Monday, 31 December 2012

New Year

Why not try something new in 2013 or make some resolutions about developing your art skills? Ledbury Art Society has a varied programme of demonstrations in 2013 and there’s two workshops. Beside the LAS offerings there are plenty of people offering tuition and painting holidays.
I seem to have increased my output lately and aim for that to continue through the coming year. As well as working with acrylics, I’ve been enjoying trying out the Maimeri Blu water colours I was given at Christmas and I certainly intend to do a lot more with them in the coming year.
If you are looking for tuition close to home then our own Nigel Street is offering a range of water colour courses. Brief details below and fuller information on his website
Understanding Watercolour weekend courses on Sat/Sun 9th/10th March 2013, and 13th/14th April 2013. Limited to 6 places, all equipment provided, cost £80 with deposit on booking of £20.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Ronald Swanwick - Acrylic Abstracts

There's Always One
Ronald Swanwick brought to last Tuesday's demonstration a large collection of part finished abstract paintings which he used to illustrate something of the way he composes and executes his paintings. He confessed that he never throws anything away as it might come in useful one day. Some rather unusual things had found there way into his art.

Although his art is abstract it is not always non-representational. Cityscapes, views of Venice and birds feature in many of his paintings.

For more information on the full range of his art take a look at his website -

In the later stages of the demonstration he had several people come forward and put their own paint marks onto his canvas. He then worked with these marks to develop his own abstract painting.

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Acrylic Landscapes - Sue Townsend

A very enjoyable workshop today with Sue Townsend helping 16 of us interpret autumn colour in our landscape paintings. Sue brought along a selection of photos taken at Westonbirt Arboretum and encouraged participants to select one or use their own images. As the day progressed she added a little more to her demonstration painting in short bursts of activity but spent most of the time in between going from student to student offering suggestions and words of encouragement. To find out more about Sue's work and the tuition and holidays she organises visit her website

The next image shows her own reference photo and then there are three at various stages of progress. After that comes a selection of images showing work in progress by workshop participants and then some where they are obviously hard at work.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Andrew Forkner Natural Art

A very well attended meeting today. As Andrew Forkner works very slowly and meticulously he doesn't demonstrate live. So for today's demonstration he used a series of projected images to take us through the process of composing and executing a pastel painting of a wolf. His inspiration had come from a visit to Canada but his reference photo had been taken at the Cotswold Wildlife Park near Burford.

You can see many examples of his pictures on his website Towards the foot of the home page you'll find a link that enables you to see the stages and procedures involved in producing the wolf painting.

As well as pastel paintings on velour, Andrew also works with graphite pencil and acrylic.

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Tuition & Holiday Miscellany

This must be the time of year for art holidays adverts. Several have come through recently and so I'm giving links to websites in case you want to find out more about any of them>

The Florence Art Studio

Newlyn School of Art

El Molino del Conde, Spain

Paint Paleochora, Crete

Brian Steventon is offering tuition at The Wodehouse and Harvington Hall next year. Cost £30 a day. No website details but you could email for details.

If you've used any of these services please add any recommendations as a comment.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Quilts & Banners

Contemporary Quilt has a superb exhibition of Art Quilts in the Weaver's Gallery in Ledbury this week. This specialist group of The Quilters' Guild is celebrating their tenth anniversary and have published a well illustrated book called CQ@10. As tin is usually associated with tenth anniversaries, the CQ have taken a photo image of a Cornish tin mine as inspiration for the work in this exhibition. I find it absolutely fascinating to see so many artistic interpretations of one source image. All artists, not just quilters, could learn something from this exhibition.

Contemporary Quilt also have a new website  with Galleries showing some of their members' work.

Ledbury Methodist Church has just gained two new banners made by Patti Budd and Catherine Campbell Hyde. Each banner is worked in different coloured silk pieces on a deep purple background. They reflect the shape of the attractive upper windows in the church and are worked to represent rays of light through stained glass windows. Click Read More>>> below for more images

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Understanding Watercolour

Having hardly touched watercolour in the last 18 months - mainly because I didn't know what I was doing - I decided it was time to learn some of the basics and so I signed up for Nigel Street's Understanding Watercolour weekend.

