Friday, December 31, 2010

To all our members and our blog readers, thank you for your support in 2010.  Our blog achieved over 2 300 hits during the year and we hope that you go on to contribute your thoughts and ideas to help make this blog a roaring success.

We look forward to seeing you all again in 2011 and hope that the next year will be the best year ever.

Happy Painting!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

 ‘THE MYSTIQUE AND MYSTERY OF FINE ART’  John Smith asks the question this month WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO THE MYSTERY?  Read what he has to say - click on Interesting Articles at the top of this page.  He echoes many of our beliefs.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Eleanor Palmer Evening

Our last meeting of the year combines a get together with our annual Eleanor Palmer competition.

A total of 51 artists brought work to be voted for by their fellow artists and members.  It was a festive evening with lots of wine and even more eats, and the art on display was of an incredible standard which made the voting process even harder!  But in the end, a winner can always be found, and this year Grazyna Janik won first honours with her superb painting, Winter Calm.

Runner up was Laura Wenman with 'Renee' and in third place, Peter Nicolle with 'Christelle'. 

Well done to everyone who took part.

Our 1st prize Winner - Grazyna Janik

Designer Easels

Cabinetmaker Antoni Michael brought his hand made easels to our last meeting.  Superb craftsmanship, these easels are really affordable and come in all sizes, from standing to table easels.

Contact Antoni on Cape Town 021 448 6482 or 082 662 5795.

Large floor standing easel - R1 600

Friday, November 5, 2010

A special member

Ivanonia Keet, or Iva Roworth as she's known in the art world, is one of our oldest members and continues to paint up a storm!  She sold her latest painting at our recent Annual Exhibition.

Iva has been painting her all life and her paintings are in collections all over the world.  So it was especially nice when Lynn Brown received this email from the United Kingdom from the wife of one of South Africa's greatest cricketers!

Dear Ms Brown

A little story for you!
I was married to Eddie Barlow, the late springbok cricketer and we lived in South Africa before moving to Wales after he had a stroke.
I loved attending auctions which Eddie had not done before and on a visit to Wynberg in 1995, I spotted a lovely painting of cottages in Elim, Somerset West.  I told him I thought the picture was quite divine and was going to bid for it.  He asked how much I was going to bid and I said "Well, I really do like it so I will bid up to R1000".  He said if it went for R500 he would buy it for me.  I got the picture for R350 much to my amazement because I was going to bid more than my R1000 if I had to!  On a surf on the internet today I found that one of Ivanonia Roworth's pictures fetched over £3,000!!
I could photograph my picture if you would like to see it.
Kind regards
Cally Barlow

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


John Smith, our Kwa-Zulu Natal "correspondent's" latest Thoughts.. published under "Interesting Articles" makes for very interesting reading this month.  It concerns plagiarism generally and painting over giclees in  particular - or as he has titled it Prostitutes and Pimps? - Is the Fine Art Industry becoming a Brothel?  John's articles are now also being published by SA Art Times.

A Demo with a Difference

The Society has been treated to some wonderful demos and talks this past year, and Liesl Hartmann was no exception!

The Principal of the Frank Joubert Art School, Liesl has a long history with the arts.  It was a pleasure seeing her demo her particular style of acrylic abstract painting.  And she continually emphasised that Art is a Passion and comes straight from the soul and the heart.

Thank you Liesl, from all who attended your enthralling demo.

Liesl Hartmann

Friday, September 24, 2010

Selection Day!

Congratulations to every single member who submitted work for our Annual Exhibition Selection Day.  Even if you didn't have any works selected, take heart!  Our three judges, Dr Hans Fransen, Accredited Heritage consultant, Architectural and Art Historian; Andrew Lamprecht, Lecturer at Michaelis School of Fine Art, Artist, Critic, Curator and Writer; and Charles Shields, Director of the Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town all complimented us on our judging process and the exceptionally high standard of work submitted.

Lynn Brown, SASA President, was specifically asked to convey their compliments to you, the members.  A huge congratulations to all those prize winners.

The cut-off point was high - a mark of 8 or above out of 12 was needed to qualify for the Annual - and this was done purely for space reasons.  The Sanlam Hall at Kirstenbosch can only accommodate a certain amount of art work.  So if you didn't make it, it doesn't mean your work was any good and as Lynn said in her letter "Do be encouraged by this process to carry on creating art with more enthusiasm and determination and most of all, enjoyment, than ever before!"

And the Cherry on the Top?  Bill Brown has now entered the ranks as a Fellow of the Society.  His point accumulation over three years qualified him for this distinction and is richly deserved.  Well done Bill!

And just to show you what the judges were faced with, this is a selection of the work that was submitted.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010


John Smith, a Durban based artist writes a letter every second month entitled "Thoughts from my Studio".  The current July/August letter can be read under the "Interesting Articles" header at the top of the page.  

