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Christmas Party 2023

Friday 8th December

Around thirty members came together to celebrate at the Christmas party this year. Here is a selection of photos to give a flavour of the event.

Everyone brought a sharing dish, some savoury, some sweet and came dressed for the occasion.

We sat at tables of six or seven

Time for the quiz

The winning table celebrating their success

At the end of the evening it was time for the raffle. People brought wrapped Christmas gifts for the raffle prizes and Peter Tuitt, the Chairman, announced a generous sum had been raised for the Phyllis Tuckwell Hospice.

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Member Led Gouache Friday session

Friday 10th November 2023

Marie Bunce led the last of this year’s initiative to have a member of the society lead a Friday night meeting. Marie talked about the properties and advantages of painting with gouache. She had brought in several paintings she had done as a means of demonstrating how gouache can be different from mediums such as watercolour, acrylic or oil paint.

Marie admitted the first time she used gouache she did not like it but then she tried it again and she is a convert. She asked the room how many people were going to be using gouache and there was a good show of hands. Marie explained that one of the properties of gouache is that the paint never sets. It can be rewet, moved and manipulated after it has dried. It lends itself to be used with a palette knife, or cut up credit card or pieces of board or cardboard.

What makes gouache special is its blending and working time, it is reworkable, unlike any other paint. It is water-soluble so by going back with a wet brush it is possible to change colour or lift colour even after the paint dries. Marie does not need to clean her palette as the paint can still be used when wet again.

To illustrate how it is possible to mix gouache on the surface that is being painted or do the mixing in a palette prior to applying it to the painting, Marie had painted a little soldier twice. The soldier on the right was painted by applying the paint directly to the image. On close inspection there is a subtle difference in the result achieved.

Gouache is well-known for its colourful results. It dries rapidly and has a matte surface that does not reflect light. It is popular with illustrators and graphic designers because it dries to a flat, matt colour that reproduces really well. It also covers really well as Marie illustrated by painting a kingfisher on a piece of old Amazon cardboard. Gouache requires less water so it can be used on thinner paper, like sketchbook. It is opaque so it can be used on coloured paper.

Gouache can be applied very thinly by using more water or thickly straight from the tube. Marie recommends starting with a thin layer as she did when painting the red poppy. Later she added some of the petals the poppy seeds with a palette knife, applying the paint fairly thickly.

Gouache is highly pigmented and the colours tend to stay true once dry, although they lighten as they dry. Gouache paints often have different names to the ones people might be familiar with when using watercolour or acrylic. Gouache is opaque so it does not have the transparent colours available in watercolour. The best way to discover more the qualities of gouache is to have a go and so Marie suggested everyone try it out for themselves.

There is no doubt everyone was inspired by Marie and the room quickly filled with a wide variety of different artwork. Marie had brought in her set of tin soldiers in case anyone wanted to try painting one as she had done. They make a pretty Christmas image and seem a fitting image to end the last of our member led Friday sessions with grateful thanks to Marie Bunce.

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Pop-up Meadows Exhibition

Saturday 21st October 2023

The Pop-up table top exhibition at the Meadows in Camberley was a new initiative for Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts. It was held in the atrium between Marks & Spencer and Tesco which is under cover if a little draughty. There was plenty of footfall and people stopped to browse which produced a few sales.

Thank you to all the members who provided paintings, cards, silk scarves, slate tiles and Xmas tree decorations. Thank you to Mark Wells and the committee members for helping to set up and man the stall.

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Kerry Bennett Write UP

“Birds and Bees”

Pen & Ink with Watercolour Zoom Demonstration

Friday 6th October

Kerry Bennett is an artist who lives in Battle in Sussex where in addition to face-to-face lessons in her spacious studio she also offers online art lessons including live ‘Zoom’ classes and workshops. She had posted some of her pen & ink with watercolour work on her Facebook page which is how FCSA came to discover her and to ask her to do this Zoom demonstration.

