Monday, 22 December 2014

Merry Christmas from York Art Society

Best wishes for Christmas and 2015 to all members of York Art Society and to our many friends and supporters.

And grateful hanks to Julie Lightburn once again for designing this year's card (on top of all her sterling support for our 200th celebrations).

Recent Work by Sadie Ashton

Looking back to the summer as the year ends,  here's a trio of works from Sadie Ashton.

The dragon boat race on the Ouse (above) was recently presented to the President of York Rowing Club and is now in their achives.

Christmas Past

Keeping with the spirit of some of our earlier posts, a final run through of Christmas images from bygone holiday seasons.

Home thoughts from abroad in the December 1914 edition of the Union Jack
 (and note the classic 'snow on the logo' effect)

Much brighter times in 1925

and a Radio Times from the same year

J C Lyendecker's 'Night Before Christmas'
December 1936

Greyhound bus advert 1945
"Home for Christmas" was a favourite theme that first year
of peace for obvious reasons  

Wonderful non-PC Christmas advert from the mid 1950s 

1958 - the classic years of advertising art
(because nothing says I Love You like a boxed set of Mad Men 

First Peanuts animated short, December 1965
(and probably repeated every year since)
Charles Schultz

Earthrise on Christmas Day 1968 ( from Apollo 8 )

Christmas 1973
.. but Bing Crosby on the cover ??   Seriously ??

Danish stamps from the same year

Wild Thing
Cover of the Rolling Stone by Maurice Sendak
December 1976 

Never Mind the Baubles !
Christmas 1977 

Christmas 1989
The wall comes down ......... 

,,,,,, and The  Simpsons are here 

Classic Tim Burton 1993 Animation 

Thank you .... and good night !

New Year Events

A few key dates for member's diaries for the new year.

10th January Demonstration at Christ Church hall by Robert Brindley.

16th January Handing-in day for St Leonard's exhibition

17th January to 2nd February  Exhibition at St Leonard's Hospice Shop, Heworth

24th January  First meeting of the Self Help Group for 2015

14th February Demonstration of acrylic landscapes by Joe Hush

And don't forget that a few of our members - including Lin "Angry Birds" Taylor and Chris Dewire - currently have their work on display at The Hungry Artist cafe in the centre of York.   Go for the art, stay for the coffee !

New Works by Shirley Davis Dew

The Wolds
Shirley Davis Dew

Going Home
Shirley Davis Dew 

200th Exhibition Commemorative Plaques and Limited Edition Poster

The first batch of A1 posters featuring most of the 200 small works of art from the 200th exhibition have been printed and sold, at a cost of £15 each.  If we have enough requests for a second print run we’ll do this in the New Year.

Please email if you would like your name adding to the list.

All of the un-sold plaques from the 200th exhibition are being donated to the St Leonard’s Hospice Shop in Heworth to sell at our exhibition there in January.  If you would like to paint any new plaques for this good cause please bring them along to the hand in day on the 16th and we’ll pop a magnet on the back

Dickens at Christmas

Some traditional Christmas images by John Leech.

Whether you're aware of Leech's work or not, these should be immediately familiar as they were created for the first edition of Charles Dickens "A Christmas Carol".  

Originally published in 1843, the tale caught the public imagination at a time when the Victorians were enthusiastically assimilating European customs into the old English traditions.  In the 170 years since, it has never been out of print.  

Whether you've read the original or not, the story has become so pervasive that it pretty much sets the blueprint for a very British Christmas of the industrial era - with equal measures of charity and consumption and a secular nod towards redemption. 

Adapted and parodied by everyone from Alistair Sim to The Simpsons  (not to mention the Muppets) Leech's original designs have been constantly recycled through popular culture all our lives.

Friday, 12 December 2014

December Demonstration Saturday 13th

There has been a change to the scheduled artist for the Saturday demonstration.

Unfortunately Niamh Hanlon has had to cancel due to illness.  In her place, the demonstration will be presented by Tony Hogan.

Venue and timings are as normal - Christchurch Hall, Stockton Lane, York starting at 2:00pm  Entry is free for members and £5 for guests.

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

January Exhibition in Heworth

We're delighted to announce that we're returning to the St Leonard's Hospice shop in Heworth for another two week exhibition in the new year.  This was a very popular and successful event in 2013 and 2014 and supports a good cause.

The dates for your diary are 16th to 31st January 2015.

More details to be announced closer to the time - here on the blog and at the regular demonstrations.

New Year Self Help Dates

The first two self help group meetings in the new year will be held on the following Saturdays

24th. January 2015

21st. March 2015.

