MEMBERS' NEWS

2022

Members Nina Klein and David Harmer are exhibiting at Denbies Wine Estate, Dorking as part of the "New and Emerging Art" Exhibition between Monday 6th and Sunday 12th June. For details, see poster.

David says "I will be exhibiting my latest framed watercolours at this exhibition, which is organised by First for Art"

David's painting of Abinger Hammer is shown below.

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Nina comments "This June is crazy busy with Woking Mercia Walk, Guildford Pop-up, Denbies and Open Studios exhibitions".

 

Nina exhibited at the Watts Gallery earlier this year where her work was seen by the organiser and, along with several other Contemporary artists, she was selected for a special exhibition there, where she sold three large paintings.

Member Anthony Shelton found time during his recent holiday in the Isle of Wight to complete two plein air paintings - see below.

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Anthony says "The first picture (left above) is the view from ’The Lighthouse’ at Steephill Cove, Ventnor, Isle of Wight. The white-fronted building near the shoreline is the ‘Beach Shack’ where fresh crab sandwiches are served daily. The second picture is another version at a slightly different angle (standing 2 metres to the right of the previous painting). This time, you can see the lighthouse on the right.

Member Colin Wood will be exhibiting at The Lightbox, Woking from 10th to 22nd May as part of the Wild Surrey Exhibition.

Colin says : "I noticed that Surrey Wildlife Trust (SWT) were running a photography and art competition and it was the last day for registering an entry! The key criteria was the work had to reference "Wild Surrey" (so no Scottish eagles!) and within that there were four categories, one of which was ‘Wild Beauty - images invoking atmosphere and a sense of place, and where habitat was a major element in conveying how it is vital for a healthy planet and people, as well as wildlife”.

I thought Glade fitted the brief as it was based on a reference photo taken on the Polesden Lacey estate by my good friend Charles Twigg so on impulse I paid the £20 entry fee and uploaded the image and details. My first foray into the competitive art exhibition world!

So I was delighted that it was accepted for the SWT online exhibition (out of 400 entries) and then received welcome news it had made it to the physical exhibition to be held in the Light Box Art Fund Gallery (from 10th to 22nd of May), one of 52 works, split roughly 50-50 art/photography.

Prizes were awarded at an awards evening on 12th May and, although I wasn’t a winner, it has been a great experience and encouragement to see my work in the Lightbox. The competition raised a substantial sum for the SWT charity. Exhibits in the Wild Surrey Exhibition can be seen by following this link.

The painting "Glade" represents a woodland scene on the Polesden Lacey estate. In this watercolour, I wanted to try and capture the light flooding through the bracken, catching the firs, under the heavy, dark canopy, so typical of the wilder Surrey Hills."

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Maggie Read ran a painting workshop on Saturday April 16th, entitled "Improving your Watercolour Skills", at Lord Pirbright's Hall between 10:00am and 2:30pm. This was well attended by our club members, as well as a few people from Maggie's Friday classes and from another local art society.

Especially for those with some experience of watercolours, there were several 'quick-fired' exercises on laying washes; blotting and lifting techniques; colour-mixing; masking tehcniques and wet-in-wet!

Maggie said: "We could really do with a four-day course to cover all these things in depth!"   

Member David Drury writes about a recent commission : "I was surprised to be called by the RSM of the 16th Regiment Royal Artillery asking for a commission of not one but two UK air defence missile systems. The setting was to be the Falkland Islands with Mount Pleasant as the backdrop. I did not get an invite to paint in situ but I was pleased when told that the wind is never less than 50mph. I had to make do with a compilation of photographs. Having checked that I would not be contravening the Official Secrets Act and with some trepidation, I agreed to proceed. I was out of my comfort zone.    

Sue and I delivered the painting to the Thorney Island Army base on a grey miserable day in early January. Having got through security we were met by the very pleasant RSM with his regimental cane firmly held under his left arm. We were taken to the Sergeants Mess where the painting was well received, much to my relief. Knowing that it was for a presentation to the CO later in the month, we took a sample frame which was gratefully accepted. However, this meant Sue having to lay out her framing materials on a cleared table and hastily framing the relatively small painting under the gaze of several very large oil paintings of the Regiment's earlier exploits and other curious soldiers in the mess. It was now Sue's turn to be out of her comfort zone but thankfully all went well.

We left with a huge sigh of relief but not without nearly reversing into a very large field gun the barrel of which towered above the car. We retreated to the Ship Inn on Hayling Island for a well-earned lunch having enjoyed the painting experience."

 

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David Drury's finished commission painting

ARTIST OF THE YEAR

Each year since 2004, the Club has awarded a trophy to the "Most Improved Artist". The Maureen Green award (see below) has now been replaced with the Hilary Blakey award for Artist of the Year. Hilary sadly passed away in January 2016 and the award is in her honour - she was a creative and generous member of the Art Club, as well as a personal friend and neighbour of Maggie's for over 30 years. See our Home Page for details of 2019's winner, David Hardcastle.

