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Dec', Jan', Feb' Newswletter 2015-16

Sketching at our favourite location of South Gare this summer has now proved to be poignant!

We are all left grieving and shocked at how our world can be altered by bad politics. The steelworks as a key backdrop to this well visited area will now begin to alter visually and symbolic references to it will change as we reframe our judgement of this area of Teesside. I cannot imagine we stop, in time, going to South Gare for inspiration and it is going to be interesting to see the changes in our artwork over the coming years. I urge those members who miss our plein air meetings at this place to join us next summer because we do not know how the structure of Redcar’s blast furnace and steel works buildings is going to alter over future months. We may well have to send out an emergency winter “rapid reaction sketching team” if something radical begins to happen before the nice weather of 2016.

Both M’bro’s Gallery TS1 and Redcar’s Palace Arts art galleries staged changing exhibitions over the summer and autumn, and some of our members submitted and were chosen to exhibit. Watch-out on social media for their exhibition “call outs” or ask CAS members for information; both galleries host a programme of changing shows.

Committee member Denise Thompson has graduated into a position as a vital operating officer for our neighbours Hartlepool Art Club and again, a few CAS members exhibit with this group. The Lakeside Artists group and Aim4art have provided further exhibition opportunities for CAS members too – Rob Blenkarn and Julia Cutter are your contacts.

I was invited as the judge at Margaret Harrison’s art contest in Seamer Village in Sept’ where some CAS members were taking part. I think I got a friendly slap on the wrist for not being biased towards our members; but it was all good fun though and Margaret and her village companions put on the best salad I had all year. The day was brilliant all round.

The famous Staithes Festival, also in Sept’, was another major draw for art lovers, and again some CAS individuals took part and many others attended as visitors and fans. The weather swung from being awful to wonderful over the two days but the crowds were constant.  

Our annual evening meal (which is the off-spring of the Cleveland Sketching Club’s grand tie, tails and gowns affairs of the black’n’white days) was “informally” (hah!) at The Cross Keys in Sept’ for a change, on the old Guisborough Rd.  It was a lovely menu and a pleasant setting for our, in business jargon, “team-building” and friendly get together. My aim is to move north then south of the river each year with these meals in order to be fair to both Co Durham and N.Yorkshire members.  

A group of us met at William Kidd’s Seaton Hall in Oct’ and we were kindly shown around the whole of the complex – his house, the holiday apartments (both containing his art collection), the art barn project and gardens. It is transforming into an even more stunning environment for the society to be involved in. We have for many years been invited as a sketching group and now we are invited to be a part of the commercial operations within the art barn. We have the chance to acquire a stall or unit to sell our artwork and hang wall art in the main part of the barn. William envisages this site to be a profitable visitor attraction being on the fringe of Staithes. Please see details of how to take part in the Future Events and Museum/Gallery Trips section below the programme.

Ex-member Ken Scarth earlier this year donated some of his art materials and lots of art books. I have stored them on the art department’s shelves at Macmillan Academy and I would be grateful for members to take what they want. The main donation really is the multiple volumes of art magazines in binders – it is a comprehensive “how to do” resource for drawing and painting practitioners – perhaps every paint and drawing media you can imagine. Ken’s expense over quite a period has built up into a handsome collection for someone! A BIG thank you to Ken! He follows the progress of the society and wishes us all the best and hopes to see us at our exhibitions. 

mima it appears, have turned the necessary corner. This autumn they delivered the show to beat all previous shows and accommodated so much local talent in one fell-swoop it has been a challenge for visitors to cope with. It still runs and will not end until Feb’ 7th. It is “Localism” of course and so many aspects of the CAS and previous art club’s history has been incorporated in the exhibition, I think we are all left pinching ourselves. A number of CAS past and present members have had artwork chosen as part of the exhibition as well as valuable historical records displayed under glass - museum style, and in audio form.

Ex-Chairman Margaret Hoggarth, the late Glynn Porteous and I have provided material to mima, and on the basis of this landmark moment in mima’s relationship with its huge art community, I am initiating two CAS Saturday morning meetings there in December. We will take in the extensive show and add to our knowledge of the society and I would like to see this casual Saturday get together roll out as a once-in-a-while future possibility.

2015 has seen the arrival of a new male life model called Josh, who we are pleased to have.  And finally, I would like to thank our President for giving his annual power-point talk in October. It was held in the Media Suit at the academy and was “The Power of the Philatelic Image” - the world of the postage stamp design – that graphic art we take for granted but one which Britain inspired the world with and when scrutinised reveals an astonishing wealth of symbolism and national identity.