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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When is a Painting Finished? 12th April

A talk by Caroline Marsland.

There is no limit time-wise to finishing a painting.

The examples by Turner of a ship emerging from fog and a train emerging from steam capture the mood effectively yet have little detail.  Turner stopped painting as soon as the work said all he wanted it to say.

Several paintings may at first glance look “unfinished” but they concentrate on the focus which could be a face or even a mood, feeling or tone.

The Lowry concentrates on the stairs of a footbridge and there is no extraneous detail.

Paintings can be overworked.  The beach scene by Eric Fischl has every figure done with the same degree of detail and confuses the eye.

When working on your own painting consider:

Are the colours balanced?

  • Is the focal point correctly positioned?
  • Are there any distracting objects?
  • Does the eye flow round the painting?
  • Does the painting convey the message you want?

To assess your work, it may help to stand farther away, look at it through a mirror or even put it away for a few days then re-examine it with fresh eyes.

Many thanks to Lesley McBride, who kindly took notes and photos in my absence.

 

 

 

 

 

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Wax-resist Techniques with Watercolour – Landscapes 29th March

To begin this session, Caroline pointed out that, like watercolours, this technique needs careful planning and forethought. Although wax has been shown before in seascapes, it can also be used in landscapes and skies.

A rocky landscape was outlined, then, working from light to dark:

Sky

Mark out the lightest white part with small birthday candles.

Put on a light blue wash, apply more wax “clouds”.

Paint on a darker wash, when the wax and blot effect will begin to show. Continue with a darker was (maybe Cobalt Blue) followed by more wax, then perhaps experiment with Ultramarine, Turquoise or green.

Water

Put on solid amounts of wax and apply a light wash of blue/green. Shade in any reflections from the shoreline.

Mountains

Starting with the lower slopes, Caroline put on a wash mix of pale green and yellow. Burnt Sienna was used for the upper slopes. Then she covered all the paint in wax, not completely, but with some gaps, followed by an application of browns. For the effect of scree on the mountain sides use raw umber and dark green. Caroline then scattered salt on the wet paint and then rubbed it over with wax.

We all found this demo particularly helpful, having attempted, at one time or another to paint the gravelly surfaces of mountainous landscapes.

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The Dupont Pub Quiz 22nd March

Last Wednesday evening saw the return of the popular pub quiz, held at the Duke of Wellington. Six teams competed for the prize of cash prize of £20, which was won by Team Gin It to Win It. Eve Cole officiated as quiz master and kept order among the enthusiastic teams. Everyone gained a lot of information. For example: when did rationing end? Which sport prohibits the wearing of beards?  Which cheese is wrapped in nettles? And many other “fascinating facts”

Jane Jukes ran a very profitable raffle, which netted £28 for club funds. Thanks to all who donated prizes, including the landlord, who gave a presentation boxed Chivas Regal and kindly provided pizzas to keep up the competitors’ strength!

Special mention for Team Princess Cowboys,  who entered the spirit of things and dressed for the occasion (see below).

A very enjoyable evening’s entertainment was had by all and thanks go to Tina Stiles O’Brien for, once again, organising a splendid event which raised £78 for club funds.

In response to requests from club members, further quiz dates will be announced during the year.

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Perspective Demo 15th March

Caroline gave a very interesting demonstration of the use of perspective last week. There was a detailed and fast commentary to accompany the diagrams, and for that reason, this report has only shots of the demo. Caroline has asked that, in the interests of clarity, anyone who would like to have any further explanation should speak to her.

We all enjoyed the session very much, and watched in awe as Caroline deftly produced what seemed like architectural drawings at great speed. One Point Perspective was very useful for those of us attempting the terraced houses of Brighton/Anywhere, and Two Point Perspective no less so. The planning of stairs was particularly helpful too. With regard to still life drawing of vessels, the planning of an ellipse and cup showed method as opposed to freehand.

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