Acrylic Demonstration 13th June

 

Caroline started the session by explaining some of the qualities of acrylic paints. Acrylic is different from other mediums as the pigments are mixed with polymer resin and this enables the paint to dry much faster than oils.  On the tubes of paint you may see a number 1 to 4. This indicates the price, 1 being the least expensive and 4 being the most expensive, often due to the cost of pigments used.  “Hue” on the tubes means it is cheaper paint, using synthetic pigment.  If chroma is mentioned this indicates brightness and intensity, grey being low chroma and pillar box red high chroma. For more information search “Munsell color solid and chart” online.

Caroline recommended “Golden” as being good quality and she demonstrated how a cadmium yellow in “Golden” brand covered a dark colour better than a cheaper brand.

Demonstration

Caroline’s subject was a photo of a glamourous, elderly woman which she had roughly sketched in with a dark green so she started by mixing skin tones on her palette from light to dark using mixtures of white, yellow ochre, cadmium red and ultramarine in varying quantities. For example a light shade was a mixture of white and yellow ochre with a touch of cad red to darker colours incorporating ultramarine or even phthalo green.

Using a pro-arte or graduate flat brush she blocked in the colours. Before they dried she wiped her brush dry and feathered the edges to blend the colours into one another. She worked in this way around the eye and along the nose. She picked out reds and mixed purple for the lipstick, telling us that Renoir achieved his bright red lips on women by underpainting white first. A discussion on the effects of painting over a coloured canvas ensured and Caroline demonstrated how the top colour was changed by different colours beneath.  She demonstrated in detail painting in the eye first using an off white for the eye ball before toning it down. Then adding flecks of green to the iris – a bit of artistic license and finishing off with a dark pupil and a spot of white for the reflection. So the eye came dramatically to life.

Caroline finished the demo by showing us the impasto method on the background, whereby the use of thick paint to enhance the brushstrokes gives an interesting alternative to an otherwise empty space.

 

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Reflections in Spheres Demo 30th May

Reflections Demo  30th May

Today Caroline is using watercolours and working from light to dark. To mask the highlights on the ball, she would normally use masking fluid, but as that takes hours to dry, candle wax is preferred for speed.

A yellow wash was put on the top half of the ball. Caroline stressed that we should ignore detail at this stage, and break down the shapes we see, working in areas. Go for the big shapes first. Note the saucer used for the perfect sphere.

Working wet-on-dry, she began on the darker area, using pink first, then blue around the bottom of the ball

Fill in with impressions of shapes, such as class members, easel, the kitchen door. Remember that with spheres, all lines turn inward.

Use a rigger for detail, such as the rafters in the hall and put in darker lines.

 

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Rest Areas in Painting & Pets 11th April

Rest Areas:  Caroline explained that in a busy painting, rest areas are needed for the eye to process the picture. Rest areas are often part of the background or could be a road or a lane in a landscape.

Pets If painting from a photo it is essential to find a good picture with relevant information. Using a photo, for example of a black Labrador could leave you struggling with the detail.

Also consider the character of the animal. If this is known you can add specific details, such as pet toys to the background. Too often people just paint an animal floating on the surroundings, so do consider the background carefully to match the pet’s character.

Caroline was working from a phot of a tabby cat she had found on the internet. She had worked a good grounding and wanted to show us how she refined the details. She had made up a rug background, but she was not entirely pleased with it and as the cat looked quite young, she was intending to include fishes in the rug design to suggest a sort of playful character.

She started by refining the fur on the cat’s face and used the following colours for shades of brown:

Mix: Black, Cadmium red deep, Ultramarine for very dark fur

Mix: Viridian, Ultramarine, cadmium red deep, Yellow Ochre & white for grey

Mix: Viridian, Cadmium red deep, Cadmium Yellow for warm brown

These colours were often slightly altered through the painting by adding more or less of the above colour palette.

Brushes:  Caroline showed us the brush she often found useful. She had an old flat acrylic brush and had cut into it to leave it with spikes. Thus she could produce scratchy hair-like marks. Other brushes used were small acrylic ones and a rigger for refinement. She proceeded to work on the cat’s face, often using the side of the brush. Painting dark to light and working in layers with paint, neither too thick nor too runny. The fur on the upper leg was painted in with light brown over a dark base she had applied first. The brown colour adjusted by mixing as she went along. The final process today was to use the rigger to define the hairs. Caroline also uses dragging one colour into another and to soften the area she might use a glaze.

