Thanks to a grant from the Mid and East Antrim Council Covid - 19 Community Recovery Grants Scheme our club has been able to use Zoom technology to engage members in meeting, painting and socialising together. We have used the month of April 2021 to pilot this. Using Zoom technology as a possible way to give access to on-line teaching by Artists Sorrel Wills and Jacque McNeill has been an adventure and also, for the facilitators and participants alike, a steep learning curve.
We have been able to make contact with members who have been in isolation for almost all of the Pandemic, thanks to their spouses, children and grandchildren. We have all learned a lot.
After all, Zoom technology was something that I was aware of-my daughter has used it for years for her work- but I’d never used it before we were locked down for the first time in March 2020. Even then, I was a participant, not a facilitator. Thanks to Andrew of Orion Design, our training was precise and concise and very much geared to our aim of engaging our members in their chosen pastime. Maria, Sorrel, Jacque and I learned, not only how to use Zoom but to use our phones as a second camera, record the event, and then distribute the video to all our members. Below you’ll find some photographs of our events, and links to the videos we produced.
I have to thank Maria for assisting me with her enthusiasm and drive in getting the grant and ensuring we fulfilled the criteria laid down, Andrew for his excellent tuition, Jacque and Sorrel for being brave enough to be our “guinea-pigs”. Most of all the Mid and East Antrim Council for their foresight in setting up the Covid-19 Recovery Grant Scheme, it has been invaluable to us.
Checkout our Distance Learning page to view the videos.
Please don’t miss Sorrel’s amazing exhibition.
Log on at www.sorrelwillsart.com and get blown away by her beautiful Landscapes, Animals and Interiors.
Spring is well on the way to Summer and we lucky people who live in or near the countryside can see the plants, both wild and cultivated, produce leaves and flowers. There are still some ground frosts but another two weeks should see the end of those. The fields get greener by the day and the lambs are growing fat and more sheep-like the cows are grazing on the rich spring pasture and producing lots of milk. Thankfully most of it seems to be getting to the dairy and supplies are reaching the shops. The strong Easterly wind we’ve had over the last month has kept temperatures down but the soil has dried up after the wettest winter I can remember, and plants may soon get an April shower after not having rain for over a month now. Just think how the Golf Club must look, sadly there’s no-one there to enjoy the sight. Perhaps soon we’ll be able to get out and about and enjoy the things we all miss most, different for everyone but I think most of all the company and the chat with friendly like-minded colleagues.
I hope everyone is well, both in body and spirit and that our ability to lose ourselves in painting has come to our aid at the time of isolation.
Perhaps some of us have been forced to learn new skills, especially on the computer. I’d never heard of Zoom before lock-down, now I do a Zoom Pilates class twice a week. Lots of people have taken to baking and as a result we have a flour shortage. I know that within our group we have many bakers and I’m sure they are putting their knowledge and skills to good use. What about those Acrylic paints I’ve never been able to use properly, or the oils that remain in their tubes? New skills for me, old hat to many of you! Sadly, I think I will have time to dabble in the acrylic and oils before we meet as Vis Art again.
When will this be over? No-one can say but I hope that the scientists soon find a vaccine that works to give long-term immunity, a test you can buy over to counter to let you know if you have the virus and a treatment to alleviate the symptoms so that no-one has to go into a coma and on to ventilator. Most of all I’d like to see the awful death tally reduced to zero. Then perhaps, all those people on waiting lists for operations or treatments could be seen and get back to a pain-free life.
I hope we’ll be able to meet again in September for our normal Autumn term but until then keep well and let’s all try to produce a folder of “Covid 19” work to show each other in September.
Due to Covid 19 we were unable to have the meeting where our efforts were to be displayed. Here are the ones I was sent.
Vis Art played host to Mayor Cllr Maureen Morrow on Wednesday 4th March. After a refreshing cup of tea and chat with members Madam Mayor joined us in our “Patchwork Challenge”.
Take one well known painting, make two large copies. Cut one into 25 similar sized pieces, cover the other. Each participant is given one of the 25 pieces at random plus a piece or similarly sized paper and have 30 minutes to paint their image on to the paper with accuracy of colour and size. The object is to re-make the painting from the pieces which have been painted. For practical reasons we limited participants to the use of Acrylic, Watercolour or pastels.
The normal buzz of conversation was conspicuous by its absence during the 30 minutes we worked on the Challenge and a general moan of disbelief was heard when “time’s up” was called. When Lesley Sharp, our Society for All Artists coordinator, re-made the patchwork and revealed the original we were all pleasantly surprised. “Oh, that’s what that is.” “Gosh, it actually meets the rest of the tree trunk.” “That man’s head is in the right place.”
How well did we do? Judge for yourself.
Madam Mayor expressed her thanks for an unusual and relaxing visit where she met many old friends and made new ones and we all agreed that she’s a great sport for taking on our “Patchwork Challenge”
Sorrel explains our task and takes some of us along way outside our comfort zone!
The Society for All Artists (SAA) have a challenge called “Artist’s Photo you paint it”. The photograph is published on their web site and in their Magazine “Paint”. The artist shows his interpretation of his photograph and his step by step method of painting it.
Vis Art took up the challenge and the original photograph and our interpretations, in Watercolour, Oil, Acrylic and Pastel are shown below. The differing sizes, colours and methods show that diversity is alive and well at Vis Art. Members were given two weeks to do their paintings.
Vis Art meet on Wednesdays at Ballymena Golf Club from 10.00 to 12.30. for further information contact www.ballymenavisart.com
Sorrel’s tutorial today was on painting a realistic stone wall. She provided us with her expertise, templates of the wall already drawn out and Vis Art provided the Acrylic paint, brushes etc.
We started with the grey mid tones, then the dark tones for the shadows below the stones and then light tones, where the sun was hitting the wall.
To make the green we added yellow to our grey and proceeded to add moss, lichen and grass.
A good time was had by all.
Our efforts are shown below.
Barbara presented a gift to Freddy and spoke of all the work he did as Chairperson, ensuring the club was and is going from strength to strength. Annabel was presented with the Rose Bowl and Karin with the Silver Salver in recognition of the progress they have made this year. An excellent meal, provided by the Golf Club caterer, was then enjoyed by all.
On Tuesday 3rd March Jacque McNeill, member of both Vis Art and Paint Pot, treated members of Paint Pot and friends to a demonstration in Watercolour. Her subject, one of her favourites, a beautiful young calf. Unusually, Jacque choose to add the sky as a background and gave us a masterclass in how to use the wet in wet technique to produce drama and authenticity.
She used the wet in wet technique in most of her work and allowed the paint to bleed and blend in a controlled way. Only when painting very dark shadows did she use the loaded wet brush on a dry surface.
Jacque advised es to paint the eyes first, then you have only to redraw the image if you get them wrong not scrap your whole painting.
View the photos below to get a flavour of Jacque’s excellent techniques