OIL PASTELS DEMO by Caroline Marsland

Caroline brought  oil pastels by Sennelier, which are an excellent choice as they are pigment rich and a delight to work with. Cheaper brands such as W. H. Smith are not so good as they are all wax and hardly any pigment.

Sugar paper is a good alternative to the preferred pastel paper and is cheaper. The most important thing is to use a paper with a good tooth to hold the pastel.

Selecting a colour that is closest to the mug to be painted, Caroline started by drawing a central vertical line to aid in the drawing of the mug. She then used good observation, not forgetting negative spaces, to make an outline of the mug. She squinted to see the reflected colours in the mug and then blocked these in. You can mix the colours on the paper, and then these can be deepened or lightened by layering until the desired hue is achieved. You may like to use your fingers to blend.

Caroline then worked the bottom half of the mug, building up layers . She made the inside of mug totally black as it appeared and then using the edge of the white pastel she put in the highlights round the rim and on the handle. She also used a torchon to make additional highlights and other small marks of colour. You can take off marks made with oil pastel using this tool, unlike chalk pastels (unless you scrape them off!). Using this tool she pulled out nice shapes in the reflected colours .

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Still Life in Charcoal Demo by Caroline Marsland 6th. March 19

Before starting the drawing, Caroline gave a few tips on working in charcoal:

  •   Sandpaper the paper for dramatic marks
  •   Use good textured paper
  •   Think … Where are my darkest shadows going to be?
  •   WORK BIG!

Blocking in very lightly, Caroline sketched out the group of bottles. Using light strokes to plot the work makes it easy to erase, should it be necessary.

Working dark to light she used heavy marks to start with, noting that wonky lines and random marks make it more interesting.

Using a small piece on its side, dark areas were blocked in and the fiddly bits (little shapes) were made using the end and the edge of the charcoal. At this point Caroline suggested working quickly, so there is “no fiddling”!

To make the image livelier, the background was strengthened, using strong lines and shadows.

Hatching is another useful technique to introduce texture. An eraser can then be brought in to remove parts of the darkest areas, in this case to give the shine on the bottles. Chamois leather can also be very effective instead of an eraser.

Thanks to Christine Elsdon for the notes and photographs.

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Charcoal portraits

The best charcoal to use is Windsor and Newton as it has good deep coverage and is just lovely to use.

Always break the stick into a smaller piece and then you can use it side on or using a corner.

You should use a rough paper with a tooth to give the charcoal something to catch on. Pastel paper is ideal for this.

When tackling a charcoal portrait, you should first decide which method you want to use. Caroline demonstrated both using shadows to define your shapes, and later drafting out your image using the charcoal a bit like a pencil.

She started by covering the entire paper with charcoal lightly, then she put in all the large shadow areas like the eye sockets and under the nose and the outline of the head.

Next she used a rubber  to erase all the lighter areas of the face and eyes and put in all the highlights. She frequently rubbed it on a piece of sand paper to clean the rubber. She used careful observation to ensure that the facial features were correctly sized and positioned, taking note of measurements of spaces between nose and mouth, eyes and nose etc. It’s just a matter of making continual adjustments until you are happy with the end result . Remember you can rub out and replace the charcoal as often as needed. You may prefer to use a charcoal pencil for the finer details, Caroline herself just used the corner of the stick of charcoal. You can also use your fingers to blend it.

The little girl was done using the drawing technique with the corner of the charcoal and then blending with the fingers.

 

 

 

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Painting leaves in watercolour and in acrylic by Caroline Marsden

When working in watercolour you should always work light to dark.

Caroline started by lightly sketching the outlines of the leaves in pencil and then she used masking fluid to map out the main veins. Then it was left to dry.

Using a round brush with a point she started by putting a wash of yellow with a little red over the entire leaf. While it was still wet, she dropped in a red mixture around the edges of the leaf, letting it do its own thing. Next she put in the green, using a bright green mix (cooled down with a little bit of the yellow wash). Using a clean brush she pulled out some veins from the still masked area. Next, she put in the leaf tips using a dark brown and a rigger.  If at this stage you can see that your colours are not strong enough this is easily rectified by first adding water, then dropping in more of the desired colour. When you’re happy with the painting rub out the masking fluid with your fingers. Then paint in the veins using a pale yellow and  finishing with a dark reddish brown.

