The new President of the Society of Graphic Fine Art (The Drawing Society), Jackie Devereux PSGFA, is concerned that many schools and colleges do not have drawing as part of their curriculum.
“I have felt strongly about this for a long time. I think it’s wrong and we should get back to basics. Drawing skills should most definitely be taught throughout a child’s life. It should be regarded as a natural part of one’s development – enabling everyone to look, see and interpret – is of paramount importance to that development” says Jackie, who will be encouraging Society members to take an active stand in their local areas by offering to talk to groups and illustrate the importance of drawing, and to encourage teachers to include drawing in their lessons.
Jackie says she will also be encouraging members all over the U.K. to increase the Society’s presence by taking on more high profile exhibition venues for Members Only shows, following on the “tremendous success” of the Society’s Drawn Together exhibition in one of the top venues in the country, the Bankside Gallery in London.
“People were genuinely surprised at what they saw and we were immediately invited to return”
says the President,
“We look ahead now to Draw 15 – the Society’s 94th Annual Open Exhibition at the Menier Gallery in Southwark, London, which will be from from 5th to 17th October 2015.”
One thing that pleases the new President is that the SGFA is one of the few top societies whose average age is actually falling.
“So many societies are now suffering from a lack of interest from a younger generation but we are receiving applications from very talented younger artists”
This in itself is, however, bringing a problem because the Society is only able to take about five or six new members each year. Nevertheless to encourage people with a strong interest in drawing the President is hoping at some stage to introduce a “Friends of the SGFA” organisation in which members will get some backing from the SGFA.
One thing the President is adamant about is that the main criterion for membership of the Society remains showing excellence in drawing skills, but she adds that it is not enough that the work is of a high quality but that it must also be beautifully presented.
Although born in England, Jackie lived in France for 21 years during which time she cruised the world as an “artist in residence”. For nearly eight years she spent almost three months each year at sea. “This included some places now sadly off limits through political turmoil” she says. During this time she amassed a collection of thousands of sketches. From these she produced a hardback book “A Private View….an artist’s world.” She and her husband, a talented photographer, returned to live in the UK in 2012 and having been on the SGFA Council for a number of years decided she wanted to take an even more active role and took on the Presidency in February 2014.
During her stay in France Jackie, each year brought back to this country her latest watercolour’s for exhibitions with the RI, RWS and SWA in London and, of course always with the SGFA. In 2008 at the Society’s annual exhibition she was awarded “Over All Best in Show” for her watercolour and pencil painting “In the Pink”.
To keep her work fresh and lively her latest “journey” is into 3D collage in both pure watercolour and line and wash. Also, Jackie added “having spent years interpreting and using the power of the play of shadows in my work, I am now experimenting with the paper itself, creating shadows with the paper by folding. tearing, rolling and cutting, re-assembling and overlaying the parts. A strange journey.”
Interview by John Bird and Vincent Matthews SGFA on behalf of Pure Arts Group.