PIRBRIGHT ART CLUB was 21 years old in Autumn 2020! Many of our founder members are still taking an active part in the club meetings, events and exhibitions. Created in 1999, by art tutor Maggie Read, as a way of continuing art sessions for her students during the long breaks between Adult Education terms, it has become a thriving and successful club. We have a reputation for excellence for the quality and presentation of the work on show at our annual exhibitions.
We attract a wide range of artists, from beginners to professionals, through Maggie's art classes, workshops and demonstrations; via our website and by word-of-mouth. There are now four separate groups in the club, each meeting for drawing and painting sessions once a month. Members of all groups come together at our exhibitions, outdoor summer painting days and social events.
CLUB NEWS 2020-21
The recommencement of live Art Club Meetings is getting closer (as of early MAy, 2021). In anticipation of this, Maggie Read has sent a message to all Pirbright Art Club Members, as follows,
"The past few weeks have passed by in a rush, since the Easter weekend and the re-opening of some of the locked-down hospitality and retail businesses in the first weeks of April. We've seen many seasons in one month - the warm sunshine and blossom promised Spring and then we saw a continuation of extremely cold nights and frosty mornings, delaying the development of the bluebells, causing angst amongst the gardeners and dismaying those of us who looked forward to meeting friends and families in our gardens after a long lockdown!
I do hope we have managed to keep you engaged with the club over the past months - I know that some of you have enjoyed trying out the 'themes' and many have viewed my demo videos, whether on YouTube or via links to my Google photo albums. Some members took part in the project to create a Pirbright Art Book, sending in their drawings or paintings of local Pirbright scenes. We are now awaiting the finished product which is being put together by the local Church committee, whose idea it was to create a 'fund-raiser' book of pictures of Pirbright, submitted by local residents and some of our artists from the club.
Despite the Government announcement (back in February) of its 4-step 'roadmap to the easing of restrictions' - gradually re-opening schools, hospitality, leisure and retail - it has been difficult to devise a plan to re-open the Art Club meetings indoors, so that everyone can feel safe and we can mix again without strict social distancing. Although village halls opened for some activities in April - I have decided that, on balance, it would be best to wait until after June 21st to start up any indoor sessions again. By then, many of our members will have had both vaccine jabs and we will have a clearer idea of which safety measures still have to be in place for groups like ours. It would be nice to think we can gather together to look at each others' work, have proper coffee breaks again and sit together around tables - even if we still keep to some sensible social distancing. (Dates of meetings in June, July and August to be announced!)
Meanwhile - from May 17th - Step 3 allows for larger groups to meet outside (up to 30 people), so I thought it would be nice to have a couple of 'Meet and Draw' sessions at the village green. I have planned 2 dates for you to come along and see your friends and dust off your art equipment! The dates are Thursday 20th & Thursday 27th May and times are 2 - 4.30 pm. I will arrange for us to use the toilets at the hall and will bring my new large gazebo as a gathering point but please bring your own art materials (any drawing or painting media), an easel if you wish, a seat and refreshments. There is usually a 'waffle van' selling coffee, etc parked in the hall car-park if you wish to buy a drink.
Please let me know if you would like to join us - just so I have some rough numbers. I will be drawing too - so you can get some ideas but I suggest we just sketch trees or buildings - or you could paint if you like! I will start a list for each date - you can do one or both, unless we get too full on either! The weather will have improved by then, I'm sure, but we will review the forecast nearer the time and may have to change dates if we have a tornado! These sessions are offered free of charge, after many months of no 'live' meetings.
I would love to see you there - don't forget to let me know, even if it is nearer the time, that you wish to come to one or both sessions."
We have produced a Spring 2021 Pirbright Art Club Newsletter - in the midst of the latest Lockdown! Please click on the logo to see the PDF version.
This edition is dedicated to the various ways that some members have used their time during the latest enforced isolation - when even the weather has been against us all, forcing us to stay indoors and get down to some of the things we don't usually find time for -
a plus-side to the Covid restrictions perhaps?
We hope you enjoy reading the Newsletter!