Year
Artist
2019
David Hardcastle
2018
Nina Klein
2017
Ingrid Skoglund
2016
David Deamer

During the 2019 Christmas Social, Maggie Read presented the Artist of the Year trophy to David Hardcastle. During the presentation, Maggie said "..... David had been a prolific painter during 2019, including running a plein-air group in Southwold. He has tried many different media and surfaces, and developed his own style, especially in pen and watercolour. David has recently been accepted into Guildford Art Society and sold a piece at his first exhibition with them. David has certainly earned the Artist of the Year title this year".

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2021

Many of our Club members, including Maggie Read, Ingrid Skoglund, David Hardcastle, David Harmer, Nina Klein, Anthony Shelton and Elaine Balmer are members of Guildford Art Society. The Society held their Autumn Exhibition in early November at West Horsley Place. 

Ingrid Skoglund won the award for "Best Work in Mixed Media" with her picture "Flight of the Optimist", shown here.

Members also took part in the Craft Show, later in November, at West Horsley Place, with a display of unframed works. 

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The photo, left, shows Maggie Read alongside her two pictures (top ones) at the Guildford Art Society exhibition mentioned above. Maggie sold a folio called "Garden View to the Greenhouse", which she had painted as a demonstration of Watercolour and Pastel at her Open Studios event last June.

Anthony Shelton sold two pictures at the same Guildford Art Society exhibition mentioned above. The pictures entitles, "The view south from The Old Man of Storr, Isle of Skye" and "Snow Hill, Earlish, Isle of Skye", are shown below.

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Club Member, Jenny Griffiths, is also a member of Alton Art Society. Alton held their annual exhibition in October and Jenny was happy to announce that she sold two pictures, Colourist Blue Bottle and Sunset Glory, shown below. Both of these pictures started out as projects in Maggie Read's Friday class and the unset image was completed during lockdown.

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Several Pirbright Art Club members exhibited at the Village Artists exhibition at Denbies Wine Estate, near Dorking, Surrey from Monday 5th July until Sunday 18th July. Opening hours were 10am until 5pm. See flyer above which shows some of the paintings by our artists - Maggie Read, David Drury (the exhibition organiser), Stephen Jones, Ingrid Skoglund, Steve Wells and Anthony Shelton.

Our members did particularly well at Denbies. Stephen Jones was the first to sell a painting and Ingrid sold 4 large framed works, as well as several unframed. Steve and Anthony also had sales and this was the first time they had exhibited with the Village Artists! 

Denbies have regular exhibitions so there is always something to see - it is well worth the drive to Dorking - the café is good too!

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Evening Tide, River Tamar by Stephen Jones (sold at Denbies)

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Maggie Read and Janina Klein took part in the recent Surrey Artists Open Studios (SAOS) together, across 3 weekends in June from Nina's home in Merrow. They formed part of the Merrow Art Trail.

Maggie ran a series of short demonstrations on two of the Saturday afternoons, so guests and visitors had the chance to watch these from the outdoor seating area.

The first demonstration was "Watercolour with Pastel" followed by one in "Watercolour with Pen Drawing" Examples of each technique were on show.

The SAOS website is www.surreyopenstudios.org.uk 

Photos from the "Meet and Draw" sessions held during late-May on Pirbright Green are shown below. About 30 people attended these sessions, arranged by Maggie as a way of getting members together before the Club opened for 'live' meetings again from late July.

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We re-opened for 'live' meetings in July, when the Covid rules changed to Step 4. Then we resumed normal sessions in September for each of the 3 Groups. Re-enrolment numbers remained at almost pre-pandemic levels and we have a good number of members in each group. 

Our Annual Exhibition in December 2021 was a success and proved that we can still compete with larger art societies for number of sales and visitors too! 

2020

LANDSCAPE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

 

In August, 2020, on one of the hottest days of the Summer, Maggie Read took part in a heat of the Sky Arts Landscape Artist of the Year competition at the West Reservoir Centre in Hackney, as one of the Wildcard Artists - see photos below. The episode was broadcast on the Sky Arts Channel in February, 2021.

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Landscape Artist Judge

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West Reservoir Centre - Maggie's Painting-in-Progress

Wildcard Artists at Work

EAST COAST PAINTERS

David Hardcastle wrote "I thought that our regular painting trip to Suffolk with the East Coast Painters would not go ahead this year. But Dennis (in his late 80s and one of the original leaders of the group) said it was his only holiday this year and he was going ahead, even if it meant painting on his own. Then someone else said: "Well if Dennis is going, then so shall I!" and it snowballed from there. In the end we had 14 who came along at some stage, and usually 9 or 10 each day. We visited Sizewell Beach (right by the power station), Beccles Quay, Walberswick Beach, Orford Quay, Crow Hall (Jim Power's neighbour) and Southwold Harbour. No formal agenda or tuition, just a group of friends meeting up to paint in company.