The cat’s green eyes were portrayed using the following mix:

Cobalt Turquoise, Viridian, Cadmium Red, Ultramarine and white for the darker colour

Viridian, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow for a lighter shade.

She worked around the outer part of the iris first, in dark colour. Then she used the lighter green for the middle. Finally, picking out the pupil in black and lastly giving attention to the shadow under the eyelid and highlights in the iris with a dot of white.

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Painting a Sunset Demonstration 21st March

Today we enjoyed a demonstration by Caroline of painting a sky at sunset.

To begin with, Caroline under painted the board with a sympathetic colour, in this case a Yellow Ochre. She started with the grey clouds mixing the darker tones of deep purple and brown. We should look for the shapes and, using a filbert brush, blend the edges gently. Use acrylic thickly, as a thin mix will dry too quickly. Also, using a thick mix makes blending easier.

Caroline used white for the sun, and mixed a glaze medium to give the thin, translucent layer for the purple streaks in the sky. Yellow edges crept around the dark clouds. The reflection on the water was made with an off white, using a flat brush and moving the paint from side to side.

This was a very helpful demonstration, as we are fortunate to benefit from such sunsets over water in this coastal area. To the canvas everyone!

Palette: Ultramarine. Cadmium Red Deep. Yellow. Yellow Ochre.

   

  

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Collage Demonstration 7th March

 

Caroline demonstrated the art of Collage today, showing how to build up an image using paper, including magazines and papers in a good variety of colours.

Torn Mosaic

First she drew a line drawing of a face and then cut out pieces of coloured paper from fashion magazines, which give a good variety of colour and pattern for this type of collage work.

It is best to lay out all the pieces before gluing. Use an indoor wood glue and always use a spatula to flatten, going over the edges. Leave the mosaics for a minute to avoid the edges curling. Use small pieces and gradually build up the image

Ripped Paper

Torn into long shredded lengths

Three Dimensional

You can order books on Amazon featuring animal, birds or butterflies to be cut out and stuck on the image. Collect old music sheets, maps and old books to provide resources. Below are works featuring beans, beads, photographs and many other accessible materials.

When your image is ready and dry, use a gel medium or varnish to seal and protect it.

The images following give ideas of how adventurous this art form can be.

Caroline is holding three Collage workshops at Lawrence’s Studio on March 12th, 19th and 26th for those who would like to explore this activity further.

  

    

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Composition – A talk by Caroline Marsland. 22nd February

The talk began with Caroline listing five headings, under which she would develop the subject of composition:

Line

Tonal Values

Colour

Chroma

Warm & Cool

Line: When thinking about your composition, consider where lines go. In the above picture by Tissot, all heads are in a line in front of the railing, to the tree, down the invalid carriage, up the steering stick. None go off the page. So the image is formed of a triangle.

The intention in composition is to move the eye around the picture. Think of what is most important, then put it in the middle. In the above picture all lines forma a triangle to the focal point of the woman.

Tissot was very good with groups of people, so when looking at a picture  look for the lines, as in the picture below.

 

Tonal Value:

What draws the eye is the contrast between light and dark. The light is on the rifle and the dark background pushes the woman forward.

Tonal Range: As between white and black. Impressionists used mostly light. Peploe combined tonal values using strong and light values, as below

Colour

Ferguson used red and green to take the eye around the face, above. He used cool blues and greens for the background , and put all the colour in the face and hat. Use cool colours for the background and warm colours in the foreground. In the Norman Rockwell paintings below, note that the eyes are drawn to the portrait eyes and palette. Similarly, the cool background in the scout picture emphasises the warmth of the figures in the foreground.

  

Chroma

Chroma is the value of a colour in terms of brightness/dullness

In the Rockwell picture below the emphasis of the dark suit throws the lightness of the table.

Similarly , the tattoo picture with the dark denim and pale pinkness of the skin.

  

Warm and Cool

In any picture, pale blue will be in the background and warm;, high chroma colours come forward. The higher the chroma, the more forward, as in the previous picture. Though it is interesting to note that in the Circus painting below, warm colours prevail overall.

 

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Monoprinting 24th January

Acrylics and oil sticks, along with materials easily assembled at home, monoprinting was the focus of today’s demonstration.

Using an oil stick and a glass sheet (ex-refrigerator), Caroline covered the glass with a layer of oil colour, then laid the paper on top, and used a pencil to draw the desired image, The first impression was quite faint, but further pressing with various implements brought out a stronger image.

      

Judy then produced her gel pad (must be placed on a plastic sheet to avoid absorption on surfaces).

Here acrylic paints were used and slathered onto the pad using a brayer roller to get an even spread. Paper was applied, and a dotted roller to give texture to the print. Judy noted that any image can be cut out and used as a mask at any point in the process.

   

The third part of this very engaging session began with Caroline putting the glass panel on to a grid-marked sheet, which had the “impression” sheet taped, to facilitate a multi-colour print process.

Caroline then painted a yellow pattern of circles on the glass, printed, then red circles.

    

Finally painting black around the patterns before removing the circles before printing the black , which produced the very attractive image below.

   

The final demo involved painting a sky and water scene, cutting a circle of paper (moon!) and inserting it in the image. Paint was wiped away from the path of moonlight and the paper pressed onto the plate, producing the most effective image below.

 

Equipment list:

Rubber roller

Glass plate (or card covered in Cling Film) or a gel pad

Acrylic paint or ink

Paper, Scissors etc.

Et voila…..with thanks to Caroline and Judy, you are a printer!

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Painting Rust Demo 15th November

The title of this week’s demonstration may not sound that exciting, but Caroline presented a very interesting session, bringing a rather ordinary subject to life with innovative techniques.

There were three images of different forms of rust, each requiring different treatment, as sectioned below:

Mosaic Rust

Acrylic

Mixing  Cadmium Red and Cadmium Yellow deep making a rust colour, paint on a few shapes in purple, then fill in with a darker red and high light with orange/yellow. You can use a damaged brush .For the flakes mix white with blue for three shades of grey. Gradually build the flakes, using the three greys and inserting dark shadows, as below

     

 

Dripping Rust

Watercolour

Using a flat brush,  put on a water wash.  Mix Yellow Ochre & Orange and allow it to drip down. Then add the red and allow it to move around with the flat brush. Add the dark brown on top and, while still wet, sprinkle with sea salt.

     

Rust Columns

Watercolour

Put a water wash on first, using a blue grey. Wash in between grey infills using a yellow layer.

Put orange onto the yellow and allow to drop. Splatter with dark red/brown.

  

We were all engrossed and found the demonstration really riveting!

 

 

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Painting Fur & Feathers Demo 1st November

This demonstration was most helpful for those of us wanting to paint animals and birds.

Caroline started by introducing us to painting short feathers, as those on the owl below:

Mix three shades: dark, medium and light of the colours of the feathers. Start with the dark shapes , loosely and with little strokes.

Use the medium brown and build up layers, putting on blocks of colour. Use the white of the paper for the lightest part of the feathers

Put in the lighter shades, pulling in colours using the side of a flat brush with little flicks, allowing dark colours underneath to create depth.

 

For longer feathers, as in the tail feathers of the hen draw out the outlines first, then put in the dark areas. Fill in the shadows using the medium shade.

  

When brushing long feathers, start at the quill and work outwards.

Fur

For fur use dark tones first and follow the direction of the fur. Use a rigger for finer points.

Think about the highlights, which go on last

Use a dryish “damaged “ * brush with unwatery paint for the wispy fur ends..

Using a mid- grey rather than white, build up the light areas. A useful trick is to use a flat brush with a different colour on each side

*Any old flat brush will be suitable. Just snip it irregularly with nail scissors until it is nice and spikey!

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The Zorn Palette Demo 18th October

Ivory Black, Lead White, Vermillion, Yellow Ochre

Anders Zorn (1860-1920) was a noted Swedish artist. He was born on his parent’s farm and showed early talent, which culminated in his studying at the Royal Swedish Academy of Art. His career climbed after this. He was portraitist to the rich and famous, travelling the world. He painted portraits of three American presidents and King Olaf 11 of Sweden.

He and his wife, Emma Lamm, eventually bought some land near his village and moved a cottage from his grandfather’s farm in which they lived. Zorngarden is now a museum and remains much as it was in his time there. There are a number of examples of his work on Wikiart.

Mixing: Always start with white for flesh tones + yellow ochre and red. To strengthen the colour, add a little black. Green can be mixed with black and yellow ochre.

  

Build shapes of colour to do portraits. Starting with shadows, use an ochre mix. Work dark to light. Set the shadows and then put in the mid-tones (pinker). Keep the acrylic reasonably thick, to avoid scratch marks and paper showing through:

Shadows: black + red +yellow ochre

Light tones: white + red

Wrinkles: black + yellow ochre + red

Footnote:

With the Zorn palette you don’t have to think about colour too much. It’s all about tonal values.

Below is Carolines’s palette, showing how many hues can be mixed from the Zorn Four.

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