Kerry began by explaining that she was going to demonstrate two examples of her pen & ink technique. The first painting will be of a group of birds. The second will be of bees with a central flower. She began by sketching the birds lightly in pencil. She thinks of birds as two egg shapes, one for the head and one for the body. She illustrated how to use these egg shapes depending on the angle of the bird.

The pen she will use is a Manga pen. Use any nib other than a calligraphy nib. Kerry will be working on 300 gsm SAA practice paper which is inexpensive but works well.

The ink she uses is Chinese Sumi black drawing ink. Below is a description of this ink from the internet:

A quality ink specifically developed for drawing and illustration. Suitable for use with a dip pen, brush or airbrush. Water-based pigment 1 x 60ml bottle Waterproof when dry Ideal for drawing, calligraphy and illustration.

Before painting Kerry removes some of the graphite drawing with a putty rubber. Then using her reference photo she dips her pen in the ink and draws a light line along the birds head. Immediately she takes her brush and dips it in clean water and gently touches the ink line she has drawn. The ink moves into the water to produce a soft outline. She holds both the pen and the brush in the same hand and alternates. It is important to work in small sections because once the ink dries it will not flow.

Using a size 10 brush or a smaller size 4 or 6 for tight areas she carries on moving the ink with her paint brush, using more ink for darker areas. She tries not to correct but will use salt to soak up some of the ink that has spread a little too far as this creates a soft fluffy look. Leaving white areas is essential. It is possible to use masking fluid to maintain the white of the eye but Kerry is just careful to keep the highlight.

The ink will dry quite a lot lighter than it appears when it is first put on. Kerry worked with a fine brush to paint the beaks and the legs and feet as well as the tiny little twigs off the main branch. She also used salt on the branch to create a varied effect. There are three stages with watercolour ; glossy when the water is on the surface of the paper; a sheen when it is ready for salt or the wet in wet technique, and matt when the ink has dried.

The time had come to add some colour. Kerry likes Winsor & Newton Artist Colours. She will be using Paynes Grey, Quinacridone Gold and Cobalt Violet Hue although her Cobalt Violet is a Schmincke paint which seems to require more paint to obtain a strong pigment. Kerry tends to put a little paint on the edge of the wells of her palette and then mixes the paint into the water its well.

Kerry uses a large squirrel brush for the background and she applies lots of clean water. If you find the paper starts to buckle keep moving the brush and try to saturate evenly. She adds Quinacridone Gold and Cobalt Violet Hue fairly randomly although she ensures that she does not let the colour become separated by an object like the branch carrying the colour through to both sides so that if there is yellow on one side the yellow will follow through to the other. Eventually she adds some Burnt Umber to the birds and Yellow Ochre for their beaks. Here is the finished painting.

After the break Kerry began her second demonstration which was with three bees and a central flower. When drawing bees she thinks of them as basically a jelly bean shape. Bees are a good subject to practice creating a fuzzy outline. She uses very clean water to wet around the edge of the bee shape going well outside the lines. Using Cadmium Yellow and Cadmium Yellow Deep she drops a little paint into the water and lets it move to the edge creating the fuzzy effect.

Kerry does the same with the black ink being careful to leave a highlight for the eye. She uses ink for the legs and later goes back in to darken the corp of the body.

To paint the wings Kerry uses a rough brush to skim across the paper creating a see-through effect. She repeats this technique with the three bees and then leaves them to dry while she tackles the central flower.

Kerry will increase the amount of ink where there are shadows on the flower. She paints small broken lines holding both the pen and brush in her hand again and alternating between them to make the ink move with her brush. Towards the end of the demonstration she revisited the bees to look at the wings again to give them more detail. She looked at her reference which showed a darker line at the top of the wing. She used a very fine paintbrush to paint these.

Finally Kerry took some of the Cadmium Yellow paint and splattered it randomly on the background and then added some of the darker shade there too. Here is the finished painting.

There were twenty-one people on line and some of the members painted along with Kerry and were kind enough to show everyone their efforts at the end. It was agreed that Indian Ink does not work as well as the Chinese Sumi ink that Kerry was using. Our thanks to Kerry for introducing us to this interesting technique.

