January 29th Stephanie Mansell: What has inspired you to become an artist?
The Art Society welcomed one of their own members this evening as our guest speaker – Stephanie Mansell, who has been a member for many years. Stephanie gave us a brief history of her life and how she came to art, beginning with being born in Staffordshire and growing up in Wednesbury in the Black Country. She hated the Black Country, but did manage to find the beauty and nature of the canals that intersect the dark dismal landscape. This developed her love of nature and wildlife. After school, she worked for a company which made printing inks, then went into accountancy, finally working in a University collecting tuition fees. None of this led to her interest in art, but it did lead to a long term problem with arthritis and consequently depression. Stephanie gave a candid account of how her depression ultimately led to her seeking therapy in the form of art, and how it now plays a vital part in her life to keep her “sane” as she put it.
So having come to art late in life, Stephanie has made the most of the Lifelong Learning courses in art and developed many skills in art and craft as a result. She led us through her life so far in art by bringing along pieces of artwork that she was able to share with us. These included sketches, sketchbooks, course work, village show art and craft exhibits, paintings, cards, sculpture, mosaics. All of these items were passed around and provided plenty of material for discussion.
It was wonderful to be able to see a small range of creations that Stephanie had produced over the years and to appreciate the great diversity in her work. It was also great to have Stephanie as one of the members of the Society sharing her work. Thank you!
February 26th Angie Girling: Botanical Art
Guest Speaker – Angie Girling
It has been five years since Angie Girling last came to speak to us and she has since more or less retired from teaching botanical art.
She told us about her career which included working as a draughtsman and as an architect’s assistant before becoming an art teacher and botanical artist and illustrator.
When she was teaching, her first lesson would always be how to sharpen pencils to get the correct thickness and angle of the points. She experimented with gouache but preferred water colours and always uses a limited pallet of about six colours.
The title of her talk was “Inspiration” which she said should always come from your subject. If she had no inspiration, she would go out looking in gardens to find inspiration. She was so enthusiastic about her work and the selection of paintings, cards and boxes that she brought to show us were so beautiful that she certainly inspired many of her audience to either take up botanical painting or to improve the quality of their own work. Particularly impressive were her paintings of Brussels Sprouts and Lichen on a branch.
Angie has received bronze, silver, silver gilt, and joint gold medals from the Royal Horticultural Society for her botanical art. She is an Emeritus Member of the Chelsea Physic Garden Florilegium Society, Honoree President of the Bath Society of Botanical Artists, and a member of the Society of Floral Painters.
March 11th (Note earlier date) Neil Holland: The Handel Evans collection (venue School of Art prompt 19:20 start)
We always look forward to the annual visit to Aberystwyth School of Art and were disappointed when Neil Holland told us that he was indisposed so he had asked two of his colleagues to take his place. However, “Hinge and Bracket” as Professor Robert Meyrick and Dr Harry Heuser like to call themselves proved to be entertaining and incredibly knowledgeable on the work of Stanley Anderson (1884- 1966) a painter printmaker and full member of the Royal Academy of Arts.
Last year, Doctor Heuser curated an exhibition of Stanley Anderson’s prints at the Royal Academy of Arts in London and, together with his co-author, Professor Meyrick, produced a catalogue “An Abiding Standard: The prints of Stanley Anderson RA”. The exhibition, together with some of Anderson’s oil and watercolour paintings have been on show at Aberystwyth School of Art from 1 February until 11 March. They will be taken down to make way for the Handel Evans exhibition so we just managed to catch the last day. The prints were brought alive by the background information collected by Prof Meyrick and Dr Heuser from Anderson’s niece who is also the holder of copyright to the prints.
In the 1920s Anderson taught printmaking at Goldsmiths’ College School of Art. Amongst his pupils were Graham Sutherland, Paul Drury, Edward Bouverie Hoyton and William Larkins who regarded Anderson as an exacting taskmaster. Part of the exhibition includes prints by these well-known artists including some whilst they were still students of Anderson. Some of the student’s ideas seem to be reflected in Anderson’s later works.
All the CAS members enjoyed the evening and learned a vast amount from these enthusiastic curators. Most said that they would be buying the excellent book produced in support of the exhibition which is available from the School of Art book shop.
April 29th Nigel Pugh: A talk about his latest project
Guest Speaker: Nigel Pugh
This evening we welcomed back Nigel Pugh, who came to speak at one of the members’ evenings last year. Nigel graduated from Cardiff College of Art in 1979 and when he moved to Wales in the 1990s became a full-time artist. He has been exploring the relationships between faith and art and was able to share some of this with us.
Nigel started off the evening by showing us photographs of the Turin Shroud and giving us a brief but interesting tour of its history. This led on to a series of photographs of religious icons depicting Christ, showing how the Turin Shroud has influenced these paintings over time. Nigel had brought with him his own depictions of Christ with four of his paintings from the twelve Stations of the Cross series, which had just been returned from their exhibition in Newport Cathedral. Nigel also showed us photographs of his charcoal drawings which he was commissioned to create for a book, using scripture as the inspiration.
Nigel is a member of the Watercolour Society of Wales and showed us photographs of the watercolour works he does. Also portrait paintings of peoples pets, painted in just three colours plus white.
