Building an Acrylic Painting with Layered Washes

 

Guest instructor, Zara, introduced her favourite method of developing an acrylic painting by using many washes to slowly develop the picture. She said that this meditative process left a painting which was both translucent and in a illustrative painterly way. 

She used two subjects to paint at the same time  so one could dry while the other was being repainted. Before starting, she mixed a small amount of acrylic paint colour in a little water. She had several pots of these mixed colours which she cautioned us to mix well to get rid of the lumps. They had the consistency of creamy milk.. These little containers of watery colours were her paint pallet.

 She then drew the object (apples) and sky landscape first with a light coloured watercolour pencil. She then used a flat brush to paint in the apples and sky with a light colour and let dry. She began to layer the colours to develop each of  the pictures. She followed the shape of the apple with her brush strokes. She warned us that this type of painting could require 20 or more layers so would require patience. She only had time to paint about 3 layers with each picture and said that they would require at least another dozen layers each. 

We began to see the potential after only three layers with some lovely luminous colours being produced. Many of the members used the rest of the afternoon practising this intriguing method of painting with acrylics.

 

 

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The use of a flat brush

Brushes come in various shapes including round, filbert (a semi round top and great for portraiture), fan, angular, and the flat brush. Each has it’s own uses.

Caroline Marsland demonstrated the use of the flat brush at class. These brushes  come in all sizes. She chose a medium and medium small to show how one could complete a landscape painting using this one shaped brush. A flat brush can make thick consistent strokes or when it is turned on it’s side, will give you fine lines. It is great for blocking in solid shapes of color such as in the painting of the building shown in her demo. She also showed it’s use in blocking in color for trees.

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Painting in the style of Monet

Caroline Marsland lead us in a demo of a Monet painting. She pointed out the Impressionists of whom he was most famous, were into seeing colours in their environment. `Monet painted with thick oil paint later stumbling with thick paint when his eyesite become poor. He used small strokes that blend often giving a feeling of a haze. His strokes for the sky were often verticle and the water horizontal. He often used a ground color of blue or cream. He painted at the lighter end of the light-dark scale.

`his brief biography is as follows:

Claude Monet, in full Oscar-Claude Monet, (born November 14, 1840, Paris, France—died December 5, 1926, Giverny), French painter who was the initiator, leader, and unswerving advocate of the Impressionist style. In his mature works, Monet developed his method of producing repeated studies of the same motif in series, changing canvases with the light or as his interest shifted. These series were frequently exhibited in groups—for example, his images of haystacks (1890/91) and the Rouen cathedral (1894). At his home in Giverny, Monet created the water-lily pond that served as inspiration for his last series of paintings. His popularity soared in the second half of the 20th century, when his works traveled the world in museum exhibitions that attracted record-breaking crowds and marketed popular commercial items featuring imagery from his art.

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Using a Grid for Complex Subjects

Lucy was our instructor for the Wednesday class and took us through the use of grids when drawing accurately. Anytime you want to draw something that requires accuracy such as a portrait, pet, vehicle, a complex still life, etc. we may wish to use the grid method.

It starts with drawing a grid of squares over the photo of the work you wish to copy. These squares can be numbered and lettered  to make it easier to follow when drawing. Next you then draw the same numbers and letters  of squares onto your drawing paper/canvas. You then

carefully copy each square from the grided photo copy onto your painting/drawing surface. Be careful at the corner of the eye and bridge of the nose as these can be tricky.

If you don’t wish to mark the photo you can always copy the grid onto clear acetate and layer it onto the photo. There are also various grid drawing assistance apps on your tablet which you can download and layover the photo to be copied.

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Watercolour Painting of Patterned Fabric

Caroline Marsland took the Wednesday Dupont class through how to watercolour paint a patterned fabric on paper. We were not painting the fabric. 

