Friday, 4 May 2018

International Watercolour Masters

State of the Union by David Poxon
What an exhibition! A great outing by coach to see this exhibition at Weston Park. We even met David Poxon, the exhibition organiser, and I know a few bought his book. For more details of this exhibition go to  (which is also the source of the image here)

It is well worth the visit. Go ... and be inspired!

You might also like to visit the websites of the individual artists or look for examples of their work online.

Here's one of the live demos on YouTube

Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Tia Lambert - Flowers in watercolour

Tia worked with watercolour and with acrylic inks, The image to the left shows a partially completed painting of bluebells on the Malvern Hills. The image was based on one she had used for April 2012 on her first calendar.

For more information about Tia and her work you can visit her website 

This particular painting was on stretched 140lb NOT watercolour paper. She had drawn the trees before coming to demonstrate but drew the foreground bluebells at the start of the demonstration using a dip pen and sepia ink. She uses Daler Rowney FW artists acrylic ink as it is lightfast.

Drawing the bluebells
using reference photos

After drawing the bluebells she put the painting aside to dry and then showed us some of her sketch books and her very portable outdoor painting kit.

She then demonstrated various techniques for working with watercolour and inks. The images that follow show some of this and the application of washes to the bluebell picture.

Wednesday, 11 April 2018

Frank Collict - painting with a palette knife

Frank had an early start from Penarth. He is primarily a landscape artist working in watercolour and oils. His work is about capturing the image with bold brush work while trying to convey the light and atmosphere of a place. Consequently, when painting in the field, he uses a limited palette to work quickly and keep things simple.

You can see more about his work on his website

For this excellent demonstration he painted with palette knives. The first two images here show his starting sketch made in the field and a colour visual.

He was happy to answer questions as he painted, particularly when he had to spend time mixing paint on the palette, and he made sure we understood each step along the way.

For the demonstration he worked top to bottom and back to front but his approach in the studio is a bit different and he would usually spend much more time blending colours on the palette to make sure he achieved just the subtlety of colour and tone he wanted.

Frank stressed the importance of painting daily and working outdoors as much as possible. He felt that his painting had developed very quickly once he had plucked up the courage to work outdoors and his work became much more spontaneous, particularly his watercolours. Working with a palette knife had also contributed to the spontaneity of approach, particularly in forcing him to simplify.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Golden Theme Winner

This is Jill Lloyd's painting which was voted the best on a golden theme at the AGM. Judy Giles came second. It was great to have so many paintings entered as we celebrated Ledbury Art Society's golden anniversary.

Prizes for the competition were generously provided by the SAA (Society of All Artists). These included a specially produced mug for the winner.

To find out more about the SAA visit their website

Thursday, 8 February 2018

Eric Watson - animals in pastel

Members were invited to try some of the demonstrated
techniques on this picture
Eric is a self-taught artist from Bromsgrove and a full member of the International Wildlife Artists as a professional Artist. In his demonstration he show us how he uses light and shadow using a combination of pastel, pencil watercolour pencil and acrylic to build up from a base drawing to a finished creation of stunning detail.

Eric had brought along samples of his work and you can see more on his website  Some will remember Eric came to us in September 2013 and you can see images from that demonstration on this blog here

The demonstration picture this time was of a dog standing in water. He had tackled this subject before so he was able to show us a completed painting before taking us through the stages of development needed to achieve a similar result. He had brought along several pictures at various stages of completion so that he could show how each could be developed toward the next stage.

He first showed us how to transfer an image to paper using a grid and datum lines before moving on to a second stage picture which had some black pastel had already been applied. The paper is a heavy smooth general purpose paper with enough tooth to take pastel that he works well into the paper with a finger.

He usually waits until the animal image is about 85% complete before working on the background which he likes to keep fairly simple. If the main subject is dark the background is better kept light for contrast. A background applied first would pick up lots of dark pastel dust from the subject.

The edges of the dog image are drawn with pencil and not pastel. That means he can bring the background right up to the edge, even over the protruding fur, so there is no 'halo effect' around the subject.

Scrap paper is used to avoid smudging and should be discarded occasionally as it will pick up pastel on the back.

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

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.

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