Wednesday, December 7, 2011


These last months have been hectic at the Society.  

Wallace Hulley
Mel Eliott
After the excitement of the Annual Exhibition, at the end of September Wallace Hulley, renowned acrylic painter and watercolourist, gave us a demonstration.  He painted 3 pictures in the evening! including one of his famous donkeys.  Thank you Wallace.  And then in October we hosted Mel Elliott at our monthly meeting.  Mel is an artist and son of well known artist Dale Elliott.  They hail from Villiersdorp, so a special thank you to Mel for making the trip and giving us the benefit of your marketing expertise.

Also in October we had our very first Children's Exhibition at the Cape Town City Library.  This exhibition was part of our Outreach programme and children from 3 venues took part.  We were very fortunate to have Cape Town City Councillor, Beverley Cortje-Alcock, Mayoral Committee Member for Social and Early Childhood Development, open the exhibition.  The new library in Cape Town is a treat, so do pay it a visit.  And of course, accolades must go to all the children who took part.

Councillor Beverley Cortje-Alcock with prize winner, Nikita America
whose painting she purchased.

1st Prize for his painting in the "My Cape Town" category
Bertin Kolombo (top painting)
And our final meeting in November was our end of year function, combined with the Eleanor Palmer competition.  Eleanor Palmer was a long-standing member of th society and while President, presented a cup to be awarded in an open painting category.  The Italian Artshop very generously donated the prizes, and although he didn't get his own prize back, Gus Kennedy was elected the Winner for 2011.
Viewing the Seine - 2011 Eleanor Palmer Winner
Gus Kennedy
Eleanor Palmer evening

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

105th Annual Exhibition

If August was hectic, September certainly was filled with constant activity.

And the culmination of our September 2011 was the Annual Exhibition which was opened by our Patron and acclaimed artist, Conrad Theys.  The highlight of the evening was the induction of three new Fellows to the Society - Penny Steynor, Laura Wenman and Solly Gutman.

To achieve this honour, artists need to achieve a total of 90 out of 120 points over three out of four Annual Exhibitions.  Not an easy task, so as you can imagine, the work of our three new Fellows is exceptional.  Well done!

From left: Conrad Theys (SASA Patron), Lorna Jakins (SASA President), Laura Wenman, Solly Gutman and Penny Steynor
Photo courtesy of Karen Watkins of the Constantiberg Bulletin
This was our 105th Annual Exhibition and was superb.  Well done to all the artists who took part.  To those who didn't get their work in, as Conrad said, you weren't rejected, just not accepted by the judges of this year's selection day.  So keep going.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

A Busy August

The month went by in a flash!

All the activity included preparations for selection day (actually it took a whole weekend), our landscape and life competition - congratulations to our winners
Lynn Brown - Life drawing/painting section
Grazyna Janik - Landscape/seascape section

Then there were the winter workshops.  First was Cherry Nichols watercolour/mixed media workshop for experienced watercolourists (see previous post) and then we were honoured to have Natalie Hirschman give us a workshop in oils.  An incredible experience from a master of the medium.

And then our own SASA member and Fellow, Di Ackerman, gave us a workshop on drawing in ink and finishing in acrylics.

A big thank you to all three wonderful artists for sharing their years of wisdom and experience with us.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

A Presidential Opening

The second Members' Exhibition took a few days to before sales started coming in and although not fabulous, definitely made the advent of Members' 2 worthwhile - we hope you thought so too.

Opened by current President, Lorna Jakins, with the help of Di Segal and Mary Serrurier memories, we had a great turnout at the opening, including a whole host of ex-SASA presidents.  Here are some of them.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

With the advent of SELECTION DAY and the Annual Exhibition coming up in August and September respectively, this article taken from FineArtViews* newsletter seemed quite pertinent.

This article is by Carolyn Henderson, the managing half of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She is a Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews and her  freelance writing appears in regional newspapers, online magazines, and her humor blog, Middle-Aged Plague.

Let's start on the right foot by eliminating the word "should" from our vocabulary.
Nasty word, "should."