This is John's preamble to his Thoughts in which he has acknowledged SASA and Lynn Brown in particular.  This is what he writes: 

Dear Friends,
I was extremely pleased that my ‘Thoughts from my Studio’ article on “Are We Taking Our Artists Seriously?” was published in the S.A Art Times (business section) in their July edition. This means that many people who do not normally subscribe to my articles got to read it.

This is a wonderful tabloid edited by Gabriel Clark-Brown and can be found at or you can subscribe to it at

Again, thanks to all my regular readers for subscribing to ‘Thoughts’ and for your letters and opinions. They are much appreciated.

My last article on ‘What Has Happened to the Men in Art’, this current article on ‘What is Fine Art and what is Not,’ and the one following this one which asks if the arts is becoming a brothel with some of the galleries and others acting as the pimps, are really probing and asking deep and important questions, and I although I have tried to answer some of these questions there are too many that remain unanswered. Perhaps you have some of those answers or even questions of your own? Let us hear them! You can write to me at

When last I wrote we were in the midst of hosting the World Cup Football. Many thought that all the visitors would amount to a huge windfall for our artists but from the information that has reached me it was nothing more than a damp squib. Perhaps we can learn a lesson here? My experience as far as Fine Art goes is that holidays or similar events seldom if ever amount to improved sales of art. I think that art, not being an essentially a commodity, means that it cannot be seen or marketed as a commodity, and so we need to employ a slow and consistent/persistent marketing strategy that grows the numbers of arts buyers and supporters rather than looking for the big bang!

In recent months I have been following some very interesting art and marketing debates on a site called FineArtViews and  recently became involved myself by writing in to their blog. I found it extremely interesting and was delighted to find artists in the USA were very much like us with pretty much the same problems, aspirations and solutions. Please do have a look at this site at  There is a host of information, debates and art competitions. I’m sure you will enjoy it as I have done and can learn a great deal.
A second recommended site is Robert Genn’s twice a week letter. Robert is a Canadian artist who covers a variety of interesting arts topics. Find his site at

While on the matter of websites and links please do visit my website at
For those who do not want to receive my ‘Thoughts from my Studio’ articles please let me know by e-mailing me at  and I will remove your name instantly, but if however you have friends or know of people who would like to be added to the mailing list please let them contact me on the same e-mail address. They will be more than welcome.

I started with a vote of confidence and want to end with a huge thank-you to the President of the South African Society of Artists Lynn Brown who used my article on ‘Societies and Groups’ as an introduction to her August President’s letter. Thanks also for carrying my articles on the SASA Blogsite Lynn.

The South African Society of Artists (SASA) is one of the oldest ( 1902), largest and most successful Societies in South Africa and you can find a lot of information and learn a great deal by visiting them at

Once again thanks to all the many societies, groups, art shops and galleries who have, and still do carry my articles in their newsletters and on their websites.

I hope that you find the current article interesting and thought provoking. If it causes you to think and question then I have done my job.
Till we meet again next month

Saturday, August 28, 2010

With love from Paris - Wyn Rossouw


It is a very warm evening and it has been a hot day here in Paris. It feels like it is about 35 degrees C and rather humid as well. It is 11.30pm and I can’t sleep. Most of the young residents at the Cité are chattering outside in the courtyard, enjoying the balmy evening. So, a good time to perhaps catch up on correspondence.

I spent a wonderful few days in the country last week, but those experiences will have to wait until my next exciting chapter! Let me first catch up with the week before ……………………. 
Colonne de Juillet at Place de la Bastille

During my first 2 weeks in Paris, one thing I have done to excess, in spite of carrying a Navigo ticket everywhere with me (that and a map), is walk. I have trekked from Place de la Bastille, down the aptly named boulevard Beaumarche and boulevard des Filles du Calvaire. Central to Bastille is an imposing column, the Colonne de Juillet.  From his mighty perch, a winged, very gilded Juillet looks down on humanity (he just can’t be missed - talk about over the top). Seriously though, la colonne is a monument to the fallen. It is beneath this column that the victims of the 1830 and 1848 revolutions are buried. Apparently, due to some mix up at the Louvre, where the victims were lying in state before their burial, they were joined by two Egyptian mummies, who were also buried with full military honours! And of course the area is the place where the infamous Bastille once stood.  What I never realised was that when crowds stormed and destroyed the Bastille on 14th July 1789, there were only 7 inmates.

