Guild monogram
Coventry Art Guild: Guild Activities from 2015

December 2015

A t the end the year, 2015, members enjoyed a Christmas dinner and a party. The dinner venue was the Bull and Butcher. It was a very enjoyable meal and considered to be a successful event.

T he last Wednesday meeting of the year was a party. Before the party started our chairman, Jon, talked about displaying our artwork, illustrating this with both good and poor presentations.

R oger, our vice chairman followed this, showing us a variety of framing and mounting materials available for bespoke frames. The prices were reasonable and Roger said that he was prepared to be the 'go-between' for anyone wishing to take advantage of the service.

J on also had the very plesant task of presenting the Tom Cain trophy to the 2015 winner - Joan Inger. Joan was the undisputed fore-runner of the votes by members for the most improved artist. Tom's daughter was also on hand to congratulate her.

Life Drawing
November 2nd 2015

O n Monday 2nd November the Guild welcomed Glenn Morgan, an artist with a difference. While he had come to act as a model for our life drawing evening, he had also brought with him examples of his art. He demonstrated his artistry as a wood carver with several impressive pieces. He had also brought along a number of examples of pictures produced through the art of pyrography i.e. burning a design onto a wooden board.

artist work 1 artist work 2

G lenn set up his wood carving apparatus and worked on a self portrait sculpture while we sketched, painted or drew the tableu presented to us.


T his proved to be rather different from the static poses of our usual visitors on previous life drawing sessions. The movement and changes inevitable while he was carving made the process of drawing more difficult than usual. However some of us, if not all, found the result worthwhile, and perhaps allowed us to produce a drawing with more life.

members sketching

T he evening was certainly different and enjoyable, and Glenn was thanked by all both for modelling for us and for demonstrating his ability as an artist. At the request of the members present, he agreed to visit us again to give a demonstration of his pyrographic work. We look forward to that and hope that it can be arranged in the New Year.

Critique Night
October 5th 2015


E stelle Robinson, Portrait Artist and an artist new to the Guild, visited us for our November Monday critique night. She brought a selection of her work with her. Members were very impressed by the portraits worked in pastel on a selection of different surfaces.

artist work 1 artist work 2

S he started by telling us something of her background, which she explained covered many interesting areas of expertise, not all of an artistic nature. She had, however, spent a considerable part of her time as a graphical artist.

T he pictures brought in by the members covered the usual range of subjects, though perhaps coincidentally there were more portraits than we sometimes see in the selection. The full range of media used in the artworks was also apparent.

submission 4 submission 5 submission 6

E stelle's criticism was, it was thought, very fair and helpfull. She was able to point out several areas in many of the works that could be improved by small edits and enhancements. Her experience as a graphical artist allowed her to look at the pictures from a different viewpoint. In several of the selections she suggested that a greater contrast between the darkest and lightest areas would give some improvement.


M any of the pictures presented had areas of water. She pointed out that water was a very difficult thing to paint. Water almost always showed some movement, whether simple ripples and small wavelets, or a heavier flow. Capturing the movement was difficult, but she did offer techniques that would improve the pictures. The hints varied somewhat with the nature of the individual subjects. She also pointed out that water was of such a nature that it held a whole variety of colours in the reflections from its surface. Adding hints of the colours reflected could often raise the works to a new level.

A   very enjoyable evening eventually came to an end with members hoping that there would be a return visit at sometime in the future..

Black and White to Colour
September 7th 2015

T welve months ago Hazel Johnson, a Photographer, came along to critique some of our work. We welcomed her different approach, finding her comments useful. One of the suggestions that she made at that time was that we should consider the idea of working from black and white to colour.


F or our September Monday evening we welcommed Hazel and partner Daniel for a return to the idea of working from monochrome to full colour. They started by talking about the colour spectrum and complimentary colours. They also looked at the combinations of colour that can be used to produce different moods in a picture e.g. using blue colours to give a cool feeling.

artists at easle

O ur first exercise was to take a black and white image of Coventry Cathedral and apply two complimentary colours and discover the effect the choice of colours gave to the picture in terms of mood and feeling. Since each of us chose different combinations, the results were very different even though we had all started from exactly the same image.

