patterned life - nude on red rug | Gouache on oil sketch paper | Stephen Clively

ASOC Newsletter

by | 19 Oct 2021 | Blog post

October/November 2021
Issue Number 493

Welcome to our new look ASOC Newsletter. A really big thank you to everyone who sent in material to make this bumper edition.  If you would like to see your news in the next edition (deadline 22 November) or if you have any comments or suggestions, please contact me on
Helen McFadden


  • Letter from the President
  • Laughter and Power: A letter from the Secretary
  • Introducing your new Management Committee
  • Membership News
  • Workshop News
  • Workgroup News
  • Hanging a show in the Bunker at Dirty Jane’s


Letter from the President

Are you OK? A simple question, yet an important one, especially now that the ACT is in lockdown having escaped the grim reality people in NSW and Victoria have been experiencing in recent months. We hope that all our members are able to keep safe and have support from relatives and friends when they need it most.

While I acknowledge that not everybody will be able to be vaccinated, we hope that ASOC will then also be able to safely re-open the Studio to its members. We are still planning to hold the Spring Exhibition from 11 – 22 November at the Fitters Workshop. Peter Haynes, Director at Strathnairn Arts and Virginia Rigney, Curator of the Canberra Museum and Gallery, have kindly agreed to judge the works entered. For those who haven’t registered yet, please check our website where you can find the entry forms as well as the terms and conditions for entering (closes 24 October).
In the meantime, the Management Committee is continuing with the planning for next year’s activities, some of which may be workshops that had to be cancelled. Also, in response to members’ suggestions, we are looking into how we can encourage members to keep their hand at creating art during lockdown e.g. by providing suggestions for on-line “classes” and ideas. However, we are trying to ensure that what we promote is of good quality, bearing in mind that ASOC does not benefit financially. So if you have any courses to recommend please get in touch with Jo Anne Pulko at or another member of the Management Committee.
Contact details can be found on the website at Your suggestion may provide others with an introduction to a medium or style they haven‟t
explored before or ways to modify or improve on what they are already doing. We hope to hear from you!

In this newsletter, the members of the new MC, elected at the AGM of 29 August, are introduced. We are very happy that during the AGM three members rose to the call to join the MC. This means that we now have a team of eight! Also, most Office Holders and all Convenors agreed to continue in their existing roles. We thank them once again for their support. That leaves the following roles to be filled: Assistant Treasurer, Promotions Officer and someone who can assist us with the archiving of records and maintenance of our DropBox. Please don’t hesitate to call me if you would like to help.
Finally: please continue to share your works with our members. It’s great to see all the beautiful work that just keeps emerging! Helen McFadden has created platforms (courtesy Canberra PhotoConnect) for workgroups to share their works. With their permission she has been placing images from participating workgroups in the galleries and providing links so that workgroup members can upload their own images. She has also been posting selected images to ASOC’s Facegroup and Instagram pages. Images and information for social media platforms and for the next newsletter can be sent
Have a look on our Website and Facebook, submit your works, be inspired and give us
your thumbs up!
Peter van Rens

Laughter and Power: A message from ASOC Secretary, Cheryl Parkins

We may not admit it, but we all have our addictions. Hopefully not the sad, self destructive kind, but just the small obsessive interests that amuse us from time to time. Last year, one of my friends became particularly obsessed with finding jokes which were heavily laden with dark, gallows humour. No matter how depressing the Covid-19 situation became, he’d find solace in the grimmest of jokes to muffle the impact of world events.  Similarly, I lost count of the number of hilarious emails that appeared in my inbox during the various lockdowns we all had to endure. Like everyone else, I had those glum days and then suddenly there was an avalanche of silliness before me which made me laugh. My wonderful family and friends were sharing their angst and fluctuating moods, and we all “stared down” the evil threat of Covid-19 together – bonded in defiance by our laughter.
We‟ll always remember the jokes of 2020: the toilet roll jokes, the quarantine jokes and of course Donald Trump‟s never ending, incredible stupidity to add to the mix. Laughter helped to connect us all and made us feel better about the horrible situation we all faced.  Gradually through 2021, the supply dried up as we became more complacent thinking that the Covid contagion was perhaps now under control. Suddenly, the dreaded Delta arrived and we rushed back to our comfort zone – a swathe of new jokes. I’m a great fan of Tim Minchin who remarked that “making jokes gives us a sense of power over the threat”. We all drew great comfort from the laughter because it seemed the only power we had when the world was apparently crumbling around us. However, we all now have true power within our grasp. The opportunity to get vaccinated against Covid is one of the most powerful and important capabilities we’ll ever be given. How often do we get the chance to, quite literally, “save the world‟? The ability to protect the health and livelihoods of all those we love and to regain our lifestyle, even in a somewhat restricted way, is in our hands.
As a Pharmacist, I have great confidence in the TGA and ATAGI to keep us safe with informed and clinically proven medical facts. Most of us have been immunised against many diseases since we were young with great success. Remember, in many of our childhoods before vaccination, there were over 1000 deaths in Australia from Polio and many more cases of paralysis. So please, roll up your sleeves and get vaccinated against Covid-19 so we can reach that goal of 80% and beyond. Let’s all look forward to resuming our artistic lifestyles in a much safer environment.
Then we can enjoy laughing at the truly funny things once again.
Cheryl Parkins

The rest of the ASOC newsletter can be downloaded HERE:

Featured image:

patterned life – nude on red rug, Gouache on oil sketch paper, by Stephen Clively, 2018, 61 cm by 43 cm.