Kerry Bennett can be found on line via her website or her Facebook page:

https://kerrybennett.co.uk

https://www.facebook.com/kerrybennett.artist

Write up by Carole Head

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Kerry Bennett Zoom Demo

Friday 6th October 7:30 pm.

Kerry will be demonstrating painting birds and bees using black Chinese ink and watercolour.

If anyone would like to join in having a go, materials needed are;

Chinese black ink (or a waterproof when dry, black ink). Not drawing ink, or calligraphy ink.  These are not waterproof when dry and will smudge when the watercolour is applied.

300 gsm watercolour paper (NOT) – cold pressed. A4 or A3

Dipping ink pen

Watercolour paints (a rough idea) – cadmium yellow, raw umber, burnt sienna, ultramarine, payne’s gray. And any other colours if you wish to paint a background or other flowers.

Brushes size 12 or 10, 4 or 6

Fine salt

2 containers of water

Kitchen towels

A board slightly bigger than your paper and masking tape to tape all 4 sides down

Below are a few images that can be used.  Kerry will be painting a row of birds on a branch and another painting of bees and a flower.

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Liz Seward Drawing Workshop

Friday 22nd September

Liz Seward is President of Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts and also a very long standing member of the society. She is a vastly experienced art teacher who continues to share her expertise and knowledge at U3A Drawing classes in Camberley and at Dedham Hall residential art courses.

Liz began by asking everyone whether they kept sketch books. A pleasing number of people raised their hands. She cannot recommend keeping a sketchbook enough. She showed us her Lockdown sketch book which was full of carefully observed pieces of work. The drawing above was one she did during lockdown and it captures something of that extraordinary time.

Liz began by stressing how absolutely essential drawing skills are to an artist. Sketching out ideas before attempting a painting is definitely to be recommended. Even artists such as Picasso, who appear not to draw conventionally, were skilled at drawing. In order to develop drawing skills the artist needs to learn to handle tone. Most people are aware of the colour chart but there is also the grey scale which goes from white to black and helps to judge degrees of tone. It is often the mid tones that are the most difficult to see accurately.

Liz recommended people start with a drawing exercise before doing the still life objects that they may have brought. There was a black & white photo of a a group of block shapes. If choosing this one it was worth remembering that lines of perspective are always governed by the eye level. Tone and shading will be determined by the changes of plane and where the light falls on the objects. The second exercise was to draw a white Möbius strip. In mathematics, a Möbius strip, is a surface that can be formed by attaching the ends of a strip of paper together with a half-twist. Both these exercises will develop an ability to handle tone.

After the break some people began to draw the still life objects they had brought and as well as working in pencil some people began to use colour pencils. Liz had brought a copy of The Artist with her which included an article by her on the subject of drawing with colour pencils.

In the article she illustrates the wonderful results that can come from using colour pencils. People usually shade from left to right but Liz was told it could be more effective to shade up and down so she has trained herself to do this. She was able to show everyone the original picture that is featured in the article and is on the front cover. It clearly shows how effective this medium can be.

Liz took the opportunity at the end of the evening to talk about some of the different colour pencils she has. She stressed it is very important to be sure to use colour fast colour pencils such as Caran D’ache Luminance 6901® Permanent Coloured Pencils. Water soluble pencils that can be used dry or can be made to work like watercolour by wetting the shading with a paint brush. Liz had brought an example of this technique seen below.

Thank you to Liz Seward for bringing her enthusiasm and experience to a room full of grateful artists.

Write up by Carole Head who thoroughly enjoyed the evening and the challenge of drawing this Möbius strip in black & white pastel.

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FCSA ANNUAL EXHIBITION 2023 REPORT

The FCSA Annual Exhibition 2023 took place on 8th & 9th September with the opening Reception Evening on Thursday 7th September, which was attended by the Mayor of Surrey Heath, Councillor Pat Tedder, who opened the event. For the second week in September there was a heatwave and the surprisingly hot weather may have accounted for visitor numbers being a little down on last year. Nonetheless, several paintings and portfolios were sold as well as numerous members’ cards, hand painted coasters and scarves.

