Being a regular attendee at the very popular Clevedon Art Club Exhibition which takes place every August at Clevedon School, I was very keen to make contact with the club and delighted when Sue Bryant and Steve Jenkins invited me to their Christmas Social, held on the 11th December. It was a fun evening with carol singers, an opportunity to paint or draw the singers, a quiz, a pop up exhibition of artwork, a raffle and, of course, mince pies and something to drink. I was made to feel very welcome and left with a lot more knowledge about this inspirational group of people who exist to promote interest and participation in the visual arts, in, and around the Clevedon area.
The club has been in existence for more than sixty years and is a diverse community of about a hundred and seventy members working across a range of media. They share and develop their own artistic skills through the staging of exhibitions; they support artists through a varied programme of activities and events, and seek to promote and inspire interest in the arts by fostering links with schools and other groups in the local community. Members work can be seen on the Members Galleries page of their website http://www.clevedonartclub.co.uk/work/ – I was surprised to see that so few members were exhibiting in the gallery but Steve and Sue felt that this was because members did not want to over promote themselves. It was a real pleasure to mooch through their work; here are some of my favourites from Martin Bentham, Gill Leigh, Gail Clarke, Joan Hudson, Stephen Jenkins, Tina Gordon, Jean Kent, Terry Siedle, Colin Campbell and Tessa Norris :
The club have a regular programme of meetings throughout the year, usually on the second Tuesday of the month (except August) from 7.30pm to 9.30pm held in the 6th Form Centre of Clevedon School. They have illustrated talks on famous painters, art history, demonstrations of oil painting, watercolours and acrylics, stage design, art education and presentations by professional artists of their own work. You do not have to be a member to attend these meetings so if you see one that interests you then just go along and pay your entrance fee of £3. The four published programme events for 2019 are:
Tuesday 8th January A Musical Drawing Evening
Tuesday 12th February Clevedon Art Club AGM
Tuesday 12th March Ruth Ander Experimenting with Monoprint
Tuesday 9th April Pete Brown NEAC aka’ Pete The Street’ ‘Nothing between my ears!’
Tuesday 7th May Ros Ford RWA Drawing and Print Structure in the Landscape
Tuesday 11th June Stephen Jacobson VPRWA Art Career Framing & Presentation
Tuesday 9th July Jem Bowden Watercolour Landscapes Direct & Dynamic
Tuesday 10th September Andrew Lansley Home & Away Antarctica Residency
Tuesday 8th October Dick Pope Abstraction Sources of Inspiration
Tuesday 12th November Richard Kay Art Historian Sickert Fakes & Forgeries
Tuesday 10th December Christmas Social Time to be confirmed
Alternatively, you might like to consider membership which costs just £25 a year which is very little given all the opportunities that this then gives you. In addition to the regular monthly meetings, they hold workshops, painting days and painting evenings for members.
The published workshops for members only, for 2019 are:
Saturday 2nd February – Life Drawing for Clevedon Art Club – 10.00am – 1.00pm
Saturday 16th February – Huw Richard Evans – The Sky’s the Limit – 10.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday 2nd March – Life Drawing for Clevedon Art Club – 10.00am – 1.00pm
Saturday 2nd March – Tim Wilmott , Water Colourist – 10.00am – 1.00pm
Saturday 6th April – Life Drawing for Clevedon Art Club – 10.00am – 1.00pm
Saturday 20th April -– Feona Ness – Exciting Landscapes – 10.00am – 4.00pm
Saturday 4th May – Life Drawing for Clevedon Art Club – 10.00am – 1.00pm
Saturday 1st June – Life Drawing for Clevedon Art Club – 10.00am – 1.00pm
Check out more details of the workshops for 2019, for members only, on the website http://www.clevedonartclub.co.uk/programme/
The club run two major exhibitions in Clevedon every year. The 2019 Members’ Exhibition will be held at Clevedon School between April 19th – 22nd. For the first time this year they will also be taking part in the North Somerset Arts Week between May 3rd – 12th, with an exhibition of Art Works at the Curzon Cinema and Arts Centre.