Generally, it's used by others, either directly or indirectly, to impose their will or agenda on someone who isn't in line with the program.

My favorite example of this is the finger waggling children's ditty: "Everybody ought to (read 'should') go to Sunday School . . ," but there are plenty of other examples:

"Even if you are unemployed, you should put away 25% of your net income every month to a retirement savings account. Groceries are not as important as you think."

"You should read to your child 45 minutes a day, beginning prior to conception. They should be able to read by themselves at age 4."

"You should eat edamame for breakfast and lunch. Top it with a tasty coating of powdered fermented kelp."

Some shoulds are not necessarily bad advice. But even good advice isn't always applicable to your situation.

"You should enter art shows. This is the best and only way to further your career as an artist."

Or, conversely,

"You shouldn't bother with entering art shows. This traditional route is outdated and a waste of money."

What is it about us as humans that we classify and categorize complex situations into one-sentence, one-size-fits-all dictums?

Can we move toward freeing ourselves from this self-imposed tyranny?

Let's start.

First of all, the options we have before us number greater than two, that is, we are not limited to the choice of entering hundreds of shows per year or none at all. We can enter as many competitions – local, regional, statewide, national, international – that 1) we can afford and 2) we feel like we have a good opportunity at getting into because the quality of our work matches the quality demanded by the show, and the type of work we do is in line with the body of the show.

The first year we seriously marketed the Norwegian Artist's work, we spent more than $800 entering shows. Dollar-wise, that sounds like a lot, but believe me, at $15 to $80 entry fee per show, it’s like buying chocolate by the pound at the seashore: it doesn’t take long to rack up a bill.

But there’s a limit to how much fine chocolate fits into the budget, and every year, we review the choices and determine what is worth the fee and what isn’t, always remembering that, just because we write out the check for the jurying process doesn’t mean that we will be juried in.

Oh, and while we’re on the topic of not being juried in, please remember that a rejection notice is not the same thing as a painting not being good enough to qualify for the show. Depending upon the jurying panel, which sometimes consists of one person, a painting can be rejected for many reasons that have nothing to do with ability and skill.

This last statement is easily confirmed by reviewing the catalog of the show, if it is big enough to support one, or simply attending the show, if it is smaller and more local. Across the spectrum, indifferent or even bad art gets into these events, and it’s your guess as much as mine as to how it gets there. I imagine it follows the same path as the business world, where incompetent people are promoted as managers over better workers, or the education establishment, where instructors of less than stellar teaching abilities are advanced to administrative posts.
If the quality control level is too scruffy, I give the show a pass, but if the overall synopsis is high, it’s worth a shot.

*FineArtViews Newsletter is an American daily letter mailed to subscribers.  It has interesting information about the artworld.  If you want to subscribe, click on the address and follow the prompts.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Workshop Fever

Cherry Nichols gave an awesome watercolour workshop for SASA members on Tuesday 21 June. All participants had to change the poppy drawing they were sent to use at the workshop. Cherry started off by showing them how to remove parts of the painting that were no longer wanted, using oil pastels and turps. The oil pastels were also used to darken the areas in between the poppies and then taking the colour into the flowers. This technique was also used to form the background of the painting.

Participants were shown how to do introduce gel medium over the wet paint and when slightly dry, how to 'scratch out' the stamens, leaves, buds, etc using a toothpick. She went on to show us how to put the different colours into the flowers, how to complete the vase section of the painting, showing the water levels and how to finish off the painting.

The results?  Have a look.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Members' Exhibition Number 1 for 2011

As Lorna said in her letter (see newsletter of June 2011) - Whew!  A lot of work by some very dedicated helpers made the first Members' Exhibition for this year such a success.  But mostly it was the Artists.  Incredible artwork made the show, so take a big bow all of you who took part.

And now we're getting ready to start the process all over again for the 2nd Members' Exhibition.  This is the first time we are having two open exhibitions, a trend we hope to follow from now on.

A few fun photos of some of the super efficient helpers on the day.


Thursday, June 9, 2011

Well, Members' Exhibition 1 is behind us and despite the weather, we had quite a few people through the doors.  

