NEWS

APRIL 2020

I could never have imagined the times that we now find ourselves in this April. After travelling to many new locations last year this year like you all I am doing the right thing and staying at home to protect the NHS and us all.  This means that unfortunately all residential and day courses have been postponed and most real life teaching has been put on hold.( Put the following on a separate line with the links attached)

The West Dean course will now run in Jan 2021.

https://www.westdean.org.uk

The Watts Gallery Course will be postponed to later in the year.

https://www.wattsgallery.org.uk/learn/adult-learning/

Some adult education course have moved to online Zoom sessions.

On a positive note going forward I will be teaching Botanical Watercolour at the SevenOaks adult education centre and I have some day courses planned for the Maidstone centre once we can get back to the classroom. Hopefully summer school will still run in the Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells centres.

During lockdown I have been busy catching up with projects started but not completed and in particular using the days to explore some new ideas in both pictures and handmade books.

I was delighted to have 4 pictures and one of my handmade books accepted to the Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition due to take place in June. I was also very excited to have work accepted for the Society of Graphic Fine Art Exhibition (also scheduled for June) for the second year running. A great shame that both these Exhibitions are unlikely to go ahead due to lockdown.

Stay safe everyone.

OCTOBER 2019

I cant believe how quickly the last few months have flown by. The SBA show in June was a huge success and we look forward to another show at the mall galleries in June of next year.

Once term had finished for the summer we had 4 days of summer school. Its always so lovely to have some full days in the classroom to give more focus to completing a project.
This summer I had the fantastic opportunity to visit China guided by my daughter. From shanghai to Soujou to Beijing back to shanghai it was a packed trip and we met some amazing people and saw some incredible sights. Highlight of the trip was the walk along the great wall. We even found some art shops for handmade brushes and Chinese paper. I managed to keep and fill a sketchbook making sure I have a firm reminder of all our adventures. Check out my Facebook and Instagram for a flip through of this.

On my return I went straight to Greece, more sketching and relaxing before returning to the Uk. The focus for September has been classes at both Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells in both watercolour and coloured pencil. Alongside this has been preparation for the SFGA show at the Menier galley where I am delighted to have a picture exhibited. The Art show at Cranbrook follows hot on its heels so do come and see me there if you can.

SGFA

Cranbrook show

Before this I will be popping over to Moscow for the Russian society of botanical artists show accompanying president of the SBA Billy Showell. This will be my last trip abroad for this year.

MAY 2019

A quick update on a busy few months. The weekend course at West Dean was very productive and I met some lovely talented students. I will be back there in January to teach another weekend course looking at details and texture in nature in watercolour. (More details later in the year)

The new summer term of Botanical coloured pencil and watercolour courses have started in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells and both 2 day summer school courses are now up on the website to book.

Link for water colour summer school

Link for coloured pencil summer school

Plans are well advanced for our SBA show at the Mall Galleries in June. A lot of time and work has been put in by President and Vice and those of us on council to make this show a stunner this year. Do come and visit if you can.

Link for SBA show

I have a couple of new pieces in the pipeline, more quirkiness and less Botanical than some of my other work. Its important that the work continues to develop and progress organically. Any spare time left is spent on a new handmade book, still woking towards my new years resolution to complete those projects started last year!!

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Exciting times ahead as I plan my first course of teaching at West Dean in March. Although not Botanical this 2 day residential watercolour course will include some of my favourite subjects and be a good place for students to practise various watercolour techniques and get to grips with colour mixing and drawing accuracy. West Dean is a stunning location and I am delighted to have the opportunity to be a tutor there.

Link

January and February 2019  got off to a busy start with lots of teaching while in-between lessons painting for the Society of Botanical Artists Exhibition.  Submission deadline is at the end of February and I know I won’t be the only artist burning the midnight oil to get paintings completed in time. Its an exciting time for the society with a new exhibition venue and a new membership structure and I feel privileged  to have been involved on the council at this time. Open submission means that anyone can submit to exhibit work which will then be assessed by a selection panel.

Link

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2019 is going to have some exciting opportunities and challenges in it.

Looking back at 2018, it was a busy year. Teaching commitments meant fewer completed pictures leaving my studio, though those that did were some of the best so far and well received with some now in new homes.

I took part in 3 exhibitions in 2018, the first in Madrid with the SBA at the botanical gardens was a celebration of tulips. Florum was held at Goodnestone gardens near Canterbury, sadly this was the last exhibition for Florum. In October I helped to hang the SBA’s biannual exhibition in Frankfurt, once again a very successful exhibition where I was awarded third prize in the People’s Choice vote. I have some exciting plans in 2019 for more exhibitions, not least of which will be the  SBA Botanical exhibition at the new location of the Mall Galleries in June.

Meanwhile work continued behind the scenes during the year at the SBA ,planning the New Membership, 2019 Exhibition and other essential council business.

In December, I was delighted to be asked by the very talented Botanical Artist Helen Cousins, to be her first featured artist for her blog. I first met Helen when she was one of our youngest members on the  SBA Distance learning course. Click on the link to read the full article :

https://www.helencousinsbotanics.com/blog/2018/11/12/amber-halsall

I will be taking the time to travel more in 2019 which means lots of sketchbook work while giving  me an opportunity to collect ideas for my handmade books. Not necessarily Botanical this side of my practice stretches me to keep pushing the boundaries.

There a still just a few places available on my courses in Tonbridge and Tunbridge Wells starting in January so why not come and join me for a bit of a botanical adventure? See link below.

https://www.kentadulteducation.co.uk/brands/mnid_718/Mrs-Amber-Halsall.aspx

Alternatively if you have  friends who love to paint and draw why not get together for a days workshop.

Contact me on: amberhalsall@hotmail.co.uk

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