Apartments down ave Beaumarchais
 The first time I walked down boulevard Beaumarchais and boulevard des Filles du Calvaire, I marvelled at all the beautiful old doors. Most parts of Paris have, I’ve since discovered, hundreds of them and every one different. Some are elaborately carved, some are wrought iron with gilded decorations, some are painted bright red or blue, some are quite dilapidated and others are in very good repair. I am fascinated by them. I also love the wrought iron balconies adorning the apartment windows, all opening inwards to accommodate the shutters. And so many flower boxes adding a bright splash of geranium red to elaborate facades.

Hôtel de Sens
I have walked the streets of the Marais, especially the quaint Village of St Paul, right on the door step of the Cité and admired the medieval gem, Hôtel de Sens, which has an intriguing history. Apparently it was built at the end of the 15th century for the Archbishop of Sens. Here Henry lV banished his first wife, Marguerite de Valois, when he objected to her promiscuity. Marguerite happily continued her rather questionable lifestyle, but in a dramatic twist to the sorry tale, a jealous ex-lover murdered her current beau and so she promptly had him beheaded outside the house. Mon dieu!

Back of St Paul

Red door and florist on rue de Rivoli

I have traversed both sides of the Seine for miles; I have walked down avenue des Champs-Elysees, along avenue Winston Churchill, past le Grand Palais and le Petit Palais, over the beautiful Pont Alexandre lll and then on down to the Hôtel des Invalides. I have been lost many times and once found myself at the architecturally grandiose Opéra and imposing église de la Madeleine, which that day had the grand front steps almost entirely covered in red and white flowers – stunning!

Galeries LafayBalconies and part of 
stained glass cupola inette

happened upon Boulevard Haussmann and stumbled into Galeries Lafayette. Now that was a mistake – and I thought the streets were busy. I was immediately engulfed by a tidal wave – no, tsunami, of thousands of people and couldn’t get spat out of there quick enough. Not before I managed a photograph of the beautiful circular domed cupola though.

I have walked down rue St Antoine and rue de Rivoli (full of very expensive shops) to the sumptuous Hôtel de Ville. The rue St. Antoine, a wide straight road, was once a site for jousting tournaments. In 1574 Henri ll was knocked off his horse by his Scottish Captain of the Guard, Montgomery. He suffered a severe blow to his eye and in a drastic bid to save his life, Henri’s physician ordered the immediate decapitation of every prisoner on death row so that he could experiment on their heads. Unsurprisingly, he didn’t succeed and Henri died 10 days later. Montgomery also lost his head!

From Hôtel de Ville I walked to the famous Louvre (again, hugely impressive buildings, amazing fountains and Peϊ’s spectacular, iconic glass pyramid) and the Arc de Triomphe du Carousel, a really quite beautiful pink and green marble arch, topped with a massive bronze statue of horses accompanied by gleaming gold attendants or gods of some sort!

Jardin des Tuileries
From there, I ambled through Jardins des Tuileries to Place de la Concorde, central to which is an elaborate fountain (as I said, so much in Paris is over the top) and the Luxor Obelisk, with its impossibly sharp gilded tip.

I have strolled across Pont Marie (our nearest bridge) to île St Louis, and then on to île de la Cité, staring in awe at the exquisite Notre Dame, warmed by the setting sun.

I have explored the charming Latin Quarter, seen the Sorbonne and Panthéon and been amused by the name of a little café – Le Chat Huant. I thought it might mean the haunt of the cat or something. Anyway, there is a giant wrought iron flea perched on the wall outside! I will have to find out more.

Walking aside, I have also used the metro and bus to get around. I prefer the bus, since it is more scenic and one really does get more of a sense of place. It is slower, but then, I do have the luxury of time! I have travelled to the Tour Eiffel and Place du Trocadero, St Cloud and Montmartre, all places I need to visit again and explore. Thus far a fleeting visit to these places has had to suffice.

I have also had the pleasure of visiting many parks and gardens. In fact, Paris is full of parks and little gardens, which you suddenly happen upon, all beautifully manicured, flower beds ablaze (all colour co-ordinated of course) and always decorated with beautiful statues. Surprisingly, these are not often defaced with graffiti! I find these havens a delightful refuge from the bustle of life on the street. It is in these pools of calm that I have often sat and quietly sketched and had time to think and just ‘be’. A rare luxury.

Statue of Louis XIII at Place des Vosges
Some I have visited include Place des Voges, a charming square on which Victor Hugo lived from 1832 until 1848. Four lovely fountains surround an impressive central statue of Louis XIII. It also happens to be one of the few park where one is actually allowed to walk on the grass!
I discovered Parc Montsouris, situated on the south east of Paris, right near the Cité Internationale Universitaire de Paris. This is a large undulating park with plenty of trees and a lake. Apparently on the day the park opened, the lake suddenly drained and the engineer subsequently committed suicide. I however, spent a lovely afternoon there, languishing in the gentle sunlight.

