - THE PALETTE! Colour choices and suggestions were quickly asked for, then we were away, having a go at mastering our own wet in wet techniques.

This was part of Margaret's 'Master Plan' which all good artists have. She wanted us to go and work on getting some colour down, move it about if necessary and getting it to integrate with its neighbouring colour, working to create some tone and depth, not forgetting of course to work with light against dark etc. All the time she was on hand to help out with any problems, wandering around giving us each help and advice.

Time tends to run away with you at every one of these events, the phrase 'Time fly's when you are enjoying yourself' is always true, and time now started to press, so Margaret called us back to her table and began to show us how to move on to the next stage which was to give some highlights and detail to our works. More subtle work such as the eye ring and adding gouache to highlight the eye which made such a difference when applied was simply amazing, really bringing to life the little bird.

Before continuing on our own works, we were shown how to use a variety of methods to suggest or simply to apply the effects of feathers, which are, let's face it, such an integral part of a bird's make-up. This included simple tips like getting feathers and contours to stick out from the normal line and shape of the bird to help give it some life and individuality. The last tips we received were on how to create a subtle background for your bird. If you look at Margaret's work you can see that the background is indeed a very simple and effective one: a darker coloured sky highlights the lights of the birds and lighter sky enhance the darks of the bird's plumage. To finish it off completely she then advised us to fade out the sky colour so the eye did not get detracted from the main subject.

We had all had a fantastic evening - two hours is never enough, and we thanked Margaret for her advice, help and tips, each one of us coming away with some newly gleaned knowledge be it us watercolourists or not. My artist companion Phil who I pick up on the way through each Monday and I had a real interesting chat on the 40 minute drive back. He is mainly an acrylic and oil painter, but really enjoyed the slant of using watercolour.

The rest of this blog is taken up by the efforts of our members. We hope you enjoy them.

Sparrow Hawk

Blue Tit


Bearded Tit


Newly fledged Goldfinch


Watercolour Blue Tit

Pencil Blue Tit by the same artist.

Brian's brace of Shellduck

Margaret chats to Brian on her 'rounds'.

My attempt at a House Sparrow

So, there you have it, one very enjoyable evening indeed, and almost two dozen artists of varying degrees and mediums, all happy in the knowledge they had just gained. I suspect that in most situations like this your brain goes into a little bit of overload, so it may take a day or two thinking about things before making a decision as to when you are going to attempt your next bird.

Me? Well to prove I took part as an artist as well as reporting on the evening's events,  here's my effort on the left. My board also had my original picture to work from (courtesy of Margaret), plus one of her hand-outs giving us some tips on how to go about producing a reasonable likeness.

How long did it take for me to 'mull things over' I hear you all ask? Well, the next evening Phil and I were back at the very small (4 members)  local group where I set about having a go. For once I turned up half prepared, not only finding out I had forgotten to pack one of my sets of brushes, but also my small palette too!

Luckily I had my pencil tin with me, so, armed with a putty rubber, sketchbook and blushes, away I went and managed to have a go at another House Sparrow which I was quite taken with. Next in line came the start of a Bullfinch - something with a bit of colour, so I will have plenty to keep me going when I get my full range of materials packed!

Hope you have enjoyed this blog, and BIG thanks to my friend Kathleen for her suggestions.


Tuesday 18 March 2014

Monday 17 March

Monday 17 March

Well hello there!

Thought I'd try & make up for the late second post from last week by starting this one before I'd been anywhere - so here goes!

This week we are once again working on our own projects. This is the mainstay for our society as each member brings in their own work and, using their own materials we spend two very enjoyable hours in the company of fellow artists. This is a great therapy to those of us who spend most of their time 'home alone' where we can all chat away, taking in tips, getting ideas and feedback as we try to improve our technique and in developing our own style. Nice though it is to have our friends and 'other half' looking over our shoulders saying 'that's nice' or some such well-meaning supportive comment, but it is not QUITE the same as having folks who actually know what you are going through and share the same understanding as you.

Richard at work on a pencil landscape.
Phil's acrylic Easter Island.

Pencil Wren to work from for Paul.

