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Chairman’s Christmas Newsletter

First of all, may I extend my very best wishes to all our members for every happiness during the forthcoming festive season and for a prosperous and peaceful New Year.

All those who attended greatly enjoyed the Christmas lunch and get-together at the Hare and Hounds last Friday and my thanks go to Nickie Bitschi who organised the event. It’s impossible to find dates and times for events like this to suit everyone, but it was good to see nearly half our members there, including our President, Phil Creek with his wife, Jo.

My thanks also go to all the other committee members, who rallied round at the start of the year to keep the society on an even keel after an unusually large turnover of membership at the end of 2015. I think we can all agree that it has been a very successful year.

We have had lively and interesting demonstrations, some with associated workshops thanks particularly to Penny Lamb and there is already an exciting programme of events for 2017.

The Tuesday painting group goes from strength to strength and, of course, we had another successful annual exhibition which met all expectations regarding the quality of work on display and turned in a modest profit.

It is also very gratifying to note that eleven new members joined us in 2016, so a warm welcome to them. We still have space for new members though; please, if you can, introduce a friend to one of our meetings, especially as we approach the New Year.

I must mention the good work of the committee members I have not yet named:

the library has been rejuvenated and now has funds at its disposal thanks to Maureen Stone and Carolyn Barker,

our proceedings are properly documented and membership records kept up-to-date by our honorary and membership secretaries Jacqueline Ward and Terry Davies

and we can be assured of fiscal propriety thanks to the work of our long standing treasurer, Tim Walker. This leaves Chris Poole, who has very much eased my workload by taking on the maintenance of the web-site. Many society web-sites are left to go moribund but not so with ours thanks to Chris. It is an excellent and cost effective way for members to keep in touch with the society’s activities so I hope you all look at it from time to time.

It’s also a good showcase for members work so please send digital photos of your work to Chris ( if you are able to do so.  


Please don’t be bashful about showing your work.

If you enjoyed painting or sculpting it then it is certain that other people will enjoy looking at it. It’s not just about technical skill; it’s about self-expression and the desire to communicate ideas and emotions through imagery. So, please bring an example of your work along to our next Friday evening meeting at The Institute on 3rd February where renowned Devon artist Ray Balkwill will be on hand to provide tips and a friendly critique. The success of the evening relies on your co-operation in this respect.

As I have mentioned before, the meeting after that on March 3rd is our Annual General Meeting. It is at this meeting that your committee for 2017/8 is elected. So far as I know, the existing committee members are willing to stand again and serve for another year but we still need more help so please send any nominations to Terry Davies ( . Someone who could handle public and press relations or produce publicity material would be particularly welcome.

We will be having the customary painting competition at the AGM for the lovely Griffin Memorial Trophy, but this year we are hoping an extra incentive will be that the winner and two runners up will be used in publicity material for the annual exhibition. The three pictures, chosen by ballot of members at the AGM, will then be given free entry and pride of place at the exhibition. Just a reminder of the rules:

The theme is “Otter Vale Imagery” (this is to give a wide scope; you do not have to be literal!) Paintings (any medium) should be no larger than 16”x20”, unframed, unsigned and with suitable stiff mounts if not on a stretched canvas. They should be handed in in a plain wrapper. You will need to give your consent to the use of your picture in advance publicity material for the exhibition and to make it available for the exhibition (it may by then be signed and framed).

The AGM will also feature a talk by South West Arts on selling work through galleries. It is most important for the well-being of the society that the AGM is attended by as many members as possible, so please make a note of the date in your new diary.

Another opportunity to showcase or sell your work exists through the arrangements made by Nickie Bitschi with the Hind Street and Georgian House galleries in Ottery. If you would like to add your name to the list of members exhibiting at these galleries, please let Nickie know before Christmas. It is one painting per member for a month at a time, so please be patient for your turn to come around, particularly at the Georgian House as they can only accommodate one member at a time. Nickie can be contacted on 01404 822706 or

With the start of the New Year, annual Society membership subscriptions are due, and once again the Committee has agreed to keep the annual fee at £20. Subscription renewal forms are being sent out now, and should be completed and returned together with a cheque and SAE to the membership secretary, Terry Davies, as detailed on the form.  If any members require an additional form for a friend, please let Terry know.

I look forward to seeing you all again in February.

With very best wishes,

Mike Bird, Chairman

7th December 2016

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