During my first two weeks in Paris I also visited the famous Jardin des Tuileries and admired the lovely statues situated around the gardens, including a Rodin (le Baiser) and a Moore (Reclining Figure).

Flower beds in Jardin du Luxembourg
And of course, I loved the Jardin du Luxembourg. The flower beds are exquisite and the many beautiful statues are quite something. I was particularly struck by the statues of the queens of France. Around the central pool children rush about with long sticks, trying to push and prod their little sail boats into action.

Statue of a queen of France, 
looking down from the terrace
Pumpkin in the garden at the Cité
Right on our doorstep is a small but charming garden at the Hôtel de Sens, and the Cité also has a pleasant garden, sporting not only flowers, but herbs, fruit trees (apple and pear) and vegetables like pumpkins, chillies and even corn! And the little sparrows are everywhere.

Flowers in the garden and the Cité 
building in the distance

Jardin de Reuilly, off Promenade Plantée
 An interesting park was Promenade Plante, a raised park which runs almost the entire length of the 12th arrondissement. Leading off this are smaller parks and a shady forested area, where I managed a sketch or two.

Lit tunnel in forested area of Promenade Plantée,
 below street level
Square Charles-Péguy, off Promenade Plantée

Whilst walking along Promenade Plantée, I suddenly noticed a bit of activity in the street below. From my bird’s eye view I spied a fire engine and police and pompiers rushing about. Now you must understand that the pompiers are revered as heros here. And not without due regard either. These brave young men are called to fight fires, help trapped people, administer first aid and save cats from trees! One evening as I was strolling along the Seine, I came across a pompier station, opposite the Square De Vert-Galant. I was treated to the sight of delightfully muscled young pompiers undergoing strenuous training. They were pulling themselves up onto platforms bolted high into the wall along the river – no mean feat! Where was my sketchbook! Anyway, I’m becoming distracted.

Pompiers to the rescue!
Back to Promenade Plantée, where the action was in full swing. Traffic was stopped as far as I could see, in both directions, outside Gare de Lyon. Busy at the best of times, but this was Saturday morning. I couldn’t see smoke and wondered where the fire was. Then through the trees, I spied a car with the hood up. It appears that it had started smoking and in two ticks and much pulling out of hoses and bustling about, disaster was averted!

Disaster averted!
Garden at Port de l’Arsenal
There is also a pretty park alongside the Port de Paris-Arsenal, situated just below Bastille. A place where yachts and houseboats are moored, so plenty of interest to sketch.

But the most magical for me, was the little Square du Vert-Galant, a triangular park, right on the tip of the île de la Cité. A very good place to watch the sun set over the Seine.

Sunset from Square du Vert-Galant

A lovely interlude on my first Saturday in Paris, was a piano concert at église St Merry. Whilst wandering around the Place Georges Pompidou, admiring the great mechanical fountains, I heard applause. Upon investigation, I discovered a concert, free to the public. What an unexpected pleasure to listen to Chopin, Debussy and Liszt played so beautifully in the quiet coolness of the high domed church.

Wow –all too much. I haven’t even begun to relate museum and gallery visits during my first two weeks in Paris. Now I’m really tired and must get to bed.

Au revoir till next time.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Watercolour Workshop

On Thursday, August 12th, Marion Langton, renowned watercolourist and teacher, held a workshop at the Portuguese Hall for SASA members.

We had a maximum 12 members taking part in what was an incredibly exciting and informative day.  All the participants were given two projects, a landscape with cottages and a vase of flowers.  Marion took the class through every process step-by-step and some incredible work was produced.

Thank you Marion, for all your hard work, and for your generosity.

Marion Langton:  Landscape with Cottages

Saturday, August 21, 2010


A sad notice today.

Neil Hendricks, the well known framer who had a workshop in Lansdowne Road, died on Thursday evening after a long battle with cancer.

Neil has been a friend to many artists and was always so incredibly helpful with our framing needs.  Our thoughts go out to his family.

We'll miss you Neil.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

From Paris ... with love ... from Wyn Rossouw

Today the weather has stopped me in my tracks. I awoke to grey skies and gentle, but heavy rain for the first time since I have been here and so, also for the first time, I am contemplating spending the day at home dans mon atelier. I am thinking that perhaps I will begin some oil painting today ……….. so I guess the honeymoon is over!
Entrance to the Cite

Paris is an amazing city of huge contrast and I have had the most incredible two weeks here. From ugly graffiti to the splendour of the great buildings, from stinky pavements, to scented gardens, from very visible expensive addresses, to the quiet, forgotten back streets, from the homeless sleeping on the streets and digging in bins, to the perfectly coutured, cioffeured and headily scented madames et monsieurs walking their snooty little dogs.

