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Check out our latest Budleigh Salterton Art Club news!


Our demonstrator for May was Claire Western. She gave an excellent presentation and, working on gesso primed board, she used mixed media surfaces, newspaper and magazine articles as backgrounds. The Sunday Financial Times and the Hindu Daily got special mentions!

She then painted thinly over this with watered acrylic paints. While this was drying she prepared some rich, painted surfaces using a small sponge. Drawing objects on the reverse of these sheets and then cutting them out- we were amazed at the results as she collaged over the backgrounds. Claire used an assortment of equipment such as sponges, scrapers, stencils and conte pencils to enrich an add detail to the final piece.



Claire’s workshop was a great opportunity for members to immerse themselves in this exciting experimental approach to abstract collaging.

Her expert teaching and guidance was invaluable in encouraging everyone to work very differently from their normal practice.

Artists created a range of imaginative and colourful still life abstracts and collages. One of the great things about using this particular approach is that objects can be created separately and then positioned around the paper/artwork. These techniques and approach to composition could also be incorporated into land and seascapes.

All materials were provided and included acrylic paint, sponges, papers, glue, scissors and stencils etc. Claire also brought along many different objects such as jugs, shells, fruit and bottles to draw and then cut out from our backgrounds that we had already made. She took us through each step to remind us of the process which she had showed us in the morning demo which proved a great help.

Creating this style of art says Claire “is hectic and requires constant decision making and self criticism.”

For us it was great fun and Claire was an energetic and inspiring communicator and we all produced very different interpretations of 'Still Life' in this form!

A very big thank you to Claire for her time and effort plus her enthusiasm and patience with us all! See some examples of the artwork produced below!

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Lucilla Phelps Our meeting this month consisted of a very interesting and informative talk from Lucilla Phelps who used to be a photographer for Sothebys Auction House. Lucilla told us how she started her career in photography when her children were small, as a freelance portrait and school photographer. Then she was asked by a friend to help photograph some antiques for 3 weeks at Sothebys and she ended up staying 15 years becoming Head Photographer. Lucilla talked about all the equipment and all the many staff they had to take with them wherever they went, which was often to Europe to photograph antiques in castles and stately homes. The job could take up to 6 weeks at a time. Then the catalogue would have to be printed and sent out before the Auction was arranged a few months later. One particular auction in Baden Baden consisted of 25,000 pieces which Lucilla illustrated to us with actual photographs of the items up for auction and then preceded to amaze us with the sale price that some of the more expensive lots went for! Considering this was in the 90s a quarter of million then would be so much more by todays prices! Amongst other places she talked about were the Duke and Duchess of Windsors home in Paris , Clarence House with the Queen Mother and Althorp House where Princess Diana was buried. There was also some items that had changed history such as a telegram to the Russians about the death of the Romanovs which was handed in to the Auction House. Lucilla had brought many catalogues for us to browse over and after coffee we had a Question and Answer session which proved very enlightening and she even gave us tips on how to photograph our own paintings namely: Keep the painting upright so its square on and light either side at a 45º angle! I think I can say that everyone was fascinated into this insight into a whole different world that we knew nothing about and what goes in to producing an auction catalogue. We could only look in awe at the beautiful lots for sale that she had photographed knowing they were way out of our league! Lucilla kindly donated her fee to The Jubilee Sailing Trust which helps people of mixed abilities both mental and physical to take part in sailing a tall ship


and workshop

For our March club meeting we had Alex Boon give a talk on Nature Journaling. He was initially inspired by the Diary of an Edwardian Lady by Edith Holden which he was given as a gift by his grandmother. In 2016 following the decision to leave an academic career, studying and teaching environmental science, he decided to move to the rural southwest and it was then that he began nature journaling. At the time he didn’t know that that was what it was called, and he found it by accident through the way he expressed his connection with nature.

Alex advised club members to keep it to a short and manageable time, 10-20 mins a day, and that the nature of the journal lends itself to doing something different every day, playing with composition, adding observations, poetry, and feelings in written form too. Alex sketches out in pencil first and stressed to us to make sure that you really like what you are drawing before committing- appreciation is part of the experience. Alex takes elements of the nature and not only records them using Inktense coloured pencils, but he also creates his own inks using the natural materials within an environment such as through crushing leaves or adding chalk dust from nearby cliffs.


This means that part of the nature is encapsulated within the journal too. He also does some contact printing as well as pressing plants and flowers into the journals. He found that he learnt so much about the environment he was in through discovering it in person, and then researching things which caught his eye - specific plants, their flowering seasons etc. He showed us his ‘perpetual nature journal’ which has a different format – it is a year split up into time periods of maybe a few weeks each. He works through the dates in the book year on year adding a new drawing. He found that this way of journaling built up on his understanding of those particular plants that appeared at certain times of year, but also highlighted to him his progression in drawing over time. Club members remembered doing art journaling as children and how at school it was a regular thing. Alex is keen to inspire us all to step into nature, notice, and respond to it, and through nature journaling you can record your connection with the natural world in any way that suits you.

Following on from the demo, a group of Club Members attended a workshop with Alex. They found it to be very mindful and will endeavour to keep their own art journals. 


