Cheltenham Art


Cotswold Art Club

The Cotswold Art Club, founded in 1931, seeks through mutual help and support to encourage its Members in pictorial art, sculpture and outdoor sketching, with meetings for criticism of work, talks and exhibitions.

Regular meetings are held on Saturday afternoons from October to March, on the third Saturday of each month, in Cheltenham.  Two full day tutored workshops are arranged during the year.  In Summer, members meet occasionally at pre-arranged venues for outdoor sketching and painting.  Over the years, the club has aimed to keep the standard of work high.   An annual exhibition is held in the Spring in the Cotswolds.

The total complement of the Club is 80 Members and 15 Associate Members.  Admission to full Membership is by selection and the work of prospective Members is considered by a selection Committee in Autumn and Spring.  The Club is run by a Committee of 8 or 9 Members, but all Members are expected to take part in activities and help in preparation and manning of Exhibitions.


Chairman: Martin Bowden

Hon. Secretary: Barbara Swindin, for enquiries regarding membership

Hon. Treasurer: Valerie Currie


Saturday Meetings


Saturday meetings; 2-30 - 4-30pm on the third Saturday of each month

 (members only)

From September 19th 2015 onwards our Saturday meetings will be held at The Pavilion, Hatherley Lane, Cheltenham GL51 6PN.  There is disabled access and parking on site.  Buses for The Pavilion are as follows: 97 or 98 from outside Beards in The Promenade every half hour on the hour and half hour.  On return catch the bus at about quarter past or quarter to the hour.  The stop is near Robert Burns Avenue OR the Cheltenham-Gloucester-Cheltenham bus 94 leaving every ten minutes from The Promenade, Cheltenham. The stop is Arle Court.

Current Programme:

20th February 2016 - Sheila Bryant Icons

19th March  - Susannah Gilmore-Powell Flower Gardens (Pastel)

16th April  - Barry Herniman The Travelling Sketchbook (Pen & Wash)


There will also be meetings on the 3rd Saturday in May and June followed by our customary break for the summer. 

Meetings will then resume on the 3rd Saturday in September.


Next Selection Committee Date: New/Associate Members wishing to apply for Full Membership should note that the next Selection Committee Date will be 16th April. Please submit three framed pieces of work (or deep canvases) for approval. They should be presented as if ready for exhibition.


Recent Meetings:  September 2015 - January 2016:


19th September 2015 Martin Bowden (Gouache)

Using 300g half Imperial NOT surface paper, our Chairman, Martin, wasted no time in brandishing his large hake brush to create a raw sienna gouache background quickly drying it off with a hairdryer. Martin then applied further washes in Intense Blue before sketching in an image of the Santa Maria della Salute in Venice. Once this was all completely dry, he worked over the picture with strong neat colour using a no. 6 brush for detail. Martin stressed the usefulness of white gouache, and, later, even a little black to add finishing touches. For his second painting he chose St. Paul's in London with atmospheric misty effects. Throughout the afternoon we were treated to anecdotes and information about artists such as Turner, Seago, John Palmer and Monet. Finally, Martin reminded us of the maxim that 'less is more' and also gave us some tips for pushing the background back, such as adding a few strongly painted foreground figures walking away from the viewer.

16th October Charmaine Williamson (Scilly Isles - Watercolour)

Charmaine started her afternoon by describing her visits to the Scilly Isles and the various topics covered in her sketchbooks. The light there is very bright and some of her colours reflected this. Her demo was a seascape with stems of agapanthus preserved by masking fluid on the right of the picture. Several colours were applied with washes allowed to flow by tilting her board in both vertical and horizontal positions. Later, she removed the masking fluid on the agapanthus and developed their foliage. She also used a small hog brush (no.2/3) with a little wetting to lift out fine lines in the sea.

21st November Pam Stone (Portraiture)

Unfortunately I was only able to arrive when Pam was halfway through her demonstration. Our members were all sitting quite agog as they watched the portrait of a little boy emerging mark by mark upon an enormous piece of turquoise-green paper. For her demo Pam used a meticulous method painting with very fine brushes and watercolour plus some gouache on a Bockingford surface. Gradually the portrait took shape. Pam's model was a large colour photograph. Before the meeting finished, we were given the opportunity to 'paint an eye' - Valerie Currie won this little 'competition'. A few weeks later Pam gave Dorothy the finished portrait to show to us at a subsequent meeting, so we were privileged to see it in all its glory.

19th December Annual General Meeting

The business of the meeting was conducted as efficiently as ever and followed by an art quiz organised by Richard Wood. After numerous tie-breaks the winning team was presented with delicious prizes and then we all had our usual plentiful Christmas buffet - organised yet again by our stalwart 'tea ladies'. Many thanks to all who contributed to an enjoyable afternoon.

16th January Roger Matthews (The Art of Signwriting)

A quite fascinating start to the 2016 programme! Roger is one of our members and volunteered to discuss and demonstrate aspects of his craft. Various examples were on display and also some of the tools required to construct them. Not only that, but Roger passed round numerous books illustrating the many styles of sign that can be made for different clients: shops, pubs, cars, events and so forth. A wealth of historical detail as well as the practicalities of painting gave us an insight into the choices and skills that a signwriter has to practise in order to create the desired impact on the passer-by. Using a tiny palette, masking tape and special brushes (called pencils!), Roger demonstrated letter-spacing, how to keep the lettering in a straight line and how to use the brush to draw the paint downwards to create the perfect shape. Once again we had some audience participation with two members bravely attempting to emulate the perfect model created by the master.


2016 Exhibition

Annual Exhibition

Our next exhibition will be held in Lower Slaughter from

25th May to 7th June 2016.


Cotswold Art Club Exhibition Entry Form (PDF)

Cotswold Art Club Rules and Guidance for a Successful Exhibition (PDF)



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