The day runs from 10:00am to about 4:00pm in St Andrews Church Hall, Bishopthorpe and costs £6 (to cover the hire of the hall).

Usual rules apply ( packed lunch, sensible shoes, a note signed by your mum, yadda yadda yadda). 

If you've not been to one of these events previously, why not make it one of your New Year resolutions?  These days are always popular and offer a chance to learn from and support your peers in a friendly informal atmosphere.

You can read more here.  Or contact Lin Taylor for more detail.    (email:   or tel: 01904 702590 )

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Christmas 1940

The Sanity Clause in our brief for this review of Christmas art from bygone years said that we should avoid overly sentimental Father Christmas images.  So here's a slightly darker twist on that theme.

The Christmas edition of the Radio Times, the BBC's own listings magazine, is still very much part of a traditional British Christmas - almost as vital as the Queens Speech and the James Bond movie. This particular edition is from December 1940 and shows St Nick in a tin hat reading the news from overseas. 

This was the British public's second Christmas since the outbreak of hostilities and it came at the end of a year that had already seen the fall of France, the Dunkirk evacuation, the airborne Battle of Britain and the London Blitz.  The dark times are reflected in the article titles - "Evacuee Children", "From Across the Atlantic" and "Christmas Under Fire" - a stark contrast to the celebrity diets and reality show finals featured in 2014 editions.

The art is signed as "Gilroy" (at bottom right, just below Santa's left cuff).  Presumably this is John Gilroy (1898 - 1986), the Whitley Bay born commercial artist who had a long association with the Radio Times and is probably best known for his art on thirty years worth of Guinness advertising campaigns including those featuring their iconic toucan.  Gilroy was also employed extensively by the Ministry of Information for wartime work including the Make Do & Mend campaign.

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

Christmas 1960

Continuing our tour of Yuletide art from bygone years, here's an advert from 1960 that shows how times have changed our perception of an acceptable present..

Well, it's the thought that counts and doesn't she look happy ?

Nice crisp commercial art with a dodgy message.  Guess I'm sleeping on the couch until Easter.

Monday, 1 December 2014

Christmas at Beningbrough Hall

Here's a timely reminder of a show we told you about back in the summer.  Our colleagues at Newton on Ouse art group are exhibiting at Beningbrough Hall every weekend between now and Christmas.

This is a free event in the Hayloft, though the normal hall admission charges will apply.  See these links for more details and directions.

It's Christmas ! (If You Want It)

So apparently yesterday was actually the first day of Advent (traditionally the fourth Sunday preceding December 25 ) but here at York Art Society we firmly believe in keeping the tinsel under wraps and our calender doors firmly closed until December 1st at the earliest.

Kicking off a month long trawl through seasonal imagery, we thought we'd start with what is alleged to be the very first commercial Christmas card ever sent.

The illustration shown above is by John Callcott Horsley and appeared on cards commissioned by Sir Henry Cole in 1843.  Quintessentially British,the central image manges to avoid any religious references and instead depicts three generations of a family knocking back copious amounts of wine, while the side panels show a few scraps being thrown to the poor. Or maybe that's just my reading of it.

Cole produced over 2,000 of these cards for Christmas 1843, selling them for a shilling each (that's 5 new pence for our younger readers).  More recently, one of the dozen or so known to survive from that batch, a card sent by Sir Henry to his grandmother, was sold at auction for over £22,000.  (and you can read about that here)

Sunday, 30 November 2014

The December Demonstration - Staithes in Watercolour

The next demonstration takes place on Saturday 13th December and features watercolours by Niamh Hanlon.   See the following links for examples of Niamh's work.

The venue is the usual time and place 2:00pm at Christ Church Hall in Stockton Lane  - if you've not been along before, please see the demonstrations page for more detail.

Small Works of Art at the 200th Exhibition

One of the more popular and novel features of the last exhibition was a display of 200 mini pieces of art, implemented and masterminded by Julie Lightburn, which proved to be a great demonstration of the diverse range of talent among the membership.

We've already featured many of these on the blog over the summer.  Here's Julie's summary of the project

“Thank you to everyone who contributed plaques to our exhibition of small works of art.  They were all delightful and made a splendid display. With a few last-minute entries we made it to the full 200 plaques.  

There were so many wonderful works of art it was difficult to choose which to bid for in our Preview Evening auction.  Our selector, Paul Blackwell, had the very difficult task of choosing our three winners.  

