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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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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