Pachyderms – Oct Weds 2020

Ten members braved the cold, wet weather to meet at the hall and everyone was up-to-date with the current guidelines that we have to meet under, thank you. This time we used the air-conditioning, set to warm at this time of year, to provide the necessary ventilation so we weren’t chilly at all. No coats had to be worn at this session!

The subject was pachyderms i.e. animals with a thick skin, and most people drew elephants, with a couple of hippos and a rhino making an appearance. It was great that four members drew along at home, so their pictures are here too. All photos in the hall were taken on an iPhone at the end of a selfie stick at arm’s length, so no distancing rules were broken.

Three members carried on with their own paintings, a portrait of a granddaughter, a still life and a view in Italy.

October 2020

As at today’s date we are still able to meet in Chalk Parish Hall in multiple groups of 6, so our two sessions this month are going ahead. If the guidelines change during the month we will let you know.

Portrait Artist of the Month (PAOTM) – Dame Judi Dench or Yinka Shonibare

Dame Judi Dench is quite simply a national treasure who has delighted audiences in the theatre, cinemas and in their own homes for decades. Draw or paint Dame Judi at any time of her long life, young or old, or perhaps create a painting with her dressed as one of her many characters. If you have a favourite film starring Dame Judi, use that as a starting point for your work.

Yinka Shonibare, CBE, RA, is a British-Nigerian artist who creates paintings and sculptures in bright colours, using Ankara fabrics as his inspiration. He became better known to the public when his art installation, ‘Nelson’s Ship in a Bottle’, with Ankara fabric used for sails of the Victory, was commissioned and stood on the 4th plinth in Trafalgar square in 2010. That sculpture now resides behind the National Maritime Museum in Greenwich, so you may have seen it if you’ve walked through Greenwich Park near the museum. He became a Royal Academician in 2013 and his work is highly regarded worldwide. Four postboxes in the UK have been painted black and gold to celebrate Black History Month and the one painted in Brixton is in honour of Yinka.

You can draw or paint Dame Judi or Yinka at a session or at home but send all your pictures to me by the end of the month.

Pachyderms in Pencil

For Wednesday 14th October or at home. From the original Greek, pachys = thick and derma = skin.

Draw in graphite pencils or coloured pencils any pachyderm i.e elephants, rhinoceroses or hippopotamuses. If you want to go further back in history then you could draw mammoths or gomphotheres.

Analogous Autumn

For Saturday 24th October or at home.

Analogous colours are next to each other on the colour wheel. For autumn those colours would be yellow, orange and red, thus conjuring up visions of trees in autumn as their leaves change colour, studies of the leaves themselves or children gambolling through leaves and puddles dressed in Autumn-coloured coats. Pumpkins in their various types can be painted or crunchy red apples in a wicker basket. Whilst we’re in October let’s also think of Hallowe’en, Samhain, witches, ghosts and ghouls. A multitude of ideas so please get painting!

PAOTM October – Tracey Emin and Captain Tom

This month Tracey Emin proved to be the more popular person to create a portrait of, sorry Captain Tom!

Dot used pencils for her portrait of Tracey Emin, capturing her face so well by just using pencil.

Steve was very busy as he painted a portrait of both subjects. Tracey is painted in acrylic and the red background really makes the portrait very vibrant and lively.

For Captain Tom’s portrait Steve used coloured pencil on watercolour paper, making the image look like an old sepia photograph of Captain Tom’s army days in WWII.

Angela D used pencil and a little charcoal for her portrait of Tracey, using long strokes on the hair. This technique gives a textural, 3D quality to a 2D image.

Tracy used pencils in HB, 2B and 4B for her portrait of Tracey, taking about an hour. She decided to use one of Tracey’s neon creations in the image to give a pop of colour.

The background of black acrylic, the neon image in white acrylic and then overpainting in blue and pink actually took longer than drawing the image of Tracey! On Hobbycraft’s A4, 300gsm watercolour paper.

