Artists and their craft

2010-04-20 00:00

WATCHING an artist at work is fascinating — and I’m not the only one who seems to think so. Last week the Howick Arts Society (Harts) hosted an educational walkabout in the Lions Hall at the Umgeni Valley Nature Reserve, which attracted a large number of interested art lovers.

Four artists — Vicky Cressey, Tim Kiln, Johan van de Linde and Yvonne Engelbrecht — were asked by Harts to interpret the same image — a horse and carriage in a cityscape — in different ways using watercolours, oils, charcoal drawing or pastels. Members of the society and visitors were then able to watch them at work and ask questions about the techniques being used.

Cressey, who has been working as an artist for the past eight years and uses mainly oils and watercolours, chose to concentrate on the part of the image with a horse and carriage. Asked why, she said: “I felt it had more feeling, more character that could be developed than the mass of buildings. I felt I could get a little bit of the mood.”

Cressey, who was working in watercolour, joined Harts after moving to Howick from Port Edward about two-and-a-half years ago. Asked what she enjoyed most about being part of the society, she said: “Probably the association with other artists … you get stale and uninspired if you’re in isolation and completely on your own. At least, that’s how it is for me.”

Engelbrecht, who also opted to use the horse and carriage as her focal point for walkabout piece, also sees the society as the perfect place to meet people. “When I came here [eight years ago] I didn’t know anyone so it was a good way to meet people, keep up with what’s out there and to get exposure through exhibitions,” she added.

The Howick Arts Society meets in the Lions Hall at the Umgeni Valley Nature ­Reserve in Howick on the first Monday of every month at 1 pm for 1.30 pm.

The society, which has been in existence for the past 15 years, currently has around 80 members — both amateur and professional — who work in all artistic media. They also have a small library which members can use. Run by Ruth Anderson, it contains a number of international art magazines and other periodicals.

In addition, Harts holds regular exhibitions, the most recent being at St Ives in the midlands, and workshops with well-known artists such as Marion Townsend and Albie van Rooyen. Members also get to watch special-interest videos and DVDs, which show them how to work in different media.

Membership costs R80 per year, something the Harts president, Wendy Beneke, believes is a real bargain: “It is a very cheap way of getting instruction, through workshops and monthly crits.”

• For more information about the Howick Arts Society, phone Yvonne Myburgh at 084 382 6321 or Anna Pettifer at 084 573 1784.

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