October 2021 – Wednesday

14 members came along to the session and it was great to hear the chatter as people caught up with each other and talked about their paintings.

There were many pictures with the suggested October/eight and autumnal themes and also drawings and paintings as some members brought along homework from their Adult Education courses or simply wished to paint to their own theme. We don’t mind at all if you follow your own ideas as the suggested monthly subjects are there if you need inspiration. To come along and paint with your art friends and enjoy yourselves is the main objective!

Susan’s transport painting

At our last Saturday session Susan started a watercolour painting for the transport theme, based on a scene from her and her husband’s recent holiday to the Cotswolds. They went on a steam train on the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Steam Railway. The guard and tall pile of luggage were seen at Broadway Station.
It’s a beautiful painting, Susan, with colours that sit harmoniously together, well done!

October 2021

Hopefully there will be no more lockdowns this year so we can tentatively say that the dates for the next few meetings will be…

Month Second Wednesday 7-9pm Fourth Saturday 10am-3pm
October 2021 13th 23rd
November 10th 27th Open Day (hanging 7pm Friday 26th)
December 8th Christmas Party 6.30pm start no session in Christmas holidays
January 2022 12th pay yearly subs 22nd

Please put these dates in your diary, calendar, mobile phone etc so you know when we’re meeting again. Wednesday sessions will be £2 (but no fee for the Christmas party) and Saturdays £6, all of which goes to hiring the hall.

Here are a few ideas for this month, but as always you’re welcome to paint anything you want to. Send photos of paintings you do at home to Tracy or Steve with information about the painting/s and we’ll pop them on the blog for you.


You – Yes, after a year spent painting other people it’s time to paint a self portrait! Use a mirror or photo to draw or paint yourself facing straight on, in a three-quarters pose or in profile.

If you don’t want to paint a traditional self portrait then paint yourself in the style of another artist like Pablo Picasso, Frida Kahlo, Amedeo Modigliani, Vincent Van Gogh, Andy Warhol, Salvador Dali, Francis Bacon, Paul Gauguin or Aubrey Beardsley, to name but a few.


From the Greek and Latin ‘octo’ meaning eight, October was the eighth month of the year in the Roman Republic calendar. The months January and February were added in 46 BCE so the eighth month became the tenth month.

Draw or paint anything to do with the number eight…a fancy number eight, an octopus, eight maids-a-milking from the carol The Twelve Days of Christmas, flowers with eight petals, an arachnid like a spider or scorpion, a crab, lobster, insects or a starfish such as a morning sunstar which has at least eight legs. Or think or another way of interpreting October and the number eight.


Just before the death of flowers,

and before they are buried in snow,

there comes a festival season

when nature is aglow.


I can smell autumn dancing in the breeze,

the sweet chill of pumpkin and crisp sunburnt leaves.


Use these two quotes as inspiration for your drawing or painting. Paint a landscape with trees aflame in yellows, oranges and reds, the shape and pattern of fallen leaves, children jumping in a pile of leaves, taking a dog for a walk in the woods, pumpkins before or after carving, a still life with wellies and an umbrella or write and illustrate an acrostic poem from the letters in the word ‘autumn’.

PAOTM – Elaine Paige – September 2021

Elaine Paige, worldwide star of musical theatre, was our subject this month with a choice of painting her as herself or as a character she has played. Several members created her portrait in different mediums.

Steve used charcoal and pastel on Mi-Teintes pastel paper beautifully portraying Elaine as Grizabella from the musical Cats. Elaine’s version of the song ‘Memory’ went to number 1 in 1981.

Chris W used black ink for her portrait of Elaine in a dramatic pose. Creating a portrait in profile is just as effective as face-on, as Chris’s portrait proves.

Brenda used soft pastels and pastel pencils for her portraits of Elaine on velour pastel paper. Using a picture of Elaine with a tri-coloured background as inspiration Brenda decided to use a different coloured background on her two portraits. Each one brings different values to Elaine’s skin tone. Brenda uses sponges on the top of her pastel compartments to stop them rattling about and getting damaged, which is a great idea.

Tracy is a huge fan of Elaine Paige, first seeing her as Grizabella in Cats when it opened in the West End in 1981. She has seen Cats 18 times now and it remains her favourite ever musical. Elaine was also amazing in Sunset Boulevard so Tracy has used white coloured pencil and white gouache on black sugar paper for her portrait of Elaine as Norma Desmond, spotlit on stage in her white furs.

