Summer Exhibition 2021 Opens!

We are delighted that Saturday 19th June saw our valued team of volunteers setting up the Summer Exhibition in St. Mary’s Church, Shrewsbury, by kind permission of the Churches Conservation Trust. The exhibition runs until 3rd July.

SAS Summer Exhibition ready for visitors

There was a real buzz in the church as members began arriving from across Shropshire with their paintings. It felt exciting to come together in person after so many months, and to see all our members’ new work in place, ready for visitors to enjoy from Monday 21st June. Thank you all the exhibitors, helpers, and especially to John Willetts, our Exhibitions Organiser, for making the exhibition a reality… it feels like a very positive moment for the Society, St. Mary’s and for the local community as summer 2021 begins.

The Townsend Family were joined by our President Wilf Langford, to judge the Judy Townsend Memorial Prize… it was awarded to Shirley Wade for her painting ‘Still Life’.

“We loved the strong composition of the painting and its vibrant colours; its narrative drew us in and made us want to explore the garden beyond. Congratulations Shirley!”

Celebrating with Shirley Wade, winner of the Judy Townsend Memorial Prize 2021
Shirley Wade with her winning painting, accompanied by Wilf Langford, Alan Townsend and Mary Shirra.

Click HERE to watch a short video of Alan presenting Shirley with her award. Here’s a further glimpse of how the Exhibition looked after set up on Saturday afternoon. We hope you will all be able to visit and enjoy it. Don’t forget to vote for your favourite painting for the People’s Prize!

SAS Summer Exhibition 2021
SAS Summer Exhibition 2021

Thank you to all our participating artists, and here’s wishing you all a successful summer exhibition.
(Photos, Sally Blake)

Painting together! Saturday Workshops 2021

SAS Saturday Workshops 2021, in our home studios
Some Saturday Workshop participants in their home ‘studios’!

We’re very pleased that 31 members (a record!) signed up for the Saturday Workshop programme this January. In addition, Wilf Langford’s classes ‘A passion for painting’ are now fully subscribed and underway, and Di Purser will be bringing us ‘POP’ in March; we have just sent out the Booking Form for Di’s classes to those who expressed an interest in participating.

The work from the workshops and classes, which we circulate among the participants, is plentiful and exciting (you can see some of it in our previous blog posts here and here) Even though separated by the pandemic, we are still learning together. Our tutors have also stepped up to the challenge, and we’re grateful to them for that. Some classes have been given by video, as well as those delivered via illustrated written instructions.

In February, Sally asked people to (optionally) share an image, either of themselves in their home studio, or of their works in process in their studio, along with a comment about how they are enjoying the experience of the Saturday Workshops, for this blog post. Her idea was to celebrate how we are making art together even when separated.

You can see some of the images above, and more here:

SAS Saturday Workshops 2021, our home studios and processes
Home studios and processes; the topic was ‘Chagall / Matisse / Piper – From paint to glass’

We realise, of course, that working at home alone is not the same as meeting together at the English Bridge Workshop, where we can inspire each other and enjoy the social interaction, and that there are other ways to give and take classes and workshops in lockdown. But, we have offered what we and our tutors have felt able to do at the present time, and here follow some great and varied snippets of what people had to say about the experience of our e-correspondence-style Saturday Workshops. The comments made us, the organisers, smile – something that we welcome more than ever mid-pandemic:

I have enjoyed the Workshops enormously. A wonderful idea.

Quite a challenge, but very enjoyable to work out and paint – I became increasingly absorbed in creating it. Just what is needed in lockdown!

The Workshops have been a joy and a challenge to continue making art.

I am bubbled with another member of the Society, and it is good that we are able to swap ideas – it is great fun.  I especially enjoy seeing the other artists’ work.

I have loved doing the Saturday Workshops so far this year (2021), as not only have I tried things I had never attempted before, but I have loved the experience and learned a lot.  I feel truly enriched by the work undertaken and it has broadened my horizons as an artist. I will definitely be trying similar styles in the future.
(new member – joined December 2020)

I have enjoyed the research and thought process,  before I made a start on my candle holder. It’s a little basic but at least I have more idea of the beauty of a snowdrop.
(first-time Saturday Workshop participant)

Each Saturday Workshop gets interrupted when I’m at home , but the subjects are always so interesting, I have to try and complete a painting! This subject, Angels tending, has been in my mind for a few years. When our family moved to LA, California, on my first visit I was in awe of the power of the Pacific Ocean, and the grandchildren loved it. I worried a lot about the children being safe as they swam. There was a piece of music that was played at a Pilates class that used to make me cry. But as it played, I had a vision of the children in the ocean and the sky was filled with angels watching over them. I eventually was able to buy the cd of the music, by ‘Asha’ and was amazed that the track that had moved me was called ‘Angels tending’. The project this weekend prompted me to paint the vision.

