Wednesday, 10 January 2018

Stephen Hand - From sketch to studio painting

A group of cheetahs in Namibia
Stephen showed us some sketches of cheetahs he had encountered in Namibia. To those of us with no experience of cheetahs, some of these encounters sounded a little too close for comfort!

The sketch above is too elongated to fit to most canvases so they need to be rearranged to suit a painting. While he was sketching the central cheetah sat up which made for a better arrangement so that was captured in a quick thumbnail sketch.

Back in the studio, Stephen would usually do another thumbnail to plan the layout of the painting. For our benefit he made a larger sketch on A3 paper on which he first made pencil marks to divide the sheet into thirds both horizontally and vertically.

The shapes and positions of the animals only needed to be roughly indicated. Notice how they are positioned in relation to the lower and left third marker line.

As they all appear on the horizontal line, he decided that when it came to transferring the image to canvas, the one to the right needed to come forward and the leftmost go back and closer to the middle cheetah. Various adjustments were also made during painting - easy enough with acrylics.

Stephen also had a number of photographs of cheetahs which were used as reference sources for colour and detail.

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Notan Workshop


Notan by Richard

What a stimulating day we had with Vicki Norman. You can find out more about Vicki's art and the workshops and holidays she offers by visiting her website https://www.vickinormanstudio.com/

Vicki had us rapidly produce lots of thumbnail sketches in only two or three tones. Notan is Japanese in origin and aims at harmonic relationships between dark and light. Light and dark give structure to an image and notan is an aid to getting simple clean design.

Most of the participants followed Vicki's recommendation of using Tombow ABT Dual Brush Pens in black and one in Cool grey 6 (N60). My attempts used graphite sticks which were quite hard work and, as you can see from the image on the left, did not give the even black coverage that's really needed.

Viewfinder
Vicki gave each of us a viewfinder in neutral grey. That served two purposes: (1) we could draw a line around the inside to define edges for our thumbnails; (2) we could use it to crop what we saw whether that was an image projected onto the screen or a scene in the real world.

You can read more about Notan in Arthur Wesley Dow's classic book on composition. This is available as a free download in several formats from Project Gutenberg. The link is http://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/45410


Tuesday, 21 November 2017

Christmas Exhibition 20 to 25 November

We have a good show in the Weavers Gallery with more than 70 paintings displayed and more in browsers and there's a good range of cards for sale.

As so often happens, the photographic images shown in this post fail to do justice to the paintings.


Thursday, 9 November 2017

Marion Yeo - Acrylic Landscape

Marion Yeo is a Worcester based artist who uses nature as her inspiration. Her reference photo for the demonstration was of a forest in Cornwall.

She usually lays down some colour on her canvas before beginning a painting. In this instance she has used a two-tone background.



The next step is to indicate some of the main features - in this case the edges of the river and the tree trunks and larger branches. This was done using Payne's Grey.

She kept us well entertained with a series of quotations and stories as well as describing her working methods.

She continued to add darker values and then added some white for parts of the river and as an under-painting for brighter leaves.


Saturday, 7 October 2017

Joe Francis Dowden - Amazing Watercolour


We were faced with an array of Joe’s brilliant images even before he started his demonstration. This was certainly something many of us had been looking forward to and we were not disappointed.

A good source of information about Joe Dowden’s work is his website http://joedowden.net/ where you’ll also find details of his books and DVDs.

Joe certainly doesn’t believe in limiting the range of pigments available to him and he was quite enthusiastic about some of the pigments that have become available in recent times, mainly thanks to the motor industry. Despite the big range of tubes he had brought he did limit the number he used in his demonstration painting.

His brushes were mainly sable but definitely not when applying masking fluid. That’s the time for the very cheap brushes. He does use a lot of masking fluid to save whites, some is painted on, some spattered. The contrast between the white of the paper and the darks created by painting create the illusion of light.

His support was 300gsm Arches rough watercolour paper which had been stretched by soaking it thoroughly, laying it on a board for a few minutes to expand and then stapled along the edges. You can see from the accompanying photo how close together the staples are. When a painting is finished he cuts it off the board. It must take a while to remove all the staples even using a tack-lifter and pliers.

Drawing was fairly minimal. He simply established the horizon and mapped in a few of the main features. Only when the drawing was done did he add masking tape to establish the limits of his painting. Then the fun began with masking fluid painted and spattered on where he wanted to save the whites.

Wednesday, 27 September 2017

Looking forward to Joe Dowden

Bosham - December 2007
Copyright Joe Dowden
We're looking forward to welcoming Joe Francis Dowden on Tuesday 3 October when he will demonstrate his watercolour painting techniques. The venue will be the Parish Hall behind Holy Trinity Roman Catholic Church in New Street. We start at 9.45 and finish at noon. Cost: £3 for members and £5 for non-members. You can find out more about Joe's work if you visit his website.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Chris Jones: Dutch Bantam in acrylic


The starting point
An excellent demonstration by Chris Jones this morning as he showed us the process he uses for painting poultry. Though when using oil paints he has to allow time for drying between stage he does add a medium to speed the drying process and is often able to continue the next day. Today he used heavy bodied acrylic paints on a heavy water colour paper that had been stretched and covered with a white gesso primer. He usually works on 6mm MDF board that has been primed on both sides so it doesn't pull out of shape or else on the back of acid-free mount board.

Before he came to us he had transferred an image from one of his drawings using carbon paper. He also had a couple of photos for reference.
A reference photo

He began by applying Mars Black to dark areas and gradually built up a tonal under-painting. The black is pervasive enough to still shows through colour applied over the top, especially in the initial colour layers that are more translucent than the heavier paint applied as detail is added.

For feather and fur he usually works with round synthetic watercolour brushes which he buys from Rosemary & Co. Most of the demonstration was done with a number 8 round. He finds that stay-wet palettes tend to dilute the paint so prefers to work with a tear-off dry palette and a wide range of pigments. The use of greys in the mix tends to unify the painting.

For more about Chris visit his website www.chrisjonesart.com

Black used for under-painting