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Christmas Party
December 17th 2014

Neil and award
N ot content with a Christmas Dinner, within a week we were partying again. The evening was off to a good start with a quiz, when each of the groups did equally well, showing an 'extraordinary knowledge' of pictures and artists from the past. Well that's what some said, believe what you will.

D uring the evening Jon was pleased to be able to present the Tom Caine award for most improved artist to Neil Adcock. Tom's daughter was on hand to congratulate Neil and add a cheque to help him on his way.
congrats from Toms daughter

T here was as much food as anyone could desire. So refreshed in mind and body we left with good cheer, having had a most enjoyable time. Here's to the next one.

Christmas Dinner
December 11th 2014

xmas dinner 1

O ur Christmas Dinner this year was held at the Bull and Butcher, Corley. We were able to admire some of the Guild members artwork while we enjoyed the seasonal fayre.

xmas dinner 2

T he food was exceptional and the company brilliant as we would all expect. By the time we left we had all pulled (a cracker or two - what were you thinking) we were all refreshed and we were in the best of spirits.

December 1st 2014

Paul and audience
O n Monday, 1st December 2014, the Coventry Art Guild welcomed Paul Maddocks, illustrator and artist, and the evening proved to be very interesting and informative. Paul was like a magician who created wonderful drawings. He started by demonstrating the creating of a perfect ellipse the technical illustrator's way. Then, he moved on to drawing a cylinder, with a lid, while talking about how the labels on ordinary objects like a tin of beans are built up in the same way. He plotted and drew every ellipse quickly and efficiently. Using some different objects he had brought with him to demonstrate, he sketched a pestle and mortar, a wine bottle and even a cube with a cylindrical hollow on a sideways projection.

H e moved on to show how even the shading of the object was meant to depict different things. Different thicknesses of straight lines on one side of the object meant the object had a mirror-shiny finish like chrome; curved lines, on one side of the object depicted a curve; while stippling depicted an item/component that had been manufactured or cast. These methods were essential for his working life which had included doing technical illustrations for several companies. These drawings had to be detailed and accurate, as they were to be used in manufacturing equipment for machinery of various types including cars. He talked about his experience with the inventor of the Maclaren Buggy and how it came about and his part in it. It was fascinating watching him draw one item after another, while talking about his life work and his experiences

old boot

O ur thanks go to Paul for giving us such a wonderful and unusual insight into the world of the illustrator and showing us how to tackle the perfect ellipse as a base for more balanced drawings.

by Edith Whatling pictures from Alan Smith

Sketching evening
November 3rd 2014

setting up
O n the 3rd November, being the first Monday of the month, we met for a still life sketching evening. These evenings have proved popular previously, and this was no exception by all appearances. The popularity may be because the subject of the picture is not pre-planned and that may lead to more spontaneity and something of a challenge.

brother in mud

T he mixture of items on this occasion included old boots, a hunting horn and vases of flowers. The sketches varied as might be expected and were produced using pencil, charcoal or paint.

setting up

I f the concentration of those present on their work is any way to judge the success of the evening, then it was very successful indeed. Certainly the response was good.

brother in mud

W e were informed that the December meeting would be a demonstration by an artist and illustrator - hopefully something a little different.

by Jon Plumley pictures from Alan Smith

old boot

Visit from Blue Coat Academy
October 6th 2014

setting up
I n February we welcomed Blue Coat Academy's Art Master and two of his 6th form students. At the time his colleague, Matthew Wallington, was to have come along too, but was unable. We were very pleased then to welcome Matthew for our October Monday meeting. Not to be outdone by Al, he brought 5 students with him. He and his students represented the photographic side of their Fine arts and Photographic course, and so we expected that there might be a different slant on their work and their thinking about art in general.

brother in mud
W e were not disappointed. The evening was indeed very different, but no less interesting, and the work presented, was true art even though it had been created with a camera (and photo shop) rather than a paint brush and canvas.

M atthew concentrated upon the expectations of the students and the process by which their work was judged. He explained that they were given a theme, and that it was their particular interpretation of the theme, the process and building of a portfolio, and the final results that made each students work unique. The results that we saw certainly demonstrated variety and showed real artistic merit.

brother in mud
T he theme for the current academic year is Air Fire and Water, but the interpretation of each gave rise to fundamentally differing works. The pieces and portfolios that each student brought along applied both to last year, and this year and the current theme.

brother in mud

T aneesha Warwick-Oliver presented Photoshop edited portraits using fire effects to alter and enhance the final images. Some of the results were truly inspirational.

Jaynaa Patel had taken photographs of Cancun while on a visit, but had overlaid a selection of her photos with misty tree photos. The effect was to give them a surreal quality and to produce works that were very unusual, and a long way from normal holiday snaps.

