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Otter Vale Art Society News –

an evening with Jem Bowden

OVAS was delighted to welcome renowned artist Jem Bowden to their meeting at the Institute on May 5th, where he gave a demonstration of his distinctive technique with watercolours. Jem lives in Bristol and is both a practising watercolour artist and a tutor He derives his inspiration from the English landscape, ususally choosing to paint “en plein air” in order to capture the full experience of the location, even though weather conditions can sometimes make this an uncomfortable experience. His prowess in the field was given national recognition by the Society for All Artists, who named him artist of the year a couple of years ago.

On the evening he chose as his first subject a watercolour study based on a scene near Bradford-on-Avon, Wiltshire The key feature in the scene was the dramatic outline of a pollarded willow tree in late winter. The best watercolours have life and energy breathed into them by the artist taking risks with the swift application of paint to paper. It may not always work but when it does the results are more likely to be satisfying for both the artist and the viewer.

After the interval, during which members of OVAS enjoyed discussing with Jem his techniques and the materials he uses, he then embarked on a second study, this time a springtime scene with a meadow and hedgerow. A subtly different choice of colour gave a bright and fresh feel to the scene, evocative of the season and in contrast to the wet and soft grey feel to the winter scene.

At the conclusion of the event the chairman of OVAS, Mike Bird, in thanking Jem on behalf of the society said that it is always a great pleasure to watch someone who is the master of their chosen medium demonstrate their artistry, which Jem did with consumate skill.

The Otter Vale Art Society welcomes amateur and professional artists of all abilities as well as those simply interested in the visual arts. For more details of the society’s activities and how to join, see the society’s web-site, Demonstrations by professional artists usually take place on the first Friday of the month in The Institute, where visitors are welcome for a £2 entrance fee. The next one will be a demonstration of sketching techniques by well known West Country artist Nick Watton at 7.30pm on 2nd June. The society also stages an annual exhibition, which this year will take place from 4th to 12th August in The Institute.

Mike Bird

Jem Bowden leading the Watercolour workshop at Gosford Village Hall, Taleford

Otter Vale Art Society

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