Watercolour Treescape Demo 11th July

Using watercolour, this week Caroline presented a demonstration of a treescape. Firstly, putting a sky wash on she advised using a big brush, to avoid “picky” marks, she looked at the composition, noting the shafts of light and some nice dots of yellow.

When looking at a watercolour landscape, look at the layers: sky, faded trees, land and foreground tree and take note of the lines in the picture.

The pale wash for the sky can be enhanced with faint yellow and a spot of red.

Using a blue/grey wash for the land and leaving gaps for the shafts of light, Caroline mixed Cobalt  with a spot of red .

While the main washes dried, Caroline mixed the blue with a pinch of yellow and started working on the base shape of the distant trees, putting a little shadow at the bottom and used a rigger for the stem and branches.

Starting with a pinch of yellow and a stronger orange, she put in foliage. Going back to the rigger the general shape of the foreground trees went in, leaving a little bit of light.

First a purple wash for behind the trees then for darker trees mix blue + red +green.

Tip: to fade out the edges of the foliage, dab with a tissue as you go.

Using a rigger to bring up the foreground tree trunks, Caroline held the brush far back and dragged it down. She then softened the rigger lines with a bigger brush.

For the greenery, first there was a pale green wash, then for the dark green a mix of viridian and red.

Caroline then redefined the tree trunks that had faded with drying, and the final draft appeared.

As a final note:  the usual rule of working from light to dark with watercolours can be reversed, depending of the composition.

 

 

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Introduction to Water-Based Oils 18th June

Caroline began with a description of the various brands and associated thinning agents:

Jacksons Aquaduo are very thick and expensive

Cobra is like System 3 acrylic, that is with less pigment

Lukas thinner is specifically for water based oils.

Cleaner: White Spirit

When using acrylics, it is often necessary to build with up to six layers to achieve the desired effect. However, the water-based oils will cover in just one or two applications. Caroline suggested that we underpaint with acrylic when outlining the image, and especially putting in skies, and then continue with the oils. The benefit of using this technique is that the acrylic draft will dry very quickly, allowing us to take up the oil paint.

Demonstration:

Starting with a sketched in image, Caroline mixed the skin tones, as below:

Yellow Ochre, Cadmium Red Deep, Titanium White, Manganese Blue

Light Skin Tone:               White, little red, yellow ochre

Medium:                           Less white, little red, yellow ochre

Deep:                                Less white, little red, yellow ochre + ultramarine

Apply the paint and allow to dry before blending. Using a filbert brush, to avoid angular marks, she painted over lightly, blending as she went, using skin tones and applying more than one layer. The oils proved much more workable than acrylics.

Using the darker shades for the cheek , Caroline then put some red into the nostril and made it darker further in. She used the lighter tones after the medium and dark tones are done. Working around the mouth, the coloured shadows were put in. For the eye, an off-white was used with a little re inner and a white rim above the lower eyelashes. A dark piece in the corner of the eye. The green for the iris was made of Viridian and blue. For the eyelashes, black was a mix of olive green +cadmium red deep + ultramarine.

Suggested Water-based oil starter kit:

Titanium White

Yellow Ochre

Cadmium Red Deep

Hookers Green or Olive Green

Ultramarine

Cadmium yellow deep

Caroline also suggested that we Google Sean Cheetham Mud Palette, which has some interesting images to peruse.

This was a very encouraging demo for those of us who have resisted using oils, for one reason or another. Not least is the possibility of avoiding the intrusive Linseed Oil smell!

 

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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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Painting the Big Picture

Every year Dupont members get together to paint one of the famous masters in huge formate under the guidance of instructor Lucy Parker. Each picture presents us with a challenge. Lucy  enlarges the picture and makes a colour photocopy, this is then cut into 24 pieces and given to members to paint. Members have to work together to ensure the colours match. At the end of the day the picture is assembled and compared to the original.

On June 7th this year Lucy chose the work of Georges Seurat, ‘A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte’. Much fun was had by all who joined in with this pointillism challenge.

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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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