Movement in People 4th October

Caroline started her talk by showing some examples of people in motion.

Artist Sergei Chepik used strong exaggerated poses to bring energy to his paintings such as the bullfighter.

 

While Mary Cassatt used the strokes of her pastels to convey movement.

She painted babies and toddlers who were “caught in the moment ” as it is obvious to the viewer that the child could not have maintained that pose for long.

To capture people moving can be tricky and it might help to draw a stick figure first, taking care to show the curve of the back, and the correct angles of the arms and legs. The correct slope of the shoulders, waist and hips can be indicated with a straight sloping line. From this base you can then flesh out the drawing. You don’t even need to paint fully every part of the body, sometimes it’s better to simply give a blur suggesting a hand or foot as this in itself will suggest movement. You should try to measure the angle between the head and the legs to ensure you position them correctly.

  

Once you are happy with the positioning of your figure you can enhance the feeling of movement by putting in creases in the clothing and shadows on the limbs to emphasize muscles being used. Hair is also great to convey movement as it can be shown flying in the wind.

Landscapes can be made more interesting by the inclusion of people working, or simply walking. If the figure is shown performing a sport , the brain automatically fills in the next move to your still frame and so movement is seen.

Once again, many thanks to Lesley McBride, who kindly provided the text and photos of this session.

 

 

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Mediums Demo 20th September

Today Caroline presented a selection of mediums: Pencils, both lead and coloured, charcoal, watercolours, acrylics and pastels, along with her personal recommendations as to brands.

Pencils

Caroline favours 8B for drawing, as it is possible to get a really dark tone with it. HB she finds too hard and light, but these can be used for watercolour sketch-ins. Recommended brands are Faber Castel and Staedtler.

Coloured Pencils

The cheaper ones need more pressure.  Caroline suggests that we press hard and add layers before adding water and blending. Best quality are Derwent, followed by Faber Castel and Caran d’ache.

Charcoal

Avoid Coates. There are different sizes in Winsor and Newton’s range. Some is reconstituted. Derwent charcoal pencils are good for fine lines. Can produce a very dark line too.

Watercolours

The Russian brand – White Knight are very sticky, but have lots of pigment. They are now available from Jackson Art, and can be bought individually.

Daler Rowney need a lot of rubbing. A good indicator is that if the paper shows through, the paint is cheap, as with Pelican, which has very feeble colours.

Acrylics

Golden and Liquitex are the recommended brands as System 3 student quality has some poor colours, particularly the yellows. Winsor & Newton Galleria come under the same banner.

Gel mediums can be used with acrylics: mix with acrylic to bulk up paint, but be aware that this will dilute the pigment. Also available are crackle textures. You can make your own gesso with talcum powder +PVA+water.

Pastels

WH Smith have a good colour range. Schmincke are very soft, for those who like this effect.. Pan pastels can be used with a sponge for smudge work. Sennelier are a favoured make. Faber Castel makes a range of pencil pastels.

Caroline said that it is best to start with a hard pastel for draughting, and then go over with a round soft pastel.

Oil pastels from Sennelier and Farrel Gold. Oil bars from Winsor & Newton and Stabilo can be blended with white spirit. A really useful gold wax by Pablio can be used to great effect.

As a final comment on all makes of any medium, Caroline stressed that “You get what you pay for!”

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Painting with Oils 6th September

Painting with Oils  6th September

Many materials can be used to paint on: canvas, canvas board, hardboard or paper, but all must be sealed before starting. Those bought ready made from art suppliers are “ready to go” but if you use hardboard or paper, you will need to apply a coat of size or, as Caroline does, a coat of household emulsion.

The importance of working fat on lean:

Start with thinned layers of paint for under painting and build up to thicker layers with added linseed oil for fluidity. You can choose from a range of oil mediums: linseed oil, poppy seed oil, walnut oil, and safflower oil. The choice of oil imparts a range of properties to the oil paint, such as the amount of yellowing or drying time… Water based oils need their own specific oils, as per the makers’ instructions.

Use a thin under-paint consisting of a colour and turpentine, which won’t take too long to dry. You can then add layers of subsequent paint without delaying too long.

With over-painting, sometimes if too many layers are applied, it can become muddy and overworked so the options are to scrape off or leave to dry and paint over.

Glazing – Building up layers of thin paint. As with the last demonstration on 16th August Glazing on Black & White Acrylics), start with a thin layer of paint + turps  which allows the sketch to show through and keep over-painting, adding heavier amounts of colour. You can also use a technique called Impasto – this involves using the paint thickly to show brush or knife marks, Van Gogh painted in this way.

Disposal: Oil paints and the thinning mediums are flammable, so soak any rags or paper towel in water before throwing them in the bin. They can dry out, and become dangerously combustible if left to dry out.

Brushes – Oil painting can ruin brushes so I buy cheap from Sussex Stationers. Bristle brushes are more hard wearing and good cleaning with white spirit will keep them going for quite a long time.

Makes of paint:  Lukas, Aqua-duo, Windsor and Newton.

