Our annual early summer Paintaway to Beaumaris in Anglesey, from 21st to 25th May, was blessed with almost perfect weather.
This enabled us to explore far and wide across the island and on to the immediate mainland, returning to favourite spots or seeking out new sketching locations. These included formerly bustling harbours such as Amlwch, small, almost hidden churches, and wild, remote beaches. For some of us there was a return to the dramatic moonscape of Parys Mountain, where huge craters and a mine headstock still bear testimony to the scale of the former quarrying and mining for copper, which has left exotic and multi-coloured spoil exposed in every direction.
We were well looked after in the comfortable Bulkeley Hotel, situated on the edge of the Menai Straits with splendid views across to the mountains of Snowdonia.
On the final evening we had an opportunity to enjoy each other’s sketchbooks, compare notes on our various adventures and to look ahead to next year’s Paintaway project.
Thanks are due to the very helpful staff of the hotel, to Alan Townsend, who organised our stay, and all those who helped in any way to make the event a friendly and productive experience.
Finally a big thank you to all for their positive participation and to Frank Hilton for his excellent photographic record.
On a particularly fine Friday 4th May evening, some 50 members and friends gathered at the Trinity Centre in Meole Brace for the second of our annual Judith Moy Memorial lectures, designed to celebrate her considerable contribution to the Society’s development.
On this occasion we were fortunate to have as our speaker, Jeremy Yates, President of the Royal Cambrian Art Society, in which role he follows in the footsteps of Augustus John and more recently Kyffin Williams. The title of his lecture, “In Artists’ Footsteps through Snowdonia” reflected our request for him to talk about The long tradition of painters exploring and responding to this exciting landscape. Drawing on his considerable knowledge he took us from the earliest responses of these travelling artists up to those of Kyffin Williams and our immediate contemporaries, such as David Tress, well known to us in Shropshire.
At our request he brought for display some fine examples of his own landscape paintings.
He was warmly thanked by Wilf Langford, retiring Chairman, on behalf of those present. Alan Townsend was also thanked for organising the event.
Our thanks go, too, to Anne Linton for her photographs of the evening as well as to the staff of the Trinity Centre for their assistance in making the arrangements and for their help on the night.
There was a very good attendance of members and friends at the Trinity Centre on Tuesday 10th April for a lively demonstration of portrait painting by Ron Satterthwaite.
Sheila Martin, one of the members present was selected by the drawing of lots to be the model for the afternoon and was later the delighted recipient of the finished portrait. In the course of the two hour demonstration, Ron created a fine portrait of Sheila. Working freely with strong colour on a multi-coloured ground he created an excellent likeness which captured the essence of the sitter’s character.
Our thanks are due to artist and model for another enjoyable and instructive demo and to Rob Leckey for continuing to organise such an attractive programme. Also a big thank you to those members responsible for producing the delicious cakes for consumption during the break. All in all, a great afternoon!
On Friday the ninth of March we set off on our annual Spring Gallery Trip, this time to be based in city centre Leeds.
Our first stop was at a brilliantly sunny Sheffield. Arriving in time for coffee, we were soon exploring the light and airy Millennium Gallery, housing a challenging exhibition of contemporary Art alongside displays of Sheffield’s craftsmanship down the ages, with the attractive Winter Garden nearby. In the adjacent Graves Gallery we admired the city’s own impressive collection of paintings before lunch and then headed off for our Leeds check-in at the comfortable Queens Hotel.
With Saturday at leisure in Leeds, many of us enjoyed the riches of the city’s Art collection, on display in the Leeds City Art Gallery, fresh from its recent refurbishment. A few travelled out to the Royal Armouries Museum, others went on to explore the fine city centre itself, with its visually exciting traditional closed market and the amazing Exchange building, while some of us indulged in retail therapy in the splendid shopping arcades, such a feature of the city.
Most of us took advantage of Sunday’s opportunity to spend the day in York, welcoming the fine dry weather, Many headed straight for the York City Art Gallery, which following its refurbishment of a year or so ago had acquired various accolades. Here the main attractions were the splendid visiting Paul Nash exhibition and the several rooms holding the Gallery’s own renowned collection of ceramics, which included a substantial room of artefacts for sale. Again some members of the party were tempted into making purchases. It was not difficult to see why this gallery had attracted such commendations. The other attractions of the city were also enjoyed and some energetic and music loving souls stayed on for evensong in the Minster, catching the train back to Leeds in time for our evening meal.
Waking on Monday to a very wet world (a trip organiser’s nightmare!) we headed for Wakefield and the always exciting, award-winning Barbara Hepworth Gallery where we enjoyed, as well as the exhibits in the main galleries, an exciting Laser Show before braving the Yorkshire Sculpture park on a very wet afternoon. Not the ideal way to experience such a fine place, but we savoured the challenging exhibitions in the huge covered galleries, as well as the excellent offerings in the cafe with its splendid views across the Park, before starting out on the journey home, with some great memories and rich experiences to feed our creative juices!
Many thanks to the very helpful staff at the Queens Hotel, to Liz Carr for her generous help on the road, my daughter, Jane, for all her help in planning the project, not forgetting Longmynd Coaches and especially their excellent Driver, Martyn, who looked after us so well. Thanks too to all travellers for being punctual and helpful at all times.
Finally, a special thank you to Michael White for his photographic record.
(Editor’s note: And thank you most of all, Alan Townsend, for being our brilliant and most thoughtful trip organiser and leader… we couldn’t have done it without you!)
In spite of a few doubts about the weather, and adverse road conditions meaning that some of our more rurally-based members could not attend, we set off for Liverpool as planned on Saturday 3rd March with a reduced but enthusiastic party. We drove through a rather snowy Shropshire landscape but in the good hands of our coach driver, arrived on time in Liverpool, and went on to have a thoroughly enjoyable day.
After coffee at the Walker Art Gallery in the centre of the city, we enjoyed the richness and variety of their permanent exhibitions as well as some exciting temporary exhibitions. The highlight for some of us was the ‘Slaves of fashion’ exhibition, where we marvelled at the fascinating, intricate work of the Singh twins. Using traditional as well as very contemporary techniques, in this exhibition they explore the legacies of the relationship between the UK and India, including trade, exploitation and slavery via large, very colourful textile panels, displayed on light boxes and paintings. Some of us were very fortunate to be able to talk with the two sisters about their work. A special treat!
Later after lunch at Tate Liverpool, most of us spent the whole afternoon exploring the current John Piper exhibition. While his later more familiar landscape work was acknowledged, the emphasis of this exhibition was on Piper’s interest in the 1930s art movements of continental Europe including Cubism and abstraction in general and its effect on his own work.
Excellent exhibitions were enjoyed in both galleries and it was generally agreed that it had been another stimulating and engaging day.
Thanks to our Longmynd coach driver for excellent service in the wintry conditions and to Anne Linton for her photographs.