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Friday, 30 December 2016

Spotlight – Celebration of New Year

This month Spotlight looks at how the spirit of New Year is conveyed through painting.  The festivities, the gathering together of friends, looking back but mostly looking forward on hope, resolutions, helping others, and wondering what the year can bring.  It is a time when wordy discourse - writing and talking to exchange ideas - can take a rest, and the joy of our game of life is celebrated more through gesture, hugs, dance, song and laughter.  Art seems to have much in common with this time of year, as a means of emotional expression beyond words.  Let’s see how art, particularly painting, has expressed these celebratory times, emotions, and bold hopes and pledges.

‘Celebration’ by William Henry Hunt, circa 1815.  Watercolour overlaid on graphite.

Nowruz is the Persian and Iranian new year, typically timed on the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator.  This painting depicts Shah Abbas II and courtiers celebrating Nowruz in approximately 1670 (artist unknown).

Work takes a rest...
Celebration City by J. Loren Reedy, 2010.  Acrylic on canvas

... and welcoming the seeds and growth of the year ahead...
Chinese New Year

What is your new year vision?
  May your vision become realised in life or on whatever you choose as your canvas, as you wish.
     Happy New Year.

Saturday, 24 December 2016

70th Anniversary Art Project Book

Oh, this is exciting! I don't want to give away any of the wonderful work inside, but this is the cover to the wonderfully high-quality book we put together as a celebration of being a part of Ludlow's cultural and artistic life and a snapshot of where we are, and who we are, at 70 years old.

A massive thank you goes out to everyone who took part, everyone who bought a copy, and I'd like to single out Committee member Sam Bebb for taking the lead on this project, collecting details from the artists, sorting out printing, and making sure everything came in on time.

Merry Christmas from the Ludlow Art Society!

LAS Archives Online

So, that button at the right, marked 'Archives'... it's been there for a while, without much to say other than a promise of something 'coming soon'. Poor thing. Anyway, it's now been given a purpose as we've uploaded our archives, spanning 1946 - 2016, and with an introduction from the late LAS Vice President Winifred Burlingham.

We've also included the introduction on its own page, which you can find by looking to the right at the top of this blog, in the box marked 'Ludlow Art Society'.

A huge thank you is owed to Vice President and Archivist Ruth Tune, who pieced the archives together for us so there'd be a record of the Society available to all.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016

Our Programme for the first half of 2017

Welcome to Our Programme for the first half of 2017.
Our meetings are held in The Studio, top floor of Ludlow Assembly Rooms, and they start at 7pm for tea, biscuits and socialising before the visiting artist begins at 7.30pm. 
It's £3 for Members, £5 for Guests, £1 for Students, it's always on a Thursday, and everyone's welcome!
Here is our Programme from January to June 2017.  Click to enlarge (you may have to right-click -> open link in new tab, or whatever your browser's equivalent may be):

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Membership Renewal Forms

It's coming up to membership renewal time, and we hope you've enjoyed 2016 with us and that we'll see you back in 2017! Existing members will have received (or will soon receive) this form by email or by post, but in case you need a new form to download - or maybe you've just discovered the Society and would like to join for the first time - then you can use the form below, which is also found over on the Membership and Exhibition Forms page, to the right:

Click to enlarge!

Right, I'm off to renew my membership!

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Yn Eryri - In Snowdonia, a Mountain exhibition with Peter Bishop

Peter Bishop gave a LAS talk a year ago, based on his then-new, and still now rather new, book ‘Mountains in Art’.  The contemporary artists in this exhibition are all featured in that book, including Peter.
Cyflwyno nifer o themau yn Eryri mewn amrywiaeth o baentiadau, darluniau a ffotograffau
A range of themes in Snowdonia presented through paintings, drawings and photography   
Venue: STORIEL, Ffordd Gwynedd, Bangor, Gwynedd, LL57 1DT, 11-5 Tues-Sat.
When Peter gave the LAS talk he was in a bout of eye surgery.  The determination of a painter giving a talk blind, with his wife operating the slides, is an inspiration to us all.   Glad to convey that his eyesight is improving.