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Glazing on Black and White 16th August

 

The use of  glazes over a black and white portrait painting  gives a different glowing result. Caroline had a photograph of a young person and had painted it in black, white and greys to start with.  She pointed out that it is vital to get tonal values set first.

Working from light to dark, and using either a glaze medium or cheap paints, apply a wash, which allows the dark image to show through. The use of cheaper acrylic paints is suggested because they have less pigment in them therefore a glaze effect is much easier.

Using a filbert brush, mix a light flesh tone and add it to the pale area of the face, adding more pigment layer by layer. The filbert brush doesn’t give hard edges. This is the result needed with this type of portrait painting.

Add pink to the image, bringing in the warmth. At this stage you can go back and forth between the dark and light areas. Working wet in wet blends better, which means you can mix colours on the page if you want to.

Use solid paint for definition, and block in with white if you make a mistake, then start again as it is very easy to go dark in portraits.

Palate: Cadmium Red, Yellow Ochre, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna, Hookers Green, Cadmium Red medium.

It was agreed that this was a really helpful session for those of us that aspire to portrait painting, as this technique allows a very gradual build of a work instead of the dramatic and sometimes disappointing results of using solid paint from the outset. The use of glazes results in a real glow in the work which can’t be achieved with the use of direct non layered painting.

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Preparing Work for an Exhibition

Thanks go to Lesley McBride, who recorded Caroline’s talk, and to Judy Alexander for the images.

Caroline Marsland’s talk today was especially helpful, with the Club’s upcoming exhibition in August now only weeks away. Some valuable advice about choice of frames and examples of different effects will be valuable to those who are putting work forward shortly.

Choosing a Frame

It is always best to go simple. For example, a busy picture does not want to compete with a very ornate frame, but using a large white mount can offset this.

The frame should hold the picture together. Maybe use a lesser colour from the picture in the frame.

Natural wood frames are not in vogue at present, and heavy dark frames are also out of favour.

 

Using mounts can help to draw the eye into a smaller picture, or a larger, thicker frame can add drama to a small picture

Framing

Try car boot sales for old frames, where you can fine old frames very cheaply. You can rub them down before painting or varnishing, (chalk paint  is available in Aldi for £4.95 per tin and comes in antique white and grey). Also try second hand shops or charity shops . Ikea do good frames at reasonable prices, as do B&Q, Dunelm, Asda @ Hollingbury and The Range in Worthing. Use architraving if you have a mitre saw.

Unusual frames can be made using driftwood, twigs, or an old clock face. Craft frames can be made using any old stuff glued to the frame, then sprayed to unify it. Box frames always look good.

Backing

Use D-rings or eye hooks. D-rings are on Amazon for a bag of 100 (£5-£6). String can also be found at car boots or on-line. You must use strong string or wire with proper eye hooks or D-rings. Clip frames are not accepted.

A pushing tool is available online to put in the flat hooks which secure the painting to the backing board.

Put your name and contact details on the reverse, along with any that the Club has requestewd. Think about how the back will look to the buyer, when it is taken down.

Pricing

£35 minimum please, for the club exhibitions. Base the price on the amount of work time you have put into the picture. Also consider the materials used (frame, brushes, paint etc.). Or, if it is one of our favourite pieces, charge accordingly.

Helpful Hints

Offer to help on hanging day to get your work in a good position! If you are very unhappy, tell someone about it and they’ll try to improve things for you, maybe with better lighting.

When selling, remember that people often don’t want a really big picture, as they may not have room in their house.

You must be quite thick –skinned when hearing comments on your work. Try not to take offence, but take on board any constructive criticism.

Good fortune to all exhibitors!

 

 

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Plein Air Painting 19th July


Caroline began her demonstration with some points to consider before starting an open air painting session.

  • Reconnoitre before choosing a site. Are there a lot of possibly intrusive people around?
  • Consider the weight of your equipment. A half-size easel will ease the load, as you may have to climb for a better vantage point
  • Do some thumbnails to help decide on your composition
  • If using acrylic paints, remember that they will dry more quickly outside. Use a stay-wet palate

Once you are settled and starting to paint, lay down light tones and darks at the outset, bearing in mind the changing light as time passes. Get your tonal values down at the beginning. She suggested working with big brushes to do this, to avoid “fiddling”.

Outdoor painting needs you to make light colours lighter and darks darker, which will compensate for indoor light levels.

Method: Working from the back to the front of the scene in light tones…look-paint, look-paint. To achieve shafts of light, use a glaze at the end of the work.

Focus on lights and darks is most important. As an example, your composition should be 70% cold and 30% warm colours or vice versa.

Keep a varied selection of greens and add a few browns to your palate for woodland scenes. Use a rigger for the small upper branches, which can be added later, along with foliage.

Lastly – Be rougher and have fun with it!!

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Bauhaus Furniture 21st June

The Bauhaus (trans. School of Building) was founded in Weimar in 1919 by Walter Gropius, who was very interested in manufacturing combined with art. It was created as a centre for all arts.  The Arts & Crafts movement was a big influence, as, under William Morris, it espoused the idea of functionality and beauty. After a while the medieval forms were thrown out and a more stripped down model favoured.

