Somerset Art Weeks 2015 – support your fellow Chandos Members!

As SAW 2015 approaches (October 3 – 18), I wanted to draw members’ attention to those of our number who are taking part. Speaking as one of them, it would be great to see as many members as possible. We would really enjoy showing you the fruits of our labour!

So at Bridgwater Arts Centre you’ll find, among other Artists, Jonet Middleton’s textiles and Patrick Warren’s paintings, both inspired by a passion for colour and movement in the environment.

Moving eastwards from the town, Jackie Curtis at Bawrdip (venue 99) shows her trademark prints and woodcuts mainly based on observations of the rich variety of birdlife in the area. Jackie was a deserving winner in our recent Come Outside show.

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In the Polden Hills village of Moorlinch, at venue 102,  Anne Farmer and colleagues once more raise the Spring Farm Arts banner. She is showing new watercolours based on scenes observed’just around the corner’ and black and white drawings made further afield, in the Lake District.

Finally, our other Come Outside winner Carole Tennant is exhibiting at the Wagon House Gallery in Shapwick – venue 100 – where delicious light lunches are also available.

Come and help us fly the flag for the Chandos Society of Artists!


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On getting outside at last

Good to see Jackie’s blog – such a ‘Come outside’ stalwart! Since my year had been mainly focused on hospital visiting in Bristol and Taunton I was delighted to be able to do some en plein air work. I visited Bawdrip briefly  on The Day without achieving anything but later went back and found inspiration in a bit of Sedgemoor closer to home.Pollarded willows Sedgemoor resized

The pollarded willows  are almost a cliche but I could’t resist them!

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COME OUTSIDE. A members view


Drovers Lane – Bawdrip

by Jackie Curtis

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It was a wet Sunday for the ‘Come Outside’ Sedgemoor day, but there was a warm welcome and a good supply of tea and coffee in Bawdrip village hall. It is my village that I walk around most days, so unsurprisingly I knew where I wanted to go. I chose one of the old Drovers lanes, where I could get some cover and be able to stay reasonably dry. The lane it’s self is dark and mysterious, but with lovely gnarled trees and deep banks. It was quite eerie sitting there, listening to the rain falling on the canopy of leaves, wondering what that lane had seen over the years.

My plan was to actually try and cut two lino blocks – in situ – en plein air! I started by sketching the scene and then followed that with a quick colour sketch. I had tracing paper and carbon paper with me so transferred the design to my two blocks which I started cutting adding details from the scene in front of me.

I needed to take a lot more out of the blocks when I got home. The problem of course is that if I took a straight print from the blocks the image would be in reverse. I actually printed onto some Rhenalon sheets and then printed from them; so in effect it’s a ghost print – an impression from the original plate

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My other Sedgemoor picture did not come from the day. Kingfishers can often be seen along Kings Sedgemoor Drain and my Monoprint was produced from photos I have been lucky enough to get along the Drain.

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Looking back…looking forward

As we’re on the verge of beginning our Society’s 2015 programme, it seems a good time to hve a quick glance through last years calendar: we began with an evening at the Bar (nothing legal though) at the Arts Centre. Undortunately we chose the night when the flood waters engulfed several villages locally and gave concern to most of the residents of Somerset. So it was a select few who repaired to the Green Olive on the waterfront, just restored after the previous year’s flood!

Our next event was better supported, fortunately. Our annual lecture was an inspiring talk by estuary artist Ray Balkwill and our exhibition had a collourful mix of media and approach:

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We managed, the following month, to attract record numbers for the AGM by going the extra mile and combining it with an Artistic Soiree.

Then we were into full swing with our ‘en plein air’ painting days, beginning at Watchet where we saw trains as well as boats (although no planes).


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WE were delighted to be visited by longtime member Hanna lot, with husband and dog. I’m publishing this picture as a tribute because Hanna died last week, a great shock and sadness to many members:

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The second part of the event was at Bridgwater, as ever:


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Finally we were off to Cheddar, and the three days resulted in our September Exhibition ‘Come outside!’

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For the second year Pat Preater (pictured) was the winner of the John Allen Prize, which was judged by Nick Cotton from the Lunda Cotton Gallery in Watchet.

Our last event was a sociable Christmas lunch where we were honoured to greet Jack Fieldhouse and Ken Grieg, two venerable founder members of the Society.

So now, on with the New: we are having another shot at a convivial evening of conversation, critique and…oh something else beginning with ‘C’: companionship!

