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Focal Point Issue Two

September 2012

In-house Magazine of the

Western Cape Watercolour Group

Focal Point Issue Two

September 2012

Editorial We were really pleased by the positive feedback we received following the release of Issue One. Thank you to everyone for their enthusiastic response. Our job now is to keep you interested and we hope to do so with our second issue. In this issue we are going to concentrate on “The struggle of the Creative Spirit”. Wherever you are along the creative ladder you will always find new challenges. Beginners struggle to know which materials to use, techniques and some of the rules to be followed. In this issue we look at supports for acrylic paints and technical information on using masking fluid. Once the initial challenges have started to be overcome you try to find the best way to create “an acceptable picture”. To whom does it need to be acceptable is a critical decision. If you are painting purely for your own satisfaction, then anything goes. However, if entering works for exhibition you have to please the judges of that day. See ‘Learning points’ on developing a critic’s eye; the ‘Interview with three past judges’ and ‘The Process of Selection’.

The next challenge could be how to sell your work. This involves marketing yourself and knowing what the picture-buying public wants. So you need to know how to create something that arouses interest. See ‘Learning Points’ activities. Each step brings renewed need for knowledge and skill. We cannot cover all these aspects at once, but we will touch on some in this issue and continue with the theme in future issues in the hope that we will assist you along your journey. We also feature a local artist who has had to struggle to have his own creative spirit recognized – Peter Clarke. We all know of the Impressionists who died in penury that are now sought after by collectors, but do we know of our own local artists? Don’t forget that we would love to hear from you with suggestions for future issues – e.g. ideas you would like us to discuss; queries on art topics; stories related to art; things that you have tried and others might enjoy or learn from; what you’ve learned from Focal Point. We need your assistance here. 2

Articles in this issue Branch member news

1. Successes at SASA exhibition


2. Di Ackerman Workshop


In conversation with…

Kay Kreft


The long read

The Protest Artist


Featured artist

Peter Clarke


Technical information

Using masking fluid


The artistic journey

1. Supports for acrylics


2. Pricing your artwork


3. In conversation with 3 judges


4. The selection process


Learning points

What is “good art”? - becoming an art critic


Food for thought

Local vs Global art suppliers


Letters Page


Upcoming exhibitions


Kathy Wivell Editor

Chris Hall Sub Editor 3

Branch member news 1. South African Society of Artists selection Congratulations to our members on their success…

Marion Langton Best Watercolour

Penny Steynor: Highly Commended – Pastel

Diane White Commended - Watercolour

Cherry Nichols: Commended – Mixed Media 4

2. Di Ackerman Workshop In May this year members attended a workshop conducted by Di Ackerman, who provided a huge and interesting still life display. She taught us how to use a viewfinder to pinpoint which part of the still life we would like to paint. Then we were asked to draw our picture onto mountboard using a stick and ink. It didn’t matter if we did this incorrectly as the acrylic paint would erase errors. This was a new method of drawing and a new support for most of us and it prevented us from fiddling with detail. Once we were happy with our composition, we then embarked upon the painting process. Every artwork had a different viewpoint and some very vibrant pictures were produced. Thank you Di for an enjoyable day.

Don’t forget we always have upcoming workshops: watch the newsletter and the noticeboard for details!


In conversation with

Kay Kreft On the occasion of her approaching her 90th birthday, Diane White and I had the pleasure of speaking to Western Cape Watercolour Group member, Kay Kreft, who talked enthusiastically with us about her work. Kay is a founder member of WCWG and was one of the first chairladies of the Somerset West Artists’ Group (SWAG). She has painted throughout her life. She laughingly describes herself as the “coelacanth’s grandmother, a living fossil”. But that said Kay is still busy with her painting today and was recently accepted again for the SASA Annual Exhibition.

When did you first realise that you wanted to be an artist? Ever since I was at school I wanted to paint. I had a great art teacher who was an inspiration to me. I did art for matric, then went on to study art at university in Cape Town. I always wanted to paint.

Who has been the biggest inspiration or role model? I love Turner with his beautiful “wishy-washy” watercolours. But of contemporary artists, Di Ackerman and Holly Walkman urged me on in the days of SWAG. Pamela Stellabrass, who still has a stall at the Country Crafts Market, inspired me hugely with her screen printed t-shirts. 6

Which medium do you prefer to work in? I love silk screen. The process is an intellectual challenge and it is fascinating: working back to front and building up the design. I think I have done some of my best work in silk screen. With watercolours, I love how it runs and melts and its fluidity. I like bold watercolours – using bright colours and being bold with brushwork. I’ve tried acrylics, but I don’t bond with them. And I’m too impatient for oils.