A fter the break we took a black and white photograph of our own choice and applied colour to it. While the colour combination used was individual, the choice was influenced by the ideas, already discussed and tried before the break. This resulted in some interesting artworks.


P erhaps because of the time of year, the group was small. However those of us that did participate learned something from an enjoyable experience. Other members missed a very interesting and unusual evening. Our thanks to Hazel and Daniel for guiding us through the workshop

Multimedia Workshop - Acrylic and Pastel
August 3rd 2015

T he first Monday of the month and what to expect? The evening was held as a workshop in mixed media using acrylic and pastel. Not a combination everyone had tried.

F or anyone present who needed a picture, paint, pastels or paper, a selection of each was available. The variety of pictures was such that most found one that suited their style.

artists at easle

T he first thing was to put down a rough painting of the picture using acrylics. This was meant to be just a crude version of the final work with little or no detail. It was expected that the acrylic would be dry after the break for tea and biscuits, though perhaps this was a vain hope in the event. More detail and depth can be added to a dry acrylic base with pastel. This can be used to good effect, though it may need some practice.

Essence of Cathedral War horse

S ome were happy using the acrylic paint, though not all. As to adding pastel, it was certainly not to everyones liking. Some of the works produced however were very good and gave rise to complimentary remarks. In general it appears that the assembled artists agreed that it allowed them to attempt a technique that they would not otherwise have tried at all. They may not want to use it again but at least they have had the experience.

Critique Night
July 6th 2015

L esley Whelan is an artist that members have met before. When she came to the Guild to show us her style of art and how she worked, she impressed us all. Not only that but all the members that met her decreed that she should be asked to return. Well she did return for our critique night.

A s usual the mix of subject style and medium was apparent in the pictures that were offered for her comments. They included lanscapes, impressionistic artwork, portraiture and more in everything from watercolour and oils to pastel.

Essence of Cathedral War horse

L esley's criticism was fair encouraging and useful. She was able to suggest refinements that could improve the pictures or future works. Her comments covered suggestions about balance, colours and putting depth into the painting.

pic from alan portrait by Roy

T he evening was a great success and according to all the comments, very much enjoyed by all those present. Very many thanks to Lesley for giving us some of her time.

June 1st 2015

T he first Monday evening in June turned out to be very cold for the time of year, so it was to be expected that only keen members would put in an appearance. Eight stawart members turned out.

T he idea was that members should bring along suitable items to sketch. These turned out to be a vase, a bottle, a pewter coffee pot, artificial Carla Lillies in a vase, and from Roger a specimen Iris from his garden.

Alans picture

W e all chose subjects which we though would make, maybe an easy subject, but a suitable sketch that perhaps would be suitable for a picture in the future.
D avid had the best idea in making a hot beverage of tea or coffee nad the usual biscuit, which was most welcome. This warmed us up and gave us the opportunity to have a look round and discuss the merits of the work achieved.

Iris by Roger Iris by Roger in colour

R oger had sketched his contribution and as expexted it turned out to be a very capable picture of a single Iris. He has since added colour making it a pleasant work of art.

I   think we all had a good evening and I am sure learned something, but it would be good to see more members getting the benefit of these monday evenings.

by Alan Smith

Chairmans Visit to Hearsall Community Primary School
May 19th 2015

Schools childrens artisits
I   had been invited to join the Hearsall Primary School for a day of Art, when all the children at the school would take part in a full day of art activities. My part was to give the two top years a 'Master class' in producing a self portrait. The School had set up each child with paper, charcoal, white chalk, and one coloured pastel. The children themselves had no choice over the colour. I gave the session 4 times for two different groups in each year.

A s soon as I entered the school I knew that it was a happy school in which the pupils would flourish. Judging from all that I saw and experienced there this was true. All the pupils in my groups worked well and appeared to enjoy the experience. It must be said that some of the teachers got 'stuck in' and also enjoyed having a go, and indeed succeeding. A gallery of one classes work, seen here, was entitled 'Looking at you Godiva!'.

godiva: looking at you

T he whole day went well and was very enjoyable. I also believe that the Scool and their young artists enjoyed the day and experience. Many thanks to the Scool for the invitation.

