Sketch clubs and artists talks

Tonight was a meeting of a sketch club I've belonged to for a long time, since before I did my degree. It has about 100 members, from keen amateurs to professionals, and meets once a month with crit nights and speakers, days out, studio days, demos and plein air trips. Other groups I belong to are by selection/election but this one is open to anyone keen, regardless of ability. Once a vacancy occurs, it's simply the next on the waiting list. It's a very nice friendly group.

Tonight was an artist's talk by Mikki Longley http://www.mikkilongley.co.uk/ who has a background in illustration and has developed her own interesting quirky style, painting local towns and villages in heightened colours and skewed perspectives.

She was brilliantly prepared with a powerpoint slide show and projector and explained the ideas behind her work from the beginning, how and why she developed her houses and trees that lean confidingly in towards each other, encircling village squares or churches, how it has evolved and how she is now particularly interested in creating aerial views. She showed work by artists who have influenced her - including Anthony Green http://www.newenglishartclub.co.uk/artists_pages/green_anthony.asp?art=83 , Samuel Palmer http://www.artcyclopedia.com/artists/palmer_samuel.html, John Piper http://www.johnpiper.fsnet.co.uk/ and Stanley Spencer http://www.cookham.com/about/spencer.htm.

She showed her early work and traced the development of her increasing distortion of perspective, enhancing the cosy, wrapped around, feel of the villages and houses she paints.

She creates her aerial perspectives purely by working them out and imagining them for herself from a mixture of sketches and lots of photographs at ground level.

She showed the evolution of several paintings from preparatory sketches, through the various stages to completion. I always enjoy seeing how an artist works, how they think things through and develop them - it was a thoroughly enjoyable evening,

She had worked as an art director for major companies before moving away from London and having her family - so her marketing and organisational skills were excellent - I do wish mine were better :(

I'll try to write up the Renoir exhibition tomorrow.

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