She started off by lightly drawing the general shape of the fabric lightly with pencil. She then painted in the the colour of the fabric first with all of the shadows that are in it. She layered the shadows for best effect and used tissue paper over the wet parts to show texture at times She worked away from the centre with a wet in wet technique. For the really white areas, she suggested using masking fluid. You need to exaggerate the shadows because when you put the pattern in, they will disappear somewhat. 

Once the background is dry, she said to very lightly draw in the pattern first with complex patterns  but with a simple pattern, she just paints the patters in.

Some suggestions: Remember to sqint, She painted from light to dark to light as needed. 

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Painting with Charcoal and Watercolour

On November 14th instructor Caroline Marsland did a demo on painting using charcoal and watercolour. This was done on 140 pound watercolour paper. This medium is good for moody pictures. There is usually a tinge of charcoal in the watercolour leaving a shaded picture. She used a piece of charcoal but using a charcoal pencil is fine.

Caroline started off with a drawing of the shadows in dark charcoal. She used a loose dribble runny wash for the sky. In order for this not to run into the foreground, she turned the painting upside down to prevent this while painting. Once it is dry, she overpainted it to give it a darker, more dramatic look. The foreground was painted with watercolour which blended into the black charcoal shadows.

The overall effect was a quick moody picture of moody stones.

 

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Pen and Quink Ink Sketching

Instructor Caroline Marsland took a different take on using pen and ink in our art. She used the water soluble quink ink which comes in a few colors.

She started with talking about the nibs. Dip nibs come in a number of shapes for different uses. The drawing ones are quite sharp and can tear watercolor paper. Smooth paper fairs better. She prefers writing nibs and ones with a rounded tip. They also can have a reservoir added but one has to be careful that ink doesn’t drip out. She does not recommend biros or other felt pens as you can’t get them to widen or become thin with pressure which helps to show emotion in the drawing.

Before starting, one must decide if you want to do the wash first or the pen drawing. These both give different results.

The demo started with using the pen first to outline the chosen art. She used some cross hatching and varied the width of the lines. She said to ask yourself, ‘how much pen do I want to put on or what kind of strokes or dots  to make? Once the drawing is completed, you must carefully add the watercolor wash knowing that some of the ink will dissolve into the colors. This effect can also be achieved using charcoal pencil. You can go back over the dried piece to enhance any lines or colors.

Putting the wash on first is done with drawing the image with watercolor and a brush, letting it dry (unless you want it to bleed) and adding the quink ink lines and dots after. See below to note the difference in results.

These are just two ways to use these lovely mediums. Play with them and see!

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POP Art

On the 24th May Caroline gave us a talk and demonstration on “Pop Art”. She started by telling us that although we associate pop art with the 50’s and 60’s, it emerged as early as the 1920’s. Artists were reacting against traditional movements typical of the Victorian era as well as the upheaval of WW1. They were looking forward to a brighter future and this was reflected in painting and design. Caroline showed us a jazzy print of a number five that could easily have been designed in the 1960’s but was in fact created about 1920. Pop Art was also associated with Art Deco and the Dada movement.
After the Second World War artists again were looking at society anew and taking inspiration from consumer items and were commenting on the roles of men and women. Caroline showed us some more familiar images including Richard Hamilton’s collage of a man flexing his muscles while a woman sits on a sofa, surrounded by modern day trappings. Richard Hamilton was British but most of the artists we are familiar with were from the US, including Oldenberg, Lichtenstein, Rauschenberg and Warhol. Much of their work took a wry look at the superficiality of American life. Lichtenstein was inspired by cartoons and magazine images to make his paintings, such as a woman’s manicured fingers using a spray can or a high heeled shoe stepping on a pedal bin. He was also keen on using images of glamorous couples in sports cars, or macho pilots in planes with comments floating in speech bubbles.
Caroline took her inspiration from Lichtenstein’s cartoon paintings to demonstrate an idea for a take on contemporary life. Using a felt tip she drew a typical family out to lunch at a fast food restaurant, all of them glued to their mobiles and oblivious of one another. A speech bubble across the picture read “communication.” The session generated quite a lot of discussion particularly as we could relate to many of the art works that we were shown.

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