Tracy’s cat portraits

Tracy was recently asked to paint some cat portraits as a surprise for a lady’s birthday present. Very apt as ‘novem’ in November means nine and cats are meant to have nine lives with all the scrapes they get up to.

The four cats were owned over the past 3 decades and Tracy was sent over 30 photos for reference. She chose to paint the head and shoulders of each cat and not the whole cat, to give emphasis to their little furry faces. The black and white cat took about an hour but the other cats took 2.5 hours each as their fur and markings were quite complicated!

Watercolour on Saunders Waterford paper with 2 cats in a 8” x 6” aperture of the frame.

Steve’s paintings

Here are Steve’s latest pictures which have now been finished. The first relates to November’s Remembrance theme as it shows soldiers going over the top of the trenches in WW1. With the smudged charcoal representing explosions it is very atmospheric. Created using charcoal on Mi-Teintes pastel paper.

This painting is watercolour and ink on Bockingford watercolour paper. Inspired by a view Steve photographed looking west from Gravesend it’s an industrial scene and beautiful sunset with a little artistic licence. From monocrome to saturated colour, they’re super pictures, well done!

November 2021 – Wednesday

On Remembrance Day it’s apt to post these photos of paintings created last night of a soldier’s silhouette and poppies. Members also painted autumnal and winter scenes, embroidered panels of fabric which had been stamped, coloured and painted and carried on with paintings they want to get finished for our Open Day on Saturday 27th November.

Thirteen members attended and although we did have quiet moments it was good when people walked around to see all the paintings and talk to each other. Thank you all for coming!

November & December 2021

Here are the dates of our next meetings…

Wednesday 10th November – 7-9pm

Friday 26th November – 7-9pm – hanging evening

Saturday 27th November – 10am-3pm – Open Day

Wednesday 8th December – 6.30pm-9pm – Christmas Party

Here are some ideas of what to paint, but you can, of course, paint anything you’d like to.


Draw or paint your favourite James Bond actor from the official EON film productions. There’s Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan or Daniel Craig. Paint a classic head and shoulders portrait of James Bond or place him in a scene from any of the films.


‘Novem’ in Latin means nine as November was the ninth month in the Roman Republican calendar until 46BCE when two months were added to the beginning of the year. This meant November became the eleventh month of the year in the Julian calendar.

Draw or paint anything to do with November or the number 9…Remembrance Day at the Cenotaph, remembrance poppies at a war memorial, nine drummers drumming from the Twelve Days of Christmas carol, the Gunpowder Plot, Guy Fawkes, fireworks, bonfires, Diwali the festival of light, a fancy number 9 etc.

DYOT – Do Your Own Thing

A good way to end the year is by finishing off any drawings or paintings you’ve done that you haven’t got around to completing yet. Bring along one or many pictures and try and finish them.

HANGING EVENING – Friday 26th November – 7-9pm

Steve will soon be emailing everyone to ask how many framed paintings you will have ready for our Open Day, along with their names and price or NFS (Not For Sale). You can have up to 6 framed paintings as long as they’re not in clip frames and not too big to hang from the hooks. All with D rings, strung across the back and a label hanging down below the frame or on the front with your name, name of the picture, medium and the price. You can also have unlimited mounted pictures for the browsers, but they must be for sale, all labelled front or back.

On hanging evening come along from 7pm and drop off your paintings or stay and help hang them all up.

OPEN DAY – Saturday 27th November – 10am-3pm

The day that we open our doors and invite friends, family and Chalk locals to come and look at what we paint. Please don’t be upset if you don’t sell anything, it’s lovely just to welcome people into the hall to talk about art and painting.

CHRISTMAS PARTY – Wednesday 8th December – 6.30-9pm

An earlier start from 6.30pm come along in your Christmas jumpers and enjoy some quizzes and a game keeping our distance called ‘not pass the parcel’! As some members are still unsure about mixing together we ask that this year that you bring along a plate of food and some drinks just for yourself, NOT to share. Your partner/family are welcome to come along too and nearer the time we’ll ask for numbers so we know how many tables and chairs to get out. Tea, coffee and biscuits will be available as usual if you want to venture into the kitchen.

PAOTM October 2021 – self portraits

We have drawn and painted many well-known people over the last year, so this month we created a self portrait. They are all so good and easily recognisable, well done everyone who took part!

Doreen drew her self portrait using coloured pencils, using a photo as reference. You can see how well Doreen got her likeness. It’s super work as we can see instantly that it is her.

Cynthia painted her likeness with watercolours. With her bright red hat Cynthia makes her portrait immediately an explosion of colour and by emphasising her eyes she draws our gaze directly to hers. It’s beautifully painted.

Patrick’s self portrait is the most mysterious of all. Created using his favourite medium of coloured pencils, Patrick stares straight out of the picture, but as our eyes wander around the picture we see several images that make us wonder about them. A full explanation of all these images is needed, Patrick!

Steve’s self portrait is a bold likeness and true to life with very good skin tones. There are yellows, pinks, browns and blues in the skin colour, which all add interest to his painting. It took about 5 hours and is acrylic on Bockingford watercolour paper.

Tracy has long admired Pablo Picasso’s paintings so decided to paint herself in an abstract way, based on Picasso’s 1931 portrait of his mistress Marie-Thérèse Walter called ’The Red Armchair’. Tracy zoomed in on the face a little and tried to make the portrait look like her by adding her glasses and changing the hair. It took about 2 hours and is watercolour, Posca pens and marker pens on watercolour paper.

Picasso’s original painting ‘The Red Armchair’ 1931

October 2021 – Saturday

It was fabulous that twenty two members attended the session and wonderful to hear the chatter as people wandered around during the day looking at all the paintings. Thank you all for coming and also for wearing your masks unless seated, helping us all feel a little safer. Apologies for the cool aircon though, the temperature setting hasn’t been adjusted yet! Many impressive pictures were painted during the day with some members painting three, well done everyone.

One theme to paint was anything to do with autumn so there were beautiful autumnal landscapes, trees, leaves, pumpkins, berries, conkers, toadstools, a squirrel and a hare.

Any self portraits painted will be on a separate PAOTM post at the end of the month.

The other theme suggested was connected with the word ‘octo’ meaning eight, which the month of October is named for. There were paintings of a cactus with flowers of eight petals each, octopuses, the number eight itself in autumnal colours and sea creatures with eight legs of a lobster, crab and carpet sea stars.

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.