What inspires you most as a subject matter? Scenery and the landscape around me. This autumn was fabulous: autumn leaves with mind-blowing colours which I just had to paint, drawing the outline with a stick and using bold bright colours to bring the painting to life. I am constantly inspired by the different places I visit – from when my husband, Oscar, and I had a houseboat in Saldana to when we visited places like Venice and Florence, which I saw before they became too crowded. Also the deserts of Morocco and Tunisia. I take photographs wherever I go and work from them later. In this country, there is Richtersveld, where the mountains just go on forever. I did lots of painting there. I also love the life drawing classes which they hold at the Imibala Art Centre.

How do you feel about the South African art world at the moment? There are some very good artists around (she turns to Di) I particularly like her work. Art should reflect the expertise of the artist and the clever use of the medium they are working in. I feel a little out of touch with modern art. I ask myself: “where is the technique, where does art begin and end?”

This magazine speaks mainly to part time artists who want to improve their work. What advice can you give them? Keep on trying; keep on experimenting with media rather than method. Drawing is so important. It is the basis for good artwork. 7

The long read - The Protest Artist t

The recent controversy over Brett Murray’s “The Spear” raised a comment from almost everyone in the nation and beyond. Everyone was asking: What should art be?  Should artists be allowed complete free expression?  Can rules be accepted for one and rejected for another?  Is “The Spear” classes as Protest Art?  Does Protest Art bring about change? Prior to 1976 South African art was rarely that of protest, but after this date artists of all races saw art as an avenue to challenge the Apartheid system. Art of any consequence was not supposed to be produced by black people in South Africa during the reign of the National Party. Especially not during the height of apartheid repression in the 70’s and 80’s, with the state doing all it could to deny black people access to arts training by delivering secondrate Bantu education and blocking access to creative arts learning institutions.

The Community Arts Project (CAP) provided one of the few spaces in apartheid South Africa where people of all races gathered under the banner of the creative arts. Some of the people who worked in the space have become successful internationally recognized artists (see article on Peter Clarke). All of them were able to explore their artistic ability because the CAP’s initiators, and the succession of dedicated individuals who kept their idea alive, were liberal thinkers who defied the National Party’s obsession with race separation and recognized the need for communities on the Cape Flats to have a space for creative expression. Shortly after opening its doors in 1977 in an old Murray and Roberts building in Mowbray, ironically situated across the road from the police station, the organization was flooded with communities and people wishing to design and participate in cultural activities. Poet and author Rustum Kozain, who was the keynote speaker at the opening of the recent exhibition Uncontained: Opening the Community Arts Project Archives- a selection of linocuts, argued that the work reminded us of the need for art to speak to politics, and that the need was becoming as pressing today as it was two and three decades ago. We were now witnessing a similar swing toward a “self-satisfied state that thinks itself our overlord” and we needed to 8

“recover our artistic traditions” in defiance against such notions. “I think that it is important that the art and culture from that time be available and accessible, to remind us continually that the present South Africa is not the one we struggled for”. Extract from article written by Steve Kretzmann in West Cape News 10.5.2012 Mary Corrigill in “The Sunday Independent” 21st May 2012, wrote an article under the heading “Protest art’s aim is to create social change”. In this article she says that the ANC and other political parties encouraged the instrumentalisation of the arts. The message was that artists have a political, social and moral imperative to use art to bring about social change. However, she thinks that Jacob Zuma seems to have reneged on this position. Murray developed his art during the Apartheid era when art was seen as a tool of protest - one of the revered canons of SA art is dubbed Protest or Resistance art. Corrigall claims that you can’t change the rule you have set just because the outcome doesn’t suit you. You need to decide whether Murray’s work is classified as such. Another current artist who uses his mixed media works to explore the murky world of African politics is Zimbabwean born Kudzani Chiurai who now works out of Johannesburg. Conner Varin states “It was an honour for me to work with and attend my friend Kudzwani Chiuai’s exhibition” dOCUMENTA 13” debut held in downtown Johannesburg a few weeks back. I admire his dedication to challenge the political, social and economic issues that are crippling society, after all what is art that doesn’t teach or challenge?” Kudzwani was