September 2021 – Saturday

We had a busy Saturday session with 18 artists coming along to paint together. Sometimes it was very quiet as we concentrated hard and other times the room was abuzz as we chatted to each other to catch up with news. It was fabulous to see so many of you, thank you all for coming!

The transport theme was very popular with many forms of transport being drawn and painted in all types of media. There were rowing and sailing boats, a motorbike, donkeys, a carrier pigeon, bicycles, a pollen transporter (a bee!), a broomstick, aeroplanes, trains and a gondola.

One picture was painted for the theme of September and the number seven, so there are seven swans a swimming from the Christmas carol ’The Twelve Days of Christmas’. Three portraits of Elaine Paige, this month’s PAOTM, were created too but they’ll be shown in a post at the end of this month.

As always we like it when members come along and paint to their own theme, so here are several more pictures. It was a very creative day!

Brenda’s sunflower collages

Brenda has completed her first four collage pictures from the textile arts course she is taking… http://casholmes.blogspot.com/2021/08/making-connections-course-with-fibre.html

The sunflower theme evolved from sketches Brenda made of the wonderful display of sunflowers in her garden this year and scraps left over from a skirt she made several years ago.

Brenda used lots of different processes as they came up on the course. They are a mix of mono-prints and stamps with acrylic paint, inks on fabric and paper, hand painted fabric, commercially printed fabrics and batiks, and hand and machine embroidery.

Once she collected enough pieces they were laid out and arranged on fabric and stuck together with wallpaper paste as a temporary hold. Stitching holds them all together with a combination of free-motion machine stitching and hand sewing. The pieces are then finished around the edges with a conventional binding as on quilts.

All four pieces are separate but they are united by their subject and colours with the yellows, pinks and greens running through all the pictures.

Thank you for showing us what you have achieved so far on the course. These sunflower pictures are very beautiful, Brenda, well done!

The skirt that Brenda made years ago.
Sunflower I – 61cm x 23cm
Sunflower II – 28cm x 39cm
Sunflower III – 39cm x 28cm
Sunflower IV – 34cm x 34cm

September 2021

As the months pass by we are mindful of balancing the wish to return to pre-pandemic normality with the anxiety that others feel about this. We do intend to provide free refreshments again from this month, but if you don’t want to go into the kitchen with others then that’s fine, bring along your own drink and snack/lunch.

We kindly ask that you wear a mask whilst walking around and in the kitchen, but when seated then remove your mask if you wish to do so.

Clean and dirty water buckets will continue to be provided if you do not want to go in the kitchen and anti-bacterial spray will be available if you wish to wipe your table and chair before and after use. Aircon will be turned on during our sessions to provide air movement. Use hand gel as much as you want and if you forget your own then there is usually some on the table in the entrance hall.

We are trying to make the hall as safe as possible for everyone, so please come along to paint and enjoy yourselves!

The sessions this month at the hall will be on…

Wednesday 8th September 7-9pm – Fee £2

and Saturday 25th September 10am-3pm – Fee £6

Here are some ideas to paint this month, but you’re welcome to paint anything at all.


Elaine Page – A well known singer and actress but best known for musical theatre. Draw or paint Elaine at any age or as a character she has played. She has sung as Eva Peron in Evita, Grizabella in Cats, Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, Sandy in Grease, Edith Piaf in Piaf, Anna in the King and I, and also been in Hair, Chess, Anything Goes, Follies and many pantomimes.


This is a very wide subject so you have many choices of what to paint, such as…

Aeroplanes – small private planes, large commercial planes, Concorde, biplanes, triplanes, military planes from early WWI planes to modern stealth aircraft. Also any helicopters, gliders, para gliders, hang gliders or hot air balloons.

Bikes – unicycles, bicycles, tricycles, tandems, mopeds, motorbikes. Being ridden, raced or a bike propped up against a shop with shopping in its basket.

Cars – veteran, vintage, modern, sports, racing, your first car, a car you’d love to own.

Trains – steam, electric, heritage, modern, a train on its own in a station or in a landscape.

Animals – horses, mules, camels, oxen, riding them or pulling a cart.

Boats – rowing boats, canoes, cruise ships, ferries, tall ships, trawlers, gondolas, sailing boats, warships modern and old, leisure boats, canal boats, paddle boats, steamers etc.


Previous months have been named for gods, goddesses and emperors but September is the first of four months named for a number. From the Latin ‘septem’ meaning seven, in the original Roman Republican calendar September was the seventh month of the year. Julius Caesar introduced the Julian Calendar in BCE 46, adding two months to the year so the seventh month became the ninth month of the year.