The 2019 Annual Open Exhibition will be held between August 17th – 26th when both members and non-members may each submit four works. These are presented before a selection committee of 3 artists of standing, including at least one Royal West of England Academician. Over 300 works (paintings and drawings, etchings, screen prints, lithographs, collages, enamels, ceramics and sculptures) are typically hung, drawn from an entry of over 600 works. The Clevedon Art Club Open Exhibition has a long history of success and enjoys a high reputation in the south-west area, attracting 1500+ visitors.
I asked Steve and Sue what it had meant having the late Neil Murison as President. In case you haven’t heard of Neil who was President for over 30 years, here’s a mini-bio, taken from the club’s website:
‘Neil Murison was a student at the West of England College of Art. He taught at Queen Elizabeth’s Hospital and the Blue Coat School in Bristol and then became a lecturer at the West of England College of Art retiring in 1987 as Head of Foundation Studies at Bower Ashton which was then part of Bristol Polytechnic. He has been a full Member of the Royal West of England Academy of Art since 1979 and was Director of The New Gallery at The Academy from 2003-09. He was made an Honorary Member in 2000.’
In describing the influences upon his work, Neil stated: ‘My work is strongly based in nature. I keep sketchbooks and take endless photographs on my travels and am never short of source material. Each trip prompts its own response and becomes responsible for a series of paintings which reflect the memory of that experience. Work based around the life figure is also an important part of the work’.
It was evident from the way Sue and Steve talked about Neil that he was someone held in the highest esteem and whose association with the club was greatly appreciated. They described him as the cornerstone of the club; someone who was very supportive and encouraging and gave generously of both his time and his skills over a long period of time. Neil opened his garden and studios to club members every year and attended every major event. He was a wonderful President being a great orator and socialiser and very ‘hands on’. He was always there on exhibition days, helping to hang paintings and do anything else that was required. Members are planning a tribute to Neil at the Members’ Exhibition in April.
The club are delighted to have the very renowned artist Martin Bentham RWA as their new President. Martin stepped in as Neil’s Vice President because Neil had been unwell for the last couple of years. Just as Neil was, Martin is very encouraging and supportive and attends all the meetings and exhibitions.
‘We are very proud and honoured to have Martin Bentham RWA as our president. Martin is a very distinguished and wonderful artist who loves to recreate the Mendip countryside in his expressive and exciting way.’
Martin describes himself as primarily a figurative painter and if you want a treat, have a peek at his website: https://martinbentham.com/
The new Vice President is Les Matthews who is a world renowned west-country based artist who has been exhibited both in the UK and internationally during a professional career that spans five decades. Mainly, a cityscape painter, his work explores cities around the world; from the far east to the middle east, from Europe to the United States. Check out Les’ fabulous work on his website http://www.lesmatthews.co.uk/
It became apparent throughout our conversation that inclusion was important to Clevedon Art Club and I was really impressed when they said that they were happy to promote the work and exhibitions of artists who were not members. They also promote national exhibitions and national competitions such as the very renowned https://www.lynnpainterstainersprize.org.uk/ created in 2005 by the Worshipful Company of Painter-Stainers and the Lynn Foundation to encourage the very best creative representational painting and promote the skill of draftsmanship. With prize money of £35,000 the Prize is one of the most prestigious awards to artists in the UK.
The reason I set up Faces of Clevedon was to promote the hard working, talented individuals, business’ and organisations that are at the heart of the Clevedon community and make it unique. I loved talking to Steve and Sue and I love what they, their members and the committee are aiming to do which is to promote interest and participation in the visual arts. Their organisation is underpinned by everything that is important to Faces of Clevedon: it’s inclusive, it’s diverse and its community based. All the best for greater participation at your programme of events, continued growth in your membership and two successful exhibitions in April and August. We’ll see you at both.
Find out all you need to know about Clevedon Art Club here: