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Cookham Arts Club AGM 2023

Post Category: Newsletter
Post date: 9 January 2024


Held on 16th November, 2023 at Holy Trinity Parish Centre at 14.00hrs

Meeting opened at: 14.05

Committee Present: Robert Jones – Chairman, Freddie Daniel – Treasurer, Simoné Bonner – Secretary, Pam Cullinane – Tuesday Painting, Gill Griffith – Programme Organiser, Wendy Mercer – Exhibitions organiser, Lyn Rackley – Outdoor Painting, Sue Sepehri – Programme Organiser, Satu Vartiainen – Artistic Advisor.

1. Apologies: Kay Lamb (President), Alan Bateman, Alison Pink, Rachel Ireland, Sue Carter, Jean Jackson, Jacqui Ward, Brian Ford

2. Reading of the AGM Minutes 2022: Read and accepted.

3. Chairman’s opening remarks. Good afternoon, everyone and welcome to our Annual General Meeting.
We come here this afternoon to review another year in the life of Cookham Arts Club and I think I can fairly say that it has been a good one. We have had some most enjoyable demonstrations and workshops, including a change to our usual, in-house Club workshop day early in the year by joining in with the preparation of environmentally themed artwork for the ‘Our Changing Earth Festival’. Our work, along with that of many other local artists and clubs was displayed at the Odney Club in June.
I will ask other members of the committee to tell you more about the year very soon.
The success of the club is perhaps reflected by the loyalty of our members, supporting our events and re-joining year after year, and also by the way we manage to attract new members. We must have been doing something right as 30 new artists have joined us in 2023. The membership is up from 140 in 2022 to 153 this year. So, thank you to all of you here today, and I hope that you will find this an enjoyable meeting – not only our AGM but also what promises to be a fascinating talk later on.
I will now hand over to our club secretary, Simone, to say a few words and introduce other members of our committee.

4. Secretary’s Report: I would like to start by saying thank you to Robert for all his hard work for the club. Without a good leader I’m sure the club wouldn’t run as well as it does.
We’ve had a successful year and shortly I’ll introduce you to those who have written reports. I am pleased to say that our membership has increased and many of our new members have joined us on a Tuesday afternoon. Some weeks being almost to capacity in the hall. However we would like to encourage people as we welcome artists from all levels of skill. Our Tuesday topics cover a variety of subjects, painting techniques and methods and we would like attendees to at least have a go even if it takes them out of their comfort zone. Pam will talk about this in more detail shortly. Sue will report on our exciting annual programme of Workshops, and also our monthly meetings of Demonstrations and Critiques. Lyn will say a few words about Outdoor Painting and finally Wendy will tell you about our Exhibitions, Holiday and the newly refurbished website. On that note I’ll hand you over to Sue on demonstrations and workshops.

4.1 Monthly Meetings and Workshops by Sue Sepehri and Gill Griffith

We had two critiques this year. Mick McNicholas gave us great tips on perspective and composition.
Peter Keegan’s New Arts Critique was very helpful and instructive, giving us a list of things to consider when assessing one’s own work, and eventually had us all joining in on the critique.

Our first, and highly entertaining and informative demo, was from Rick Holmes painting a garden shed using an acrylic ink roller base with soft pastels over.
Well known portrait painter Mark Fennell gave us good advice on measuring the proportions of the face and colour mixing using a limited palette.
Jenny Whalley’s paintings of guinea fowl in water based mixed media were energetic and loose, accompanied by some great story telling.
Susan Gray gave a fabulous demo of an acrylic landscape showing us many new tricks for mark making, even using a knitting needle at one point. She will be joining us again next year for a workshop.
We had buildings in pen and wash from Susan Neale and a beautifully detailed demo of how to paint a bouquet in watercolour from Liz Baldin.

Of our 4 workshops this year, the first was working with Leysa Henderson on Wild Cookham. The theme was ‘What’s the Story”, using art to highlight our changing earth.
Our very successful workshop with Max Hale was painting a still life using acrylics or oils. He gave lots of demonstrations and was very interactive giving advice. He will be joining us next year for a structured approach for working towards abstraction.
Local artist and teacher Joel Wareing, again in oils or acrylic, worked with us on “An Urban Scene with Figures’. I think many of us found it quite challenging, but it was an enjoyable day and we learned an interesting approach to the subject.
The last workshop was with Catherine Beale, helping us to loosen up our watercolour paintings using light filled woodland glades and rays of light through trees as inspiration.

As ever, we appreciate any feedback on the demos and workshops as this helps us to organise future events. We also welcome any suggestions regarding what you would like in the future. We do look into all suggestions, but , for various reasons, it doesn’t always work out..

4.2 Tuesday Painting Report by Pam Cullinane
Tuesday painting is pleased to have welcomed new members to the group. Members can work in any medium and on any subject they may wish. Every fortnight there is a suggested topic that is intended to challenge and stretch our imagination and skills. The standard of work is very high. Thank you to all those who have put suggestions forward for the coming year. Thank you also to the members who bring cakes for our tea on topic days.
In February this year we had a workshop in conjunction with “Wild Cookham” looking at hidden creatures (photos, media, paintings) where we were encouraged to paint a narrative around our changing earth.
Some of our members have exhibited at the Cookham Festival and Elizabeth House. Our annual Christmas card competition was won by Lyn Rackley with a lovely seasonal composition