Draw or paint seven still-life objects, seven swans-a-swimming from the Twelve Days of Christmas Carol or a flower with seven petals. There are also seven continents and seven seas on the Earth, seven colours in a rainbow, the film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, seven deadly sins, seven wonders of the ancient world and the South Korean singer known as Se7en.

August 2021 – Wednesday

It was good to have 16 members attend the session and because we were not restricted to groups of 6 we sat in our usual horseshoe shape and could walk around and look at all the paintings.

Pictures were started of this month’s suggested subjects of PAOTM Benjamin Zephaniah, Emperor Augustus and the view through a window.

Some painted the view through their window including birds in the garden and others painted real places and imaginary ones. Two members continued drawing their granddaughters in pencil. The photo frames at the end are included to show what was bought from eBay for £10 (brown frame) and £7 (blue one) including postage. With shutters that open they can be used as the frame of a window and a painting added to show the view.

August 2021

We plan to meet on the second Wednesday and fourth Saturday as usual, but as things could change at any time please do look out for emails nearer the time of the session. 

Wednesday 11th July – Chalk Parish Hall – 7-9pm 

We no longer have to sit in groups of six so the tables will be in the usual horseshoe shape and you can share a table with another person if you want to. Anti-bacterial spray and cloths will be provided if you would like to clean your table and chair before use.

Face masks are not mandatory but as we’ll be inside we still want to be cautious. We ask that you please wear a mask coming into the hall and if you walk around, but you can remove it whilst sitting down. A way to remember this is…sit down, mask down; stand up, mask up.

The buckets for clean and dirty water will be used at this session and please remember to bring along a drink and snack if you want one. The fee will be £2 towards hall hire.

Saturday 28th August – Chalk Church – after 10am-3pm

Please arrive after 10am so we don’t block the road with cars before the car park gate is open.

This is our second summer session at Chalk Church but as we meet there every year you don’t have to paint the church, come along and paint anything you want to!

The suggested subjects are below or start a picture for our Open Day which will hopefully take place on 27th November. We will have access to the loo and barn but please wear a mask inside as the rooms are small. Don’t forget your folding chair and lunch, snack and drink.

If you don’t want to paint why not join us at lunchtime with your own picnic? Bring along a chair and come for a natter with your art friends.

If it rains we will still meet as there is shelter near to and in the barn.

No fee but a donation to church funds will be appreciated. 

Here are some ideas to paint this month…


  • Benjamin Zephaniah – British writer of novels and poetry, lyricist, musician, performer of dub poetry and in his own words a ‘naughty boy’. His website is at www.benjaminzephaniah.com


  • Originally called ‘sextilis’, the sixth month, it was renamed in honour of the first Roman emperor, Caesar Augustus, great nephew of Julius Caesar. From the Latin word ‘augustus’ meaning venerable, noble and majestic. Many mages of Augustus are available online as busts of him are in museums.


  • looking in at
  • your family or favourite room
  • looking out at
  • your garden
  • an imaginary scene
  • a favourite holiday view
  • where you’d rather be if you’re still staying at home
  • include the window frame if you want to

As always these are just suggestions, you are welcome to paint anything at all.

PAOTM – Diana, Princess of Wales – July 2021

In the month that Diana, Princess of Wales, would have been 60 years old, we drew and painted her at various times in her life.

Chris painted her portrait of Diana in loose watercolours, perfectly capturing Diana’s sense of fun as she laughs at the photographers capturing a happy moment in her life.

Brenda drew Diana in coloured and watercolour pencils, a huge smile on Diana’s face with which she greeted friends and strangers alike. A good use of a darker background which makes Diana with her pale hair come to the foreground.

Juliet drew Diana in the pose that she became well known for of looking coyly at the viewer from under her fringe. By emphasising Diana’s eyes with darker lines Juliet makes sure we are drawn to her gaze.

Steve drew a thoughtful and confident looking Diana in charcoal on Canson Mi-Teintes pastel paper. He chose a portrait of Diana wearing a tiara, which must have taken ages to draw in such detail.

Tracy also chose a pose of Diana looking coyly at photographers from under her fringe. In watercolours she used darker colours around Diana’s eyes, making them the centre of attention. It took about 15 minutes sketching and and hour painting, on A4 Hobbycraft watercolour sketchbook paper.