A Life in Landscapes
A full house listened intently to our guest speaker,
Ray Balkwill, well known to many members and a very popular local landscape artist.
Born in Devon on the outskirts of North Dartmoor, his passion is painting around the county, in particular the Exe estuary where he is well known for his amazing output of watercolour and pastel interpretations of boats and their reflections in the low tide waters. Exmouth, Lympstone and Topsham with the Haldon Hills ever-changing light in the background feature strongly and his paintings and books are becoming sought after and valuable collectors’ pieces.
With several books under his belt after a career in advertising and publishing,
he decided to commit to earning a living from his passion, landscape painting.
From watercolours, acrylics, oils and mixed media he demonstrated his wide scope of techniques, all based on traditional drawing skills with acute and empathetic observation.
Interestingly he identified with what we all experience from time to time – artists’ block – and his remedy was to return to art college and revitalise his output with completely new ideas and fresh ways of looking at subjects. It was fascinating to follow the progress of such a renowned artist over many years and encouraging to all members that there is always a way forward, however stuck, unconfident or frustrated we may become.
A really good session and we shall look forward to a return visit, hopefully in the not-too-distant future.
A bumper table-top sale at the October meeting produced a substantial sum with proceeds going to charity - art materials and art books donated by members generated nearly £180. The family of our previous Chair, Michelle Sykes has given her valuable library of art books for the club to sell on for charity and along with items from Gaynor Williams and the late Alan Turner there was a mine of fascinating material for members to purchase at bargain prices.
The number of books donated, means that we shall have further sales at our monthly meeting so do arrive in good time to peruse the collections - there's bound to be something to interest you.
Following a lively and inspiring demonstration at the May Club Meeting, a group of Club members joined Sue Lewington for an afternoon's plein air sketching and painting.
The Green in Budleigh provided the ideal location with a variety of subjects - trees, plants, people, dogs, buildings and pathways and the group put into practice the tips learnt in the morning with a series of sketches, watercolour paintings and pen and wash drawings.
Something we may repeat if you'd like to join in. Watch this space. Sue has several books in print which you may find of interest and you can check out her website for courses and further information at www.suelewington.net
Probably the most popular medium amongst Club members, John Bailey gave us a couple of hours of really good advice with a demonstration and tips as to how to achieve the sort of result we’d be proud of.
With examples of his work from this country and abroad and subjects as diverse as the countryside, rivers, estuaries, hills and buildings, there was something for everyone to identify with and take away some really good pointers. All delivered with good humour and a raft of experience.
Following the demo, the Club's Spring Lunch was enjoyed by a hall full of members who were treated to a sumptuous spread of the most delicious and beautifully presented food.
A Winter's Tale: Phil Creek
With all the recent snow and maybe more still to come, it was appropriate that
the March Club talk and demo had a wintry theme.
Over 70 fascinated members watched Phil Creek create a snowy landscape painting using both acrylics and water based oils.
With a base of a prepared Ampersand board, he made use of flat, 3cm brushes to apply first of all the sky, introduce some foreground and then the first impressions of skeletal trees.
He followed this with water based oils applying more detail and richer colours using similar brushes and a small rigger for more intricate work.
The end result, as you can see at the top of this page, is a beautifully rendered landscape, full of atmosphere and very much of the moment. A really great morning for members and an inspiration for the Club's landscape painters.
If you have a moment and you'd like to see more of Phil's work you can check it out at www.philcreek.co.uk
Life as an illustrator may seem by the onlooker to be an attractive way to earn one’s daily crust – and indeed in most ways it is. But Ron Tiner, in his illustrated talk during January’s Club Meeting explained that of course every job has a deadline, sometimes a very short one and from time to time clients can be demanding and even unreasonable. And to make a career from the skills of the illustrator requires a constant flow of work in many styles, shapes and sizes so one has to simply buckle down and get on with it.
Ron gave us a splendid insight into both the disciplines and creativity of his work with some beautiful examples of his illustrations from fantasy to history - from comic and romantic to good old-fashioned storytelling.
Working mostly in guache for colour work and pencil, pen and ink - even ballpoint for monochrome, his illustrations are as varied as one’s imagination can range with a stunning collection of subjects for all sorts of media.
An appreciative audience was enrapt with such a magnificent portfolio of work - some of us may have wished we'd developed such skills and maybe taken a different route to earn a living.
Perhaps even now, there's time to learn new skills and have some work published with the best of them. An inspiring morning with much to admire and enjoy.