kicked out of Zimbabwe for portraying Mugabe with horns. He sees himself as someone who documents problems, not as someone who changes things. Art is mainly a mirror – he says. Reju Alatise is a young Nigerian artist who is encouraging her countrymen to think about how they treat women. Her work is provocative, but is gaining resonance with the Nigerian public. Willie Bester is a South African artist who found the CAP in Cape Town in 1988 and discovered that his fellow students were expressing themselves and their feelings about Apartheid – and he realized what he could do through his art. He tries to depict township life from his own experiences – common themes are forced removals, migrant labour, and the destructive impact of Apartheid. He is still addressing many of the issues that arise today. On August 27th Ayanda Mabulu became the latest artist to portray Zuma with his genitals exposed, but this has not elicited much attention. Eusebius McKaiser in the Mail and Guardian states that “Nudity has lost its political potency. In other words people were shocked the first time because it went against their social norm, so when you see it again it can’t have the same effect. It’s good for art that it lost political potency because artists don’t have to be afraid”. The painting went on display at the AVA gallery in Cape Town. Does this mean that protest art needs to keep shocking the public? See ‘Upcoming Exhibitions’ for details of CAP exhibition. 9

Featured artist - Peter Clarke (1929 - ) The National Gallery recently featured two artists who have received little recognition until now. Barbara Tyrrell’s exhibition was opened on her 100th birthday and displayed many of her works which had been hidden away by the Apartheid Government as “Tribal Art”. Peter Clarke was a coloured artist struggling through our dark era. Peter Clarke is a highly accomplished and versatile visual artist, working across a broad spectrum of media. His life spans a tumultuous period in South African history that saw both the instigation and later the demise of apartheid. Clarke says democracy has ushered in a decade of "very exciting" South African art: "Democracy created a lot of mental freedom and there are a lot of positive things happening. It is quite exciting to see what is being produced in South Africa today. We can go to the rest of the world and show what is being made here." Best known as a print-maker, through his sensitive approach to linocut and colour woodblock techniques, he is also a strong painter, a talented draughtsman and a writer and poet of considerable literary achievement. Of these three roles, he jokes: "Had I been triplets, it would have made it much easier because each could have his own job. There are times when I go through a writing phase and there are times for phases of picture-making but there is never a dull moment." Clark works from his home in Ocean View, Cape Town. He has never had his own studio and this fact impacts upon his work. Printmaking can be awkward if not impossible in a small space and this restriction has helped trigger Clark's recent move to alternative media. The confines of home have also impacted on the scale of his work. Small artworks are more practical and Clark says his work has therefore tended to be smaller. Although his work has naturally evolved over time, Clark says its latest twist towards collage heralds a more abrupt and obvious change. He says: "Up to a certain time, I worked in a narrative manner. I had things to say and it was also expected of black artists to make statements about the state of affairs in the country. But it was a phase and I felt at the time that I also wanted to produce artwork without it necessarily making a statement about anything in particular.”


"South Africa is a very inspiring place. I am very much interested in people. If I decided only to work in a figurative way, there would be no end to what I want to say about people. People here are more involved with each other. The climate has a lot to do with it. And the variety of people - the physical variety - is very exciting in fact and the way people interact or not. I used to think of South Africa as a mad house... but a mad house is far more interesting, really. Had I lived in Europe, my art would have been completely different and probably not at all figurative. In retrospect, Clark thinks the theme of space is recurrent through his work. He says: "Physical space, mental space... these seem to have been a preoccupation throughout my life." Some ten years ago Clark began working on collage books that fold up into boxes of various shapes and sizes that he handcrafts from leather. He says he draws much of his inspiration for these books from music: "A lot of them are inspired by jazz, although I'm more of a classics person. I enjoy music very much because my father always had a collection of records so music was heard quite a lot. I enjoy listening to music and expressing it in a different way."