J assmin Nijjer had taken photographs of her siblings using extreme lighting effects and then manipulated them to produce a series of horror pictures. We were assured that no sibling was harmed in the process, but the end results were stunning.

setting up
R obyn Wilson took photographs of coloured liquids in water. With some manipulation she created some visually stunning abstract and mirrored compositions.

J oshua Grimwood had taken photographs of places and objects from unusual perspectives. Not content with their strangeness he then warped and coloured them to produce some remarkable abstract compositions.

O ur thanks must go to each of the students as well as their teacher and tutor. They showed considerably maturity as they explained their aims and achievements through individual pieces and their portfolios. Quite a buzz was generated in the Guild. It was an unusual evening and one that was thoroughly enjoyable.

by Jon Plumley pictures from Alan Smith

Critique Night
September 1st 2014


S omething different for September. A critique night and our members brought along a variety of works as usual. However the visiting artist, Hazel Johnson, was unusually a photographer. Exhibitions of her photographic work have demonstrated her artistic credentials, and it was hoped that our work would be reviewed from a different perspective.

I  believe that we were not disappointed, and that she was able to offer suggestions that we would not have heard from a more conventional artist. One such idea we could take away with us is that as creative artists we could add subtract and modify our subject matter so that it told the story we wanted, and it was not just a bland copy. She also suggested that we deliberately worked towards portraying a mood whether it was anger, tranquillity or some other emotion that was part of our feeling when the subject first captured our mind.

Jon by Roy

T he artworks of the evening ranged from pencil studies to oils and from landscapes to abstracts. It was noted however that there were an unusual number of portraits. Even these though varied from the more realistic to studies in more unusual colour combinations.

Portrait by Roger

O verall the evening was considered an enjoyable success with calls for Hazel's return at a later date, perhaps to oversee a workshop. Our thanks to her for the contribution that she made

by Jon Plumley pictures from Alan Smith

A Evening with CD's
August 4th 2014

setting up
A s a completely new venture, on the first Monday of August the recently acquired projector was set up to show some art videos. There were the usual teething troubles first time setting up. Not the least of these was a lack of computer because someone, to name no names - Jon, had forgotten it and had to make a two way dash to fetch it.

street art
T he evenings entertainment consisted of a number of different videos, each concentrating on a different aspect of the techniques of drawing. This enabled us to share ideas from several different artists, and in that respect alone was a different experience than is possible on a demonstration evening when generally only one artist will be involved, and the whole demonstration has to be done in real time.

T he first video showed some "Art with a difference" involving the carving of watermelons. What was achieved by the artists was quite phenomenal, and perhaps was a good way of illustrating just how varied the work of different artists can be.

setting up
O ther CD's that were played illustrated several different techniques. One of them dealt with perspective and how to determine and use vanishing points to produce more realistic work. Another was concerned with ensuring that the objects drawn were able to represent the 3 dimensions on the 2 dimensional paper, e.g. by the use of line extensions to show which part overlapped or hid other parts of the object, and so appeared to come forward or go backward through the paper.

negative space
T he last half of the evening, after the break, was devoted to a longer video concentrating upon the use of negative shapes. A picture, based upon an old boat rotting on the bank, was the subject. The boat which was principally white was treated as a negative space and the dark foliage around it treated as the positive space(s). As the artist painted the foliage the boat emerged even before any brush strokes had been applied to it. A beautiful illustration of the use of negative space to build a good picture.

H aving tested the concept, it is hoped that the evening is a forerunner of similar evenings in the future, but enhanced with the benefit of hindsight.

by Jon Plumley pictures from Alan Smith

A Drawing Evening
July 7th 2014


F or the first Monday of July it was "Yours truly" who was volunteered as the model for a life drawing evening. I hasten to add that I was not asked to take my clothes off - 'Thank goodness' I hear you say.

R oger Chamley was on hand to offer tips and help to anyone who could profit from his experience.

members sketching 1
T he evening was divided up so that there were three different poses/sessions. The first two were 15 minutes long, enough for a quick sketch with little detail. The third was the longer session allowing time for a slightly more detailed drawing.


O ur artists were encouraged to use a measuring stick (pencil) at arms length to measure my head, so that the measurement could then be used to proportion various parts of the body. By taking the head measure and checking how many times that measure covered the distance from top to bottom, a good idea could be assessed of how the drawing could be proportioned on the page. Once the head size in the drawing was established this could then be used as a standard measure for other parts of the picture. Thus e.g. if the distance from the top of my head to my waste was found to be 3 times my head size using the measuring stick, this proportion could be used to determine where the waste would be on the drawing, by taking 3 head measures on the paper from the top of the head as drawn, to where the waste would need to be.

members sketching 2
A nother technique that was practiced in the sessions was to draw the negative space rather than the objects and the person. So the shape seen between the upper arm, lower arm and the side could be drawn in. By drawing all the spaces that could be recognised, it becomes much easier to get the body proportions and shape correct.