I am still getting used to the idea that my time is my own – that I am free to do with it what I want, when I want to. So, if I feel like eating cherries for supper at Place de Voges and then taking a stroll home in time to watch the sun set over the Seine and Notre Dame, from Pont de la Tournelle, then I simply do!

The summer evenings here have been warm and festive, with la Plage in full swing, right on our doorstep. This is when certain areas alongside the Seine are closed to traffic and a wonderful recreational area is set up, complete with sand, deck chairs, brollies, swimming pools (offering aqua-aerobics), live entertainment (besides the latter!) and restaurants etc. A ‘beach’ resort in the heart of the city. Of course, it has nothing of the breathtaking beauty of our exquisite Cape beaches, and I’m sure you would all be most amused to see this attempt at a ‘beach’, but I suppose it does console those locals who couldn’t get away for what seems to be the obligatory vacation month of August. Many shops are firmly closed and shuttered up at present. With Paris swimming in tourists, I would have thought it would be a good time for business, but apparently not??
Place des Voges

I have quickly adapted to the local lifestyle of starting the day late and ending it even later! When I first arrived, I thought it odd that so many businesses were only open between 10am (or even later in the afternoon at 2 or 3 pm), until 9pm. Now I understand and after a typically very late night, happily wake at 8.30am (at the earliest) to start my day, without any responsibilities, other than the minimal goal I set myself, of at least one sketch a day – sheer decadence!

Memories of my first two weeks here are fleeting. Everything seems a blur. What I do recall, especially from the first week, is desperately rushing around all day long, trying to see as much of this beautiful city, in the shortest possible time. I quickly learnt to negotiate the metro and the very efficient bus service. And of course, my walking legs were well utilised, blistered feet and all!

I feverishly sought out art shops for supplies, Ros having told me about BHV (Bazar de l’Hôtel de Ville) and Rogier & Ple and discovered the charming and olde worlde Sennelier shop on Quai Voltaire as well, where I spent a disgraceful amount of money. I couldn’t resist finally buying myself the watercolour paintbox I always wanted. Apparently this shop has been operating since 1887. Unfortunately I have since discovered, in my wanderings, an even more alluring art shop, Dubois, on rue Soufflot, right near the Panthéon, which, like Sennelier (but on a bigger scale), is a treasure trove of old wooden cabinets with antique silver handled drawers, home to countless gem like pastel sticks, every imaginable drawing pen, crayon or pencil and rows and rows of glittering tubes of paint, not forgetting the trays of aquarelles, wrapped up like so many tiny sweets. All to just die for! Aladdin’s cave has nothing on this! Thus, it is now definitely baguette, cheese and fruit for supper for a few weeks. Not that this presents too much of a problem ……….

With the help of a wonderful South African friend who lives nearby, I have discovered charming local haunts and a wonderful market which is set up at Bastille along the very aptly named Boulevard Beaumarchais, every Thursday and Sunday morning. Here one sees fresh produce beautifully displayed and the friendly stall holders carry on an amiable banter as they cajole customers into buying their wares, which are generally very reasonably priced. All such a feast for the eye and of course the picture book perfect onions, garlic cloves, lemons and peaches etc., made me immediately want to capture it all in a thousand still life paintings!
Room with a View

It is here that I discovered the most delicious fruit, la pêche plat which indeed is just that - flat peach, and tastes like a mixture of a peach and an apple. I also happened upon the best fromage à l’emmental. Les Boulangerie et Pâtisseries are (unfortunately) just about on every street corner and are deadly! Of course, at the first opportunity, I had to try un croque monsieur (a toasted ham with melted cheese on top – very yum!) et aussi des macarons, light as air – vanille, chocolat, citron et pistachio. Les glaces are also delicious and so refreshing on a hot summer’s day, but expensive at the price of €2.50 for one impossibly tiny scoop. Incidently, one can also pick up une bonne bouteille du vin blanc for €4, which means that a glass of wine is cheaper than an ice-cream!

But la baguette is the staple and I prefer mine traditionale, which is made from less refined wheat. Yoghourt, butter and milk is rich and creamy and the French do pride themselves on their cheeses. You will find low fat or processed dairy products with extreme difficulty. Not that one wants to buy that insipid stuff anyway! My friend has informed me that if you ask for it the shopkeeper will look disparagingly at you and inform you very vehemently that that is only for babies and people on diet – d’accord! 

