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:


Tonal Values



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


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 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


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


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


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.


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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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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