My confidence rose as soon as I began to put a small wash yesterday. Why? Because Nigel had provided artist's quality paint together with a block of Bockingford paper and a range of good brushes everything worked the way he had shown us.  He had already explained the merits of various papers, brushes and paints. Using the good quality materials he supplied was a dream compared with my previous experiences.

As the weekend progressed we learnt to distinguish the properties and behaviours of soluble and insoluble pigments, what would give reasonable granulation, colour mixing and a range of techniques. I felt really good about my graduated washes. They were not as smooth as those in Nigel's demonstration but I was still quite happy as I now belief that with practice I could produce something pleasing.

Demonstration, followed by a chance to practice and receive helpful comments and guidance were all important. However, learning the basic theory about pigment and colour and technique has provided some fundamental building blocks for watercolour painting and gives a framework on which to build.

I have several books on watercolour painting but none have distilled the fundamentals in such an accessible way as this weekend course. Thank you Nigel!

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Dancers in Watercolour

Another excellent demonstration today. This time David Wilcox showed how he tackles painting ballet dancers in watercolour. Working with his support almost vertical must have been a challenge as accidental runs could so easily have wrecked his efforts but he worked with that to create some subtle curtains of colour in the painting of the background. He worked with a limited palette and worked on the background and negative shapes first before beginning to work shadows into the figures. Clothing and flesh colours came later. The legs of dancers offer graceful shapes and hint at the power and fitness needed for performance dance. To see them take shape in a painting with very thinly apply red and violet was a revelation.

An example of David's work
  Much of David's work is based on his own photographs taken at dress rehearsals in Birmingham. Visit his website to see more of his work and to understand what I mean by his limited palette.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Tuition in Watercolour

Robin Holder, who will be our demonstrator in February has supplied the following information:
Weekend, Tuition in Watercolour - Painting the Fabulous Scenery Along the Mawddach Trail and Estuary with Landscape Artist, Robin Holder
2 places available. 6th & 7th October. For full details please go to

Nearer to home, Nigel Street is running two separate watercolour tuition weekends at Trumpet Corner on 6/7th and 13/14th October. See the post on this site

Saturday, 15 September 2012


h.Art has given us a week of galleryvanting around Herefordshire - Galleryvant definition: to go about in search of pleasure in many places where art is displayed (etymology 2012: combination of gallery and gallivant). This is the third year we've done this since moving to Herefordshire and has introduced us to new artists and off-the-beaten track venues and villages we might not have discovered without art as the incentive. Sometimes it was a great relief to find another h.Art sign when driving along a narrow lane with grass growing down the centre.

We also managed some more urban settings - Hereford, Leominster and, of course, Ledbury.

Friday, 7 September 2012

Image and Word

A must see exhibition at a must visit venue - Monnow Valley Arts Middle Hunt House, Walterstone, Herefordshire HR2 0DY ( venue 10). Superb views, four acres of garden complete with sculptures and carved lettering. The Image and Word exhibition features 50 prints and limited edition prints from the Julian Francis Collection of Prints and Private Press Books. Additional prints and books are available for sale, including prints by Eric Gill, David Jones and John Buckland Wright.
the most comprehensive exhibition of 20th and 21st century wood engraving I've ever seen

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Trudy Friend

Trudy Friend gave us a wonderful demonstration yesterday and our new projector gave everyone a clear view of her eight basic strokes for drawing and painting. She worked rapidly to produce a variety of drawings that made use of these strokes and gave a clear running commentary on what she was doing. Very impressive stuff.

If you want to find out more about Trudy and her books and DVDs then visit her website This also has some YouTube video clips so you can watch her work. Here's one of them:

Trudy worked into one of drawings with a water brush - something many of us had not seen before. The Pentel water brushes are available from

Friday, 24 August 2012

Painting Holidays

Have you ever been on a painting holiday? It would be great if members could use this blog to share something of their experiences pass on any recommendations for others. Brian Steventon has sent information about a painting holiday he will be leading to Cinque Terre, Italy. The area certainly looks very colourful.

You will be able to see additional information on the Authentic adventures website : There's also a trip to Sardinia on 29 June.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Glass Festival

Market stall in 2008

The International Festival of Glass is celebrating 50 years of international studio glass and 400 years of glass making in Stourbridge. It runs from 24-27 August at 8 venues. The main festival site is the Ruskin Glass Centre & Glasshouse Arts Centre - home to an array of glass and craft studios and location of the British Glass Biennale. See for more detail.