Sketching with 'live' model
May 4th 2015

Melanie Moon

I t was a small but cosy group that arrived on a Bank Holiday Monday at the beginning of May for what had been promised as something different. Our guest was Melanie Moon, a colourful and experienced model.

M elanie provided us with three different poses. The second before the tea break was a standing pose. She was able to hold the pose remarkably well, giving everyone a good chance to produce their 'masterpiece.'

Colourful interpretation

T here was the usual variety of media in use, providing a very varied range of artworks. While some were in pencil or charcoal and essentially black and white, there were pieces in full colour, making the most of the subject.

T he experience was very enjoyable. It was agreed that we should consider inviting Melanie again in the future. On her side she assured us that she too had enjoyed meeting us.

Demonstration and discussion
March 6th 2015

John Yeadon

W e often hear the phrase 'And now for something different', well on Monday April 6th we certainly had something quite different. John Yeadon had been invited to talk about the 'Dresden Exchange' initiative.

T he Dresden Arts Exchange was founded by John and Jean Kirsten, an artist from Dresden, to seek to develop creative dialogue between the cities of Coventry and Dresden and to establish a grass roots organisation of artists in both cities.

Dresden art
H is presentation included views of Dresden, which John felt was an inspiring city for artists. Dresden has some sense of community between its artists which Coventry does not always appear to have. Some excellent art has come from the City in the past, and some of it is visible within its architecture.

Dresden exchange

O ur visitor presented a view of the exhibition of artworks currently being held in the Lanchester Gallery, Coventry University. He explained that this was not a University initiative, but was an exhibition of the works of 7 Dresden artists as the latest attempt to develop a lasting cooperation between the two cities.

T he presentation was followed by some discussion between John and the Guild members, to consider where we might fit in and enable some discourse to augment a continuation of the initiative.

I t was agreed that a representative of the Guild should attend future meetings of interested parties, who are also intent on trying to continue the exchange and work out what can be done.

February 2nd 2015

O nce again our first Monday brought us a new adventure. We welcomed Francis Lowe, a lecturer from Coventry University’s fine arts department, where he is the course director in illustration, animation, moving image and multimedia His background was in animation and that has continued with his animated illustration. However he said that many of the techniques used in animation allow still pictures to have more life.
notebook studio
H e brought his ‘studio’ with him in the form of a small sketch book. All of his pictures start as small sketches. Once they have been worked on to ensure that they have some life and are not just flat still images, he can use them in larger pictures where necessary. He also held up a retractable pencil which he said was what he used most often to make the initial sketches.
notebook studio
This he showed us had its built-in undo button, in the form of an eraser. He often makes uses red or blue for the outline of an image and builds on this with very light pencil. The lines can be firmer as they become more acceptable for what is required, and mistakes won’t be repeated because the faint incorrect lines are still on the page. If the page is photocopied in black and white the red or blue lines do not appear on the output page.
F rancis talked to us about the line of movement and how starting with a single sweep line showing the intent of the subject, perhaps walking forward or throwing or bending etc., allows the balance to be determined more readily.

V ery important when drawing people he felt, was the way their hands were portrayed, since so many emotions and intents can be seen just in the way the hands are held and the fingers are drawn. When they are correct they can show openness or direction of focus and so many more emotions, giving the final portrait life and reality. In a similar way he tries to avoid figures that stand full on to the viewer. Let the feet stand in a more normal way and add life to the picture.

E yes too are important because they show, when drawn well, the feeling and expression of the person behind the face. The focus and direction of sight shown by the eyes must be correct or the balance and focus of the picture will not be correct.

W e were impressed by the clarity with which Francis was able to give us new ideas and techniques to improve our paintings. The evening was unusual but very informative and all those present found it a very enjoyable and worthwhile experience. Our thanks to our visitor for such an enlightening evening.