The evening before the opening of the exhibition, we were treated to Judy Moolenschot talking about modern art specifically relating to South Africa.  What a mine if information Judy is and what amazing work we were treated to.  Judy is passionate about her subject and swept us along with her enthusiasm.  Thank you Judy.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Wyn Rossouw in April

Incredible artist, Wyn Rossouw was our demonstrator at the last monthly meeting and if you missed it, you missed an amazing demonstration of her oil painting techniques.

Wyn brought in canvases at various stages of completion and showed us how she went from the drawing stage right through to the final finished work.  Have a look -

The first stage - the drawing of the jug and garlic


Stage 2 and the introduction of all those lovely darks

And then the lights

The final painting!

Thank you Wyn - you are an inspiration.

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Deserving Cause

Dear friends,

Beloved artist Ai Weiwei has been disappeared by the Chinese government. Chinese elites are major art buyers and highly sensitive to the international art community. Let's build a massive appeal for top galleries and artists to stop exhibiting in China until Ai Weiwei is released:

Sign the petition!
World-famous and beloved Chinese artist Ai Weiwei has been "disappeared" by China's state security forces. Every trace of Ai's life and art has been erased from the Chinese internet, and his only hope may be a global outcry for his release.

Fearful of the pro-democracy protests sweeping the world, the government has cracked down on hundreds of free-thinking Chinese artists, intellectuals, students and citizens. But across the world, artists and art-lovers have begun to speak out in solidarity with Ai.

Chinese elites are major buyers of contemporary art, and are now planning a huge art fair in Beijing. If international galleries and artists stay away from China until Ai is freed, they'll send shockwaves through the regime. Let's build a massive global wave of support for top gallerists and artists to stop exhibiting in China until Ai Weiwei is released. We’ll deliver it at the upcoming Venice Biennale exhibition:

Dozens of galleries and artists from over 15 countries are now gearing up for the Beijing International Art Expo and other shows. We’ll present our petition to all the prominent galleries and artists, and log their responses on our website, mobilizing the art world to take a strong stand on behalf of Ai and all the free-thinking citizens who have been jailed.

China sometimes seems immune to international pressure, but art-activism could work. When sports stars stayed away from South Africa they got the attention of the brutal apartheid regime, hastening Nelson Mandela’s release. Together with international artists and dealers we may now be able to achieve the same effect.

Ai Weiwei's crime has been to speak out against corruption and injustice in China. He resigned on principle from the team designing the 'Bird's Nest' Olympic stadium, criticized corruption behind poorly built schools that killed children in the Sichuan earthquake, and expressed hope the democratic revolutions in the Middle East might lead to change in China. Now noone knows where he is being held or why. Let's call on artists and galleries to come together to free Ai Wei Wei:

Ai Wei Wei's parents spent 16 years in a prison labour camp for their principles. At that time China was isolated from the world, but now times have changed. Our voices count -- let's use them now for Ai and China's free-thinking artists, and the new China they're striving to create.

With hope,

Alex, Ricken, Maria Paz, Morgan and the whole Avaaz team


BBC -- Chinese Artist Held for Economic Crimes

NYTimes -- China Takes Dissident Artist Into Custody

The Guardian -- Cultural Revolutionary

CNN -- A Dangerous mix of art and politics

The Atlantic -- The Art of Bubbles: How Southeby's Predicts the World Economy

Support the Avaaz community! We're entirely funded by donations and receive no money from governments or corporations. Our dedicated team ensures even the smallest contributions go a long way -- donate here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Life Drawing

Picasso - The Blue Nude
An early start this year - so dust off your pencils and sketchbooks if you haven't been using them and take advantage of the Autumn weather and our first nude model.  Khadija has been selected for our first session and you can see her photo in the Artist Models section of this blog.  She is a total professional (as are all our selected models) and will be posing on the 30th April from 9.30 am until 12.30.

Until the weather cools in June/July, we will be selecting nude models; clothes will be the order of the day in the depths of winter.