I have made friends with Leonie Louw, a fellow South African, who lives across the hall and who hails from Limpopo. Leonie is a lovely warm, friendly person, with whom I can practice my Afrikaans, and we have been on a few outings together. So now I can say I am ‘drie-taalig’. Well, after a fashion. My French is coming along slowly and I am encouraged by the fact that I now understand a little better, what is said to me. I have had to speak French quite often – when ordering or buying food, or trying to get my phone card and Navigo ticket (for bus or metro access) sorted out, or simply ask for directions. It has gone well enough and I do enjoy hearing the language spoken. I have found the local people are quite helpful if they realise you are trying, but I’m afraid there have been plenty of occasions when there was definitely much that was ‘lost in translation’! Like the time I lost my glasses in Jardins des Tuileries and couldn’t read my metro map. I asked a lady at an information booth if she could help me and only after she had very indignantly shooed me away, did it dawn on me that I had perhaps asked for her glasses and not just for help with reading the map! So now I have learnt to always carry 2 pairs of glasses in my bag, with the all important map and Navigo ticket!

So far, I have used the excuse of good weather, to be out and about every day for as long as possible, just drinking in the sights and sounds – all that makes this such a beautiful city. Just as well, now that the weather has turned.
Sunset on the Seine

I have done so much and there is so much to tell, but that will have to wait. Tomorrow I leave for a few days in the country, Néré to be exact. Carol and Bill Ross have very kindly offered me their hospitality and I am looking forward to a change of scene. I’m not packed yet, but have time to throw a few things into an overnight bag tomorrow morning, not forgetting my paints and sketch books!

Au revoir until next time! 

Sunday, August 8, 2010


Thank you all you SASA members and your friends who supported the Life Drawing classes held at the Portuguese Hall.  I was surprised and delighted to see the great number of you who turned up on these cold winter mornings- that’s what I call dedication to one’s Art!  Frankly I wasn’t too sure of how many to expect but, in the event, you surpassed expectation and made the classes a success and pleasure.   It was good to meet SASA members who I didn’t know,  and their friends, who I hope will consider becoming members.

I think that we had extremely nice, experienced models who each contributed their individual repertoire of poses.  We were fortunate as we had quite a small list to contact, a number being unavailable thanks to FIFA and school holidays.  At this point I want to ask all members of SASA to please communicate the names and details of interesting and experienced models that they come across to Liz Pearson so that she can put them on the SASA blog . Her email is;

Thank you, too, for your experienced assistance and input of information, and also your patience when things didn’t go so smoothly.  Kokava Kalmi you were an angel when the electricity went down- thank you.  My gratitude to all of you who moved furniture into place and back to its original place at the end of the class; to those who helped with the tea and washing dishes and lugging stuff up and downstairs. They include non-SASA members too. Penny Steynor, thank you for bringing your light each week and for lighting the models.  The council members, Barbara, Liz, Glenda, and Fiona and others,Carol.Christine(who consoled me when I broke the handle of the urn),Lyn, Irina and the Brawny Men of course and many others- forgive my failing memory.  I extend my gratitude to every single one of you.  


Sunday, July 25, 2010

Penny Steynor's Pastel Workshop

On Saturday 24th, 19 people arrived for Penny's workshop.

With so many people, space was at a premium, but a spot was found for everyone, and Penny treated us to an incredible amount of information as well as a display of how versatile a medium pastel is.

Here are Penny's notes:

Pastel is a very exciting and versatile medium.  It is a drawing or painting medium and is a Direct medium to use offering wide range of techniques and approaches with Drawing - convenient - direct - quick and expressive with no elaborate preparation with painting - prepare paper and layer pastel in washes.  It can also be used over watercolour, acrylic or mixed media to great effect, or work with "Pastel marks" (John Blockley) - people are recognized by their marks!

Pastels are made from gum tracanthas, a binder and Kaolin and pigment.  Home made pastels are harder as more binder is used.  They are PERMANENT and do not fade as sophisticated pigments are used in their manufacture.

Which side of the paper?  Usually the rougher side is used.
Never use graphite pencil as the oil repels the pastel.  Always draw with charcoal - you can even incorporate the charcoal into the pastel.  Oil pastels are different - we are dealing here with chalk pastels.  There are both hard and soft varieties.  Harder pastels are usually used for the drawing technique.  In painting use the hard pastels first and end with soft.

Work from dark to light, as in oils.  No water or cleaning agents except soap and water, towels, wet wipes and old clothes!  But unlike oils you cannot mix pastels on a palette like paint - you can mix to a certain extent on paper.
In order to ascertain a colour, you have to test it or use it - if it is wrong or racts in a way you don't want it to, stop immediately and remove with a stiff brush.  YOU CANNOT CORRECT MISTAKES BY OVERLAYING WITH PASTEL.  You will end up with a muddy, tired looking painting.

MUD!  In my experience, mud is caused by using opposite sides of the colour wheel (what would normally cause grey in watercolour and may be beautiful can cause mud in pastel).  Also adding too much white content too soon.  Adjacent colours are best for blending.