It was very nice last night to see both our new members from last week return. Richard continued with his Spurn Point (hope you looked it up like I told you), while Gill started a second pencil sketch of a countryside scene. However, she got a little 'tired' of it, so put it to one side and started on a work of a tractor, entirely from memory Gill lives on a farm with her parents so is fully aware of these rural objects having been around them since birth - I have to say she does have a good memory, borne out by the sketch work which she has done so far which is turning out to be amazing. Can't wait to see this one completed, but I will have to be patient for a couple of weeks as this leads me nicely (marvel at the linking up here) of my next subject.

Next week we have a female artist who will be leading a workshop on the 'Wet in Wet' watercolour technique where I think all of our group will have a go and try to learn from it. That's one of the main things with art - there is always something else to learn, even if you just use one medium, it is never fully, truly mastered. I'm quite impressed with our members - they all put their preferred medium down and turn their hand to whatever the workshop is. I've been a member of some groups where folks would sit in the corner and not take part. What's the point of having guests in to show you things and how are you ever going to learn? Anyway, that's next week to look forward to.

I had better leave it at that for this now as I think I've covered about everything, but next week's should be a lot more interesting as I will write up our wet in wet night.

As for me, well my colleague Phil who I pick up on the way through to Goole on Monday nights, and I both attend a group a couple of miles from us every Tuesday evening. The four of us really enjoy the close, friendly atmosphere, with no pressure for anything at all. We have no agenda or exhibitions, simply meeting for our own enjoyment. Saturday morning I'm off to the once a month Life Drawing group in a nearby town which I always look forward to, so it looks like being a good week for me artwise!

Until next time.


Monday 17 March 2014

Monday 10 March 2014

Hi there - welcome back!

Two posts in one week - whatever next? I hope you all have the strength for this, so here goes.

Well, after Saturday's events which I wrote up & posted yesterday, my memory lapse (we all get older and have forgetful times) kicked in. I cannot believe you did not know that it all ended on a sour not for me - I DROPPED one of my works on the way back to the car during packing up! The frame split and is totally ruined, but on the plus side the glass did not break. That would have been the last thing I needed, running round with a dustpan and brush. The main thing of course was that the work was not damaged. PHEW!

Anyway, enough of that as I've posted just about everything relevant of that day's events, so on with Monday.

Having recovered from the dropping incident & managing to salvage my piece of work I thought that was it, but on the way to this week's art group we were feet away from disaster as a deer decided to play 'chicken' & run out across the front of my car as Phil & I drove there. We live in a predominantly flat, open part of the country, but this deer was hiding in a ditch running paralel with the road, so remained hidden until it 'sprung in to action'. I swerved, Phil grabbed the door handle & the deers life flashed in front of it. Luckily all three of us stayed safe, if not all enjoying the resulting increased heart-rate.

We hoped that we may have encouraged seven new members during Saturday, with three being what I would call 'serious' potential members. Imagine our surprise then when two of them turned up Monday evening! Wonderful news I hear you all say - and indeed it is. Hopefully we will have done enough to entice them back again and again.

Gillian's pencil work.
Brian working on one for his grandson.
Iulian's pencil flasks.

Gillian uses pencil or paint for her landscapes, but her favourite way to work is this new fashion using iPads. That is something none of us 'old 'uns' have any experience of, so it will be very interesting to see how it all works when she brings her iPad along. Richard also started out with pencil, but I have to admit to not remembering what else he uses. What I do know is that he is keen on nature and wildlife studies, and he began his first evening with us working on a pencil landscape of Spurn Point. Readers who are unfamiliar with this place please look it up on the Internet as you will find the history of the place and it's natural history quite fascinating, I can assure you.

So, there we have it, something of a mixed couple of days, but all ending on a very encouraging note.

I'm sorry for the late posting of this week's blog & its shortish nature but my wife & I have had a busy sort of week with a couple of important appointments for us at home & away which have restricted my time. I would like to think that this week will be just about as normal as I can get!


Tuesday 11 March 2014

2014 Hobbies Exhibition

Hello once again

Hopefully I will manage to post about the week's events as I always try to do, but I may not have the luxury of as much time as I normally have, as my wife and I have a couple of important things to negotiate, so this week may be one of those that catches up with me.