The group has been going for some 40 years, starting in Dorset and visiting various parts of the UK. I was press-ganged into being organiser when the previous leader was getting infirm. We now meet in the second week of September (10th -17th in 2021) and all are welcome to attend. Some of us stay at the Crown pub in the delightful village of Westleton but others use B&Bs or rent locally. A number of locals also come along and sometime we are joined by the Norwich Art Society. A few of my paintings from this year's trip are shown below, including my painting of Maggie Hamblin's studio at Sizewell (middle picture) which sold in the PAC online exhibition."

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DENBIES

Ingrid Skoglund reported that it had been an interesting summer, exhibition-wise, in 2020. "When Denbies gallery re-opened after lockdown many bookings for the gallery had been cancelled. A group of exhibiting friends took a gamble and mopped up all the spare weeks - giving us a clear run of 5 weeks exhibition time in the gallery. This gave me the opportunity to show an unusual artwork - both in size (1M x 1.2M) and in construction - the culmination of much experimental work with acrylic. The Edge Of Dreams, created in creams, golds and smoky greys, portrays a Dreamscape - a narrative of how one drifts in and out of Dreams with glimpsed shadows and small fragments of dream half remembered (see right).

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I used archival quality Golden paints which absolutely glow, on a stretched linen canvas completed with a professionally made gold frame. I was blown away when some delightful buyers took this piece for a prominent place in their home - along with several other of my pieces. I now plan on creating a series of Dreamscapes - a new giant canvas awaits my attention while I think about its composition."

SURREY HILLS PLEIN AIR PAINTERS

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Steve Wells reported that he had joined the Surrey Hills Plein Air Painters. This group meets most Friday mornings for a two hour session, whatever the weather. They have no fees and you just need to live in Surrey, paint as much as you can and get onto their mailing list. They have a few professional artists, Roger Dellar, Robbie Murdock and Rick Holmes, all members of the famous Wapping group of artists. Anthony Shelton, who joined Pirbright Art Club in 2020, is also a member. Steve regularly posts his plein air paintings on Facebook and one is shown left.

LIGHTBOX VIRTUAL EXHIBITION

Elaine Balmer's painting 'Golden Days' (right) was sold to the Hilton Hotel group having been selected for the Lightbox virtual exhibition and for display in the new Victoria Square development. The Victoria Square Art Project is a Woking-wide art competition celebrating work from those who live, work, study or have an affiliation to Woking. The exhibition is currently being held online. See the Lightbox website, www.thelightbox.org.uk

Elaine writes "Earlier in the year I entered the Lightbox Open Call exhibition, not expecting anything to come of it so I was delighted to have Golden Days accepted for the exhibition.

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Then on the virtual private view I found that the painting had already been reserved for sale. Later I was told it is going to the new Hilton Hotel and is being reproduced to hang in all the bedrooms. Well I think they have a huge bargain as they are only paying £50 extra for the repro rights but unfortunately it's in the T&Cs! I didn't take much notice of them as I never thought of this outcome! Anyway, I'm very pleased with the outcome. And I've also sold the companion piece! So an excellent result."

ARTFINDER

David Harmer reported an April sale, "This was from my Artfinder site. I sold 'Reigate from the Tunnel' - the painting (right) went to a buyer in Reigate of all places. Parcelforce collected so I didn't have to break my isolation, and it was delivered the following day. The lady who bought the painting has sensibly put the package into quarantine.

I did also sell another painting from my Artfinder site in January, to the USA. Two paintings from the Artfinder site in one year would be good. In one quarter is something of a record".

In May, David reported that he sold 'Eilean Donan Castle, Lochalsh' (below left) from his own website. As he says "Very pleased about that as that brings sales to three for the year at a time when there are no local exhibitions."

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In September, David wrote "I seem to have benefitted from the lockdown factor this year. Usually I might sell one or maybe two from my Artfinder shop per year. This year to date I have sold seven, six from my Artfinder shop and one from my own website. Mostly to UK customers although one did go to the US. The latest sale was Horses in the Snow (below left) which sold remarkably quickly."

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DENBIES - VILLAGE ARTISTS

Maggie Read, Stephen Jones, Ingrid Skoglund and David Drury exhibited at Denbies Wine Estate as part of the Village Artists group, from 24th February until 8th March, 2020. The exhibition had just finished when the news of the first National Lockdown begun to emerge!