DUST!  Do not blow.  Turn over your pastel and tap.  You can also put a piece of wide masking tape, sticky side up, on the bottom edge of your paper, catching dust that way.  Semolina makes a good cleaning agent.


  1. Use genuine turps or water to soften your pastel wash - or scrape pastel onto your board and wipe with a soft cloth to give a "wash effect"
  2. Work from dark to light

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Watermedia Showcase

Watermedia Showcase sponsored by Watercolor Artist
Best of Show: $500
2nd Place: $250 
3rd Place: $100 
4th Place: $50
Award Winners will be published and Honorable Mentions’ names will be listed in the February 2011 issue of Watercolor Artist. All Winners and Honorable Mentions will receive a certificate suitable for framing.
Deadline: August 2, 2010

The competition is open to artists anywhere in the world. All works must be original. Compositions based on published material or other artists' work are NOT considered original and are not eligible. Paintings executed in a workshop under another artist's supervision or paintings based on another person's photograph (even if copyright-free) are NOT eligible. Mixed-media entries are accepted, but the primary medium must be watermedia. Employees of F+W Media, Inc., and their immediate families, are not eligible. Watercolor Artistreserves the right to reject work deemed unsuitable for publication or that does not meet above criteria. Work previously published at the time of submission to this contest in a national publication or receiving an award at a national-level exhibition is not eligible.
You may enter online or you may mail all your entries in on one CD. All entries must be digital files. You may enter work in any and all categories; there is no limit to the number of images you may enter. If entering via regular mail you must inlclude an Entry Form. Please also include a separate sheet that gives the title and dimensions of each image. The titles of the images on the CD must match the titles on the sheet. Image files cannot exceed 2MG. The file must be saved as a JPEG in RGB color mode (not CMYK). If your work is selected as a winner, we may contact you about sending a high-res replacement. Incomplete entry forms and information sheets, and improperly named image files will be disqualified.
Fees and Payment: All entries are $15 per image. A credit card number and signature or a check or money order for the required jury fee (in U.S. funds, drawn on a U.S. bank) must accompany your entry. There will be a $10 charge for all returned checks or declined credit cards. Credit cards will be charged within 90 days of contest deadline. Charges will appear as "F+W contests."
Materials: CDs will not be returned (so have a duplicate made for your own files). Watercolor Artist will not be responsible for the loss, damage or return of any CDs submitted to the competition.
Entries must be submitted online or postmarked no later than August 2, 2010.
Entries will be prejudged and then finalists will be chosen by the magazine staff. All properly prepared entries will be viewed and judged. The decision of the jurors is final.
All winners will be notified by November 1, 2010
. The results will not otherwise be made public until they are published in Watercolor Artist. Non-winning entrants will not be individually notified of the results. Your cancelled check or credit-card charge will be notification for receipt of your entry.
Click here to enter online

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Check out JOHN SMITH's latest newsletter on "Where have all the Men Gone?".  Click on the heading above -  'Interesting Articles".  You can leave your comments on this, and any other article - go to the word 'comments' at the end of the article, click on it, and leave your message.
MEANWHILE BACK AT THE CITÉ    French letter 6 from Fula Paxinos

My studio on the 1st floor had floor to ceiling windows and I placed my work table in front of them and was able to watch a never-ending passing show of traffic (including hundreds of Renaults just like mine)  cyclists, motorcyclists, streams of pedestrians, school children, rollerbladers and huge tour buses disgorging groups of tourists,.

The leaves on the tall trees along the pavement outside the building have all changed into glorious autumn colours and have started falling in earnest.  Pretty soon I will have a perfect view of the magnificent Notre Dame Cathedral.

A couple of nights ago, I heard  an eerie swishing noise, almost like a very long gust of wind.  To my surprise a river of rollerbladers , hundreds of men, women and children, with a police escort were cruising past.  Nobody at the Cité  had any idea who they were or where they came from.
The swans on the river, the many tourists boats and the Bateaux mouches, whose rows of search lights illuminate the river banks at night add to the constant activity- which I love.
There also seem to be thousands of little Smart Cars on the road.  They are all very brightly coloured and patterned and from my window they look like Dinky toys.

Across the road on the pavement above the river bank are the Seine book sellers stretching all the way to Pont Neuf and beyond.  The vendor directly opposite my windows intrigued me. He had a guitar, and when not talking to a possible customer or friend, he strolled and danced up and down the pavement, strumming and singing.  A dark haired woman often came to visit him and brought lunch and a bottle of wine. They would sit on the bench nearby and spend a couple of hours eating and chatting.  That stopped and soon a blonde woman took her place and visited every day.  They were far more amoureux, she was either snuggled up on his lap with her arms around him, or cuddled up next to him.   Then she stopped coming and he went back to playing his guitar. Who were the women? Why did the blonde stop coming?  Did her husband find out?     An interesting video art installation could have been created based on Monsieur le Bookseller’s shenanigans!