The Circus – Sept Sat 2020

We welcomed twelve members to the session and as you will see from the photos there were three ‘bubbles’ of four members each, with George-in-the-corner allocated to a bubble so he could have chat if he wanted.

It felt a very safe environment with all the tables and chairs anti-bac cleaned beforehand, plenty of ventilation (sorry it was a little chilly!), easy access to water, no mixing between the bubbles and all of us wearing masks all day. We did miss the usual gossip over a coffee in the kitchen but we could chat to the other members in our bubble, catching up with news from the last few months.

The suggested session was The Circus, with many colourful pictures being painted on the day and two painted at home at the same time and then WhatsApp-ed and emailed to me, easy ways for paintings to be sent.

(Apologies for the not-so-good photo quality this time. Instead of using my high megapixel camera I used an iPhone at the end of a selfie stick at arms length, thus being at a distance from the painting and artist. It was hard to see if the photo was in focus and unfortunately a couple weren’t.)

Some members painted different subjects altogether, either starting anew or finishing paintings, including a PAOTM of Tracey Emin, which will feature in a post in a few days.

Dot’s paintings

Dot’s previous paintings were still lifes of what was in front of her and of her garden.

As lockdown eased a little she thought of other countries and has painted three more interesting paintings.

Indian elephants and their mahouts having a break from hard work have made a colourful acrylic painting.

An African mask is the subject here, with so much detail in the colours and small dots.

This vibrant sunset on distant shores evokes feelings of hot days and a wonderful holiday. Lovely work, Dot.

Skies – September Weds 2020

It was so good to be back in the hall for the first time in 6 months. Thank you to all eleven members who came along, especially to Ron and Angela D who helped with setting up and cleaning all the tables and chairs before and after the session.

We actually had room for the tables in the usual big circle, with one person to a table, and we all liked spreading out our art equipment. We can fit several more tables in at a safe 2m distance from each other, so if more members want to come next time then that would be fantastic. Government guidelines do change on Monday 14th September, but we are keeping up to date with what the hall committee advise so we’ll update you as soon as we can.

The upper windows were opened, along with the outer door and the door into the hall. The air vents were turned on to get fresh air inside and even though it was a little noisier than the usual aircon we all got used to it quickly. The 2 bucket system worked well in the kitchen hatch, so getting fresh water and disposing of it when dirty was easy, without everyone having to go into the kitchen.

We kept our masks on all session and the time went really quickly. We all had a good time and it was encouraging that everyone was amenable and patient with each other, thank you.

The subject suggested was ‘skies’, making the sky the main part of the painting. Some made the sky about half the painting, others made the sky 100% of the painting and others were in-between.

Some members did different subjects altogether, with one PAOTM being drawn of Tracey Emin. We honestly don’t mind what you paint or draw, as long as you come along and enjoy the session!

September 2020

You should have received emails from both Steve and myself (Tracy) about meeting at the hall again. Please read those emails thoroughly and we hope to see you in person soon.

Here are ideas to paint this month, which you can paint on the Wednesday and Saturday at the hall. If you don’t intend coming to the hall then paint any of the subjects and send your painting to me by email, text, WhatsApp or Messenger, on the mobile number already sent to you, by the end of September.

Portrait Artist of the Month (PAOTM) – Captain Tom or Tracey Emin

There were a few requests to paint Captain Tom’s portrait, so if you asked, here’s your opportunity. There are lots of photos of Captain Tom online and even one of him and his wife after they were married at Gravesend Register Office in the 1960s, standing in front of the mosaic wall outside. Some of us had our wedding pictures taken in front of the same wall!

JANE FRYER meets Tom Moore, the war veteran who has raised £11million (and  counting!) for the NHS | Daily Mail Online

Tracey Emin is an artist that people love or loathe, but for a portrait she has an interesting face as her features are not symmetrical. When she appeared on the tv programme ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’, seeing her vulnerable personality was very moving. Maybe you could paint Tracey’s portrait in front of one her installations, artworks or neon signs?


