The Brentwood Art Society came into being after a new resident, who deplored the lack of such a group in the town, placed an advertisement in the local newspaper. Mr Balch held an inaugural meeting in his house and was joined by just three others.That was back in 1958 and today the Society is a thriving organisation that continues to bring like minded people together to share and develop their interest in the visual arts.
There are two sessions a week and tuition is provided by a team of professional tutors and visiting specialists. Practical demonstrations and talks take place on a range of art related subjects, as well as weekend workshops and art trips.
The Monday evening studio sessions provide opportunities to experience a wide range of techniques and approaches. Starting points this year have included portraiture, garments hung from washing lines, and how artists create space in painting.
Weekend workshops are often inspired by visits to exhibitions, the most recent being those dedicated to Henri Matisse, Sonia Delaunay and David Hockney. On other occasions a visiting tutor will introduce specialist techniques, such as a recent course based on collage and printinmaking.
The Society's annual exhibition, held at the Becket Gallery, in Brentwood Library, provides an opportunity for members to celebrate their achievements with the public and to promote sales of the wonderful artwork on display. It is also an occasion when the spirit of friendship within the group is very evident.
Above, Mr Carl Cousins inspects exhibits at an outdoor exhibition at Wilson's Corner, Brentwood in 1969. Below and right, a recent collage and printmaking weekend workshop.
Far left, a studio session; left, a critique during a weekend painting trip; below left, John Doubleday, sculptor, gives a a talk and demonstration; below, taking part in a Local Art day, which are arranged during the summer months, and below right, the Society's annual exhibition, opened by the Mayor of Brentwood.