The cost remains the same - R60 per session which includes a cup of tea and biscuits.  Please contact Jinty on 021 762 2426 - email or Lawrie on 021 438 9512 - email  Make sure you book your place as space is limited!

Schedule:  April 30, May 7 and 14, June 11 and 18
Where:  The Portuguese Club in Rugby

Monday, April 4, 2011

Gus Kennedy tallk

Gus at the Podium
At our monthly Thursday meeting, Gus Kennedy, owner of the Italian Art Shop in Rondebosch, gave us a really insightful talk on "Paint - what is it?"

He talked about the properties of the various paint qualities, the importance of quality canvases and what makes a good canvas, brushes and how they're made and a host of information that we never knew and can make a difference in our painting lives.
An amazing prize to win

And to top it all, Skye had put together a wonderful give-away package to one lucky member, and that was Paul Webb.  Lucky man Paul!  Enjoy.

Paul Webb and his goodies

Friday, March 11, 2011

Margie Johnson is the latest of our intrepid travellers to la Belle France!  She has been in Paris for a month now and this is an extract from her latest letter home.  Hubby Rob has just been on a visit and daughter Kate is going to be visiting from Denmark.

It is 5am and Rob has just left to catch the plane home....... a lonely figure walking down the Seine as the trains only start later !!! He arrived here amidst curious stares dressed in bright red baggy hippy pants and crocs which soon got relegated to the bottom of his case .....not Parisian style !! It has been wonderful having him here to share the sights and it also gave me the chance to show off my local knowledge.    Now its back to being a student again.
Where to start ?  On our first outing we were passing Hotel de Ville .. the town hall..... and all the roads were closed off and a magnificent row of mounted horses lined the street.......large fancy cars began to arrive so i asked one of the soldiers what was going on ....can you believe it it was Zuma and his entourage visiting Sarkozy   I felt unbelievably proud seeing our flags on the cars and hanging high on the buildings but as Rob said it was a bitter sweet moment when one saw the opulence and thought of all the hungry people at home they have to send sooooo many people .....we saw Zuma and who knows how many others !!! 
We spent a couple of days fossiking around the neighbourhood.. down the winding foodfilled streets in the Latin Quarter...up to Republic square and down St Martins canal where people live in fabulous houseboats...stocked up with fresh fresh fruit from the market and popped in to all the churches which never fail to amaze one.. Every evening there are vespers sung at Notre Dame ...the insence clouding out from the alter and exquisite voices filling every corner of this ancient cathedral.....what an honour it must be to sing there....despite there being 100s of people it is surprisingly quiet and peaceful. We have been many times. A good place to rest ones weary legs after a days walking.
TheSacre Ceur stands magesticly above Momarte dressed in her pink marble.. in sharp contrast to the hustle and bustle of the red light area of Pigalle down below. This must be the holiest church Ive been in.After climbing endless steps up ...up...up...and having watched the artists plying their trade ...some of them really excellant . we stood and gazed over a hazy Paris ..I think one needs a year here to take it all in !! We caught the tail end of a service and then listened to a group of incredibly well behaved schoolboys who sang a couple of prayers....a very special memory'.
After weeks of cold and grey we have been blessed with many warmer (but still chilly ) sunny days Spring is sprunging and daffodils flowering , the willow trees that were bare when I arrived have turned from yellowy orange to bright green in a matter of a week....the leaf buds on the trees are fat with the anticipation of summer !!! The days are much longer too . Time passes fast at the change of season.....Been thinking of you all in the heat and can't believe I'll be home in Autumn.
