Saturday, 29 June 2013

Preparing For AFAS

The Armed Forces Art Society (AFAS) show each summer in the Mall Galleries is a 'must' for me and especially as I, our Chairman John Ashton and my fellow member Katie Tunn  run the new contemporary show alongside the regular one.  We are still finding our way with the new show and it will be interesting to see how it develops.  I am hoping to put two works into it, both based on poems by Pauline Stainer: 'The Wound-dresser's Dream' and 'The Ice-pilot Speaks'.  They involve an awful lot of gold leaf.  I am waiting for her to 'give me the nod ' before I go ahead.  If she is happy about it I will post the images before the show starts.

In the regular show I am submitting my full quota: 6 works, 5 oils and one pastel.  First there is a big Venice picture, based on one I did on site in November 2012:

Winter Afternoon on the Grand Canal (20x24 inches)

It is the biggest thing I have done for a while.  Then I have worked up a larger version of one that I did on the Seville trip:

Roses in the Alcazar, Seville (20x12 inches)

Next a little 12x8 done on the spot in Seville:

The Alcazar Tank, Seville (12x8 inches)

The pastel is quite a large one of the Botanic Gardens, Bath.  This is it before framing.  You can see that I have worked from a dark base:

In The Botanic Garden, Bath (pastel)

Then there is one that I was persuaded to include by my wife and main critic.  It is of a snow angel that the Beckley children built above our toboggan slope last year.  I froze painting it.

The Snow Angel, Beckley (10x10 inches)

It's funny but sometimes this sort of picture appeals when others I think are far more appealing don't - you can never tell!

Finally there is a tiny sketch of the Covered Market in Oxford:

Covered Market, Oxford (9x7 inches)

Well, we shall see if any of these are sold!  We had a difficult year last year with the Olympics.  They  prevented the gallery from operating normally and effectively shut out some works (eg heavy sculpture) because access from the Mall was blocked.  I was lucky and sold 2 of my pieces.  This year we should do a lot better all round but you can bet that Murphy's Law will apply to me and I won't sell a thing!  It is such a lottery that I sometimes wonder why artists put themselves through it but the fact is that we just go on trying again and again.  Madness but I would rather be mad than not paint.

The Show is on from Monday 15 July to Saturday 20 July.  Here are the flyers for the main show and also for the contemporary one that we call 'out of Line':

And this is how to get to both shows:

Do come if you can - it's all free and the range of work is very wide, due in part to the new show that allows members who find it difficult to be selected for the main show to exhibit something a little different.

Three Sorties in Early June

I have been storing Valérie's and Haidee's masterpieces since the Carshalton show  and it was time to give them back.  Also I had not painted with David Pilgrim for a while.  I made the Bath run on 6th June, calling in at cousin Liz Holden-White's house (Liz is also a painter) on the south side of the city and deciding that I had time to do this little 9x7 with my new 'mini palette-easel'

Bath From Tyning End

I got to Valérie's house by the usual navigational luck and had a very pleasant chat over tea in her beautiful garden.  Not only had they discovered hidden plant treasures once Spring arrived (she and John bought the house last year) but her mother, who is a great gardener, had supplied all sorts of exotic additions.

Next it was a rendezvous with Mr P at a spot he chose near Sarratt on the River Chess on 8th June.  We spent the morning looking for a good subject but found nothing that really fired us up, so repaired to the Hawker Gallery in Amersham, where we knew we could gatecrash the new two-man show there: Peter Wileman and Dennis Syrett. Our enthusiasm returned and once again we plodded along the river bank until at the point of giving up we looked back and saw this view.  David whipped out a huge board and set to with gusto.  I stuck to my 12x8 format:

  River Chess Near Sarratt

Finally it was Haidee's turn.  We agreed to meet in Towcester on 15th June, thinking that we might also paint there.  In the event the town proved to be a disappointment - maybe it was the weather or the traffic.  We decided to head out to Stoke Bruerne and paint near the Grand Union canal museum.  I had never been that way before and it was interesting to note that Grafton Regis, home of Edward IV's wife Elizabeth Woodville, was just down the canal.  The royal palace that her grandson Henry VIII built there was burned to the ground by Parliamentarians in the Civil War.  After we looked round Haidee produced a lovely painting of the canal boats.  I did my best but perhaps I was tired and just a little uninspired:

 Canal Boats, Stoke Bruerne
If you want to see how to paint this scene visit Haidee's blog: 

With the exception of a few short outings with sketchbook by myself I have since then been concentrating on my submissions for this year's Armed Forces Art Society show - the subject of my next post.