This month we meet in Glasgow for a tour of the Treasures of the Kelvin Grove Art Gallery. We were led by Elaine who is an official guide in the Museum. She shared with us some insights into the most celebrated items in the collection as well as giving us the history of the museum and some information about its recent refurbishment. We started with Dali's St John of the Cross, then moved onto the French and Dutch Galleries before enjoying the Scottish Colourists, the Glasgow Boys and the MacIntosh Glasgow style exhibition. It highlighted the rich resource we can enjoy on our doorstep free of charge. A few of us stayed after lunch to enjoy the Retrospective Exhibition of Linda McCartney's photographs.
On Thursday 10th October Andy gave us a fascinating presentation of Art in Shipping. As a sea faring nation the sea and boats or ships have always been significant to us. At some point ship builders moved away from the craft of boat building to include artistic features and concepts of beauty in their designs. Andy encouraged us to look at design details on ships, the imagery in travel posters, as well as discussing the significance some of the most iconic art works in the cannon. It has to be said that we also gleaned a lot of marine engineering insight.
We met at Tricia's home on Thursday 12th September to discuss the theme of Art in Fiction. It proved a lively and stimulating topic with six short presentations on five novels and one play. There were references to famous artists and their work as well as fictional artists through which concepts of fakes and forgery; how should we approach art; artistic influences and parallels; life as art; what constitutes "good" art; art and beauty; as well as the famously gothic tale of art as a mirror of the soul. In addition to her stimulus notes that we enjoyed before the meeting, Tricia has generated a reading list the contributions.
On Thursday 8th August we enjoyed a presentation by Margaret Johnston on The Glasgow Art Club, hosted by Helen. Margaret has recently become a member of the club having submitted three pieces of work to support her application. Margaret gave us some historical information about the club which was established in 1867 and has occupied a site on Bath Street since 1893. The club offers a rolling programme of exhibitions and occasional lectures. It has had many famous members in the past including several of the Glasgow Boys. Although Charles Rennie Mackintosh was not a member he has contributed much to the interior design of some of the rooms. Helen then introduced us to some significant pieces in her personal collection.
For the meeting on 11th July Fiona gave a fascinating presentation on The Art of the Fashion Illustrator. She took us from cave paintings to the designs for today's major fashion houses, explaining the drawing or etching techniques involved and highlighting the salient influences on this art form. Along the way we learnt about the skills of tailors and seamstresses in copying these detailed images, the impact of the printing press on the availability of designs and the spread of ideas through costume books and ladies magazines. It promoted plenty of lively discussion and reminiscence.
We have had two events in June.
On 13th June we met at Keith Salmon's studio at the Harbour Arts Courtyard in Irvine. Keith, an award-winning landscape painter, gave us an insight into his techniques and the challenges he faces when trying to capture the wild beauty of the mountains he loves to explore in all weathers and seasons. Keith's story is all the more remarkable as his sight has been failing for some years. He is now exploring a fusion between soundscape and landscape.
On 21st June we went to Dumfries House to enjoy a specialist tour of the art in the capable and knowledgeable hands of one of their senior guides, Gail. She showed us exhibits from the original 18th Century inventory of the house; the additions from the Bute family collection and several paintings on loan to the Dumfries House Trust from their benefactors.
On 9th May there was a "Bring and Tell" group activity held at Sheila's home. There were five presentations to the theme of "An important, significant painting with resonance to you" The 'tour' took the group to galleries all around the globe and gave deeper insights into the tastes and interests of the members.
There was a planning meeting on 12th April to review the activities of the past year and to engender a programme for the coming twelve months.
For the meeting on 14th March, with the prospect of Spring hanging in the air, Favourite Buildings was the topic for conversation at Helena's home. In keeping with previous 'bring-and-tell' sessions, choices were eclectic, and included churches, schools, museums, a teahouse and a lighthouse, in locations from Scotland, UK, Italy, Austria and Spain to America. Revelations included Andy getting the belt in Paisley Abbey!
For the 14th February (St. Valentine's Day) meeting, where the group met in Andy's home, the apt topic was Romanticism. On this occasion, four presenters, Elaine, Fiona, Helena and Jean, combined resources to present on how the Romantic movement was reflected across Europe and America, by artists such as Leutze, Runge, Delacroix and Constable.
On 10th January, the group were joined, when we met in Fiona's home, by guest speaker Ian McAnulla who came to speak on the subject of Cartoon Art. Ian has a clear passion for cartoons, and in a relaxed yet insightful way shared with us various aspects of their history, purpose, interpretation, artistic influences, styles and formats, from their earliest purveyors to present-day exponents. A very entertaining session, suggesting that Ian will be sure to be invited back.