Brave Brenda Battles Adversity
Salford pensioner Brenda Bitler has been a member of Salford Art Club for a little over four years, and within twenty minutes of this year's Salford Art Club Exhibition opening she found out she had sold her first ever piece of work…
"Does that mean I'm a professional now?" Brenda, quipped. Her personal success was a standout moment at the official opening of this year's Exhibition held at the Salford City Museum and Art Gallery.
Brenda's proud daughter Lynn Kirkley `put me in the picture', telling of her mother's achievement… "I'm really chuffed for her as she's had cancer" Lynn explained "She's suffering from Lymphedema (swelling of the arms and legs) which makes it difficult for her draw and paint but she's managed to produce something that someone wants to part with money for. I'm really chuffed and proud."
Lynn Kirkley, herself a member of the Salford Art Club with a piece of work on show, admitted that she was jealous of her mother…"I am!" she smiled "You're dead right!"
This year's Exhibition consists of 92 pieces by members, including two pieces by Betty Murray, a long-time member of Salford Art Club, who sadly passed away last year. The work displayed is in a variety of media, but mainly contains paintings.
In celebration of the opening of the Bridgewater Canal 250 years ago, many of the works are on the theme of water and bridges, and they left me with a feeling of tranquillity and calmness. I can honestly and wholeheartedly recommend this year's exhibition as a perfect way to unwind, draw inspiration or even pick up an excellent piece of unique work at a rock bottom price. But my words cannot do justice to the countless hours of dedication and devotion shown in each piece of work, and I urge you to visit the exhibition before it closes on April 22nd.
There is also the added bonus of being able to see a work by L.S. Lowry, created in 1959 and titled Yachts, an interesting and vibrant piece which shows Lowry in a different light as compared to his typecast work with dark industrial scenes. This scene is painted with water colours, a medium Lowry tended not to use due to its quick drying and limited work time.
Another picture is by the internationally renowned artist Geoffrey Key, President of Salford Art Club, which is titled Summer Park, an interesting abstract composition in Key's signature style.
A special mention must also go to this year's Salford Art Club Award Winners, Ken Shackman, whose painting won the Betty Murray Award for Still Life Imagery; Ged Buckley, whose figurative work won the John Clare Award and Lesley Lewis, who won the Geoffrey Key Award. Wilf Ainsworth was presented with the John Dumville Award for the best picture in last year's show. This award is voted for by members of the public who visit the exhibition and simply choose their favourite picture.
"When my wife was Mayor four years ago we came and opened it the standard was very high" said the current Mayor of Salford, Councillor Eric Burgoyne "If anything this year's has exceeded that, some of the pictures are absolutely brilliant...The Exhibition shows the talent we've got here and shows the positive side of life in Salford."
If you are interested in becoming a member of Salford Art Club, full details can be found on their website http://www.salfordartclub.co.uk. Meetings, workshops and events take place on three Wednesday evenings per month and on one Sunday, with an annual membership charge of £25.
Salford Art Club's Annual Exhibition runs until 22 April 2012 at the Salford Museum and Art Gallery on the Crescent. Entrance is free and most of the work is for sale.
Parking at the Gallery is charged at £2 for three hours (!).
Words and photos by Gareth Lyons
Main photo shows Brenda Bitler with her daighter Lynn standing by her art