News from Simon Hodges VPPS

Braslunio yug Nghymru; Sketching in Wales

By Simon Hodges VPPS

Just back from a week in Pembrokeshire. Went with friends and stayed near in a house located on an inlet opposite Dale near St. Ishmael’s. Wonderful location but it was a holiday for walking and relaxation and not necessary painting.

As usual I went lightish; small sketchbook; two larger sketchbooks for if I had the time and the inclination; three large brushes; camera, a large plastic container for water (formerly peanut butter); a small Tupperware box and a box of Inktense blocks. We had a car and I was too lazy to extricate a smaller selection of colours, so I packed the lot.

Each day we went walking, I would pack my rucksack with a selection of colours packed in the Tupperware box, a small sketchbook, one flat brush No.10 and my waterpot. Water, coat and sandwiches get packed as standard and a camera is carried in hand ready to capture a moment or place in an instant.

My wife and friends are patient with me but conscious means that unless we pause for a drink or lunch, I am reluctant to stop to and sketch unless I can be sure that five minutes is all that is needed. Most times a coloured sketch takes between 10 and 15 minutes (including setting up time) but with so much to absorb, time is my enemy.

The beauty of Inktense blocks (or Caran D’Ache pastels) is that drawing is in colour. One process; two if you add water. To speed things up, I don’t add water until I get the time to. Whether in the field or back at our lodgings, adding water has an effect on time. But I also took torn scrap paper, the size of the sketchbook and this was placed in the book to put between sketches. I usually fill a book as I dislike a blank page normally so this reduces unwanted marks, whether dry or still wet.

With our holiday location so perfect for the setting sun, sketching was possible in solitude and, depending on my head, made for very productive and exhausting evenings before dinner. I even found myself sketching memories of the day simply because the occasion encouraged it.

I used the larger books a few times on the beach by the house, but the pebbles made for an uncomfortable and not entirely successful enterprise.

As a pastel painter, I know some people will say that the results resemble watercolours more than pastels. Maybe, but remember that they are entirely pastel and all that goes with that, namely mark-making, drawing, painting, blending and both dry and wet. The rest is up to you.

Once back home, I now realize that I did over 60 sketches over five days. This is not a boast and most are merely rushed attempts to capture a moment and a feeling, but the fact that I achieved this shows me that I was in a happy place. It was not a job but simply a thirst for sketching that needed to be quenched. And being short of time can be a bonus. Human nature tends to make us want something when we can no longer have it. Treat time in an inspirational place in the same way and who knows what you can achieve.

Good sketching. Simon

News from Christine Watson PS ASWA

Christine will be exhibiting with the Society of Women Artists in June. She has been elected as an Associate Member of the Society of Women Artists and will become a full member in 2025.

Steps and Shadows 2023

Trikeri Steps I 2024

News from Kevin Line PS

Kevin's painting ‘Gunsmith’ has been selected for and is hanging in the RBSA Portrait Prize Exhibition
Exhibition 8th May to 8th June at their gallery in Birmingham.

Kevin Line works in charcoal to produce realist images with a strong chiaroscuro, often tenebrist effect. 'Gunsmith' is the latest of a longstanding series of paintings centred on the common man in his working or everyday environment. His sitters have varied from professional musicians, to artists, to makers, to the more mundane such as builders. In every case you see evidence of him trying to find that point of inner stillness, when the maker’s concentration on the task at hand excludes the extraneous interruption of the outside world, no matter the physicality of the action portrayed.
Rupert Blackwall is a respected gunmaker from the Cotswolds.


News from Michele Ashby PS

Michele will be exhibiting 6 of her Pantone portraits with the Society of Women Artists,

She will also be doing a demo of a portrait for the SWA at the exhibition on Thursday 27th June from around 1pm

Michele has also had a pastel selected for the Master Circle Division of the IAPS (International Association of Pastel Societies)Exhibition, Albuquerque, US on the 11-16th June

News from Janine Baldwin PS

Scarborough Art (part of The Scarborough Fair)

Janine will be opening her home studio, 10am - 5pm, 19 Gladstone Road, Scarborough, North Yorkshire, YO127BQ:

June: Saturday 15th & Sunday 16th, Saturday 22nd & Sunday 23rd

July: Saturday 13th & Sunday 14th, Saturday 20th & Sunday 21st

Scarborough Art is an exciting new art festival taking place between Saturday 15th June and Sunday 4th August at various venues across Scarborough town centre, celebrating the diverse creative community here. Janine will be welcoming visitors to her studio and showing artwork throughout her home, all details on the Scarborough Fair site: