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Friday, March 31, 2017


The following account was written by Di Alexander.

Tony and Betty Rackham gave a superb presentation on their methods for photographing wildlife and using the photos as references in their paintings. We saw how a tiny plant was introduced into the foreground of a landscape painting. Photos of butterflies were  cropped and re-positioned onto a photograph of flowers. Photos of wading birds were cropped and used as part of a landscape. We could use photos of birds at our own garden feeders in order to create  a close-up study, such as Betty’s painting of woodpecker.

Betty and Tony use their expertise  to obtain high quality images. They explained how using the macro settings on our camera could enable us to sharpen the foreground and blur the background. They often isolate a plant from the background by placing bark or white card behind it. Since they are proficient users of Photo-editing software programs, they also have the option of placing that plant on top of another photograph, for example a mass of blooms in soft focus.

Tony and Betty know where to find wildlife and when they are likely to be  available. Tony’s strategy for obtaining photographs of moths is to set up a collecting station with a light overnight and then get up early in order to take photographs before they become too active. The wonderful hawk moth was used as a subject for a painting.

One of the slides showed how  a college created with tissue paper, card and newspaper was transformed into a forest scene using paints, inks and cut-out photographs of ponies.

We were grateful for the chance to share Betty and Tony’s twin passions of photography and art. Studying and photographing wildlife brings us closer to the beauty of the natural world. Since we are artists, we all have endless opportunities to celebrate nature through taking photographs and using them in our artwork. 

Tony and Betty

Display of paintings

Elephant hawk moth by Tony

Forest Scene - collage by Betty

Greater Spotted Woodpecker in watercolour and graphite by Betty

Tortiseshells on Fleabane by Tony



The following is a summary of the main points of the AGM - more details if needed are available from our hardworking Secretary, Mary Maskell.

Kate opened the meeting by presenting her report and thanking everyone who plays a particular part in making the Society the success it is and for the support given by all the members.

 Di has produced a varied programme for the coming year and introduced the new Art Journey which she and Helen have devised to get us to experiment and improve our painting. More details will be given at the June meeting.

 Helen thanked everyone for paying their subscriptions - there are a few vacancies for membership. She also announced that there will be a visit to the Ashmolean Museum later in the summer and asked for any ideas for future trips.

 Glennis presented the accounts and as we made a small loss this year we voted to set the subscriptions at £25 for 2018.

 Claire has publicised the Society well and for this year's exhibition we will be in the Open Studios booklet. She also asked for more people to volunteer to lead workshops. Tony ( and Betty) reported that the Web-site and Blog were receiving many hits. More pictures could be put into the galleries and instructions for doing this were on the Web-site. The Blog is useful to use as a reference to previous Demonstrators work when doing one's own painting as well as being used as a diary.

 Colin has set up a closed Facebook page for the society but remember Facebook has the copyright for any images posted. It will be useful to pass on any information, comments etc about art related matters to other members. 

Glennis and Claire resigned from their posts (Claire will remain as Workshop Co-Ordinator) and we are deeply grateful to them for all the time and effort they have devoted to our interests. Kate presented them with a bowl of flowering bulbs as a token of our appreciation of their valuable contribution to the Society over many years.

Glennis and Claire were replaced as follows:-

          Treasurer - Janet Horton

          Publicity - Ali McShea

        and Colin Osbourne becomes a new Committee Member

Finally our past Chairman, Anne Hammerton, was elected as Vice-President.



Wednesday, March 15, 2017


The A.G.M. takes place on WEDNESDAY 22nd MARCH. This year we are having a BRING AND BUY SALE of ART MATERIALS and a talk by Betty and Tony Rackham on PHOTOGRAPHING WILDLIFE. This is in addition to the main business of the evening so please come and use the opportunity to have your say about running the Society.

On SATURDAY 25TH MARCH we have a WORKSHOP on painting SEAS and SKIES with DAVE WHITE from 10am to 4pm. More details of this are on the Web-site.


Adventurous Artists at the Small Faces Open Exhibition


Eight of us met at The Artisan cafe in Guildhall Square Southampton: Pam, Jean, June, David, Muriel, Elaine, Helen and Di. The morning was chilly and overcast so we had hot drinks in the excellent cafe before the Showcase Gallery next door opened at 11 o’clock. The gallery is part of Solent University but is open to the public and entry is free.


There were 7,000 postcards of faces covering the walls and display boards. The charm  of the exhibition was the wide variety of styles and techniques. There were all kinds of media used and some with just words or shapes. Many cards were created by students and schoolchildren but the remainder were created by people from all parts of the community. After an hour we still had not seen all of the exhibits! The possibility of mounting our own Small Faces exhibition was mooted.


Five people left after that but Helen, Di and Pam stayed in the square to sketch for a further half an hour. It had been a memorable Adventurous Artists outing.

The following photographs were taken by Pam Kellaway 


Friday, March 3, 2017


I do apologise for writing your name incorrectly - you are, of course, Jackie Greenhowe.




Jackie usually paints from photographs she has taken herself. She recommended doing this as there is then no problem with copyright and suggested visiting places such as the New Forest Wildlife Centre and Marwell to get pictures of animals easily.

After trying various media she finally settled on pastels using polychromos pastels and pastel pencils on velour paper. To blend on this paper she uses a paper towel wrapped around a finger. The side of new pastels is cleaned off using a sandpaper block.

The animal she chose to paint was a cheetah cub. Jackie doesn't trace her image as it damages the velour paper. Starting with a brown pastel she draws in the eyes then the shadow areas using the side of the pastel and blends them into the paper. Brown and orange is pushed into the eyes and also blended in. White is used in the corner, outer edge and underneath the eye.   

To depict fur Jackie uses various brown pastels using grey and lilac in shadows e.g. inside the ear. The pastels are blended then wisps of hair or fur added using chalk to put in highlights. Pastel pencils or the edge of a hard pastel are used for greater detail such as the side of the nose or above the eye. Whiskers and eyebrows are drawn going in different directions. Background vegetation can be a problem but by using a variety of colours difficult subjects such as grasses can be dealt with. Finally a thin glaze is used to unify the painting and a light spray of fixative added.

Jackie suggested starting with our own pets first and then trying more difficult animals and with the Spring almost here there will be plenty of young animals on which to try out our painting skills! Thank you, Jackie for an inspiring evening.   

Halftime picture

Jackie and finished painting