Rob's sister and brother in law came  last weekend and spoilt us taking us to dinner dont want to eat out in Paris...R150 for a glass of wine !!!.but it was very nice wine....but ouch or eish !!!.... and a wonderful day on the river boat down the Seine you can get on and off so stopped at the Sunday antique market at Ponte de Concorde....could not believe the astronomic prices !!! About 5 to 10 x what we would pay at home !!!!   So didn't buy an old anything !!! Being me I stood at the bow of the boat and woops a wave of icy dirty Seine water plopped right into my boots !!  That I think was the start of a goodly cold and earache!! But it will pass.
Highlight highlight !!!!! It was our 40th wedding anniversary and Rob booked for the Moulin Rouge woweeeee what a spectacular evening ...a once in a lifetime extravaganza... one brilliant act after another..even a glass swimming pool rising out of the floor filled with pythons and a dancer swimming with them.....dancers ...little horses ....acrobats....jugglers and so it went on and on just superb... not to forget the can can girls who really can can can. Sat there like lady muck with champagne gawking !! No photos allowed unfortunately and you have to hand in coats & cameras for the little sum of 4 euros ! Back home on the metro with the steet people settling in for the night sleeping on the platforms.. what a contrast of different worlds.
Having not been out of Paris it was a real pleasure to catch the train to Chartres a beautiful village or should I say city ,as it has the magestic Chartres cathedral...again I had learnt the floor plan in history of art....13 th century.. its 2 different spires one romanesque and the other gothic ..stunning stained glass the blues irredescent ...the flagstone floors sloping and undulating .with the passing of time.     We meandered through  the cobbled streets that  are lined with buckled old buildings ..the town square with kids riding on the carousel with its twinkling lights.... and then back to gay Paree through forests and famland ..through the more modern residential areas ....the houses look like monopoly houses ! Suddenly its industrial  like any western city and out we pop at the gorgeous Ile de le Cite back to the old centre of town.
The old part of Paris isn't very spread out, it's very densly populated, one can walk everywhere but I was happy to catch the bus to the Eiffel tower which is further than our legs wanted to carry us ! Rob went up to the top but yours truly has a fear of heights and sat and drew surrounded by endlessly persistant hawkers and deaf and dumb money collectors ( whom I saw having a briefing from their "boss" and they were all chatting away !!!! ) I didnt feel very safe here unlike the rest of Paris and hung onto the backpack.  We did a whole loop on the bus home and saw Stade de France the stadium built for the wonder they wanted to run ours as its a far more attractive structure...ok I know theirs has amazing facilities  but it is a concrete  jungle.
To date the french have been nothing but helpful and charming except for the very rude lady at the memorial for the some 160 000 people from Paris who were killed in the Holocaust t . We were at the front of the queue ( there were only 2 others ) and she totally ignored us chatted to her friends and it was only when the other 2started to walk away after standing for about 15 mins that she begrudgingly scratched through my bag ..gave us the rules like a gustapo general ..and eventually lifted the barrier and let us down the steps to this very moving memorial.  So simple ..a long thin crypt like structure behind metal bars lined with thousands of what looked like pebbles , each representing a person so mercilessly killed and at the end a single bare lightbulb....shooo a lot said with so little. A sad experience but I am glad we didn't miss it. Perhaps she thought we were German or English !! A bit of PR needed here !