F or the last session Roger had brought along a replica revolver, holster and a gun belt which was slung over my shoulder. The side arm and belt together with my "trade mark" waistcoat and a neckerchief, made for a different "vision".

T hose members who came along, said that the evening had been enjoyable, and who knows they may have learned a little too. However, after posing I do understand why there are not too many models: it is not easy.

by Jon Plumley pictures from Alan Smith

A Demonstration
June 2nd 2014

W e are grateful to Roger Chamley who stepped in at the last moment to provide us with a demonstration when the invited artist had to cancel.

starting a seascape

R oger as might have been expected, used oils, his medium of choice, and took us step by step through the stages of painting his subject, a seascape. He had already primed the canvas and drawn the outline in pencil.

T hroughout the evening Roger explained not only what he was doing but why. He also invited comments and questions on what he was doing, and also on any other aspect of painting and the problems we might have in achieving success.

adding more
B ecause of the nature of the medium, it is possible to paint the background areas e.g. the sky, across the whole canvas even though later a subject such as a ship, might need to be painted on top. An artist working in watercolour would not have this advantage and would need to paint up to the edge of the subject and might find it very difficult to avoid hard edges. Roger also noted that while in this picture the base colour was white, if he had been painting a snow scene he might well have started with a black undercoat. He told us that it is quite surprising how the black bakground enhances the colours in such a scene. He also explained that it is possible to use acrylics for the base colour, and that this would reduce the waiting time before painting the picture itself

S ome of the colours that he used were quite expensive, but that they were much more intense colours as a result. However he felt that it was not necessary pay dearly for white, and that a reasonably priced titanium white would give good results.

later stages
A s he added the clouds he demonstrated how a brush without any colour could be used to blend the cloud into the sky and give it the feathery edge typical of a cloud. He did warn us that each time the brush was used in this way it needed cleaning and squeezing between the fingers to get rid of surplus fluid, between strokes. To the white of the cloud he added hints of other colours such as umber pink and grey. Feathering with a fantail brush or similar can even out the colour of a background to achieve a smoother finish.

framed picture
B uildings and boats etc. in the background can be added without any detail at first and some detail added later. Reflections can be achieved by pulling some of the colour from the object down with a thumb, and smudging slightly. Roger also explained that fine lines such as the rigging on a ship can be added at the last moment, even after the picture has been varnished.

T he evening was a change from some of the watercolour demonstrations that we have seen previously and proved to be very instructive. Many thanks again to Roger for an enjoyable evening.

Critique Night
May 5th 2014

T he Guild were looking forward to a visit from a local artist for a critique evening. Unfortunately Lesley Whelan, our invited guest, was very ill and unable to attend. Thus it was left to our Chairman and Vice Chairman to hold the fort.


T he number of members that came out on a Bank Holiday Monday was very encouraging. Thanks to all who attended with (or without) their pictures. As usual the variety of subjects and styles was very wide, ranging from traditional landscape to disturbing pseudo-surealism.

a variety of pictures

T he views and comments upon the various painting came from all present as the 'audience' was brought into the process. The usual views on perspective composition and technique were provided. The overall impression would have to be that the standards were high and the evening enjoyable.

W e wish Lesley a speedy recovery and hope that we can enjoy her input at a later date.

Burton Green Exhibition
Sunday April 27th 2014


T he Guild exhibited in the Burton Green Village Hall in 2013, and generally enjoyed the experience. On that occasion we held an exhibition of our own paintings.

hanging pics

T his year we were invited to join local artists and present our pictures within their exhibition. The result was an impressive number of pictures on display and a good number of visitors over the day.

A lthough only four Guild members paintings were sold it appears to have been considered a successful event.

A fter the event we received the following message of thanks:

"Jill Line from the Burton Green Committee would like to extend her thanks to Coventry Art Guild for their support in the Spring Art Exhibition last weekend. She said that they were very pleased to be able to show our paintings and sends us their best wishes and hopes that we may meet up again in the future for other Exhibitions. And congratulations to Helen and Roger both of whom sold pictures over the weekend."

Still Life Sketching
April 7th 2014

objects ready to draw
A nother evening of still life sketching was enjoyed as our April Monday event. A selection of items were laid out including an unusual single stringed instrument possibly of Africal origin, and a vase with a variety of refelctive surfaces.
a sketch

E ach of us chose the object or group of items to draw, and the medium to use. In practice the choice was most commonly pencil.

another sketch

A ltogether the evening proved to be enjoyable, and a change from the alternating demonstration and critique nights that we had got used to. Some of those present suggested that a similar event in the future could be arranged to include drawing exercises or 'how to' and 'try it yourself' sessions.