As regular readers will know, last Saturday 8 March 2014 was the town of Goole's annual Hobbies Exhibition, so on a bright, dry morning a number of us gathered in the car park with dozens of other groups, keen to get to their allotted tables and set up in time before the multitudinous throng that ambles by during the course of the day begins to make its first appearance.

Our cars were quite full of 'gear', so the folding trolley that comes as standard with my car was worth its weight in gold. After mastering the 3D Rubik frame that is John's portable display it was down to 'hanging', a quick tidying up and we were ready! Tea-break.

This year we had more of our work on display as we learnt from last year and thought to bring along a dozen table easels to help cover the tables we have. Being on the end of an aisle is quite a big advantage as we are allotted 3 tables - 'all the more space to display your work on' I hear you all say.

Like all groups around the world, be they artistic or not, we used the rest of the space to position leaflets informing folks of our existence (just in case they had missed us being there), our programme of events and other relevant things. There are always ways to improve yourself, & Brian & I are strong advocates of this. We constantly look for ways to make whatever we do appear that little bit more 'professional' as we believe that 'image' helps in so many ways. Tea-break.

After what appeared to be a slow start to what I can remember from last year, the crowds finally began to arrive in numbers. A slow start like that is not all bad news, making sure the stand is manned it gives us time to wander off in one's and two's and have our own look round to see what else is available to view, if there is any 'competition' or maybe we could make a mutually beneficial treaty with someone? As it happens, we did. A very nice lady representing the local small theatre and our Brian had a conversation which could prove a plus to both groups. Later on we found out her husband enjoyed painting some years back, but like we all do, things emerged on his horizon, time lapsed, priorities changed but he was quite keen to become involved once again. Nothing short of a signed 'Royal Charter' to prove he would not be co-opted into any committee position and he left a happy man. Not half as happy as his wife who was more than thrilled to find out he would be leaving her home alone to do her own thing at least on night per week. Tea-break.

The public began to increase in numbers and we were soon very busy indeed doing our best to answer the usual related questions as to individual works regarding the medium used, styles, subjects etc. etc.

It really is quite interesting to hear what we would regard as 'the general public' comment on what we have produced and put on display. I am sure that there are many more people who either like art, would want to get back into what they did often many years ago, or simply wished they had 'the talent' to be able to produce something they could be proud of. These people are ideal material for us to engage longer with, and to encourage them to try and come along to one of our nights, or be it to simply give it a go in the privacy of their own homes. Tea-break in between chatting.

Basically our artists are all like big schoolkids who still get just as much satisfaction from someone recognising and enjoying looking at a face, landmark or object that any of us have worked on. This is something that I feel has increased this year as more of the passers by actually stopped to speak about what was on display, other than that short, unappreciative phrase of 'that's nice' and a nod to something in the general direction of something you are not sure what, as they continue along as if on some form of conveyor belt that cannot stop to take in what they are actually looking at.

The day continued along in much the same vein. Lots of smiles, lots of trying to engage, plenty of chatting to those willing to stop and talk, as many leaflets as we could put into hands and quite a bit of banter in between with those on adjacent tables. The whole event is a good couple of hours out, with dozens of different groups and tables covering a very wide range of subjects, many relevant to the host town like local history groups etc, but also things that interest children too. Personally, I managed to purchase a DVD on the D-Day landings made up from original newsreels and the army's own film crews, and a book on a local man who rose to the rank of Captain in Nelson's Navy, signed by the author. Result  One of our members was completely baffled by the magician who pulled a stunt on him, and he was still talking about it on Monday night! So, after a little wander round it was back to our stand. Tea-break.

Come the end of the day we had seven(!) people who were interested enough to seriously consider giving us a try, with maybe three of them I would put down as 'definates'. That was a major leap forward from the 'one' we managed last year. The whole day had been a success; we had advertised our presence; recruited potential new members; hopefully become closely involved with a local landmark and received many seriously supportive comments.

We have plans and improvements afoot for next year already, but we must first look forward to our next event which is the Summer Exhibition, held aboard Barge 58 at the Yorkshire Waterways Museum. I did this last year for the first time, and it was amazing. Hope this year's is just as good.

Tea-break whilst I reminisce, sit and think about writing up Monday nights blog.