Our 2020 'Virtual' Annual Exhibition was displayed throughout December 2020 on the website. The exhibition was very successful with many of our artists participating and over a hundred paintings for sale. The online exhibition was well received and many people commented on how professional it looked. A significant number of artists sold paintings and we are glad we were able to show some of our members' latest work.
Despite the exhibition now having officially finished, the Slide-show and Gallery will remain on our website for a while longer. If you are interested in purchasing any of the pictures, please contact Maggie Read who will then contact the artist concerned. Click here to move to our Exhibitions page.
The club is run rather differently to many other local art groups and societies as Maggie is a qualified tutor who sets the monthly 'themes' and organises the meetings - she is there to demonstrate techniques and guide all members towards personal improvement.
NB. Meetings are currently postponed due to the 3rd Covid National Lockdown.
During last year's Lockdown, members continued to be actively involved with the club by following the monthly 'themes' from home. Maggie was available to advise or critique work via WhatsApp or by email. Members were encouraged to post their own work on our Facebook page. From May, members could access YouTube videos specially created for their own group. These short films were mainly to give inspiration to members to keep going with their art. Maggie's finished demonstration pieces were sent to members as an attached jpg as well as appearing on the website later. Two of these final pieces are shown below and some appeared in the "Virtual" Annual Exhibition.
Maggie's Friday Morning Painting Class, which has running 'virtually' via WhatsApp during each period of lockdown, also re-opened for a short while in late September, at Lord Pirbright's Hall, until the hall had to close again in November! While they are unable to meet in person for weekly classes, members post images of their latest work (following that week's theme) at various stages of completion, for Maggie's advice and comments. Some examples of Friday Class lockdown work on the themes of "Still-life, in the style of the "Scottish Colourists" and "Garden Shadows", are shown here (right and below). See further examples on Maggie's website:
Pirbright Art Club produces three newsletters each year, each suitably styled by its whimsical editor, Stephen Jones. The 2020 Autumn edition can be downloaded here.
A special 2020 lockdown edition of the Club's Newsletter was produced by Stephen for these extraordinary times. That edition can be downloaded here Member Carol Norris was impressed - she said: "What an excellent Newsletter and how very appropriate to title it Art in Adversity. I have to say it was a very enjoyable read and excellently produced by Stephen. Ironically the Renoir picture on page 9 is the very same picture that is hanging in our bedroom .... sadly not the original of course. Renoir has always been a favourite of mine and again it is very apt that it reminds us that dark times will pass eventually. The picture has now taken on a new meaning."
Pirbright Art Club now has its own Instagram site, managed by Ingrid Skoglund. Make sure you follow us!
Maggie appears in Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year as one of the Wildcard Artists - see if you can spot her in the episode on Wed 17th February 2021 at the West Reservoir Centre in Hackney! This was the second heat filmed at this location - they are not shown in order. This heat was filmed on one of the hottest days in August 2020 - a distant memory!
The Club visited the Lightbox, Woking in January, 2020 to see the latest exhibition, "Burning Bright : The Scottish Colourists". Click here to see details of this exhibition and other exhibitions at the Lightbox.
ANNUAL EXHIBITION 2019
The Club held a hugely successful 20th Annual Exhibition over the first weekend of December, in 2019. This included a one-off "Black Friday" sale of previously exhibited and unsold artwork.
The exhibition was formally opened on the Saturday morning by Steve Fidgett - chairman of Pirbright Parish Council and a regular visitor to our annual exhibitions.
Many pictures were sold from the main exhibition (see a selection below) and the 'Black Friday' sale, as well as printed cards, prints of current paintings and unframed folio pictures. The cafe and the raffles, held on both days, were, as usual, well received by all visitors.
All-in-all a very successful weekend!
20th ANNIVERSARY CHRISTMAS SOCIAL
Our 20th Anniversary Christmas Social, held at the Worplesdon Golf Club, in mid-December, 2019, was well attended by over 50 members and friends. The golf club did us proud with an excellent venue, superb food and first-class service. This was an occasion to remember!
During the event we were entertained by magician, Chris Scade, and then singer/ songwriter Dean Dyson, who serenaded us with his guitar during and after our meal - some of us even ended up dancing. Everyone agreed that the Social was a great way to end our 20th Anniversary year.