Below is the leaf still with the masking fluid.

 

If you don’t want to use masking fluid you can carefully paint around the main veins leaving them as white paper, as with the small leaf below. You can then simply go in with a bright red paint for the vein and a darker colour underneath for depth.

The picture shows the final paintings using both methods

 

When using acrylic you should work from dark to light.

Caroline started the painting by outlining the leaves using Hooker’s green. She mixed three shades of green; dark, medium  and light. She first painted on the dark green where the veins were, then blocked in the leaf using the medium colour and finally used the light colour for all the highlights. She let this dry. She mixed up some quite runny yellow paint and used a rigger to drag the yellow vein over the top of the darker green . She finished it off by putting a dark green colour over the bottom of the yellow vein for depth.

For the berries she started by painting them white. Next, she mixed three shades of red and started with the dark red to put in the darker areas, then filled in the berry with the medium shade and lastly the highlights in the light shade.  By painting the berries white first it is easier to get a really vibrant red.

 

 

Report and photos by Lesley McBride

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Painting a still life in acrylic by Caroline Marsden

When tackling a complex  subject like a vase of flowers, it’s a good idea to draw the outline of the entire thing using a dark colour.

Start the outline by placing your main flowers ( the ones that are wholly visible ) first  and then moving on to the partially visible ones, moving round and outwards till you have captured everything.

Now you can move on to painting the flowers. Start by painting the background, then the rearmost  flowers, so that you can paint the main subject of the wholly visible flowers on top of the background ones.

Caroline advised buying a high quality yellow paint as it often is very difficult to get a good mix using the cheaper ones with less pigment. She mixed three shades of yellow using lemon yellow, yellow ochre and white. Adding the white makes the colour more opaque and also stops it becoming too acid. You can also add a tiny bit of red , but be careful not to add too much.

Using a pointed round brush you can make a nice petal shape. Start by putting in the darker areas and then paint on your petals on top. Concentrate on darks and lights to bring out the shapes of the petals. Next,use a smaller brush to add lots of bright tips to represent the tops of the petals, also using this brush to put in more darker shades to further define your petals.

For the red flower, first put in the centre in a bright phthalo green. Then, using a rigger, go over with small dots of yellow, finishing off with the rigger to put in a dark shadow under the dots. Paint on the red petals and then add white on top where you see the lighter colour.

Then paint on your darker red and finally, once it’s dry, paint over with the first red, and the white areas will now pop! For the leaves and stems use phthalo green with red to get a dark green.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rest areas in paintings

Caroline used the Pre-Raphaelites to demonstrate very good use of rest areas in paintings.

Rest areas are essential to allow the viewer to easily move their eyes around the space. Use of colour is also effective in leading the viewer around the painting. Cool colours will recede and as such will be a good choice for rest areas. You should save your more intense colours for the most important parts of the painting. You may also opt for duller colours or very similar colours for the rest areas with little contrast, keeping your lighter and brighter colours for the main focus.

In Sir Joseph Noel Paton’s  Bluidie Tryst the pale sky offers a relief, and silhouettes the main character. The right hand side of the painting is very dull so as not to distract from the main action.

In William Maw Egley’s The Talking Oak he uses tonal restful colours for the background. Notice that the blue sky echoes the colour of the girl’s dress, which will lead the eye to it.

 

In Sir John Everett Millais’ Isabella he sets the busy scene against a fairly bland wall and a very pale blue sky.

It is a good idea to do thumbnail sketches to ensure you get the correct balance of rest areas.

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Check out EOS Exhibition on Screen

S E A S O N   S I X
FIND A SCREENING

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN, the pioneering series of gallery and artists films for the cinema, returns for a sixth season, featuring three brand new feature films and encore screenings of audience favourite Rembrandt, back by popular demand.