Clark says of his books: "You can't fold up a Monet or a Cezanne or any precious work of art. But with one like this, you can fold it up and carry it in a little box. You can sit next to somebody in a waiting room and say: 'I've got something to show you' and lift it out its box." More recently Clark worked on a series of collages. Each artwork comprises a fan constructed with a particular person in mind. The character could be historical, Biblical, a literary figure, or drawn directly from Clarke's life. Below the fan are a few paragraphs of beautifully written text describing that particular person's thoughts. In some cases, as for artist Helen Martins, the words are lifted from their actual writings. In other cases, Clarke creates dialogue that he imagines would represent their thought process. The fan series therefore draws on both Clarke's visual and literary talents. Clarke was awarded the Order of Ikhamanga (silver) by President Thabo Mbeki in 2005 and a Lifetime Achievement Award in 2010. Nevertheless, commentators generally feel that despite this experience and exposure, his work has not yet been given the full recognition it deserves. 11

Technical Information Taken from Winsor and Newton Technical Page in ‘The Artist’ magazine Q I have used Art Masking Fluid in several of my watercolour paintings. Occasionally I find that when I remove the dry fluid, some of the fibres of the paper are lifted as well. Am I doing something wrong? Help!

A There are a few techniques to observe for successful use of Art Masking Fluid: Firstly ensure that your paper, or the wash to which the fluid is to be applied, is completely dry and that the brush or stick you are going to apply the fluid with is also completely dry. This is because any water on the surface will cause the Art Masking Fluid to be absorbed as opposed to it sitting on top. Likewise, any water that mixes with the medium can also encourage sinking into absorbent surfaces. If this occurs, the dry Art Masking Fluid will pull away any part of the surface that it has sunk into when you rub it off. Secondly, the longer you leave it once it has dried the more it adheres to the surface, making it more and more difficult to remove cleanly. Therefore keep the time that the Art Masking Fluid is on your work to the minimum – ideally it should not be left overnight. Lastly, Art Masking Fluid is a fluid with adhesive properties, so if it is used on a particularly soft sized paper it can have a tendency to lift loose fibres. It is better to prevent this happening in the first place by applying a coat of Lifting Preparation to the paper and allowing this to completely dry before progressing with using either watercolour or Art Masking fluid. It is recommended that the whole sheet is prepared because it leaves the option of which area to lift open and, although the washes will not appear any different on top of the Lifting Preparation, lines will show if washed over the edge onto unprepared paper.

Paul Robinson Technical and Painting Advisor, Winsor and Newton 12

The artistic journey 1. Supports for acrylics Acrylics are pigment bound with a polymer medium. It is water-soluble when wet, but water resistant when dry. However, the painting surface must be properly prepared. Any surface onto which a painting is applied is known as a “support.” Stretched canvas is the first type of support to spring to mind when one thinks of the artist’s practice. However, wood, card and even paper can be used if they have been properly sized with a gesso or primer. Such a sealant is known as a “ground.”

Sizing the Support Ready for Acrylic Painting Applying the ground is known as “sizing.” The surface must be sized before the acrylic paint can be applied; otherwise the absorbent nature of the surface will retard the flow of the acrylic paint and cause it to sink, making the vibrant colours of the paint become dull. Grounds will be further explained in a moment. Suitable Supports for an Acrylic Painting Different supports can be used for an acrylic painting. 

Stretched canvas

Wood, including plywood, MDF and hardboard.

Thick card

Thick paper or watercolour paper of at least 300gsm


Ready Stretched Canvas Canvasses can be purchased ready stretched and primed onto a wooden frame. Various textures exist, from fine to coarse texture. Some artists take pleasure in stretching and preparing their own, but this can be time consuming. Certain DIY and craft stores stock ready-stretched canvasses quite cheaply. Coarse texture canvas is suitable for expressive paintings with broad brushstrokes. Fine texture canvas is suitable for more detailed paintings. Artists’ Panels MDF, hardboard and plywood provide suitable panels for acrylic painting. The surface provides a firm support that canvas lacks, for more control over the paint. However, wood must be properly sized so that the acrylic paint will not sink and become dull. Simply sand the surface gently with fine glass paper in order to provide a key for the ground. Art Boards and Daler Boards The large outlet, Daler Rowney famously stock Daler Boards. These are simply ready-prepared thick card. Some are made with primed linen-canvas stretched and glued onto board. Card can be self-prepared at home at the fraction of the price by sizing it with a ground at home. Painting in Acrylics on Watercolour Paper Watercolour paper is ideal for acrylic painting, although it will need to be sized with a ground first. Watercolour paper is available in countless textures and grains. HP or hot pressed paper has a smooth surface. “Not” or cold pressed has a random texture. Rough watercolour paper is highly textured. The most suitable paper would consist of a thickness of 300gms or thicker. Sizing the Surface with Acrylic Polymer Primer Ground All sort of grounds are available in the market. Some require lengthy preparations, but the easiest to use is acrylic polymer primer. This is a brilliant white fast-drying water-based paint. Two coats in a ventilated room at an hour’s interval are all that is required. A further coat might be necessary for very absorbent surfaces. Sometimes, acrylic primer is sold as “acrylic gesso primer.” It is a good guide to look for the word “acrylic” on the tin. Reading the manufacturer’s instructions will ensure satisfactory results. Preparations Suited for an Acrylic Painting All sorts of surfaces can be used for acrylic painting. This can include ready stretched canvasses and art boards, such as Daler Boards, available within craft outlets, to preparing your own. Wood, card and even watercolour paper can be used. So long as the surface has been properly sized, the acrylic paint will flow freely and the painting will retain its bright colours. Based on an article published on