After a short break Nigel carried on to talk about the religious icons of Mary, or Madonna with Child, of which there are many. He briefly showed us photographs of paintings throughout the ages looking at how they have changed through the different art periods. This led on to Nigel sharing his latest work with us, that he feels isn’t yet compete, of Mary with child. This painting also had just returned from Newport Cathedral where it had been displayed on the altar – a beautiful painting.
A thoroughly enjoyable evening once again – thank you Nigel.
May 27th Eileen Harrison: Harmony and discord
We welcomed Eileen Harrisson this evening who came to talk to us about her work. Eileen studied in Aberystwyth in the 1970s and is currently studying for her PhD here. After gaining her degree in the 70s she married and concentrated her artistic talent on pen, ink and pastel. She later developed muscle problems which meant changing the way she created art. She now concentrates on combining hand stictching with inkjet printed fabric pieces. She uses silk paint to colour fabrics and adding hand stitching creates movement in her finished peices. Many of her influences for Harmony included religious texts, icons and other images. She adds music and poetry which she herself writes to accompany her art work to create an audiovisual expereince. The second half of her talk showed her art created from her experiences of growing up in Northern Ireland and were in contrast to the first half of the evening - these peices were dark and emotive conveying the violence of those times. Eileen brought along so many pieces for us all to have a look at which was wonderful to see them. Thank very much Eileen for a fascinating evening and thanks also to her husband Arthur who carried everything into the hall!
June 24th Judy Macklin: Critics night
September 30th Ian Phillips: The art and craft of lino cut
This evening we welcomed Ian Phillips, artist and lino cut printmaker. Ian has been printing for the last 25 years and works largely in A2 size working out of his studio in Aberystwyth. Ian took us on a journey to demonstrate how he walked the Dyfi Valley Way over the course of two weeks, taking his sketchbook with him to create the sketches that would become his linocut prints. From this two week walk, Ian produced a body of work to reflect what he saw and how he interpreted the landscape. Ian
works using reduction printing and demonstrated to us how he does this - this all looked so simple while he was explaining it! In 2011 he decided he wanted to challenge himself and was influnced by the linocuts of the Northern Territories in Australia, particularly with the marks made on tribal masks. He managed to negotiate to spend several weeks in Cairns to learn these techniques in return teaching the art of colour printing. Ian brought this new knowledge back to his studio in the UK to create a new body of works using the patterns in his landscapes and animal prints.
After the break Ian shared some of his latest work with Pine Feroda - a collaborative group of five printmakers using woodcuts to make up big prints. We were able to see prints and the original linocuts that Ian creates and also the tools he uses. Thank you Ian for a great evening - I for one had looked forward to this all year!
Friday 28th October 2016
Guest Speaker – Philip Huckin
We were delighted to welcome Philip Huckin to speak to us this evening about his artwork. To begin with, he gave us his background which started in Oxford where he studied a foundation year in Art. He then came to Aberystwyth to study a degree in Art, followed by his PGCE which led to the next 33 years in teaching art, management, schools advisor and teacher training. In 2010 he left full time employment and moved to Wales where he completed a Masters degree in Fine Art.
His love of the landscape is influenced by 18th century artists such as the early Romantics; Cozens, Turner, Constable, Cotman and Wilson, and also 20th century artists such as Paul and John Nash and Graham Sutherland.
Philip sketches on location and has several sketch books he takes out with him along with radio 4 and a good supply of kitkats! He uses his sketches to build composition and then photographs the finer details for use later in his studio. He will sometimes use bits of different sketches to paint a composite landscape, and may take two or three months to finish a piece of work, such is the fine detail.
He works in pencil and his tip for good pencil drawing is to ensure that the pencil is razor sharp – he uses emery boards and sandpaper to keep them sharp at all times. Layers of pencil work can be used to get the depth of shade and tone in a drawing, rather than depending on a softer pencil – he likes to use a 2H.
Philip showed us his work by using powerpoint and we saw a series of paintings and drawings of his landscapes, some of which were familiar to most of us. He also brought along some of his sketchbooks for us to look at and some copies of his book that he worked on with Cyril Jones, Poet – Hud Afon Arth. This book is a series of poems, essays and drawings about the Arth Valley. He is currently working on another book which should be available in 2017 – Ystrad Fflur.
Some of his work is on display in Rhiannon in Tregaron and is well worth a visit to see the incredible detail is his drawings and paintings. His work can also be seen on his website www.philip-huckin.com
Thank you for a great evening!
November 25th Annual General Meeting (19:00 start) and mystery speaker
Our mystery guest on Friday November 26th was Dr. June Forster who works as a tutor at the School of Art in Aberystwyth.
Dr Forster trained in micropalaeontology but turned to art after her son was born. When she moved to Ystrad Meurig in Mid Wales, she attended drawing classes which encouraged her to take a Fine Art degree at Aberystwyth. She studied History of art as part of her degree and this resulted in a rapid improvement in her artwork. She then went on to do her MA in Fine Art and her PhD in Art practice.
Her work is now quite abstract and reflects both the colours and mood of the Welsh countryside.
Many thanks for your interesting and inspiring talk explaining how a glimpse of the landscape becomes an abstract painting.