I thoroughly enjoyed the festival when I visited in 2008 and look forward to another good day out. The Bead Fair at the Bonded Warehouse, Canal Street is full of life and colour. Broadfield House Glass Museum has one of the best glass collections in the world and well worth a visit at any time. Unfortunately redevelopment in Stourbridge town centre means no open air stalls for glass makers to sell their wonderful creations.

Even if you are not as enthusiastic about glass as I am, a visit to the Festival will give masses of inspiration for your paintings.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012

Portraits in Oil

I'm told there are 3 spaces left for the 2 day Introduction to Portraiture and Oils workshop run by Mike Skidmore on August 11th & 12th 2012. 

 The cost of the 2 day workshop is £150 and if you go to Mike's website you can find out more about the man himself and his workshops. The link for the 2 day workshop is

 I would value comments from members about advertising activities like this. I don't want to crowd the blog with adverts but it some might find it useful to know what is going on not too far from Ledbury

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Art in Action

A fine day but soggy underfoot, muddy in a few places and there were lots of sensible people wearing wellies or walking boots. But what a range of art work! I expected to enjoy the paintings and the glass, and was not disappointed, but the ceramics were far beyond expectation - some really great pieces.

Patrick Cullen
Art in Action really gives some idea of how many talented people can express themselves through their art or craft skills. And I guess many of the visitors also had some skills and talents. I'm always impressed by those prepared to demonstrate their talents in public and enjoyed watching artists work. The one that impressed most was Patrick Cullen, who was demonstrating portrait painting with pastels. Fascinating to see how he builds up the image. He must have to constantly make decisions about what colour and placement of his marks yet he seemed to work without hesitation. His self-portrait in the Best of the Best exhibition was superb and he also had some excellent landscapes on show in the painting tent.

The Market Place was almost too much - so much to see and enjoy- and then the big range of art materials. I was so tempted by the range of brushes, many on offer at reduced prices, and paper I can always use. Did I give in to temptation? No. I always want to buy more things to feed the art dream but what I need to do is make art with the materials I already have. I need to do rather than fantasise. So I came away with nothing but a sense of enjoyment and a lot of inspiration.

Friday, 6 July 2012

The Old Curiosity Shop

The Dickens themed painting challenge begins with The Old Curiosity Shop. Art work should be presented unframed at the meeting on Tuesday September 4th.

What a challenge this is! Do you go for scenes from the book or show a shop front or interior? As always the theme can be loosely interpreted so perhaps a visit to an antique shop might inspire. A local source of ideas might be the some of the objects in the Butcher Row Museum. The temptation will be to put too much in or try to be too detailed. Perhaps an unusual still life is called for.

Dickens used wood engravings to illustrate his novel and brought together a team to produce the illustrations. You can see images of the original illustrations at  Phiz contributed most of the designs for the plates and George Cattermole contributed fourteen drawings.  Cattermole was a great friend of Dickens and his studio was probably the inspiration for the novel. He produced many historical paintings and his studio was full of curiosities and props including a suit of armor.

I wonder where members will find their inspiration.

Friday, 15 June 2012

West Malvern Arts Festival

Dru Bentley has kindly provided details of this free event.

West Malvern Arts Festival 2012
Friday 17th-Sunday 19th August
Hours open: Friday 2pm-7pm, Saturday and Sunday 11am-6pm

Monday, 4 June 2012

Exhibition Pictures

The Jubilee Exhibition is certainly attracting the visitors. Despite the awful weather yesterday there were still reasonable numbers. Better weather to day brought out even more. It looks like card sales are up on last year but sales of original paintings is about the same so far. This is only my second year seeing the exhibition so I can't really compare with the past but I have been impressed by the great variety of entries and others tell me it goes on improving each year.

Click 'Read more' for further pictures so you can judge the variety for yourself. Even better, come and see for yourself - there's still a day to go.

Understanding Watercolour

I was stewarding at the LAS Exhibition this afternoon which gave me an opportunity to watch Nigel Street demonstrating his water colour techniques and hear some useful tips. He really does understand the medium and I think I could learn quite a lot from him. I know he's running a couple of weekend courses at Trumpet Corner in October and I'm seriously considering booking. I just need to make sure about holiday times first.