A subject for Wednesday 9th September if you’re coming to the hall, or anytime at home. Make at least 2/3 or even 3/4 of your painting sky. September often has amazing skies which are bright blue with fluffy clouds, violently stormy or colourful sunsets. Your choice of sky, but make it the majority of your painting.

The Circus

For Saturday 26th September or any time at home. Years ago circuses had animals, so paint elephants, lions, bears, dogs etc from your childhood memories. These days circuses are performer based, so paint acrobats, jugglers, clowns, fire eaters, the ringmaster/mistress, the big top tent etc. Modern circuses such as Cirque du Soleil have become major theatre events worldwide, combining stories with music and human performances. Look on YouTube for Cirque du Soleil shows in all their colourful glory.

PAOTM – Grayson Perry

Seven members took part in our Portrait Artist of the Month challenge this time, with Juliet drawing two beautiful portraits and Steve rising to the challenge and creating three portraits, an incredible feat!

Grayson Perry is a fascinating person to paint or draw as he is famous as himself, but he also dresses as Claire at award ceremonies and parties. Philippa, his wife, has an interesting face too, with her glasses and two-tone hair. Alan Measles, Grayson’s beloved teddy bear, makes an appearance in our portrait gallery, but sadly Kevin the cat wasn’t painted by anyone.

At our Saturday session at Chalk Church last week Cynthia painted Grayson in watercolours. The detail and subtle colour changes that she painted around his eyes is incredible.

At the same session Doreen worked from a black and white image but used colour to create her image of Grayson.

Juliet drew portraits of both Grayson and Philippa, using pencil to make light strokes and heavier strokes to make darker lines, both giving depth and texture to their features.

Steve’s three portraits are in three different mediums and show his skill in each. The portrait of Grayson is in pastel, on Canson 160gsm pastel paper.

Philippa’s portrait is in coloured pencils with white acrylic highlights, on 140lb watercolour paper.

Alan Measles is pen and watercolour on 140lb watercolour paper.

Angela D used water mixable oils, taking about 5 hours for her portrait, where Grayson is giving an intense stare to the viewer. His hair looks so real with many colours combined.

Dot had the brilliant idea of using two images of Grayson/Claire, folding them in half and joining then down his/her face. The resulting portrait is very clever and striking.

Tracy liked lots of online images of Claire, because she is usually bright, bubbly and smiling. One image was different in that Claire is staring away from the camera , not smiling, but looking very thoughtful and almost nervous. Someone can wear a lot of make-up to cover their face, but caught off guard they can look vulnerable. Watercolour on Hobbycraft 300gsm watercolour paper, taking about 2 hours.

Detail of Claire’s eyes. There were lots of eyelashes to paint!

Dot’s paintings

Dot has kept busy painting during the last few months, creating many images with different themes. Here are a few of her acrylic paintings. Keep up the excellent work, Dot.

These three paintings show that you can easily paint what is in front of you, as you don’t have to travel far from where you set up your art equipment. Your mug/water pot is a real statement piece!

Just sitting in a garden has brought pleasure for many whilst we’ve had to stay at home, so why not get your paints out and capture the view? Beautifully painted, Dot, the colours you have brought together here are very harmonious.

Chalk Church August 2020

Saturday saw 18 eager members meet at Chalk Church, some who came last month and others coming along for the very first time to paint outdoors in the church grounds. We had about 10 minutes of very light rain, but after that the clouds melted away, the sky lightened and we had a marvellous day.

The grounds look so lush at the moment, the greens of the trees are really intense. As you can see we all managed to keep our distance from one another, yet be close enough for a good natter!

A huge thank you to everyone for all your donations to the church fund and I’m very pleased to say that your contributions total £101, a very good sum.

Some members carried on with paintings they’d started last month and others started something new, either from their own reference photos or of views in the grounds. Mediums used were watercolours, acrylics, oils, coloured pencils, sketching pens, graphite pencils and mixed media including inks and skeleton leaves. There were a few pictures of Grayson Perry, but they’re not shown here, they’ll be put on the blog at the end of the month.