  • June Hardy was awarded the prize for “Most Original” artwork, 
  • Cath Inglis was given the prize for the “Most Accomplished” piece 
  • Fiona Sheehan was the selectors favourite.  

June Hardy

Cath Inglis

Fiona Sheehan
The Lord Mayor drew Christine Richardson from the hat of names of all contributors, for the fourth prize of chocolates and a YAS 200th Tote Bag” 

Christine Richardson

York Art Society is extremely grateful for all the time and effort that Julie put into this part of our exhibition.  

The plaques were also used in  three separate designs for the Tote Bags sold during the exhibition and there are plans for a poster featuring all 200 works.  

Hockney !

The long awaited bio-pic of Yorkshire artist David Hockney is now on general release across the country, including City Screen in the centre of York.

Here's the official release blurb :

HOCKNEY is the definitive exploration of one of the most significant artists of his generation. For the first time, David Hockney has given access to his personal archive of photographs and film, resulting in an unparalleled visual diary of a long life.

The film chronicles his vast career, from his early life in working-class Bradford – where his love for pictures was developed through his admiration for cinema – to his relocation to Hollywood, where his lifelong struggle to escape labels (‘queer’, ‘working class’, 'figurative artist’) was fully realised.

Paradoxically, this escape to live the American Dream did not break the ties to the childhood that formed him. We see his upbringing and life experiences give him the willpower to survive relationship problems, and later the AIDS epidemic, and also allow him to create some of the most renowned works of the past century.

Acclaimed filmmaker Randall Wright offers a unique view of this unconventional artist who is now reaching new peaks of popularity worldwide, as charismatic as ever, and at 77 still working in the studio seven days a week.

Anyone interested in catching one of the screenings can find more details and times on the Picture House site.

Results of the 200th Exhibition

We're very pleased to report that we had an incredibly successful bicentennial Exhibition at the York Theatre Royal De Grey rooms last month.  This was our third exhibition at that venue and we saw record crowds throughout the week.

Over 250 people attended the preview evening which was opened by the Right Honourable, the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Ian Gillies, along with the Lady Mayoress, the Sheriff of York, Mr. John Kenny, and the Sheriff’s Lady.

Attendees enjoyed a glass of bubbly and the sounds of a piano and flute duet as they took in over 200 beautiful works on display.

Grateful thanks go to Paul Blackwell for ably filling the role of our Selector, and staying on for the exhibition preview with his lovely wife (and well-known artist) Anne Thornhill.

A large selection of members had works noted or commended, but ultimately Selector’s Choice was awarded to Luisa Holden for “Strensall Common”.

Strensall Common by Luisa Holden

Autumn Fields by Luisa Holden

Luisa's beautiful painting also went on to win the public vote for Preview Favourite held during the evening.

In total we sold 16 original works from the main exhibition listings, plus numerous unframed originals, prints and cards. There was also a substantial contribution from brisk takings in the café over the weekend and the sale of plaques and tote bags during the week to produce our best result in 10 years.

We'll be back at the De Grey Rooms in April for the 201st Exhibition which runs from Monday 6th to Sunday 12th April 2015

Sunday, 26 October 2014

Preparing Plaques for the Preview Evening.

If you were at the October demo you probably saw the pop-up exhibit of plaques presented by Julie Lightburn.  The full range will be on display at tomorrow's Exhibition Preview Evening, from 7:00pm at the DeGrey Rooms.

Over to Julie for an update on the project ...............

“A big thank you to everyone who has contributed so far and I look forward to receiving more at the handing in day.  I have thoroughly enjoyed putting this together – it’s like Christmas every time the postman arrives.

There are delicate watercolours, bold acrylics, detailed oils; collages, abstracts and cartoons; landscapes, still-lives, wildlife, and portraits . . . . something for all tastes. 

Initially we’re holding a silent auction at the preview evening and the remainder will all be sold at a set price of just £5.00 throughout the rest of the week. Each will be sold with a gift envelope.  

We are also going to be selling Tote bags with a selection of the artworks on them, again at just £5 – a great memento of the 200th exhibition and also perfect as a Christmas gift.”


Thanks to Julie for all her work coordinating this project and, after three months of staring at miniature works of art, we imagine she's looking forward to seeing the world in Cinemascope again.

What Shape Are Your Clocks In ?

Daylight saving began in the UK at 2:00 am this morning.

Hopefully you all remembered to set your clocks !

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

The York Art Society 200th Exhibition opens next Monday

And while you're waiting, here's some more plaques that members have sent us.  See them all at the preview evening, Monday 27th, from 7:00pm.