Hi, I'm Mary Kemp, passionate painter of anything to do with the seaside.
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Thursday, 25 May 2017

Belonging to an Art Society

As I write this post I know that really I should be sending a report to my local art society on how our web presence is going. Over a year ago I fool-hardedly volunteered to take over the job of webmaster, or is it webmistress, and I think I took on a bigger job than I envisaged.

Handing in day for our Spring Exhibition.


Not that I mind really because it makes me feel even more part of this wonderful society, and as you're inquiring I'll tell you it's the Welland Valley Art Society based in Stamford Lincolnshire.

Over the years I've belonged to several art societies, some frankly have overawed me until I got to know them better, but all have provided me with plenty of people to talk to about the passions I keep from the family, different brands of oil paint, how do you clean your brushes, will breathing the fumes of oil paint kill you ? etc.

Art societies seem to break down into two groups, those whose main thrust is exhibiting and those that meet often with an emphasis on the social aspect as much as art. I think both are equally valid.

Up on the wall!

Of course some take themselves more seriously than others with selection of members and work. And others are very keen on demonstrations by established artists. I've been to many a demo and enjoyed them immensely as well as learning loads. I've also daydreamed through a few.

But what I really wanted to say was how wonderful art societies are, how nurturing and supportive they can be, and how any artist at any level can benefit from joining one whether to share their own knowledge or learn from others, or a bit of both.

And I don't like to boast. Not much! but here is the painting that I put into our latest exhibition. It won a Commendation, Great back slapping all round.

©Mary Kemp
Border Collie on the Beach
Oil on canvas panel.
And the icing on the cake was that even though it didn't find a home during the exhibition  the next weekend a collector came to my studio and liked it so much she took it home.

So now I've written this I'm going to knuckle down to my report and finish it before bedtime.



Thursday, 4 May 2017

Welland Valley Art Society's Spring Exhibition 2017

We artists often paint or sculpt in glorious isolation so it's wonderful to feel yourself part of a group with a common aim.

Twice a year the Welland Valley Art Society gets together for an exhibition at the Stamford Arts Centre lasting two weeks.

Preview Day

The Exhibition runs until May 13th and during this time the selected work is available for all to see and two exhibiting members of the society are always on hand to talk about the work and conduct any sales.


I look forward to my time "on duty". It's an opportunity to talk about art, not just my own, but that of the other artists. Many of our visitors are so very interested in what they see and the chance to vote for your favourite exhibit sparks some lively debate.

I also love visiting Stamford and the delights of the Arts Centre coffee shop.

As usual the exhibition was a joyful mixture of work in a variety of mediums. Selection, hanging and the hundred and one organising jobs are all done by volunteer members of the society.

And now, after many years making sure it all works effortlessly, our Exhibition Secretary Chris Illsley has decided to step down. It is a tribute to her seamless running of the event that the job is now being done by, not one, but four people.


Our chosen theme this year was
"A Celebration of Spring"
I had a few favourite pictures this year: 
A delicate botanical study by Christine Butler and Judy Merriman's Sea of Daffodils and any of Keith Hemsley's controlled gouache paintings.

These are those who work received recognition.


Gladys Teesdale Award: 
Will Illsley for Cairn 1. mixed media

John Fountain Award ; 

Joanna Crawford for Life Study, pastel.

Commended works:

Barbara Allen: Rough Day, N'stra da Barca , oil
Philip Dawson: Spring Teepees at Dusk, Barnsdale Wood, mixed media
Chris Illsley: Will's Pots, mixed media
Mary Kemp: Border Collie on the Beach, oil

David Cromack: The Parched Land. mixed media