Skye from the Italian Art Shop adds the following information: Many artists paint in both oil and acrylic, and here are two wonderful products that can be used on both:

Maimeri’s famous ‘Oil Primer’ actually has a misleading name, because it is one of the very few primers that can be painted over dried oil or acrylic paintings- yes I promise it can- and then painted over with either oil or acrylic! It sounds impossible but it’s not! This primer can be used to prime almost any surface for either acrylic or oil paintings- boards, canvases, wood etc. Remember, you can never paint acrylic on top of oil- well now you can…paint a bit of primer on top of your oil painting where you’d like to add some acrylic! It allows you to reuse your old oil or acrylic canvases, saving hundreds of rands!

Maimeri’s ‘Water based picture varnish’ can be used on top of oil or acrylic paintings! Again, it sounds impossible, but it’s not. It’s so easy to use because it is thinned with water, and there is no turpentine used at all- simply wash up with water when you’re done. This is perfect for artists who paint in both oil and acrylic because they only need one product! It is available in matt or gloss (and these can be mixed together to form any combination), dries quickly, is not reversible, and never yellows.



Pricing your artwork

Established artists can usually set a price for their work from experience, but beginners find it difficult to set a price that is sensible and sustainable. The first thing to remember is that the picture-buying public will only purchase artwork that they like and if they can afford it. So how do you make that pricing decision? 1. Do not confuse the cost of the artwork with its value. Value is subjective, as you know from the high prices of old masters. 2. You need to keep your pricing consistent regardless of where it is shown. The only difference could be if you sell a painting directly yourself and have no commission to pay for exhibiting. 3. Many artists work out a cost per square metre taking into account the cost of materials and framing and add-on costs (see below). 4. Pricing for time spent is fraught with difficulties. First there is preliminary work; several sketches may need to be taken on location with travelling involved, photographs may need to be produced, years of experience enable some artists to work faster that others etc. 5. You also need to consider what your peers are charging and what the market expects. Ask yourself does it provide value for money and is it worth it? Look at what other artists, who are at the same point in their career as you, are charging. 6. Don’t forget to factor in: The cost of materials and framing The selection and hanging fee The commission payable upon sale A good rule of thumb is to take the cost of materials and framing – double the price and then take off the selection and hanging fee and the commission and see if the total left is agreeable to you. If not, adjust accordingly.



In conversation with 3 judges: Derric van Rensburg, Di Ackerman and Lana Faasen at the selection for our ‘Across the Palette Exhibition’

What do you look for when judging pictures? DvR: First of all it has to be the aesthetic outcome – the initial eye appeal must be there. Then it’s the technique. LF: It has to be a balance between technique, appeal and subject matter DI: The drawing ability is important LF: Oh yes, the drawing ability always comes through

Does presentation play any part? Oh yes, the way a piece of work is presented shows the artist’s own feeling towards their work. A poor frame can ruin a good painting. Some small acrylics presented without a frame lack appeal.

What recommendation do you make to our artists? Don’t be too safe with your subject matter – push yourself out of your comfort zone.


