Thursday, 24 September 2020

Bright and bold exhibition that salutes natural world

Bright and bold exhibition that salutes natural world

A GROUP of artists is staging an exhibition at Goring village hall later this month.

Eleven members of the Red Kite Artists and Makers will present their work from August 29 to 31, 10am to 5pm. Entry is free.

Featured are painters Maria Meerstadt, Roseanna Chetwood, Sarah Cox, Marian Hyland and Wendy Mercer, jewellery makers Trudy Dredge and Grant Forsyth, ceramicists Helen Omerod and Caroline Gatfield, sculptor Jo Read and glass artist Jill Chadwick.

There will be measures in place at the High Street venue to prevent the spread of coronavirus, which includes a one-way system and a restriction on numbers in the hall at any one time.

Roseanna, who is an administrator at a secondary school, specialises in animal paintings, particularly of dogs.

She said: “I have grown up with dogs and I am a dog person. My paintings are very bold and colourful.

“You might think of using the colour black for shadows and white for highlights but I try not to use much of them. I would use something like dark purple and lime green because it makes the pictures much richer as a composition.

“I feel using bold colours brings out personality more. It is also less serious and more fun.”

Roseanna, from High Wycombe, studied fine art at university and regularly takes on commissions from pet owners. She uses oil-based paint on canvas and works from photographs.

She said: “I use oil-based paint because it is thick and I sometimes add beeswax to bulk up the paint and it gives it a nice finish.

“Usually I do them in two sittings. I first sketch it out with a paint brush and do it all in one colour using a very thin oil paint and wait for it to dry.

“Then I use pallet knives to add the paint in blobs and I sit there and do it all in one go. It can take four to six hours.

“I do one colour at a time — I do all the pinks, then the blues, or whatever colours I am using, and it all comes together like a jigsaw puzzle. The best thing I do is sgraffito, where I layer the colour and scrape into it, which I find gives it a bit more definition.

“When you are up close to the painting you can see all the strokes so it can be quite abstract with the blobs of colour but then when you look at it from further out you see a complete image.”

Roseanna’s work comes in 40cm by 40cm (£210 unframed, framed £250), 50cm by 50cm (£260 unframed, framed £300) and 60cm by 60cm (£310 unframed, framed £350).

Jo, who lives in Henley, is a self-taught wire sculptor and specialises in wildlife such as birds and hedgehogs.

She said: “I am working either with chicken, copper or galvanised wire. Most of the sculptures can go inside or outside.

“I am pretty much self-taught and I’ve expanded the techniques to suit me. I am not particularly delicate so I enjoy having a bash it or taking a pair of pliers to the wire and creating something from it.

“Most of the chicken wire sculptures start out with a two-dimensional rough shape and I will then build them up, layer upon layer, creating the shape to get the desired effect.”

Jo, who is a member of the Henley Arts and Crafts Guild, adds colour by using wire of different colours, such as copper, or industrial spray paint.

She said: “No two sculptures are the same and each individual piece will have their own personality. That’s what appeals, there is no mould process.

“Small sculptures almost take as long as large ones because they can be more intricate. A hedgehog can take three days and a heron a week and a wren three or four days.

“I spend a lot of time traveling the inland waterways so I can put it down and come back to it and nothing happens to it. I have previously tried working with clay but you needs lots of equipment while working with wire is portable.”

Her pieces cost from about £45 to £350 and come with different mounts.

Maria, who organised the event, mainly paints landscapes featuring clouds and is particularly fond of Scotland and Cornwall.

She said: “I love skies and clouds and nature and vibrant colours. It is all about colour for me.

“I remember my father telling me once that I should consider toning it down. I paint with a photograph and when I paint I am back there again.

“I mainly paint with oil paint on canvas because I like to build up each layer and it makes it almost 3D. You can also manoeuvre it because it takes two to three days to dry whereas acrylic or watercolour dries much quicker. I like to see the colours coming through each layer.”

She will be offering pieces ranging from about 15cm by 15cm to 50cm by 70cm which will cost between £25 and £600.

Maria, who lives in Maidenhead, said she brought the artists together because it can be expensive to take part in larger exhibitions.

She said: “Over the years a lot of us would do expensive contemporary or garden shows which would cost about £800 or £900 for us to show our work at, which means you have to get significant sales to cover your costs.

“One time I lost £3,000 and with other artists also finding it difficult we wanted to create exhibitions of local people for local people because not everyone wants to travel somewhere and have to pay entry to see an exhibition. Entry to our exhibitions is free.”

Maria said they “couldn’t wait” to stage an exhibition this year after coronavirus wiped out the events calendar but restrictions will be in place.

She said: “There will be a one-way system in place and track and trace.

“I will also be providing 200 face masks at the door in case people forget to bring one, a thermometer to check temperature and hand gel. There will also be a separate entrance and exit and disposable gloves.

“We will be controlling how many people are in the hall at any time. If we feel that it is about to get too busy, we will ask people to wait.

“The artists will have a set space and 5m of wall space to hang items and tables for little pieces.

“We used to do coffees and teas to raise money for charity but we can’t do that this year.”

For more information, visit www.redkiteartistsand

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