The Themed Competition this year was “Old & New”. It was won by Lesley Kilner for her painting “St Paul’s from New Change Street”. This beautiful painting went on to win the The Gerry & Jill Seward Award, also known as the People’s Choice. Lesley can be seen holding the trophy for the Themed Competition and she will be presented the silver cup for the People’s Choice at the society’s AGM in February.

Graham Scandrett was President of Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts for many years. The Graham Scandrett Prize for the best oil/acrylic painting was being offered for the first time this year by Ruth Scandrett, his widow. Tracey Allen won the prize, a gift token of £150 for art materials from Pullingers art shop in Farnham. Her painting is called “Seascape”. The Runners Up Prize of £100 was won by Liz Seward, who is the current President of FCSA. She is seen here with the Mayor and her painting “Lightwater Silver Birch”.

The prize for best pastel painting is The Valerie Brooks Memorial Prize in memory of Valerie Brooks who was a very talented pastel artist. This year the prize went to Brian Hammans for his painting “South Wheal Frances Mine”.

Valerie Brooks’ family commissioned a special glass trophy for the prize and Brian Hammans can be seen in the photograph below accepting it from the FCSA Chairman, Peter Tuitt.

In recent years the Committee has offered a prize for a set subject and this year the subject was for the best landscape. It was won by Maureen Hayward for her painting “Smeerenburg Glacier”.

The Winsland Award is the prize for the best Watercolour/Mixed Media painting in the exhibition. It is generously sponsored by Mrs Leonie McGuigan to the sum of £100. At the time of selecting the winning paintings for the various categories of competitions the judge was unaware that the painting he chose for the Winsland Award was by Valerie Painter, who very sadly died earlier this summer. It was agreed to exhibit her paintings in the Annual Exhibition and when her painting “Moth Orchid” was selected by the judge for the Winsland prize, it was awarded posthumously.

The judge this year was Mick McNicholas who kindly stayed on for the Reception Evening and was keen to tell everyone how difficult he had found it to select the winning paintings. He took the opportunity to mention a number of other artists by name whose paintings had stood out to him as being of recognisable style and quality.

Special thanks should go to a new member of our society, Greg Ward, for providing the transport at the end of the exhibition and to Janet Wilson who so kindly allows the Society to store the boards in her garage. Here is Greg with Liz Seward, the President and Peter Tuitt, the Chairman, at the Reception Evening on Thursday.

Thanks should also go to all the people who helped to build the stands despite the inordinately hot September weather: Terry Ralph ( supervising ) John Stacey, Alan Stoney, Sue & Craig Whitehead, Patti Dutton & her son Arron, and Peter Tuitt. Thanks also to those on the handing in desk and those involved in the hanging of the paintings : Liz Seward,  Maureen Haywood, Brian Hammans, Patti Dutton, Carole Head and Christine Kaynes. Perhaps a special award should go to Lesley Kilner, who manned the sales desk for most of the exhibition and who together with her husband sorted out the monies. Here they are hard at work together.

Those who prepared and served the Pimm’s for the Reception Evening are always much appreciated. Thanks to Sue Whitehead and Jane Disney and any others who helped out there. Of course there were also all the stewards and runners over the course of the exhibition whose help is vital and gratefully received.

The Reception Evening was well attend by lots of old friends, new faces and family groups. Here is a great photo that captures the celebratory atmosphere of Olga Salgado, our webmaster, her husband and friends. Olga will be responsible for transferring many of the paintings in the exhibition to the On-line exhibition which will be on the website shortly.

Special recognition and thanks must go to our local sponsors:

Howlands estate agents,

Roka restaurant, 

Bridgeview dental surgery,

Village eye clinic,

The Fish Shop, Camberley,

Martin Lamb & Sons greengrocer and fruiterers

Finally, thank you to Alan Meeks who has photographed the Reception Evening on many occasions. Most of the photographs here are thanks to Alan, including this last one when he caught a few of the committee with Liz Seward having a bit of fun at the end of the Reception Evening.

