SONSI’s first event for 2017, Saturday evening of January 7th, was a potluck and portfolio sharing, hosted in the home of member Barry MacKay and his charming partner Sandi. It was a relaxed, enjoyable and inspirational event – especially for new SONSI members like me! We were treated to a tour of Barry’s studio and his gallery of amazing bird paintings. Barry gave us a bare-canvas–to-finished-artwork presentation of his working style and tricks-of-the-trade (such as how to get the perfect rendition of the surface of old granite rocks).
Everyone brought delicious food, including vegetarian, vegan, and lactose and gluten free offerings.
The highlight of the evening was sharing portfolios: hearing about Nellie Sue and Steven’s work renovating the Nature Art Studio and admiring the flyer design for the opening; seeing the work of new nature artist and SONSI member Amber who just completed a botanical art course; hearing about Shelly’s work rescuing animals and drawing them; examining up close the professional new works of Emily, Dino and Kathryn.
I passed around my nature sketch books which I have come to rely on for the first phase of any artwork and as a record of my on-going learning about the natural world. (I use 8 x 9 inch Strathmore beige–tinted sketchbooks, micron 005 and BR pens, and the 2-inch stubs of my coloured pencils for my field kit.) Here are some sample pages:
This doesn’t do justice to the value of the event: we learned about Kathryn Chorney’s experiments with framing her tree paintings and capturing movement with portrayals from different angles, Dino’s incredible precision with the skin of his pterodactyls, and Emily’s patient rendering of every scale of the crocodile! And to top it all off, Karen gave us a detailed account of her most recent art tour in China, complete with catalogues of the artwork she saw and information on how the Chinese state supports its artists. Thanks so much to Sandi and Barry and all of the residents of their art-filled home, for their generous hospitality, and special thanks to the vigilant house pet Lily, who made sure we ate everything on our plates!
— Geri S.