By Shirley Unwin
Keirunga Artists work in an airy studio overlooking part of the beautiful surrounding park and gardens which is owned by The Hastings District Council but is run by the Keirunga Arts and Crafts Society. They oversee a purpose-built pottery, painting studio, and theatre, as well as an old homestead and cottage where spinners and weavers and other arts and crafts people, music lovers and photographers share their interests.
Every weekday the 110 plus members are able to use the well-designed artist’s studio. There are three times a week when a model is available and members come to draw or paint clothed or nude figures or portraits.
On Tuesdays a group work together on a still life subject while at the other end of the studio print makers experiment and share ideas as they use the press. Other groups work together using their choice of media in a sharing and helpful environment, some during the day and two at night.
For each session, a member acts as host and to liaise with the committee. If a need is seen, or requests are made for a particular course of tuition, it will be organised, sometimes using the skills of a member. Members also lead Club Days, held occasionally on Saturdays to share particular skills. We enjoyed a very instructive and fun Club Day this month when Marilyn Lusk shared her wonderful skill with collage with us. The next Club Day will give us a chance to explore the Golden Section together.
Workshops tutored by local or national artists are held several times a year with a variety of media being covered. Last year we benefited from a weekend watercolour workshop by Jacky Pearson, and by popular request she will be back soon.
Every year there are two exhibitions, one in the studio and the other in the Havelock North Function Centre. This year, in a departure, our first exhibition was held in the Hastings Community Arts Centre which allowed every member to hang their own choice of two paintings instead of having a selector choose the number that can be displayed.
The second exhibition will be in the Function Centre, and a selector will choose the work for exhibition, help with hanging, and give a floor talk.
Our latest exhibition had a range of media, with acrylic being the most popular, followed by watercolour. Over the years this balance alters.
The studio is open to visitors during the times we are working and there is always a display of work on the walls.