Wellington Art Club Newsletter May - June 2009

Change of speaker for the 6th of June at 2pm
As our advertised speaker cannot attend we have Rob Marshall to talk about his underwater photography in Vanuatu

Life drawing group

The life group are now meeting every third Monday and the last session was very poorly attended. I was one of those who intended to go but didn’t make it on the night. As I’m aware of the benefit of life drawing I plan to go to the next meeting. Hope to see more on the 8th of June 7 - 9pm. Priced at $10 per night. Linda Smith

Next Workshop

Evelyn McCutcheon will be running a one-day workshop at the clubrooms on 'How to paint the skies' in acrylics or oils on Saturday the 11th of July from 10am to 3pm. $20 for members $25 for non-members Details about what else to bring will be on the club notice board shortly. Evelyn's fabulous skies are a feature of her very popular paintings. She has always been a great help to Tuesday class members requiring advice about sky problems. Enquiries 388 9232
Del Te Rito

Summary of coming events at the clubrooms

Sun 7th June 2pm Monthly speaker is now Rob Marshall on his

Underwater photography in Vanuatu

Mon 8th June 7-9pm Life drawing class $10 pr night

20-21st June Jacky Pearson’s “ Watercolour for beginners” - Bookings essential thru Watercolour NZ

Sun 5th July 2pm monthly speaker Anna Williams on her “ Persian Rug repair and her trip to Iraq”

Sat 11th July Evelyn McCutcheon’s “Painting Skies” workshop 10am to 3pm. Book thru Del Te Rito


Judith Royal’s Restoration of the Nursery Rhyme Tiles

On Sunday, the 6th of April, Judith spoke to us about her work to restore Wellington Hospital’s damaged tiles depicting the nursery rhyme “Hey Diddle Diddle”. The hospital has had the 18 sets of tiles depicting well-known nursery rhymes since the early 1900s. The only other 3 sets are in South Africa, Germany and I think she said England.

Neville Porteous, the tile maker, asked Judith to be involved in painting onto the bare tiles he was to create. It took Judith four months to get the correct colours, as modern paints were unsuitable and the old paints were quite coarse. The originals were produced at the Doulton factory in Lambeth, London and the designs on them were by Margaret Thompson.

Judith’s search included a visit to Stoke-on-Trent where Doulton had sold out to another company—so no luck there.

It did not help that the colours in the photos of the original tiles did not match with the remaining ones. Margaret Thompson had used only a few colours and some of the new colours faded too much in the firing. The modern clay caused the base colour to differ from the original and there were problems replicating their crazed look. Judith kept records of colours, temperatures, firing times, etc. She used a kiln belonging to a friend to fire and fix the colours.

The job was finally completed after a year but there are still other sets in the children’s hospital to be restored later.

Thank you Judith for an interesting insight into what must have been a challenging undertaking. Linda Smith

Autumn Exhibition

Opening night went well with a good crowd of members and invited guests attending.

Celia Wade-Brown, our new patron, opened the proceedings with a friendly and informal speech about her own artistic aspirations and her background influences in her earlier years.

Six paintings and various items of jewellery by Elaine Kermode were sold. Many

wonderful paintings were on show and the standard of work was very high. There were lots of visitors to the club over the weekend. Many club members took the opportunity to come to the club and have a cup of tea and a chat during the Saturday and Sunday, creating a very cordial atmosphere.

Many thanks are due to various people, firstly, to the artists for the brilliance of their work, secondly, to the people who spent many hours organizing, planning and putting the exhibition together, and thirdly, to those who brought food for the opening night.

John Steven was the winner of the Ruth Gotlieb plate, which is judged by popular vote on the night. Del Te Rito

All newsletter items to Linda Smith until the end of June
To lindaps@clear.net.nz or phone 934 1795

Phil Dickson’s Weekend Workshop

Saturday morning we all met at the Art Clubrooms, for a briefing from Phil.

Then we headed for Constable Street and watched him demonstrate on composition and drawing while standing on muddy ground. Well, the locals started to gork out their windows and cars were hooting. People appeared from nowhere to see what was going on. We were all standing with our sketchpads rearing to go. In fact, one guy asked Phil –“Is the population down?” – as he thought we were all from the stats dept. That was funny.