ROYAL WATERCOLOUR SOCIETY

Ingrid Skoglund, had one of her paintings accepted for the Royal Watercolour Society's Contemporary Watercolour Exhibition at the Bankside Gallery, London SE1 9JH between 6th and 18th March, 2020. Ingrid is shown here with her entry, "Look up in the Sky and See".

All the entries can be seen by clicking
here

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2019
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Maureen Phillips, a member of Group 1 & Group 2, exhibited at the Guildford Model Engineering Society event in 2019. Maureen says "The Society hold a yearly two day gala event, mostly engineering, of course, but we have a stand exhibiting other skills by members, woodwork, needlecraft, knitting, art, etc.. This year I was voted into second place by a public vote for my acrylic painting - painted at Art Club, following the monthly theme of 'An Engine - Monochrome in Acrylics' - entitled "Wheels". 

Sue Pallot writes "While husband Chris was chatting to his pub acquaintances and showing them (on his mobile) my latest painting of a deer on the outside of our house, the village butcher asked him if I would consider painting an animal mural under his shopfront window - leaving me to decide on the design.
 

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Not the easiest project,as the panel was at ground level and 12 foot by 8 inches. The animals were relevant to his shop with alternate herbs between them. I made a thumbnail sketch of the design and actual size acrylic paintings of the animals to show him. These were cut out and used as templates, the herbs were taken out of the garden and painted from life.

Only being able to do it on Sundays when the shop was closed, it took me 4 weeks to complete, partly due to the weather and how long I could sit on the ground!"

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2018

SKY ARTS LANDSCAPE ARTIST OF THE YEAR

In July 2018, Maggie Read took part in Sky Art Landscape Artist of the Year competition at the wonderful location of Inverary, on Loch Fyne, as one of the Wildcard Artists - see photos below

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MALL GALLERIES

Nina Klein had one of her paintings accepted by the Royal Society of British Artists for their Annual exhibition at the Mall Galleries in March 2018.

 

Nina, shown right at the Gallery alongside her picture, "Dark, Dark Wood", has written about her experiences during the selection process.

"I sent a digital photo of my painting in December 2017 and was notified of my pre-selection. This entailed taking it to the Mall Gallery for further selection by a panel and - surprisingly - it got through and was hung in the Main Gallery during the Exhibition.

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This was the first London exhibition I'd ever entered and I really didn't expect to hear anything ever again. It just shows - you have to be in it to win it! It even made it to the Surrey Advertiser!

Philip Mould from BBC's "Fake or Fortune" opened the Private View and I met a couple of other non-members who had travelled down from Yorkshire and Lincolnshire to see their pictures displayed. Two of us were in the Main Gallery which was an added treat.

It's been an interesting venture, as there was quite an eclectic mix of paintings, sculptures, prints, etc. that were chosen.... I am still none the wiser as to what they might be looking for but they do seem to be opening up a little more from previous years and selecting more from non-members, so it is really worth giving it a try."

Jenny Griffiths - a founder member of P.A.C - completed a painting for the Eikon room at Collingwood School, Camberley, used by young people with Eikon staff and volunteers. Jenny says "This is by far the largest painting I've ever attempted (120 x 75 cms). It is deliberately dream-like and has several symbolic elements relating to Eikon's mission to support young people to be confident, thriving and resilient - the river, the rainbow, the swan, the young person emerging from the leaves as she discovers her identity". Jenny is shown (below) handing the painting over to Eikon's mentoring coordinator in Surrey Heath.

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QUEX "ART IN THE PARK" EXHIBITION

 

Maggie Read and Stephen Jones exhibited at the QuExhibition event held at Quex Park, Birchington in Kent during December. The paintings on display were all done "en plein air" at art-in-the-park days held at Quex House (home of the Powell-Cotton Museum). These painting days took place throughout the Summer, once a month. Further details can be found on the Quex website.

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Stephen Jones, then a member of the former Tuesday group, was shortlisted for Artists & Illustrators magazine's "Artists of the Year" award. His painting 'Echos' (right) was among 50 paintings selected from thousands of entries and was exhibited at London's Mall Galleries.

Stephen says "I first heard about the competition whilst visiting Art in Action in July 2017 with the Pirbright Art Club. My successful entry shows that it's always worth persevering and keeping your eyes open for opportunities to exhibit your work to a wider audience"

For further information on the exhibition and Stephen's entry, visit the Artists & Illustrators website, by clicking here.

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Galleries worth visiting for current and future exhibitions are:

Watts Gallery www.wattsgallery.org.uk in Compton, Surrey

The Lightbox www.thelightbox.org.uk in Woking.

The Mall Galleries  www.mallgalleries.org.uk

The Bankside Gallery www.banksidegallery.com is the gallery of the Royal Watercolour Society & the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers.