Art Group I meets every Wednesday morning at Banner Cross Methodist Church—on Ecclesall Road South, just at the top end of Banner Cross Shops. The bus stops just outside, and there is a car park around the back, on Blair Athol Rd.
The work is nicely structured, with set challenges which can last from a couple of weeks to two months or more. Recent projects have included studies of the work of David Hockney, Edward Hopper, and the pointillists. After careful study, through copying in any medium, of the style and technique of the artist, members then develop their own pictures often moving towards abstraction.
As well as learning through studying and copying great artists, the group has engaged in a back-to-basics drawing course which was excellent both for newcomers and for old hands to refresh familiar skills and develop new ones. Similarly with colour mixing, colour theory and composition, and specific media. Recently, for example we developed geometric abstract pictures complementary and harmonious colour schemes, and then extended those concepts using collage and other textural effects.
Tutor David Allott keeps nudging members to push the envelope—to step out of their comfort zone—and for this reason everybody will be “new” to something sometimes. As well as being kind of exciting, that makes the group an easy and welcoming place for complete beginners. There is much mutual commiseration and also sharing of skills and knowledge. Plus a generous amount of fun and laughter!
Click on individual photos to see an enlarged version:
In June and July 2015, the Art I Group built concepts and techniques for abstract painting. We started by designing a picture using a single, repeated, regular polygon in a pair of complementary colours. We then increased the design potential by varying shapes and colour schemes, adding circles, different textures, collage and line work. The photos show some of the paintings laid out for a debrief, with David pointing out a few features of the work.
We can also see Peter adding some last minute touches.
At the beginning of this project we worked from photos: painting landscape in moonlight, early industrial scenes at night, and people illuminated by a single light source. After thus learning which pigments worked best to convey the idea, we each set up a still life with a candle for the light source. After half an hour or so to sketch the set-up and set out our paints, the ceiling lights were turned off. There we were merrily splashing on paint in near total darkness: the candle illuminated the bell and book, but didn’t extend as far as the palette and paintbrush. As an additional problem, the shadows on the objects changed as the candle burnt down!
When the lights went on and the artists disappeared to the coffee room, some of the works in progress looked pretty good!