Pictures from Peter’s LAS Talk:
The blog announcing Peter’s Talk:

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Silk Top Hat Gallery - Don Smith Artist in Residence, 3rd December

Don Smith will visit the Gallery's Christmas Exhibition for an artist-in-residence on Saturday 3rd December 2016, 11.00am - 4.00pm, where he will demonstrate how he creates his drypoint etchings.  Why not drop in.
Above: 'Willow Tree and Meadows, Early Spring, Ludlow'
Don Smith’s distant views of Ludlow placing the landmarks of the town’s architecture in their pastoral setting have proved popular since he first exhibited his prints here over ten years ago.  He tells us, ‘my prints, as ever, are about Ludlow and its relationship with its surrounding landscape.  This relationship emphasises the angular nature of buildings set against the softer and more broken character of nature.  In pictorial terms my subject is dominated by the interplay of the variety of space and form in the ensuing whole.  Sometimes it is the angular forms of buildings that dominate the landscape and at other times it is the softer sculpturing of the landscape that is most evident.  Whatever the emphasis it is the relationship of man with nature that the printed image is endeavouring to resolve.’

His use of dry point roulette produces a continuous tone on the copper plate to hold the inks forming the image.  To control the marks this creates he varies the level of tone using a burnisher to polish the lighter tones in the manner of mezzotinting.  The whole gives a softer image quality than regular acid etching.

Don Smith trained at Laird School of Art, Birkenhead and Liverpool Regional College of Art.   He gained a National Diploma in Design (Painting) and an Art Teachers Diploma and was Principal Lecturer in Art Education at Didsbury College of Education and Manchester Polytechnic.  His work is represented in several public as well as private collections and he has undertaken book illustration for London University.

Our Christmas Exhibition continues, with new work from regulars including Tamsin Bridge and David Stoves, others such as sculptor Tania Mosse and wood engraver Kathleen Littler are showing here for the first time. The shelves at Isaac Smart's are laden once more, its new frontage ornamented with new planters kindly provided by specialist builder Alan Middleton.
Exhibition open Tuesday - Saturday 11.00 - 4.00pm

Silk Top Hat Gallery
Quality Square, Ludlow, Shropshire SY8 1AR
(01584 875363)

Sunday, 27 November 2016

Spotlight - Satire and Connectivity

This month Spotlight takes a look at satirical and connective art.  As nights draw in, in the autumn of a year in which it can sometimes seem that a shared planet and species is not enough to hold us together, the joy and connectivity of the arts can feel ever more precious.  Satirical art, like other media, can either focus on our differences, or on what makes us alike, and what we share – like Art Societies within a broader society.
Pawel Kuczynski, a contemporary Polish satirical artist, combines political observation and comment with common themes… such as the conundrums of adulthood and growth, as in the image below of a girl in bigger shoes
...and in this image of a sun on clouds, suggestive of balances between positive and dark thoughts and experiences.
As Pawel says simply, “I believe in people.. even when we do stupid things sometimes.”
Kuczynski rarely gives a title to his paintings.  They perhaps convey thoughts better than 999 words could.  (It is said that a thousand words is enough to convey a picture - or the other way round.)
There is, of course, a wide range of satirical art, from newspaper cartoons to subtle messages in works by artists who are considered as great masters, such as Dali’s civil war paintings, and Holbein’s “The Ambassadors”.
Uniting us are works such as Paula Rego’s social painting “The Dance”, conveying the joy and purpose, and comfort of togetherness throughout our dance of life.
Are we are more alike than we are different?
Maybe that is our choice to make.  
And Art plays a part.

About Holbein’s “Ambassadors”:

If you know any great art websites or articles, why not share them here? Send your suggestions to - please note that this isn't for self-promotion!

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Silk Top Hat Gallery's Christmas Exhibition

Saturday 26th November 2016 anytime between 10.00am and 5.00pm on the opening day of our CHRISTMAS EXHIBITION
invited artists and designer makers
both new and familiar
at the Silk Top Hat Gallery and Isaac Smart's

Don Smith, drypoint printmaker,will be at the Gallery Saturday 3rd December
Exhibition open 11.00am to 4.00pm Tuesday to Saturday
It is with the greatest sadness we must announce the untimely death of Jill Howorth, the owner of the Silk Top Hat Gallery and Isaac Smart's who, after a short illness, died very peacefully at Severn Hospice, Shrewsbury on 7th November 2016.
Donations in memory of Jill will be warmly welcomed to support Ludlow Assembly Rooms (her great passion) or Severn Hospice.

Please join us on