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Dear Members,

As I write this newsletter I am sincerely hoping that you are enjoying this beautiful, if chilly, Spring weather, and looking forward to us gradually coming out of Lockdown. If you have been lucky enough to have received your vaccinations you will be preparing, like me, to meet with your family and friends in slightly larger groups in different venues. To this end, the OVAS Committee have been considering how we can start to resume the usual events we have previously enjoyed as a society.

We have decided to carry on with some of our online activities until end of June , until the restrictions are relaxed sufficiently for us to meet in person.

We have enjoyed our monthly Zoom demonstrations from various artists , and these have been quite well attended.

In February our President, Phil Creek gave us a well informed and helpful critique of members’ work; in March we had an extra zoom instead of our annual AGM , in the form of a talk on his amazing work,  by Sussex based artist Andrew Gifford; in April we watched South African pastel artist, Rob Wareing,  execute a lovely portrait of a young lady  in charcoal and pastels from his previous oils painting of her. We also held another  online competition of members’ work, and the winners were voted on by the membership. Congratulations to Val Faulkner, Di Clatworthy and Fiona Gale for winning a small prize each of a set of sketching equipment.

Some of the Tuesday Group have been continuing to meet online  to paint, needle felt or sort seeds , and to chat and exchange social pleasantries with each other! This will probably have to continue until after the summer when we can meet again at the Cricket Club in person. 

You will all have received your invites from Fiona for our zoom  May 7th demo with Dugald Stark, who will show us his approach to garden painting, and on 4th  June Tom Gowen , also via Zoom , will share his knife painting skills , the subject being a Kilarney cottage scene.

Additionally you might like to know that Jenny Aitken is now running online courses and Zoom demos at a reasonable price , which a couple of us attended in March.

Now for the exciting news for the near future  – our intention is that our first face to face event will be at the Institute on Friday 2nd July with well known watercolour artist Jake Winkle

On SUNDAY 4th July he will be leading  a workshop at Sidbury village Hall for us, probably on the theme of Venice, water and buildings. Some of you are already booked onto this event, but if you would like to join us, there are still some places free, so please either contact me, ( 01395597346)or Maureen Stone (01404758672) to book up. As both of these are large halls, we will be able to easily comply with Covid regulations.

Our other piece of news is that we are hoping to be able to hold our annual summer exhibition as usual in the Institute in August.

BUT, and this is A VERY BIG BUT, we can’t go ahead with this unless we have definite commitment from YOU, the members, to offer your help in the pre exhibition period to circulate the publicity, and to help with the setting up and taking down days on 4th August and 14th respectively. Of course, one of the requirements of entering your work is a commitment to two stewarding sessions during the time of the exhibition.  Approximately 15 able bodied people are required on those handing in and taking down days, to set up the heavy stands, to take in the work, be labellers, runners and help the hanging committee, so that everything is ready for the judge on the preview day.

The other factor is we are short of committee members at the moment so we need more volunteers to join us , to spread the load , as some people are doing two jobs.  Your society really can’t function without the membership being willing to take responsibility for it!

We need to know if you think you would like us to hold the exhibition, or think that you can offer us help, we would like to hear from you by 15th May please. If we don’t get enough positive  response the only alternative will be to hold an online exhibition again, which while being an alternative, isn’t quite the same I’m sure you will agree. So come on folks and help us please, as this is URGENT !!!

Penny Lamb 

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