I just think these painting challenges have been amazing. They have certainly challenged me and got me painting differently to what I’m used to at times. My husband passed away last March and my motivation to do anything has been pretty low at times but these weekends have helped tremendously. Looking forward to the next one.

While painting alone at home can never replace the camaraderie of getting together for a Saturday of challenges and chatter at the English Bridge, these monthly workshops have provided a very welcome distraction during these difficult times. I’ve enjoyed having a go at something new, and have welcomed the chance to spend a little longer on the pieces.  I’ve actually managed to produce a few finished paintings, which is something I rarely do at our usual Saturday Workshops. I hope we will soon get back to meeting in the real world, but until then, I would like to thank Lynne and Mick for helping us have some virtual fun.

I’m really enjoying the workshops in lockdown. Lynne and Mick work really hard to give us some inspirational material to keep us motivated and occupied. 

My ‘studio’ is my kitchen! I paint whilst listening to radio 4 or radio 2. Most enjoyable. Painting for the Saturday art club helps me to focus on the selected subject. Brings me joy when I finish the painting and best of all helps me not to think of the horrid situation we are all in.

It’s lovely to have something completely absorbing to distract from ‘lockdown’.

And from the organisers:

Lynne and Mick: We as organisers (all four of us) are immensely grateful to all the participants who make this all worthwhile and provide a fitting testament to Judy who started the whole thing off many years ago now. This February Saturday Workshop has had a record number of submissions from 29 members with 49 individual works all of which took on the challenging theme and stretched the imagination of everyone.

Alan: I’m so impressed by the continuing commitment of our members to our Saturday Workshop project, with a record number of people participating in February. As one of those artists, I found it stimulating to have such an exciting challenge presented to us by our leaders Lynne and Mick, and ironically the ‘online’ format has encouraged me to plan my painting more carefully and see it through to a conclusion. It’s exciting to feel part of such a dedicated group.

Sally: I’m not participating, but I’ve been managing much of the the administrative side of things. I’ve seen all the paintings so far and taken calls from our participants, and it’s a joy to feel the collective enthusiasm and creative energy. We may be separated but we ARE making art together! The community spirit is helping me personally in this time of change and isolation.

Thank you to everyone who generously contributed to this article with images and words. Enjoy the March Saturday Workshop, ‘Gorky / Delaunay – Approaches to abstract colour!’

Meanwhile, if you’d like one of your paintings to be placed in our ‘Our Artists’ Gallery on this website, or if you’d like to update your painting there with a new one, now is the time. Sally will be doing the main annual refresh of our online Gallery in March. If you haven’t renewed your membership for 2021, your painting will be removed from the Gallery then. Don’t forget, we can link to your artist website, or your Facebook artist page (not your personal Facebook profile), or your public artist Instagram account; if you have a website, please make sure it’s up to date, working well, and celebrates your art! For how to submit your image, click HERE to go to the instructions at the foot of the Gallery page.

Take care everyone!

From Windows and Walks, Autumn 2020

SAS from windows and walks paintings by our members, Autumn 2020

We are very happy that we were able to offer a set of Wednesday classes this autumn, and that so many members took the plunge and adventured with us.

Painting from Windows and Walks, tutor Lynne Morgan

Thanks to Lynne Morgan, our enthusiastic and talented tutor, and Mick Krupa and Sally Blake in support, we launched our first ‘online’ by email and video course, ‘From Windows and Walks’. Eighteen members joined the classes and many have given us their permission to share a selection of their work here.

Lynne recorded a total of eight videos, four for ‘from Windows’ and four from ‘from Walks’, which members could either watch on the day of the classes or in advance, as they wished. Lynne gave feedback where people wanted or needed it.

The first week we tackled making a painting from a window, and the second, from a ‘lockdown’ or previous walk. In the final week we had a choice, either to complete the paintings or recreate one of them in another medium.

We hope you enjoy the paintings, and that they may inspire you for the next stage of 2020, as we begin the next ‘lockdown’ phase in the UK. We are considering the options for classes for the Spring Term, and will have more news in due course.

Meanwhile here are some more of the Autumn Term Wednesday Classes paintings:

SAS from windows and walks paintings by our members, Autumn 2020
SAS from windows and walks paintings by our members, Autumn 2020
SAS from windows and walks paintings by our members, Autumn 2020
SAS from windows and walks paintings by our members, Autumn 2020

Report by Sally and Alan.

(Copyright remains with the artists, there is some slight cropping in the images due to the collage format, but this is the way we can share a glimpse of the work.)

SAS Autumn Exhibition 2020 underway!

SAS Autumn Exhibition 2020 set up
Members of the set-up team mounting the Autumn Exhibition 2020

Our Autumn Exhibition 2020 is open!

Thank you to our members, for submitting so many great artworks to our Autumn Exhibition 2020. The set up team did a splendid job in mounting the Exhibition on Sunday, and the Exhibition has opened today Monday 5th October. It runs 11am to 3pm until the 17th, closed on Sunday and closing at 1pm on the final day, in the Bear Steps Gallery, Shrewsbury.

I called in to take a few photos of the occasion, and found the team hard at work. It felt exciting to see so many paintings, prints and other work on the wall again after such a long break, and I hope visitors will come to enjoy (and buy!) over the next two weeks. Here’s a flavour of the art on display.

SAS Autumn Exhibition 2020, reporter Sally
Me, Sally, pleased to be recording this ‘historic moment’ for the Society

Of course, all Government guidelines re COVID-19 are noted and in operation. Our stewards will be delighted to welcome you and your guests. Wishing success to everyone.

Sally, reporting for the SAS Committee, Autumn 2020
(With big thanks to John Willetts and his admin/set-up/take-down teams, all stewards and exhibitors, and the Bear Steps Gallery for making the Exhibition possible.)

Saturday Workshops Autumn 2020, a new adventure

We may be in our homes, but we are still exploring together! (image of first Saturday Workshop, Autumn 2020)
We may be in our homes, but we are still exploring together!

Alan was excited to set up his home studio for the first Saturday Workshop of Autumn 2020. He knew that a record 29 people had signed up to take part in the new e-correspondence version of the Workshops, but he had no idea how many other members would manage to join in on the day itself.

Lynne and Mick (our leaders for the Workshops) had sent out a flyer of inspirations for the day, so that we could explore painting in the style of Laura Knight – Portraits (gypsy / theatre / ballet / war effort). They’d included some great images of Mick, dressed up for the occasion, and Alan chose to focus on one of those. He worked all day Saturday and part of Sunday to finish in time to send a photo of his work in by the deadline, midnight on Sunday. He and I (Sally) went to bed that night still wondering whether other members had joined in.

You can imagine our delight when on Monday morning we received, from Lynne and Mick, images of completed works by a grand total of 21 SAS artists. Apparently, people really had burned the midnight oil to submit their artworks. We were so thrilled with the amazing range of results, that we immediately asked for permission to share, and everyone said, ‘Yes!’ So, take a look (below) and see what we all got up to. It’s such a joy to feel we are back together, making art, as a group, despite the ongoing Coronavirus-pandemic challenges.

SAS Saturday Workshops Autumn 2020, members' works 1 (image)
SAS Saturday Workshops Autumn 2020, members' works 2 (image)

We want to thank Lynne and Mick for making this venture possible, and we look forward to the next session ‘in the style of Pam Carter – Hebridean landscapes’. And, of course, thanks to all the artists for agreeing that we can share they work in this way, copyright of course remains with each artist.

If you’re interested to make some art with us this Autumn, there is still time for members to join Lynne Morgan’s Wednesday Classes ‘From Windows and Walks’ which will be run by e-correspondence with video tuition, starting 30th September. For more information, email Alan arhtownsend@btinternet.com and we will send you the Booking Form.

Things may be different, and of course at times challenging for any one of us, but we can still enjoy the feeling that comes with being part of a group of artists working together and inspiring each other. The first Saturday Workshop of the season certainly lifted our spirits.

Report by Alan and Sally