The Jewish Quarter is right here and one of my favourite shops is the jewish shop which is filled to capacity from floor to ceiling with every conceivable comodity.. one drools at the sacks of nuts, glaced fruits and delicious looking goodies but at one heck of a price ! A tiny tiny jar of Marmite for 4 euros ! Jenny bought some pistacios there and ate them one rand at a time ! the owners are so sweet and dont seem to mind one just looking.
Rob has arrived at the airport ..yay.. was worried that he may be late but alls well as I hope it is with all of you ....only 2 more weeks and Kate & co come next weekend so its down to some serious art now. So from me to you all lots of love.

Monday, February 28, 2011

SASA President, Lynn Brown steps down

Lynn Brown

On Thursday 24th February, at our Annual General Meeting, we said goodbye to both Lynn Brown and her daughter Jessica as they left the SASA Council.

Lynn has completed her 3 years of presidency and stepped down in accordance with our constitution - no 30 year reign by a despotic dictator for us even though we are in Africa! - while Jessica returns to UCT to study for her Masters Degree in Art.   We are greatly saddened that they both have to leave and they will be sorely missed.

Lynn and Jessica both joined SASA in June 2005, probably for the fun of being part of nice social group.  Lynn went on to Council in April 2007 and clearly her leadership skills were immediately recognised since she was voted in as President in March 2008, a mere 11 months later.  And that was the end the fun part for her . . 

What an inspirational leader she has been!  Her goal has been to raise the standard of the Society and to elevate its standing in the art world; in her own words “A personal crusade taken up by the council during my term has been to raise the professional image of the society and for SASA to be seen as one of the leading art groups in the country”

She has dragged us – yes, sometimes kicking and screaming! – to greater heights of professionalism.  That has been her aim in many of the initiatives she has led, through improving rules & standards in our competitions & exhibitions, in encouraging members to take their own art seriously, and in amending our Constitution regarding the fight against plagiarism. 

Through her leadership we have succeeded in attracting younger members and professional artists, and have focussed on inviting speakers and judges of high standing in the art community.   She encouraged greater social interaction and a 'sense of community' by tempting members to linger and discuss the topic after our monthly meetings.
I’m sure I speak for everyone when I say that she has admirably achieved her goals.

I called Lynn ‘brave’ in my opening line for this is exactly what she is - a fearless leader.  She is not afraid of meeting a problem head-on, of telling a person exactly how it really is, and of standing firm when she knows she’s right.  To see her ‘persuading’ the Athenaeum committee regarding protecting SASA’s interests was a joy!

Lynn has always given 110% of herself to SASA; she has been the only person on Council with a full-time job - as a nursing sister - and has had to take a day’s leave for each of our committee meetings and hanging days.  All of us who can remember our working days know that to give up one’s precious leave for anything other than leisure and pleasure is a huge sacrifice and this demonstrates her incredible dedication to her role.
We are going to miss Lynn’s strong yet gentle leadership, her humour and her joyful enthusiasm ... but ...
most of all we’ll miss her chocolate Brownies!

Lynn, we salute you.  Every one of us is going to miss you but we hope you will now have the time to get back to your art as we've also missed your beautiful, delicate paintings in our exhibitions.

(Extract from Lorna Jakins speech on 24th Feb)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

2011 Drawing Competition

The official end-of-year AGM is always celebrated with a drawing competition, and what incredible artwork our members produce, year after year.  And this year we had a theme which was a bit perplexing but an amazing array of interpretations of "One Fell Swoop" were put forward.

And walking away with top honours - as he did last year! was Paul Webb with his drawing entitled 1st July 1916.  Well done Paul!

In second place was Fiona Gawronsky with 'One Fowl Swoop', and 3rd prize went to Eugene Schuddinh with his interpretation, 'In one Fell Swoop'.

Paul Webb

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

With the new year up and running and exhibitions and competitions looming, you can buy all your precious art supplies from a number of sources. 

One of them is Deckle Edge with whom we've had a long standing agreement that they give our members a 10% discount on presentation of their current membership card.

Go to any branch of Deckle Edge, choose your items and present them along with your card to the cashier, and 10% comes off!

And we have very kindly been given a 10% discount on all art items from a charming art shop in the Gardens Centre, Blanc Canvas - also only on presentation of your membership card. They are at Shop 18, Upper level in the Gardens Centre.

Also remember that Village Art and Canvas in the Belvedere Shopping Centre will give you a 10% discount on accumulation of purchase items.  Ask them for a card, and collect the points!

Happy shopping, but please remember your card!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Merit Exhibition 2011

Our first evening opening at Kirstenbosch!  Wow!

Dale Elliot opened the exhibition entertaining us with anecdotes and tales of his career in art and the evening was set off perfectly with a great jazz group keeping our feet tapping.

And the accolades for the artists exhibiting were well deserved.  What a great show.
Dale Elliot

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Desmond Colborne Evening

Thursday, 27th January was our first 2011 meeting and we were treated to a marvellous talk by Desmond Colborne on the Seine and the how this magnificent "River of Light" influenced so many of the Impressionists.

France has been a second home for Desmond for most of his life working as a tour escort, teacher and for 30 years as the Paris director of the business leadership organisation, the South Africa Foundation.  He has lived and lectured on France in SA for many years, at the UCT Summer school and elsewhere, and is an author of a book on South Africa.