February 3rd 2014

T he first Monday of the month of February 2014 and a demonstration evening may have been thought overdue.

Al Howard
W ell the wait was well worth while, because Blue Coat School and Academy represented by their Art Master, Al Howard, came with two 6th form students and a real breath of fresh air.

A l brought a large selection of work from his 6th form students together with a number of their portfolios. These were available for us to peruse at the end of the evening.

Abstract Portrait
H e opened the evening with a talk about his approach to the teaching of art at the sixth form at 'A' level standard. His attitude and teaching style, he said, had changed over the last few years. He believed in giving the students freedoms of choice and offering guidance and help, rather than leading them with suggested ideas and tasks to accomplish. The examples that he had brought with him suggests that this is an excellent approach as they were full of individuality and power, demonstrating some real talent.

E llisse Dixon, one of the two visiting students treated us to a viewing of a portfolio of her work on the theme of the environment. She told us that she had wanted to consider the effect the environment had upon the approach and execution of the art of a number of painters from different parts of the world. She had used, in the main, portraits to illustrate her thesis, and showed a particular focus upon the eyes. These she felt were a very expressive part of the face and a mirror to the soul, thus expressing the emotions well.

student 2
A fter the break Aine Cassidy, the second of the students, appraised us with a view of her portfolio. She too, though independently, started with the environment as her central theme. Specifically she had wanted to consider the effect of the environment, social geographical and political, upon face decoration. She was able to illustrate her views with the western approach to a portrait which might be thought to concentrate upon the lighting and shadows, as opposed to e.g. the chinese approach where the influence of the theatre upon the painting of faces made them appear pale and relatively flat. Their overall technique tended to show a minimalist approach.

B oth girls must be praised for their maturity and the clarity with which they presented their work to us. The talk, presentations and demonstration of the work of the Academy, made for a very instructive and enjoyable evening, and I am sure that we will be considering asking them to return in the future.

by Jon Plumley pictures from Alan Smith

January 6th 2014

Paul the model

I nnovation at the Guild as the first Monday of January 2014 was held as a life drawing session, and Paul Maddocks was introduced as our model for the evening.

sketching the model
P aul gave us two different 20 minute poses for the period before the tea break. He stood with walking stick in hand for the first pose, and with one foot up on a chair for the second. Twenty minute sessions only gives time for a sketch in which to concentrate on just one aspect. Sketches were produced from differing viewpoints around the model, and varied considerably from artist to artist.

Sketch of Paul
A fter the break Paul sat for a longer, forty minute session, giving slightly more time to produce a sketch with some extra substance. It was still a relatively short time for a portrait however.

W hile modelling for the second period Paul also sketched, though in his case he was sketching the sketchers. One of our members, without naming names but our Chairman, decided to sketch another member rather than the model - always different! The thought of oil and water comes to mind.
Check this out:

The evening in Review!

O verall the evening proved a hit, and several asked if it could be repeated at some time in the future. A good start then to a New Year.

by Jon Plumley pictures from Alan Smith and Paul Maddocks

Guild Annual Christmas Dinner
December 12th 2013

A fter the bad experience of last years Christmas dinner we tried a change of venue. So the Guild Christmas Dinner 2013 was held at the Bulls Head, Binley Road.

xmas dinner room

W e were given our own room and had been able to choose individual meal combinations from a three course menu with plenty of choices.

enjoying the meal

B y all appearances and the comments, the afternoon was an enjoyable experience. The general feeling appeared to be that the food and service was good, and that the change of venue worthwhile.

T he Christmas Dinner is the time when the Tom Cain Memorial Trophy is presented to the artist who has achieved and improved most over the year. This year the award went to Pat Sankey. Pat received the award with a look somewhere between surprise and joy. The Guild members showed their approval and congratulated her on the achievement.

by Jon Plumley pictures from David Mottershead

Guild Annual Christmas Party
December 4th 2013

O n Wednesday 4th December it was a party atmosphere at the Guild's workshop venue. Instead of the usual evening of artistic endevour, it was the night of the Christmas Party.

Drawing Film Titles
T here were plenty of pictures, as we had all been asked to bring one of our recent works of art, for the assembled group to judge. There was food, and plenty for all. If that was not enough a game of Pictograms was also enjoyed. A list of Christmas film titles was used and one picked by each cartoonist. The title was illustrated and the rest had to guess the title. Our guest, Pamela Cain was the first to get an answer and then reluctantly draw another title. A very good job she made of it, and it was soon another's turn.

E ventually the votes cast for the picture were counted and by an overwhelming vote the winner was chosen. The joy and surprise that showed on the face of Irena, one of our more recent members, was a picture in itself. Well done.

I t was held by common acclaim, to have been an enjoyable evening, but perhaps it is best that it can only happen once a year.
by Jon Plumley with pictures from Pete Horton