Useful tips and advice for Seaton artists

PUBLISHED: 15:00 16 February 2015

A Seaton and District Art Society member with her picture and Alan Cotton, the society's president.

A Seaton and District Art Society member with her picture and Alan Cotton, the society's president.


An annual critique of artwork has lifted spirits and encouraged local artists in Seaton.

On a cold day, members of Seaton and District Art Society met at Seaton Town Hall for the yearly review of members’ work by its president, Alan Cotton (D Litt, FRSA).

Mr Cotton – taking time out from his busy life at Bath University – had a wide range of techniques and subjects to cast his expert eye over.

In between his critiques he added amusing stories and thoughts about artistic problems and historical events. He stressed that all artists – even great ones, such as Van Gogh – have off days and create some ‘awful’ work, but occasionally it all comes together with pleasing results.

He admitted that he has had many occasions when nothing works and he has to scrape everything off the canvas, ready to start afresh with a new approach. He also advised that members shouldn’t pay too much attention to comments made by their friends, since they always had a tendency to be too kind.

He suggested that members should try various sizes of canvas and paper, to avoid getting into a rut. He added that he’d recently ordered three canvases that are considerably larger than his usual work. The increased size will add to the drama of his next piece.

A new arts complex – shortly to open in Bath – will feature Mr Cotton’s work as its opening exhibition. The same exhibition will be coming to Exeter later in the year.

After examining and commenting on members’ works – ranging from still life to sunsets over the sea, portraits and pictures with an imaginary narrative – he advised everyone to seek out the joy in painting and let it come through. Members gave him a hearty thank you, and set out into the snow.

The society’s next demonstration will be ‘Perspective on a Hill’, a demonstration by water colourist John Hoar.

It will be held at Seaton Town Hall, at 2pm, on Monday, March 2. Visitors welcome (£3 admission).

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