Talking to Chairman, Brain Stammers, and Secretary, Janet Smart.
(28th February 2012)
RL: Janet, how long has this group been going?
Janet: About twenty years, and I’ve been here all that time,
RL: Is there any membership fee?
Janet: Yes, it is £1.50 a morning and there is a £6 annual registration fee, which helps to pay for demonstrations. Sometimes in Winter our numbers may go down because of bad weather so we may have to dip into our resources to pay for the hire of the hall. It’s a very friendly group and everyone gets on very well, and when we break for coffee everyone walks round to see what everyone else is doing, which is nice. We haven’t actually got a tutor but we have demonstrations as and when we can.
RL: Brian, How long have you been here and what are you working on now?
Brian: I’ve been here for three years now. I had done oil painting fifty years ago but since I’ve come back I’ve mainly gravitated towards acrylics. Acrylics are much easier than say water colours which can be a difficult medium. Most newcomers are put off by the dread of actually drawing, but this can be taken out these days by use of trace-down paper and using your computer printer and taking the tracing paper and transferring the image. A lot of people, like Janet, have the benefit of being able to draw, but I don’t. I’m afraid I cheat all the way along the line. Art is often really cheating and if you go back to the old days, Canaletto and people like him had camera obscurers which upset some, but I’m sure if he had a copier where he could scale up[ and down his pictures to fit the right size for his painting he would have used it. It’s the same as Hockney today, using his iPad. It’s been a great thing for me. I’ve made many new friends. At the moment I’m working on these tiles with acrylic paint.
RL: Obviously, being a daytime group I presume most people in here are retired?
Janet: Yes, that’s right. We would welcome younger members but so often younger people don’t have child care or they are working and just can’t do it. We have about a membership of about twenty five and, of course, have space for more.
Brian: Yes, people come in to do all different styles of painting and I suspect one or two may come in mainly for the social aspects of the group, but that’s just fine.
RL: Well, that’s great, thank you both for your time.