The school had pottery departments, furniture workshops   and produced posters in the art department. After a while, metal became favoured over wood and the material for chairs and tables.

Famous artists such as Kandinsky and Paul Klee taught there, and many others aspired to join the teaching staff, such was the growing reputation. Below is a diagram of the comprehensive course offered after the move to Dessau.

There was a strong influence from Mondrian’s works, which is apparent in the building at Dessau, and the modernist architecture of the building set a style for many buildings.

In 1932 the school moved to Berlin, where, under political pressure, it was closed by its leadership in 1933.

Caroline showed us many images of the furniture produced by the school, which cannot appear here, due to copyright constraints, but for those interested, the internet has many images on Google Images under Bauhaus furniture. Some will seem familiar, as indeed they are. The influence is very strong in today’s market place with the growing taste for modernist style in the home.

The talk was very interesting, particularly as we are surrounded by furniture and design whose origins are in the Bauhaus. Ikea, although a Swedish company with the Karl & Karin Larsson historical connection, has many pieces reflective of this famous German school.

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Composition Demo 7th June


We were treated to a very comprehensive and helpful talk and demonstration on composition by Caroline, in which she outlined how to plan a picture, illustrated by examples by well-known artists from different schools. There followed two examples of assembling a painting, during which the choices and various techniques that can be used were demonstrated.

Before starting a composition there are several points to consider:

Contents

What is important

Point of interest

How to use colour

Tonal values

The Rule of Three (Golden Section)

Some artists put the focal point in the centre, while others use a triangle, commonly seen in religious works, with people scattered around. Abstractors often use a cruciform and sometimes the S shape.

In the first picture – The Lady of Shalott by John William Waterhouse, she is central and the brightest, most detailed in the image. The dress is bright white and the belt a contrasting black. The line of the land runs parallel to her chin.

The second picture was a triangular placing, with no bright colours at the edge to keep the eyes inside the page. All lines point to the face.

Isabella, by Holman Hunt is the third picture. Once again everything points to the face and there is little emphasis on any background.

 

Ben Nicholson in picture 4 used constructionism. He liked everything to be within a “frame.  All the colours work together and “speak” to each other. All the lines are broken, so that the eyes don’t go off the page. He uses squares and rectangles. The placing on the page could be seen as related to Isabella, above.

 

Picture 5 is by Karl Larsen, where there are many downward lines. Everything goes down to the table and stops the eye there. The woman in black is the focal point. Picture 6 is also by Karl Larsen and is unusual in the way the flowers are in front of the subject. There is a small amount of colour in the loom, but most are similarly pale, with the grasses bring the eye into the roses. Tonally, all dark tones are with the woman.

Demonstration

 

Caroline suggested using the internet for images to combine and make a composition. Draw thumbnail sketches before starting the work.  Houses can be moved in front of a church and boats can be moved across the water, with the masts making a pattern. Check the light source

 

 

Using the photo of Clovelly, it was suggested that the house roofs are simplified and the greenery shaved off. This gives a cleaner line of perspective down the hill. The lamp can be moved to any position to alter the light source. The level of the horizon can be raised or lowered to balance the rooftops and the insertion of a person adds distance and a focal point to the composition.

Remember:

Thumbnails are the painting before the painting.

When painting, do big shapes first and then smaller items.

 

 

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Watercolour Demo by Polly Raynes 10th May

We were very fortunate to have Polly Raynes demonstrate her methods of using watercolours for the club.

After drawing an outline of a most attractive still life, Polly began by saying that sometimes we need to put space between ourselves and the image. Also, not to worry too much about colours running. Just keep an eye on the highlights, then lay in tones.

Let the water do its own thing. Use soft but primary colours. Work on one area and then move to a different space to allow the first part to settle.

Glass is much more sparkly using just highlights.

Use a rigger (No. 4) to “draw” lines. Where the background is concerned, it’s not necessary to fill in all detail, just suggestions . White paper left blank can highlight the form of the picture.

Materials: Polly uses QOR tube paints, as she finds the colours stay fresh and don’t become muddy like the blocks tend to. Paper: Bockingford standard does not soak up all the paint, and allows for mixing and dribbles etc.

Brown: Invest in brighter colours which produce vibrant tones, rather than pre-mixed burnt umber etc. Polly mixes purple + turquoise + warm yellow to make her browns.

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The BHAC Spring Exhibition 2017

The sun shone brightly for most of the duration of the annual BHAC exhibition at the Friends Meeting House this year. This encouraged everyone to come out and enjoy the weather and brought over 700 visitors to the show.

Vaughan Rees OBE, Chair of the Brighton & Hove Arts Council, brought the very successful event to a close with the prize-giving. He commented on the range of media, style and subject from what are essentially amateur artists, mentioning that he had purchased many works himself over the years.

The People’s Choice Cup went to Heather Nicholson for her portrait “Boy”

Runners up were:

Victor Perkins

Johannes Kerkoven

Caroline Marsland

We now look forward to the Dupont Art Club exhibition in August, so let’s get painting (or embroidering!) to make it the success of the year!

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