4. The process of Selection for Exhibition I know that when I first entered a picture for selection I did not understand the process my picture would go through, although everyone else seemed fully au fait. So here I will describe the process. Artworks are delivered with the name of the artist covered and a title entered onto the front of the work. A member of the committee takes the entrance form and enters a code for that painting. This code is adhered to the artwork and only the code is used throughout the selection process, so that the judges do not know the artist. The artworks are selected at random and presented to the three judges – only the title of the piece is given by the person holding up the work. Each judge decides independently upon the mark he/she wishes to allot to the picture. The total score of the three judges is then entered into our register against the given code. Sometimes the judges wish to have

a second viewing of particular work and may decide to revise their original mark having seen all the entries. All the top scoring works are then put together and the judges are left to discuss which picture they jointly choose as first, second, third and which are to receive special recommendation. The committee is then invited back into the room where the results are revealed and entered into the register. The committee then mark each picture and entry form either with a tick or a cross to advise the artist if their work has been selected or not. Do not forget that the selection depends upon the decision of the particular judges on that day. It does not mean that the artwork is a failure – remember how the Impressionists were all rejected at selection for the exhibitions at the Grand Salon. Do not see yourself as having no talent – keep on trying.

See you at the next selection day for the Annual Merit and Little Gems Exhibitions on Saturday 27 October!


Learning Points What is “good art”? This is a question many asked following the exhibition of “The Spear” and maybe when viewing Protest Art. No matter where you are on the creative adventure, you must often ask yourself this question and it is a tough one to answer. In order to find some answers you need to play art critic both for your own work and for the work of other artists. Imagine you were called upon to act as judge when selecting works for an exhibition, what would you look for? Here are some guidelines to help you establish an objective basis for evaluating your own artwork and that of others.

Here is a short checklist to help you improve your work: 1. Have I provided enough tonal contrast? 2. Is the strongest tonal contrast concentrated at the focal point? 3. Have I ensured that there is contrast in shape and direction? 4. Have I repeated elements, such as form and colour, sufficiently elsewhere in the painting? 5. Have I supplied sufficient variation in the elements to avoid dullness? 6. Are the left and right sides of the work balanced? 7. Have I alternated between still and busy sections? 8. Have I limited my use of colours? 9. Have I tried not to narrate too much in a single painting, but kept my story simple?


ACTIVITY one Play Art Critic Examine the content, design and technique in paintings or other art work in books. Use the same criteria for realistic or abstract art. Compare two other pictures – one you like and one you don’t. Be as open-minded and objective as possible. Assume that the artists are sincere in their art and see if you can understand why they have used a certain technique, subject or colour. What would you have done with the same subject?

ACTIVITY two Draw up your own Positive Self-critique list. If you’re new to art, keep it very simple, and add points as you learn more. Remember though to have faith in yourself – look first at what you are doing right, and then build on your strengths. e.g.

Which part of my picture do I really like? Why do I like this? Did I have some “happy accidents” – can I build on these? If I repeat this picture what will I retain, what would I change? How can I improve on areas that I didn’t enjoy in my picture?

(If you’ve been painting for some time, you can adopt something more like the guidelines given at the beginning of this section.)

Extracted ideas from “The New Creative Artist” by Nita Leland


Food for thought

Local vs Global Art Suppliers “Little Art Shops” are finding it increasingly difficult to provide their customers with quality products at competitive prices.

complimentary of other brands. She says it takes a lot of skill to produce a really good oil paint. She also says “It really is not easy introducing new brands because artists are fussy.”

This is exacerbated by the small size of the market in South Africa. We also have few local manufacturers of art materials.

Gus Kennedy of The Italian Artshop admits “there is a dominance of British paint manufacturers….. Artists are however realising a whole new and exciting world of top brands that offer an amazing choice and different possibilities.”

Dala Art, based locally, has been one success story. They now employ over 100 people and have a strong export business. However, it cannot stem the increased popularity of bigger international brands. Ashley and Redmore, the company which imports brands such as Winsor and Newton and Reeves state: “There is a big demand for Winsor and Newton because it is the world’s best artist materials, so many prefer it.” Annemarie Prinsloo from another local manufacturer, Zellen Art Products, admits that Winsor and Newton brand of oil paints “are good”, but she is not as

Prinsloo further states that “the quality of locally manufactured paints has improved so much over the years. However, it must be acknowledged that without buy-in from consumers, very little growth is likely to be achieved.” With the move towards on-line shopping internationally, will this become an option for art supplies? Trends indicate that this will happen, but as Dot Dickson from Deckle Edge says “You have to have high stock holding and need to juggle that with the market. In the UK, for 21

example, the market is much bigger but in South Africa it would take longer for on-line sales to really take off.” However, Yolanda Kulemann, owner of online art supplies store Art Express disagrees. “Ours might be a fledgling industry but even relative new kid on the block, Art Attack, has since its establishment in 2010, seen significant growth in sales.”