The President's Guard
Several times during my stay I heard the clip-clopping of horses hooves along the road.  From my window I was able to watch the President's Guard riding by.  About 100 splendid horsemen in scarlet and black regalia on their richly caparisoned horses.  What a splendid sight!  Luckily I was able to capture it on video.

Along the block in front of the Cite the road is called rue de l'Hotel de Ville.  Beyond that the pavement is very wide and accommodates a cycle track and benches surrounded by low hedges.  The benches were very often occupied by couples wrapped around each other, and homeless people who made their beds there every night.  Beyond the broad pavement is the road that runs along the top level of the Seine.  What impressed me very much was how frequently the pavements were cleaned.  The weather was getting colder and the trees had started shedding their leaves.  Almost every day a strange looking vehicle would come along and the operator would blow all the leaves into piles, another weird vehicle would come along and vacuum them, and others would thoroughly wash down the pavement.  Frequently, I'd wake up to the noise of electric tools being used to neatly trim the hedges.  What impressed me most was how meticulously the workers did their jobs.

Just before the end of each month there was a spate of Open Studios in the Cité .  Sometimes 2 on the same night.  Then it was dead quiet till the new intake arrived and started producing work. Any kind of work, including video installations and musical stuff-  Pedro Morales from Mexico, picked up bits and pieces in the streets, old pots, buckets, even a bed base with springs, and scraps of bicycles, connected them to his computer and somehow they vibrated and produced the strangest sounds. He entertained us to a ‘musical’  evening at his open studio.

A tiny, cute, smiling, bowing, Japanese girl called Midori exhibited her very tiny, cute illustrations.   I had invited my friends Desmond and Marianne Colbourne to join me and visit an open studio.  Midori could not speak one word of English and her interpreter managed very little English.  They were overjoyed when Desmond spoke to them in Japanese.  Marianne chatted in Swedish to a Swedish sculptor at the party,  Carla a photographer from Pretoria spoke fluent French to several other guests and we were all able to speak Afrikaans to a Dutch couple.  What a fruit salad!  The party continued with more snacks and drinks chez moi afterwards, and Desmond gave me lots more information about where to go and what to see.

Metka the little woman standing in the centre had an Open Studio to show her paintings on  her round hand-made papier mache supports.   Only 2 of the 10 artists in the picture have the same nationality.

Although I had done a 6 month course at the Alliance Francaise in Cape Town and done all my homework, and tried hard in class,  not very much stayed in my memory from one lesson to the next.  Horrific grammar and verbs, almost as difficult as Greek. I had acquired a set of language CD’s which I found easier and also decided to go to French lessons at the Cite.  It was recommended as a good place to meet people.    I went to one lesson only.  The teacher only spoke French and I daresay that  after about 100 lessons, I might have learned to speak French,  but I felt my CD’s were easier, and I did meet ‘friends’ at that lesson.

Current Friends, their Nationalities and the languages they spoke.  
Arabic, English
Palestinian (Christian)
English, French, Arabic, Russian, Danish
German, English French, Dutch
German, English, French
English, French, Spanish
English, French
Greek Cypriot
Greek, English, French, Italian
Turkish Cypriot
Turkish, English, French – having an exhibition in Paris
South African
English, French, Afrikaans
South African
English, French, Afrikaans
Arabic, English, French, Hebrew
English, French, Swedish/Danish
African American
English, French – living in Paris

Alice Goldin from Cape Town who had been to the Cité  6 or 7 times, and her grandson Max arrived there shortly after I did and were the most wonderful friends. It was a blessing having their company.  Alice is a Gold mine of information, her memory is phenomenal and she advised me on what to see, where to go and how to get there.  We had dinner together several times, my famous salmon pasta and my omelettes and Max’s excellent soups.  Alice put me to shame by starting painting as soon as she unpacked and Max too was very busy drawing his illustrations. Max took good care of his gran and it was a treat to see them both working diligently on their individual projects and swapping crits.  Carla, the photographer did a lovely portrait of Alice in her studio.   Apart from her long friendships with the personnel at the Cité,  Alice also had friends in Paris and despite problems with her hip; she gamely managed to get out and about.  However, she had to leave Paris earlier than planned and I had a little farewell dinner for her in my studio.

Portrait of Alice Goldin by courtesy of photographer Carla Crafford

Although I hadn’t put brush to canvas yet, I did put up large photocopies of my wax paintings  and picture boards with photos of glorious sunsets taken from my balcony at home and photos taken from the end of my road, of Clifton and Camps Bay beaches.  My visitors were all absolument fascinated!

Fula Paxinos