Friday, May 24, 2019

Wapping Group of Artists

The Wapping Group of Artists is a companionable group who paint together outdoors in Britain.

They were featured (with their various cigars, pipes, and cigarettes) in this 1956 Pathé video. Link to YouTube

The group got its start in the late 1930s as a means of bringing together plein-air painters who liked to sketch dockside scenes along the Thames.

HILDER, Rowland, OBE, PPRI, RSMA Member 1950 - 1972
The Wapping Group is still active and the membership remains limited to 25. They meet every Wednesday between April and September.

These days it's harder to find those classic maritime views along the Thames, so they meet at parks and other places. Here's a book collecting sixty years of their best images: The Wapping Group of Artists: Sixty Years of Painting by the Thames

Are you a member of a group that meets regularly to paint from life? What rules does your group adhere to? What are the upsides, downsides, payoffs, pitfalls, or challenges of running such a group?
Wapping Group website

1 comment:

robyn said...

My group of sketch buddies meets every Thursday. Even though I don’t mind working on location myself, I was so glad to find some friends to play with. We have not needed to limit our membership. Regular sketching/painting is one of those things everyone says they want to do, but very few actually do it. We have about 12 active members and maybe 20 on the mailing list. One of our few rules is that to be a member, you must host your share of the meetings. This involves selecting a location, making arrangements such as getting permission if needed, and deciding on where we will have lunch. Lunch with the group is optional but is a great chance to talk about art and painting, even if you don’t eat. Twice a year we get together to plan who will be responsible for which weeks and discuss locations. We are in a mild winter area, so we meet year round. We also show our work together from time to time.

Pitfalls...I can’t really think of any downsides, but there are some aspects that are a challenge. We are in a major metropolitan area, and try to steer clear of places that charge admission or where we would have to pay for parking. That is somewhat limiting. It’s also difficult to have a sufficient variety of indoor venues for inclement weather. Our locations have included parks and public squares, beer gardens coffee shops and outdoor eateries, museums, antique shops, malls, wildlife rescue facilities, dog parks, zoos and aquariums, we even sketched in a hospital once.

Each person works differently, of course. One of our group is mostly interested in figures and works quickly to record pages and pages of them. Several like to work relatively large. I tend to treat each meeting as a plein air outing, only I make my paintings in a sketchbook. Sometimes people have to compromise their working preferences depending on the location.

Finding people who will actually commit to making time for a regular sketch practice is the most difficult part to starting a group, but it is so rewarding to have people with whom to talk shop and give you a gentle critique.