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South Hill Park Sketching Day

Saturday 19th August

A small group of FCSA artists met to enjoy a glorious summer’s day of sketching and painting at South Hill Park, Bracknell. Below are some of the photos from the day together with a little artwork that was the result of some of our efforts.

Here is Sue Whitehead’s finished painting

These are two of the sketches from Carole Head’s sketchbook

South Hill Park has a great deal to offer and artists feel very welcome and comfortable there. As well as extensive, beautiful grounds and a terrace café there is also a cinema, a theatre, and rooms for arts and crafts and exhibitions. Here is the website address : https://www.southhillpark.org.uk

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ANNUAL EXHIBITION 2023

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Gelli Printing & Mark Making

Friday 28th July 2023

Patti Dutton, who has only recently joined Frimley & Camberley Society of Arts in the last two years, has not only agreed to become the acting Honorary Secretary, but she also offered to take this evening’s member led session. She discovered how much she enjoyed Gelli printing and mark making during the Covid lockdowns. She showed us a large sketch book full of a vast variety of prints that she had made and collected together during this time.

Patti explained that Gelli printing is done with a Gelli plate that is made of silicone. These reusable plates come in different sizes. They are easy to clean with a damp cloth between prints or with soapy water at the end of a session. It is important to keep the two protection sheets on either side of the plate and keep it in its original cover to keep it moist and soft and preserve it for future use:.

Gelli Printing Materials

  • Newspaper or wipeable tablecloth to protect your work surface
  • Acrylic paints
  • Gelli Plate ( you can buy gelli pads in a variety of sizes from different manufacturers).
  • Brayer
  • Sheets of paper (a wide variety of types of paper can be used from newsprint, printed wrappers, tissue paper, rice paper)
  • All kinds of things that can add pattern or texture.
  • Stencils are particularly effective

To make a Gelli print first put a small amount of acrylic paint on the Gelli plate. Little dots of paint on the plate works well Use the brayer to spread it all over the plate. The paint should feel a bit sticky, if there is too much paint it will feel slippery and this will not print well. Next decide on the pattern to create. Patti took a piece of corrugated paper. She placed it on the paint covered plate and then chose a piece of paper and rolled all over it with the brayer, which had been cleaned by rolling the excess paint off it onto a rough piece of paper.

Patti then put a second colour on the Gelli plate repeating the same process. She matched up the corrugated black print carefully in the same position onto the plate now covered in green paint. It is important to note that what is printed first is what is seen clearly. What is printed next becomes the background.

Patti went on to demonstrate that all sorts of things can be used to create a pattern or design such as scratching with a fork, different materials like bubble wrap or by using leaves and vegetation, anything that will leave an interesting imprint. Printing onto a variety of paper also adds interest. In the example below Patti used a music score, scrapped with a fork and then made a second print with bubble wrap.

It is possible to write on the prints that are created by using marker pens. These should NEVER be permanent markers. Patti has a set of Posca marker pens. Posca PC-3M Water Based Permanent Marker Paint Pens are Fine Tip for Art & Crafts. They can be used on wood, metal, paper, canvas, cardboard, fabric and a variety of different surfaces.

Patti then invited everyone to have a go for themselves and the room erupted into a hive of activity with everyone producing a range of unique, colourful prints.

There is no question that people were keen to see what they could create with this form of interesting mark making. A few tips from Patti:

  • Remember colour theory and choose colours that work well together for best effect.
  • Thick paper does not print well. Thinner paper such as Chinese rice paper, Mulberry paper and other crafting paper works well.
  • Fine paper may tend to tear so it is a good idea to pull gently from the corner.
  • To keep the Gelli plate in good condition wash it with warm soapy water and use baby oil at the end of the session to clean it completely.

Thank you Patti Dutton for a thoroughly informative and enjoyable evening.