Impressions Newsletter

June 2008


Welcome to our June Newsletter.

June is an important month for us this year as the Arts Council Nelson Impressions Regional Art Awards will be judged and the prizes presented this month. If take-up of entry forms is anything to go by, we anticipate another wonderful turn out of artists for the competition. It’s not too late to enter! Entry forms can be downloaded from

Throughout May, artists from Art Group Nelson have been painting in-store each Tuesday and Wednesday. They have had to cope with the disruption of earthworks outside the door, but they have all soldiered on like the real troopers they are to share their knowledge and skills as artists with everyone who stopped by to watch and chat. We really appreciate their efforts, and hope that as a consequence, more artists have learned about the Art Group and what it has to offer.

The earthworks outside the shop have progressed very quickly. The guys working on the project have been great. Clearly it would be impossible to undertake improvements on this scale without causing some disruption. But despite this, whenever I have approached the project manager to advise of some in-store activity he has done his best to minimise noise directly outside the shop. Likewise, when tractors and diggers have been working on the footpaths, the operators have always made it possible to pass by safely and give a cheery hello. So we must give all credit must go to the Fulton Hogan gang on this job. By the end of this month, the whole job will have been completed.

It has come to our attention that a few people receiving this newsletter are having it intercepted by their computer security programs and put into their spam folder. If you are having this problem, our web designer suggests that you add the email address to your address book to prevent a repetition of the problem.

Impressions Art Club Update

The Impressions Art Club is growing daily. Many have been surprised at just how quickly they meet the purchasing requirement of $200 nett and receive their full membership card. I predict that it won’t be very long before we have enough full members to organise our first Members’ night. However, in the meantime, members have been enjoying the substantial savings available to them in our monthly Art Club Special. The first Art Club Evening will be held on Thursday 10th July from 5.50-7pm- so members and applicants keep that date free.

Impressions June In-Store Workshops

“Pencils – A whole world of possibilities”

When I was growing up a pencil was either a “lead” pencil, or a coloured pencil. Now there is a whole world of possibilities and the scope continues to grow. The following workshops covering the possibilities available with pencils will be held in-store throughout June. Each session will give participants hands-on experience with a variety of pencil media.  Numbers are strictly limited to 6 per session and we have introduced a $5 charge per person to cover the cost of materials used during each session.

The last sessions were over-subscribed, so if you would like to learn more about the ranges of pencils available, and get hands-on experience under the guidance of an experienced professional artist, I recommend that you book your place now. Your booking will be confirmed upon receipt of the $5 fee.

Tuesday 3rd             Graphite Pencils, Woodless Graphite Sticks and Crayons                      

Tuesday 10th          Artist Colour Pencils & Chinagraph or Grease Pencils

Tuesday 17th          Artist Water-soluble Pencils  (Sorry - full).

Tuesday 24th          Pastel Pencils and Charcoal Pencils

Whether you only use pencils for planning your composition or want to complete your whole work in this versatile medium, there is much to know about the humble pencil, so that you can make best possible use of your art tools.


The humble graphite pencil might seem like the most basic of drawing tools, but when you come to choose your pencils, the range of graphite pencils available can be somewhat confusing. Pencils are relatively inexpensive, so they are probably the best tool to start out with.

What's Inside a Pencil?

Pencils have a central strip formed from powdered graphite (not lead) which is fired with clay, to varying degrees of hardness. Graphite leaves a small, smooth particle on the paper that has a slight sheen.

Pencil Qualities Vary

We recommend you choose artist-grade pencils because cheap pencils are inferior in quality. Typically, substandard or poorly processed graphite can lead to inconsistent tonal qualities, and even cause scratches in the paper. Off-centre cores tend to break on sharpening and the graphite strip tends to fracture if the pencil is dropped. High quality artist's pencils deliver reliable, even tone at carefully graded values, and are less prone to breakage. Some artists’ pencils are grittier than others – experiment to see what qualities you enjoy in a pencil before you make your choice.

Graphite Sticks and Graphite Crayons

Graphite sticks are thick graphite strips with no wood covering, but may be encased in layer of lacquer to facilitate clean handling. The casing may be peeled back to expose a thicker working edge which is very useful for broad, expressive work and shading over incised elements or where you want the texture of the paper to remain visible. Graphite crayons are chunky, crayon-like woodless pencils suitable for large, vigorous work. They can be messy to handle but are great for expressive and tactile works as in large-scale and life drawing.