Will on-line shopping result in consumers being afraid to try out new brands and therefore ultimately entrench the dominance of certain brands? To overcome this, a lot of product knowledge needs to be given on-line. No-one seems very clear about the future of the small art supplies shop, but their demise may be inevitable?? Extracted from article in Art Times magazine April 2012

Please let us know if you use locally manufactured paints or any of the lesser known imported brands – how did you find them? If you have used on-line shopping for art supplies also let us know your thoughts. I must add that I have used The Italian Artshop for mail order and found them very efficient - Kathy Wivell :



Letters Page

Hi Kathy That is an excellent magazine and a wonderful idea, as it encourages potential artists to paint and experiment more. So, Congratulations, you have all done the WCWG proud! I would like to mention something relating to the sizing of watercolour paper – most stockists and retailers do not mention the word ‘foxing’ in paper, so few artists are even aware how this happens. Most of us know it as Mould in our watercolour paper; this occurs if paper is stored in a damp area or when it is very humid. It is known as foxing that attacks the sizing and it is extremely contagious to other paper where it is stored. It is minute particles that are carried in the air, until before you know it, all your paper has this ‘mould’ which is only seen once water and paint are put on the paper. Once foxing has occurred the best thing to do is to throw it out, as it will spread very quickly, the paint will not move as you work on it, and eventually large dark areas will appear. If I may make a suggestion: If an artist is going to keep a good supply of paper, they should dust each sheet on the back with any anti-fungus powder. Mycota Foot powder is very effective. Store it in a cool place and do not keep it for very long. Regards Cherry Nichols

Please send all comments, suggestions etc. to Kathy Wivell at or Chris Hall at We look forward to hearing from you.


Upcoming exhibitions Uncontained: opening the Community Arts Project archive ‘Uncontained: opening the Community Arts Project archive’ features a selection of prints from the collection, mainly linocuts, a medium intimately associated with the now defunct Community Arts Project movement and with modern black art practice in South Africa.

South African National Gallery, Cape Town August 16 - September 30, 2012 Enquiries: Andrea Lewis 021 481 3965

Rendezvous 12 10 curators, 20 artists, 5 continents An exhibition of international contemporary art from the Lyon Biennale in France. Iziko South African National Gallery, Cape Town 12 July - 14 October 2012

Order and Division Gina Heyer's exhibition of photorealistic oil paintings 22 August - 3 October, 2012. Brundyn + Gonsalves 71 Loop Street, Cape Town, 8001 t +27 (0) 21 424 5150 WINTER OPENING HOURS: Mon - Fri 10am-5pm / Sat 10am-2pm


Liebrecht Art Gallery 34 Oudehuis Street, Somerset West 19th September for 3 weeks - Jaco Coetzee "On the street where we live" 20th September - one lecture by Professor Bert Olivier "Paradoxes of Art" 18th October for 3 weeks - Mike Rafi abstract exhibition 29th November - "Facing the future" exhibition by many of the country's leading artists For more information please contact Avril Gardiner T. 021 852 8030 C. 082 682 5710

Exhibit Your Paintings – upcoming opportunities…

To artist members of the Arts Association Stellenbosch. Chateau Naudé Wine Creation will present Le Spectacle de Terroir, an art competition, in which you and also the students of Stellenbosch University may participate. The exhibition opens on 19th September 2012 in the SU Art Gallery and the winning works will be auctioned at the annual Le Vin de François VIP auction on the 20th October 2012. Proceeds of the hammer prices will be donated to charity. The charity for 2012 will be MAD (Make a difference). MAD is Francois Pienaar’s charity that creates opportunities for talented disadvantaged South Africans ( All entered works could be offered for sale during the exhibition – you may exhibit and participate in the competition even if you do not wish to have your works on sale. For more information please contact Francois Naude 082 902 9468


NEW DVD HAS FINALLY ARRIVED!! We have over 50 titles available!!


Alvaro is one of the world’s most respected watercolour artists with a passion for his medium. He is an expressive painter with a strong and colourful style. In this film he explores the cities of Liverpool and Manchester, choosing to paint street scenes and Liverpool docks as well as an interior with two figures.

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Focal Point Issue Two  

The in-house magazine of the Western Cape Watercolour Group

Focal Point Issue Two  

The in-house magazine of the Western Cape Watercolour Group