Fairlynch exhibition open 29.3.24 - 28.10.24

We are excited to announce the opening of our exhibition at the Fairlynch Museum in Budleigh Salterton! Please see the poster below. The exhibition will be running until the end of October so there is plenty of time to check it out. The Fairlynch Museum is a lovely place to visit in its own right, and we are very pleased to be exhibiting there. Artwork is for sale, and is all produced by our extremely talented club members, who are all local artists. Below is a first look at some of the exhibits. 

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John Washington DemonstraTION

For our February Club Meeting we had club member John Washington give us a demonstration on ‘An Introduction to Portraiture’. With a live sitter, John demonstrated how to pin-point specific areas of the face, roughly measuring each in relation to the other by eye. The main features included were the top of the forehead, brow, nose and the middle of the mouth. John explained that in order to get a likeness, no matter how much an artist hones in on detail, that if the proportions are incorrect the likeness will not be there. He said that portraiture is a skill that can be built upon by practise and repetition. John explained how he finds that through painting from life, he is able to better capture the character of the person than through a photograph. He used a limited palette of oils which consistent of 4 basic colours- white, black vermillion red and yellow ochre which he used to block in slabs of dark and colour. Before our eyes, we could see the painting emerge and we were in awe of his ability to capture such a great likeness live and in a relatively short space of time!

John wanted us all to know that portrait painting is a process which includes encountering and overcoming hurdles and to not give up!



On the 14th February, Club Members gathered for a Spring Lunch held at The Holt. The food was remarked as being delicious and club members also enjoyed a quiz. It was great to have a social gathering at the new Cricket Club, have a chat and take in the wonderful views over the Otter Estuary. Thank you for all who attended- it was great to see you.



For our January Club meeting we had a demonstration by Helen Plant on wet-felting and needle-felting.
She showed us how to lay the merino wool in layers, creating a composition, before beginning the bonding process. She sprayed the wool with washing-up liquid and water and massaged the fibres with her hands. She used alternative temperatures of water to rinse the wool and began a rolling process. This is quite a laborious technique which demands a lot of time and repetition but is also quite relaxing too. The result of this process is a singular formed bonded piece which in essence becomes a ‘painting in wool’. She then showed us how to work into this with the needle-felting tools and explained how she often uses her sewing machine to do free-form embroidery over the top. Helen showed us a video of the work she does with The Open Door Community Craft Room in Exmouth which is a space to learn and share craft skills, with a variety of projects and activities on offer. It provides a relaxed, welcoming place to make friends. Club members were impressed to hear about such a worthwhile project and to see first hand how to create a piece of artwork using a different medium. 

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Tree festival

Our BSAC Christmas tree  is up! This year we have joined many of the local clubs and initiatives for the festival in the Temple Methodist Hall. Our tree includes an array of individually hand painted wooden baubles, and handmade mini palettes to add to our theme! We decided to name our tree ‘last Christmas I gave you my art’!



Budleigh Salterton Art Club raised money for Mill Water School from our exhibitions this year. It’s great to see what that led to. They had their own series of workshops led by local artist Nic George focusing on the styles of different artists (such as Picasso) which the pupils used to influence their own designs. It culminated in their own art exhibition with the theme ‘All About Me’. We helped to set up the exhibition and were very happy to have a sneak peak at all of the wonderful artwork. We felt very proud of being a part of this experience with Mill Water School and would like to extend our thanks to not only them for using the money in such a meaningful way, but also to all that have supported our exhibitions this year and hopefully we can help to nurture our future generations of artists.


liese webley demonstration

For our November club meeting we had Liese Webley demonstrating for us. Over the past 10 years Liese Webley has been drawn to coastal semi-abstract painting, and the time she spent in Cyprus ignited her love of the bright and rich colour palette she gravitates towards today. Liese said 'I am less focused on making my artwork representative, but more focused on where it takes me.' Liese demonstrated her personal approach to abstraction and talked us through how she usually starts sketching from life or photos but with a simplified methodology- noticing the main shapes that catch her eye, and what interests her. She creates layers and layers of underpainting which gives her artwork depth and texture, with oil being added with a palette knife to block in sections. She described this evolution beautifully as 'the history of the piece'. She follows an intuitive approach when painting, and makes decisions on colour based on what she is drawn to rather than being representational. She explained how the juxtaposition of certain colours set each-other off, and she often adds a newly mixed colour into many paintings at once, and watches as the paintings naturally evolve through this technique, feeling what seems right. Through working on 3 or 4 paintings in tandem, she has time to step back and look for balance.
Liese’s demo inspired us all to try abstraction in our own artwork and to listen to, and trust our own intuition as artists. 


liese webley workshop

On Thursday 30th November, Liese Webley held a workshop for club members. The words of the day were- colour, balance, simplify, and movement.

After a demonstration of Liese Webley’s abstract work the day before, club members taking part in the workshop were keen to do their own interpretations. Liese continued to explain that shapes and colour were the order of the day and to not over-complicate things. She advised about layering paint and shapes over each other (waiting for the first layers to dry using hairdryers). Club members found her process of having a couple of pieces of work on the go to be helpful for them and that going back and forth stopped them from trying to add too much detail. Liese explained that a helpful way to get rid of the tension in slavishly following a photo is to sketch without looking at the paper. Club members managed to create something that showed what they had learnt and had enough information to have another go, taking these methods into their own artworks in future!

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