Newsletter # 47 December 2016


Stella Murray Whatley


the late Jack Coulthard the late Peter Coate RWA

Dear Reader(s)

I begin this just before our Christmas lunch, near the end of a good year for SAGT, but one tinged with sad news. Both of our patrons died within a few weeks of each other: Peter Coate at the end of July after being frail and poorly for some time, and Jack Coulthard on the 18 October after ten weeks in hospital. And last Saturday Hugh Bazley, a faithful supporter of our events, died in hospital. We mourn all three and send our love and condolences to their families and give thanks for the part they have played in SAGT’s existence.

Peter Coate RWA (1926 – 2016) was a landscape painter and countryman, a fine man and good friend. He retired to Wells, learnt about us and decided he could help by donating paintings for us to sell. We exhibited them at the Brewhouse in November, 2015 and then at the Café in the Conference Centre, and included two in our Summer Exhibition. So far six have been sold and with the money raised we are gradually acquiring art for our permanent collection.

Jack Coulthard is well known to most of you, if not in person then through his Taunton exhibitions over the many years he lived locally. This is not an obituary – I do so hope a good one will appear: he deserves that – but an attempt to share something of what he has meant to us.

He was a fine teacher at the old Art College in Corporation Street and there are artists busy today who recall his way of working with them. He had a great knowledge of art history and drew on it for his work and for others. He could be blunt, direct and challenging and keep one on one’s toes in conversation – and in the questions he asked and the views he expressed. Life around Jack was often great fun and surprising.

For years he painted his pictures in a studio-shed in his garden, braving the cold, using plasticine models to set a scene, his imagination to the fore. A unique and powerful ‘narrative’ would emerge whose meaning one could not always grasp but which represented passionately something important to him.

The art world is a fickle one and picks whom it fancies and ignores other good and true artists. Jack had a foot in the London world for a time and a dealer in Austria for five years. His work is in Austria and America and in some public collections and in many private hands. My hope is that his great skill and daring will become far better known, and that interest in his paintings will quicken. He deserves greater recognition and is an important artist, one who may become seen as special, of whom Somerset can be very proud.

He was a good loyal friend of SAGT, creatively restless, and I enjoyed being with him, his laugh, Barbara and his hospitality, and his phone calls with the familiar, Jack here, Hey, I’ve just thought of…Do you think that would be a good idea?

Our Summer Exhibition in the Brewhouse was a great success even though one always hopes for more sales. The Private View was most enjoyable and we ran out of wine. The quality of the art and of its display, the latter overseen by Freeny Hammick, was much commented on, and struck me as excellent, seeing it afresh, on my return from holiday The footfall to look at art there is growing slowly and access to the art is becoming easier (we have to remember that volunteers are often on duty) and the staff are publicising their exhibitions more. It takes time for people to know where good art can be found. Twenty-two artists between them exhibited 77 works.

Tami, one of our committee, invited visitors to choose works in various categories: the favourite work was Mike Tarr’s Pedaso Bench with Pat Preater’s Play in the Sand close behind. The work that made one smile was also Pedaso Bench with Kevin Sanders’ Pick of the Bunch close behind. (One viewer wrote huffily, There’s more to art than humour.) The best landscape went to Peter Coate’s Sheep on Farm, Highbridge. The work that made one think was Deborah Westmancoat’s Finding a way Home. And there were lots of suggestions for the best colour: Ron Cann’s Sun on the Deck just pipped the others.

We have been invited to show bi-annually at the Brewhouse. So start stocking up with work for 2018. Our thanks to all who contributed and attended and stewarded.

Sara Dudman’s postponed workshop took place recently (24 November) at CICCIC and was great fun. Nine of us completed a small acrylic canvas of a Northumberland sky scene thanks to Sara’s inspired teaching and preparation. She showed us how one might paint a threatening sky, and then encouraged us to take risks and go for it.

Our subscription remains the same for 2017. We plan to use the Brewhouse for workshops, our AGM, and some of our talks. Charges for these events may therefore be a little higher to cover costs for the room hire and use of equipment. Your committee feel that we want to work in partnership with likeminded organisations. We shall also invite other organisations such as Chandos, Contains Art and T.A.G. to attend our events, and have offered to pass on information about theirs.

Whats Coming After Christmas?

February 23 7.30 pm – Brewhouse Studio – Freeny Yianni Hammick will talk on Richard Hamilton and his Taunton links. Anyone is welcome.

March 6 7.00 pm Conference Centre – Jeremy Harvey on Three American Artists Edward Hopper, Alexander Calder, and George Rickey. All welcome.

March 23 7.30 pm Brewhouse Studio – our AGM followed by Gillian Solomon on The Portraits of David Hockney RA. Open event.

My committee colleagues and I wish you a very Happy Christmas and we’ll hope to help make 2017 another good year for SAGT.

Jeremy Harvey

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