4.3 Outdoor Painting Report by Lyn Rackley
This year we were able to hold all our 6 outdoor painting days, without a single one affected by rain or cold weather – this must surely be a record for the club. For the benefit of new members, we meet one day a month from April to October, with the exception of July when the club holiday and garden party take place. Whenever possible the days end with a group catch-up over tea and cakes at a local hostelry.
At the end of last year, I reluctantly had to announce that I could not guarantee continuing to organise these sessions due to some personal health and family issues. That is still the case I’m afraid, but I must thank 4 members, who kindly offered to find, and did arrange some of this year’s locations, namely Roy Baker, CJ, Sue Carter and Keith Clarke. Your help was truly marvellous. It was especially heartening to see quite a few new members joining our little band of regulars on these enjoyable days out, reported in the newsletters.
For a brief outline of the season- In April, we were invited to paint in the grounds of Nashdom House, a grand building in Taplow, built for a Russian Prince, then used for many years as a monastery, now private apartments. A great opportunity to visit this impressive estate. In May we painted on Odney Common, with views of the Odney Club and Bridge. In June, we organised to paint in the delightful surroundings of Dorney Court sunken Garden, in the garden centre, on a very hot day. For August, we visited Shiplake Church, a little known quiet spot near the Thames and Henley. In September we went to beautiful Taplow Court , the local Buddhist centre, on one of their welcoming open days. Finally in October, we used Higginson Park in Marlow, when even then the autumn weather was kind to us.
Next year I don’t foresee my personal circumstances being resolved, but in the absence of anyone coming forward to take on arranging the year’s locations, I have agreed to still co-ordinate the programme, while again inviting suggestions & offers of help from members, where pre-visits or access permissions are needed. It has proven successful this year and has the benefits of bringing in often new interesting locations, to appeal to a range of painters and drawing on local knowledge. We have already received several ideas which are in process of being booked, so if anyone has any further ideas, please do let the committee know- even if you personally are not an outdoor painter. Your suggestions will be appreciated.
Thank you to all those who have helped or come along to join in this year. We hope it continues to attract more painters. I, or any of the committee will be happy to answer any questions you may have about joining us. Thank you.

4.4 Exhibitions, Holiday and Website by Wendy Mercer

2023 brought all our planned exhibitions, plus an opportunity to support the Wild Art Festival, Cookham. Overall this was successful for Wild Cookham, 5 of our members sold work here.
Spring 2023 , 2D 42 members, 3D 3 members, sales up on previous Spring sales, good footfall . 2D exhibitors down on last year.
August 2023, 57 members, 7 non- members, non-members down on last year. 2D entries slightly up but still less than 2019, footfall is slowly improving. Sales overall were up, but as the cost of the venue has had to increase, this year we made a small loss.
September , Cookham Dean Village Fete, we had a lovely display that was well visited, and a couple of sales.
From October until early next year we have a small exhibition at Elizabeth House, to date we have sold a painting and some cards.
Following the trial of introducing quality prints for the browser the feedback has been positive.
Looking forward to 2024 Cookham Arts Club have been invited to support the biannual Cookham Festival, the theme is an Unusual Views of The Cookhams – Guess Where?
All information for any of the exhibitions will be on the website.

Holiday 2023
13 of us went to Nythfa House, Brecon, Powys, in the lovely Brecon Beacons. The weather was very Welsh, sunny not too chilly, prone to showers. Our hosts and other guests asked us to display some of the art produced over the week, They voted with £1 coins for their favourite. Kay Lamb raised the most money with her pen drawing of the Brecon Basin. All of the money raised was given to the Mountain Rescue charity.
We have booked to stay with HF Holidays, at Dolserau Hall House, Dolgellau, Gwynedd. Friday 14th June-Friday 21st June 2024 . As there was difficulty booking 9 single room we asked if any of the group would be willing to share. A massive thank you to Jenny Woodruff and Tina Hillier volunteering to share and enabling the whole group to benefit from the Group discount.

Website 2023
This year Karen Comber has agreed to take over the monthly updates and videoing our events. Thank you Karen.
We will be asking for someone who can update our Facebook and Instagram pages.
Please check out the new layout Spring Art Sale Exhibition page. We have developed a section for everything you need to know about entering your work.

Over the next few months, we will be adding a similar style to the Summer exhibition page.

5. Treasurer’s Report: The Balance Sheet shows our total funds increased by £109.60 in the latest financial year, so we remain in a sound financial position with £22,669.68 in our Current and Deposit accounts and Cash in hand.
2 days into this current financial year we received a credit to the Deposit Account of £344 for the previous 6 months after a welcome return to modest interest payments by HSBC, making a total increase of £673 to that account over the last 12 months.
In August we made a loss of £283.39 on a very successful Summer Exhibition in another difficult year. Sales and commission earned were better than last year, but the cost of hiring Pinder Hall increased by £170 and income from Non-member entry fees fell by £105.
Subscription income rose by £296, and we currently have 143 paying members and 10 Life Members.
General Account & Cash in Hand – these show a year on year reduction of £219.62 and currently stand at £2,984.66.
Reserve Account – this increased by £329.22 to £19,685.02.
The accounts have been audited by Mrs Sue Le Page, to whom I am grateful once again.

6. Election of Chairman and Committee: All members of the Committee are willing to stand again.
6.1 Election of Chairman – Robert Jones. Proposed by GillGriffith, seconded by Tess Marsh
6.2 Election of Committee – proposed by Ruth Daniel, seconded by Patricia Ashcroft

7. Any Other Business:
7.1 Robert – in an email to us Kay would like to thank the Committee for their continued hard work this last year and wish the Club well for 2024.

8. Chairman’s closing remarks and introduction of our guest speaker, Jacqui Edwards. Robert thanked the committee for their reports and was happy to conclude the meeting with introducing our guest speaker.

Meeting closed at 14.30hrs