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October 2016 Newsletter

Dear Members,

Now that autumn is upon us, it is a good time to reflect on our activities over the summer, particularly the exhibition, and to plan ahead for 2017.

I am pleased to report that the annual exhibition was once again a success, with more visitors than last year and turning in a profit of about £200 overall but, more importantly, showcasing the wealth of artistic talent and endeavour possessed by our Society. I am mindful that, without the Ottery Gazette, local publicity for the prize-winners was absent this year so here is a reminder of who won what:

Alice Comont Cup for sculpture: Neil Foster (Tall Sculpture)

Leornard Pargiter award for watercolours: Steve Weston (Egret in Flight)

David Young ward for oils: Ken Appleton (Elizabeth in Love)

Janet Langmaid award for mixed media: Mariangela Williams (Dying Waters)

The Society Award for Pastels: Keith Benge (Blues Night)

Alwyn Crawshaw award for acrylics: Mike Stevens (Speedy)

The Otter Award for Drawing: Jenny Savage (Ashe)

My own oil painting (“The Wreck of the Sparkling Nellie”) received the most votes from visitors as their favourite, followed by “Koi” by Gill Kirby.

Photos of all these paintings and some taken at the preview evening can be seen


There were fewer exhibitors this year so although we had plenty of excellent work to display it was more difficult to fill up the stewards’ rota for the full nine days that we were open. We managed with three stewards per session rather than the four of previous years, but next year if we are to achieve the same duration we may have to ask exhibitors to do two sessions or ask for more volunteers from society members who are not exhibiting.

Looking ahead to the 2017 exhibition, the key to achieving good attendance is advance publicity. Word of mouth is always effective but attractive posters and illustrated press coverage are also very important. With this in mind, we have selected the theme “Otter Vale Imagery” for our painting competition at the AGM this time with a view to using the winner and perhaps also the runners-up in our publicity material for the exhibition. The successful painting(s) will need to be available for the exhibition so will be exhibited free of charge and in addition to members’ normal quota of pictures or 3D works.

My thanks as always go to our committee for their time and effort put in to keep our society running. In particular but in no particular order, Penny Lamb has arranged a lively programme of demonstrations and workshops, details of which will be on your new membership cards as well as already on the web-site. Please reward her efforts by attending as many events as you can. Maureen Stone and Carolyn Barker are rejuvenating our library by selling some items and using the proceeds from this and loan fees to make new acquisitions. Terry Davies and Jacqueline Ward have together been fulfilling the essential membership secretary and honorary secretary roles. Nickie Bitschi is maintaining the rotas for members to exhibit in the Hind Street and Georgian galleries. If you wish to be included please let her know. Chris Poole continues to keep the web-site lively and, importantly, up-to-date (please contribute examples of your work for inclusion on the site by e-mailing JPEG picture files to Chris on And Tim Walker, who must by now qualify for a long service medal if only we issued them, is still our treasurer. We should never forget how important it is for societies such as ours to be able to demonstrate fiscal propriety.

We still have vacancies on the committee though. We do not at present have a committee member with the specific role of publicity officer for instance. If you feel that you would be good at preparing press releases, designing and distributing posters etc. for the society please let me or any existing committee member know.

Finally, Christmas will soon be here! We intend to find a suitable venue for another society lunch – you may remember that we went to the Hare and Hounds last year – so please watch out for further notification soon.

With very best wishes,

Mike Bird, Chairman

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