We invite members and their guests to share a picture of their own, or someone else, an opinion, an idea, a ‘top tip’: anything our butterfly minds can alight on for a few minutes. So it’s the Bar at Bridgwater Arts Centre on Wednesday February 11th and quite probably afterwards at The Green Olive again.

For the moment a technological lack of expertise prevents me from publishing the entire programme, but I’ll be on it soon!


Happy New Year!

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Chandos member Jackie Curtis wins competition

Bawdrip artist Jackie Curtis was delighted to have won the Charity Christmas Greetings competition run by painters online ( The winning entry was featured in the January issue of the Artist Magazine and £200 was donated to a charity of her choice – Macmillan Cancer Support. The winning Image – ‘Swans’ is a Monoprint created using veneers, leather, grasses and other dried plants.

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We love Jackie’s beautiful and original interpretations of birds – Congratulations!

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A cornucopia of artistic delights awaits us

No-one can have failed to notice that Somerset Art Weeks 2014 1s at hand: my inbox seems to have extra information every ten minutes. So I thought, to be fair, I would briefly draw your attention to Chandos members, current or recent, who are taking part .

The numbers after the names refer to the venue numbers across the area – you’ll need the Open Studios brochure which should be widely available.

So we have Rosemary Anderton 182, Jackie Curtis 183; Anne Farmer 178, Nancy Farmer 177, Janet Leverick 176 ; Alison Jacobs 9, Tom Jacobs 185, Michael Martin and Lesley Cooper 184, Lesley Nicholls 186 and Tor Townsend 49. Rather a good representation – try the Chandos Challenge and visit them all!

Anne Farmer is having a preview on Friday 19th 6-8 pm, and Nancy Farmer’s is from 5.30 – 7.30: all welcome!

Alison Jacobs gives us the following information:

In the Contains Art gallery, running alongside Somerset Open Studios, we have our self-Portrait ‘Making an Exhibition of Ourselves’ exhibition which features personal interpretations from over 60 West Somerset artists. Alongside the exhibition that runs from Saturday 20th to Sunday 5th October, 11am-5pm, we have a series of interesting talks, workshops, activities. All are listed on the attached leaflet, please do book in.

The Private View for the self-portrait exhibition and open studios will be on Saturday 20th September 6.30pm-8.30pm so please do come alon


John Abraham, artist/upholster, is one of several artists exhibiting at the “Transformation Exhibition” in The Old Town Hall in Somerton.

 The exhibition runs from 20th September to 5th the October, alongside Somerset Art Weeks.

 Exhibition is open Wednesdays to Sundays 10am – 5pm.

You are invited to the Private Viewing on Wednesday 17th September,  between 6pm and 8pm.

John and fellow artists will be pleased to share a glass of wine with you and let you get a taste of the transformation planned for the centre of arts in the area.

And please tell your friends, the more the merrier!

 Finally (for now) here is advance news of a book launch and exhibition by Ray Balkwill, who gave such an inspiring talk for our Memorial Lecture at the Arts Centre in March. Ray gained many admirers on that occasion and he would welcome members to this event, to renew their acquaintance with his wonderful estuary paintings:

An Exhibition of Sketches and Paintings

by Ray Balkwill, SWAc

to launch his New Book and DVD

Also on sale:  Signed Limited Edition Prints, Calendars, Books and Cards

 17th-20th October

10am – 5pm

The Studio Gallery

Thistledown, Marley Road, Exmouth EX8 4PP

Directions: From Hulham Road (B3180) turn into Marley Road.  ‘Thistledown’ is 100m on the left

and is approached by a driveway immediately after Shackleton Close and opposite Hulham Vale.


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Come outside – the winner chosen at Bridgwater Arts Centre.

Yes, for the second year running, the winner of Chandos Society President John Allen’s Award, as chosen by Watchet gallery owner Nick Cotton, was Pat Preater. Pat’s small and beautifully executed paintings are a feature of many of our exhibitions.DSCF6196 cropped

My photograph does neither Pat, nor Nick, nor the painting any justice but it was a busy evening, attended by the Mayor and Lady Mayoress of Bridgwater. Nick Cotton indefatigably discussed artists’ work with them all evening. Here’s the ‘celebrity’ lineup:



You can recognise Nick, the Mayor and Mayoress. The other two are John Allen, President of the Chandos Society of Artists,  and me. Not that difficult!

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