The new films in Season Six will reveal the story behind Degas‘ obsessive pursuit for perfection; how Picasso’s lesser-known early years shaped his rise to international fame; and the profound influence of Japan on the work of Van Gogh. Meanwhile, Rembrandt will return to screens marking the 350th anniversary of the artist’s death.

  Continue below for dates and synopsises!  
DEGAS: PASSION FOR PERFECTION
Directed by David Bickerstaff
Release date: from 6 November 2018

EXHIBITION ON SCREEN journeys from the streets of Paris to the heart of a superb exhibition at the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, whose extensive collection of Degas’ works is the most representative in Britain. With exclusive access to view rare and diverse works, this film tells a fascinating story of Degas’ pursuit for perfection through both experimentation with new techniques and lessons learnt from studying the past masters. (read more)
YOUNG PICASSO
Directed by Phil Grabsky
Release date: from 5 February 2019

Pablo Picasso is one of the greatest artists of all time – and right up until his death in 1973 he was the most prolific of artists. Many films have dealt with these later years – the art, the affairs and the wide circle of friends. But where did this all begin? What made Picasso in the first place? Too long ignored, it is time to look at the early years of Picasso; the upbringing and the learning that led to his extraordinary achievements. (read more)
REMBRANDT
From the National Gallery, London and Rijksmuseum, Amsterdam
Directed by Kat Mansoor
Release date: from 9 April 2019

Every Rembrandt exhibition is eagerly anticipated but this major show hosted by London’s National Gallery and Amsterdam’s Rijksmuseum was an event like no other. Given privileged access to both galleries the film documents this landmark exhibition, whilst interweaving Rembrandt’s life story, with behind-the-scenes preparations at these world-famous institutions. (read more)
VAN GOGH & JAPAN
Directed by David Bickerstaff
Release date: from 4 June 2019

“I envy the Japanese” Van Gogh wrote to his brother Theo. In the exhibition on which this film is based – VAN GOGH & JAPAN at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam – one can see why. Though Vincent van Gogh never visited Japan it is the country that had the most profound influence on him and his art. One cannot understand Van Gogh without understanding how Japanese art arrived in Paris in the middle of the 19th century and the profound impact it had on artists like Monet, Degas and, above all, Van Gogh. (read more)
Want to see the previous seasons again?
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Tonal Values in Drawing 19th September

Caroline’s session today was a talk about how the use tonal values affect a painting, followed by a demonstration of how to build up tone in a pencil drawing.

First Caroline showed us examples of the use of light and shade and colour in paintings by Norman Rockwell. He was an American artist who depicted everyday scenes of life in the USA in the 40’s, 50’s and 60’s.  He used photographs and often set up scenes this way to capture an image he had in mind.

The first example was a painting titled “Freedom from Want” 1943, which showed a family having a meal around a table. Caroline pointed out the way the use of dark colours drew the eye in to the picture. The male figure in a black suit in the centre contrasted with the woman next to him in white and the dark hair of the children and other adults around the table gave the picture a sense of fluidity.  In many other paintings by Rockwell he used dominating dark or strong colours to draw the eye in while various paler colours are passed over by the eye.  One particular picture showing two black children facing a group of white children in suburban area caused quite a bit of discussion among us, both in his use of colour and social commentary. It was painted in 1967 and reflected the racial tensions of the day.

Caroline then demonstrated how to build up a pencil portrait concentrating on light and shade. First she lightly sketched in the features of the woman and her head gear, starting as she always does with the nose, moving on to the mouth and eyes and brow. She kept on taking account of the proportions by measuring with her pencil until she was satisfied with the placement.

Then she lightly mapped out the dark areas first, for example the shadows on one side of the face and working round the face where features were in the shade. Darker lines were then added and some of the shading darkened too. Caroline said she liked to use a 7B pencil as it was nice and soft and sometimes she would use a 9B for strong, dark tones.  It was advisable too, she said to keep in mind what you want the viewer to see and accentuate the focal points such as the eyes in a portrait.

Judy Richardson

Many thanks to Judy, who took the above notes and photo at very short notice.

 

 

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