Sketching Pencils

Graphite is only one variety of sketching pencil – and these come in a variety of brands, shapes (round, octagonal, flat carpenter’s pencil) and thicknesses, not to mention levels of hardness (H) and blackness (B). Typically softer or blacker pencils are used for sketching (B-9B) but harder pencils (H – 9H) also have a very important role in facilitating a full range of tonal values. Water-soluble graphite sketching pencils can be valuable when the artist does not want planning lines visible through transparent paint.



Graphite is just one type of pencil with many sub-categories. It is used daily by many artists not only to plan painting, but to execute entire works. Knowing what to leave out of a pencil drawing is as important as knowing what to put in. When an image is mono-tonal it is easy to put in too much information. Negative space is sometimes more important that positive space. I recommend that you check out to take advantage of a brief, free drawing tutorial on negative drawing.There are times however when the refractive glare that graphite emits is not suited to the work in production. This is when the alternatives of charcoal, carbon and pastel pencils should be considered. But that’s a whole new subject.

Artists and Illustrators – Artists’ Magazine

This excellent publication from the UK is one of my favourite art magazines. Always filled with practical, useful information and photos of artwork, I find it to be a great resource. This month it contains several excellent articles on drawing and pencils. One “The Whiteness of Paper” reflects on the importance of drawing, while another “Life Drawing” is the personal reflections of a figurative painter Toby Ward. Then an article about Derwent’s Inktense Pencils and expanded colour range due to arrive in New Zealand in about 3 months shows just how versatile and vibrant these water-soluble ink-based pencils can be. In the “Ask the Experts” section, a reader asks how he can stop his sketches from turning out grey and lacking in drama. The magazine retails for $12.90 and issues build into a very useful resource library.

Art Club Special for June

Pencils                        Pencils                        Pencils                        Pencils                       

             A Whole World of Possibilities

Individual Pencils and Sets

All Impressions Art Club Members receive 25% off all pencil purchases this month

All Impressions Art Club Applicants receive 15% off all pencil purchases this month 

If you would like to join the Impressions Art Club and take advantage of these savings and other benefits on offer, go to


Impressions Regional Art Awards 2008


June is Awards month this year. We are looking forward to the event with high anticipation for a splendid display of the quality artwork that our region is known for. At present, the Regional Art Awards really is the major showcase for local artists. We look forward to seeing all entrants at the gala presentation evening on Saturday 28th and urge you all to take your friends and visitors along to see the exhibition while it is on show from 30th June to 17th July, at the Refinery Artspace in Halifax Street, Nelson. Remember too to place your vote for the People’s Choice Award. When the exhibition closes at the Refinery, all Award Winning entries will go on display in our windows from 21st July until 2nd August.

The presentation of the People’s Choice Awards will take place in-store at Impressions at 6.30pm on Thursday 24th July – all interested people are welcome to join us for this important presentation.  




"Chaucer Reclining" - Jane Nicol

Winner People's Choice Award 2007

Art Classes Update

 Drawing for Complete Beginners. This class with Carol Peck begins Term 3 and runs each Saturday from  2nd Aug  - 27th Sep  from 1.30 to 5pm at a central Motueka venue. The fee is $28 per 3½ hour session or $250 for the complete course. Email for further details and to book your place. There are a few vacancies available to complete Stage 2 currently running on Friday evenings – so be in quick to take advantage of this excellent course which includes beginning landscape (i.e. some basic techniques) and how to get the best use from a photo. Still-life and other subjects are offered according to individual needs. Washes in ink and water-soluble pencil will be covered for those who want it. Everyone works at their own pace on this course.  


 “Quinaire” an exhibition by 5 artists – Chris Barkway, Anna Barnett, Maree Cathcart, Helen Hazeldine and Deborah Hunter, runs at the Refinery Artspace, 3 Halifax St Nelson until Hune 20th.

Art Group Nelson hold their winter exhibition at Club Waimea, Lower Queen St, from Friday 20th June to Sunday 22nd.


This brings us to the end of another month. Please remember that this newsletter is intended to work for you, so if you have any information about an art course, or exhibition etc that you would like me to include, email the information to me and I will do my best to include it. Keep warm and have a wonderful month

. Glenys and the Team