Thank you Desmond for starting our year off so magnificently.  We certainly maxed out on the seating space!
A gargoyle on the Chartres Cathedral watches over the Seine

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Making Your Art Work

 Ann Gadd is the author of Making Your Art Worka book written about how to make a living from art in South Africa.  Ann is best known for her very successful 'sheep' painting series.

Making Your Art Work – A guide to making an income from your art in South Africa, creates a link between creativity and commercialism, which is essential if one is to not only survive, but thrive in the art world. 

There have been many 'guide' books written by our overseas counterparts, but Making Your Art Work, is, the first book of its kind written for the South African market by an artist based on personal experience.  A book truly worth investing in.

Ann has very generously donated a copy of her book to the SASA library and this will be available to take out from the February 2011 meeting.

The book will be available in most major bookstores and some art shops over the following few months,
Order online at: Or email or call 021 5541235.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Article taken from the newsletter sent out by FineArtViews.  Subscribe by clicking on their name.

Recharge by Disconnecting

by Keith Bond on 1/17/2011 10:32:57 AM 
This article is by Keith Bond, a Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. 

Technology is an amazing thing.  I sit at my computer in Colorado typing this article as I listen to my mp3 player.  When done, I will email the article to Carrie (the editor of Fine Art Views) who spends a few days doing what she does so well.  Then, the article is sent out to thousands of people around the world.  Some of you are reading this on your phone, some on your iPad, and others of you are reading this on a laptop or even a regular old pc.  With a click of a button, this message is sent to every quarter of the globe.

But that isn’t the half of it.  There are games, digital books, music, and movies at the touch of a button.  There are satellite phones, instant messaging, conference callings, text messages, photo messages, chats, social media, apps, and the list goes on and on.

Many of my teenage daughter’s friends receive several thousand texts a month.  That is mind boggling to me.  Look around you, virtually everywhere there are people connected.  We live in a time of instant gratification.  We live in a time of constant entertainment at your fingertips.  Gone are the days of driving several miles to a store to rent a video.  Now you can watch instantly.

Call me old fashioned, but this drives me nuts. 

Don’t get me wrong.  Yes, I like my music, I like movies.  I have my cell phone on me constantly.  I use email, social media (a bit), etc.  I even text some (not much).  I like the benefits of technology.  But I don’t like it all the time.  I need down time.  I need time to think.  I need time to act, not be acted upon.  I need to explore my own thoughts, not the thoughts fed to me by the media. 

Especially when I am searching for ways to add meaning to my art, I disconnect from technology.  I need the time to look deeper into myself without distraction.  When I do, I am more likely to find deeper meaning to inspire in my artwork. 

Though it has some drawbacks, I do not keep a computer in my studio.  My computer is at home.  I find that the benefits far outweigh the inconvenience.  If my computer was more accessible during my painting time, I would paint less. 

When I am plein air painting, I never have my mp3 player with me.  Yes, I listen to music in the studio – that is important to me.  But when I am in nature, I listen to the sounds of nature.  I seek the whisperings of my muse who is there in the babble of a brook or in the quaking of the aspen leaves. 

There are a bazillion ways to find deeper meaning – that which inspires your art.  But I would suggest that turning off technology from time to time is one of the critical ways.  Some of you may argue that music or other media is your muse and that you imbue energy into your work by listening to it.  Don’t get me wrong, I do too.  But, sometimes you need time to meditate or ponder deeper things.  At least I do.

Don’t neglect the power of the quiet.  Don’t neglect the power of reflection.  Don’t miss out on the opportunity to find those deeper thoughts, feelings, and emotions which are too often suppressed by the bombardment of outside noise.  Just as the batteries to all of your gadgets need to be recharged from time to time, so, too, does your spirit need recharging. 

But your spirit recharges by disconnecting.  As you recharge, you will hear your muse speak more clearly.  You will find more meaning for your work.

Keith currently lives north of Ft. Collins in rural Wellington, Colorado with his wife and six children.