Nigel hasn't yet put the details on his website yet but that is worth looking at any way - The courses that tempt me last two days: 6th - 7th October and 13th - 14th October. Pick up a leaflet from Trumpet Corner or call in at the LAS Exhibition on its final day (Tuesday 5 June)

Friday, 1 June 2012

Exhibition Preview

A great sense of excitement as members and guests gathered for the preview. Tony Bateman had done a fantastic job adjusting the display and adding labels at the end of the afternoon. Sculptor Guy Woodford was guest speaker for the opening and had clearly made sure he arrived early to view the exhibits before many people arrived. He was able to comment on the great range of styles, subjects and moods on display and emphasised the importance of form.

Thanks to Oliver Hill we have plenty of pictures from the evening. Click on "Read more" to see them

Hanging Day

Get them off the floor
This evening is the members' preview of the Jubilee Exhibition. Doors open to the public at 10am on Saturday (see the Coming Soon page for more details).

Volunteers have been busy all day moving and setting up display boards, booking in exhibits and then fixing them to the boards.

"Get them off the floor" is the first stage of hanging and this picture was taken toward the end of the process. The next step is to readjust the positions to optimize the layout.

This year there are almost 150 art works on display. In addition unframed pictures and prints will be displayed in browsers. If you can't afford an original work of art then make sure you buy some cards from the stands near the entrance/exit.

Thursday, 31 May 2012

Sculpture and Sport

Paul Day, Athletes Sprinting
Image from press release
We've seen many interpretations of Olympic sporting images in the LAS Painting Challenge 20011/12 but nothing any of us produce can be compared with the exceptional photographs and sculptures at the Victoria Art Gallery in Bath. Sculpture in Sport  30 bronzes each by different artists and each on a different Olympic or Paralympic sport. These are exceptionally. The exhibition runs until 1 July 2012.

Tuesday, 29 May 2012


A quick reminder that the annual exhibition is on from this Saturday through to Tuesday. Full details on the Coming Soon page

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Terry and Fiona

Ledbury News reports higher sales of Leisure Painter than usual. Could it be because the June issue has articles by both Terry Harrison and Fiona Peart? LAS enjoyed a demonstration from Terry last Autumn and Fiona was with us just a few months ago.

Why not take a look at their websites: and

Part of Fiona's demonstration was simplified flowers in water colour and you can see something similar on YouTube

Terry demonstrated painting with acrylics so here's Terry on YouTube

Monday, 14 May 2012


I've just seem a superb exhibition in Aberdare of contemporary art quilts by Diana Brockway. What has always struck me about her work is her gift for composition and design. I don't begin to understand the technicalities of working with textiles and threads to create well-balanced colour and tonal values. I just admire the finished result. Catherine, who went with me, was more knowledgeable as she had spent an afternoon with Diana many years ago when we lived in the same street.

Diana was an art teacher but when she retired she was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease. She joined a patchwork and quilting class as a therapy and has obviously found this a rewarding way of displaying her artistic abilities. Many of these works of art have been prize winners in various quilting shows.

Some of her work is influenced by Harry Brockway's work. Harry is her son, a carver and wood engraver. Some of his work will be familiar to any who have visited Herefordshire Museum and Art Gallery.

The Threads exhibition runs until 2 June 2012 at the Cynon Valley Museum & Gallery, Depot Road, Aberdare.

Thursday, 10 May 2012

Arnold Lowrey

Arnold Lowrey gave a lively demonstration of acrylic painting at our May meeting. Working quickly he showed how interesting colour and shapes can make a painting.

His first demonstration was a simple cottage in a rural setting. The image on the left shows this at an early stage. Arnold was working on watercolour paper.

Arnold is obviously not interested in detail: "Paint the dog not the fleas!" His demonstration was punctuated by many amusing comments and stories.

As he began a picture with rocks and sea (finished image on right) he commented that many paintings of hills and mountains are ruined by uninteresting shapes: "Egyptian pyramids in the middle of rolling countryside". He told of the American artist, William 'Skip' Lawrence, telling a student that his painting had boring shapes. "But I painted what was there!" said the student. To which Skip responded, "Well don't go there again!".

Arnold uses a razor blade in wet paint to add interesting shapes to some of the rocks.

To see more of Arnold's work visit his websites and You will also find him on Facebook and YouTube. The short clip below shows him demonstrating how to paint a very similar scene.