Finally, after standing what seemed like an hour, we took our sketchbooks and found a suitable position to draw the subject – an old uninhabited dairy, cars and hills in the background. Some stayed by Phil for encouragement and others braved the trees with birds pooping! Well, the cars started hooting and people couldn’t resist having a look at our work. After an hour, we all headed back to the club. And with Phil’s expertise, in stages, started to paint the panoramic image he supplied. Thanks for a great weekend Phil. Everyone enjoyed it.
Chris Andersen

Portraits + Still Life

The group who meet at 2pm on Fridays is gradually increasing after the disruptions of summer distractions. We now alternate between portraying live sitters and still life. (Curious name as you have never seen less life in the bottles, jars and old boots we set up to paint.)

Our numbers have been a little down compared to previous years, and our old fried Dennis Hayman has been unable to attend after a nasty medical mishap which resulted in him being confined to the continuing care facility at Rita Angus Retirement Village in Kilbirnie. Some of us have visited him there and found he is in very good hands and improving all the time. He told Beryl Skipper that he has bucked up so much he is regarded as being quite cheeky with the therapists and caregivers there. He also sends thanks for the much-appreciated card Art Club members sent him in April. Dennis has now improved and been discharged from Rita Angus and has been sent to Porirua for rehabilitation.

John Steven


From the time our present day clubrooms were opened in 1984 on the Chelsea Street Reserve in Miramar, the wall facing the street next to the door featured a large pumpkin and the words, `Ye sign of ye Golden Pumpkin'. In recent years its relevance was thought to be less important and it was painted out. Maybe this was a mistake. Preserving history is a tenuous activity, particularly for a volunteer organisation or club. Thank goodness for our excellent little book marking the centenary of the club, which was published in 1992, largely put together by Club member, the late Noel Goodger.

The story of Pumpkin Cottage is well documented in it but not everyone is familiar with its historic background or significance. The club's founder, James Nairn discovered the old house out at Silverstream during painting excursions back in the 1890s and rented it as a painters' retreat. Mabel Hill, an original member of the Club said that `Nairn rented an old `But and Ben', hoisted a pumpkin on top of a long pole on the roof and called it Pumpkin Cottage' so that his fellow artists would see it. Later on he painted a large pumpkin on the side of the cottage and the words, `Ye sign of ye Golden Pumpkin'. Nairn himself died in 1904 and for a variety of reasons, including World Wars, the cottage was not used continuously. It experienced a short revival of use from about 1942, but St Patrick's College whose land it was now on, required it from 1949 and it fell into disrepair, eventually being demolished in 1980.

Pumpkin Cottage history as part of Silverstream has been kept alive in Upper Hutt over the years at `Efildoog', a small gallery in the Akatarawa Valley run by Ernie and Shirley Cosgrove. Realising that their collection represented a significant part of the history of Upper Hutt, and realising that it was time to retire from running the gallery, Ernie and Shirley have gifted their collection including much history of Pumpkin Cottage, to Upper Hutt City. To mark the occasion of this generous gift, an official ceremony was held on Monday 30 March in the Mayor's Office.

Representing the Art Club in the absence of the then President, Jeff Collings who was unfortunately unable to attend the reception, were Olympia Osborne and Phil Dickson. At the ceremony, the Mayor Wayne Guppy acknowledged the part that Ernie and Shirley played in developing and treasuring the Pumpkin Cottage history and gifting of their magnificent collection to the people of Upper Hutt. The collection will be housed at Upper Hutt's official gallery, `Expressions' which is in the same building complex as the Civic Administration and Mayor's Office on Fergusson Drive, Upper Hutt. It will be some months before the collection can be catalogued and housed or displayed appropriately, but will definitely be worth visiting once it is.
Phil Dickson

Future Fundraising Exhibition

The all Saints parish in Kilbirnie are planning a fund raising exhibition on the 21st to the 27th of September at the Thistle hall, Cuba St. They are hoping artists will donate paintings for this cause. Alison Golder will keep us informed as more information comes to hand.



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