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!