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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The Big Picture

This year the BIG PICTURE chosen by Lucy Parker, our instructor, was WORK by Ford Madox Brown 1852- 1863. Many members of the Dupont Art Club met on May 25th, 2017 to choose and paint a square of this complex piece. It was a fun day and learning experience as Ford was a very skilled  artist and draftsman which we tried to emulate. Wickopedia gives an excellent description of this famous work.

“Work (1852–1865) is a painting by Ford Madox Brown that is generally considered to be his most important achievement. It exists in two versions. The painting attempts to portray, both literally and analytically, the totality of the Victorian social system and the transition from a rural to an urban economy. Brown began the painting in 1852 and completed it in 1865, when he set up a special exhibition to show it along with several of his other works. He wrote a detailed catalogue explaining the significance of the picture.

The painting was commissioned by Thomas Plint, a well-known collector of Pre-Raphaelite art, who died before its completion.[1] A second version, smaller at 684 × 990 mm, was commissioned in 1859 and completed in 1863. This is now in the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery. It is closely similar, though for the lady with a blue parasol the face of Maria Leathart, the commissioner’s wife, replaces that of Mrs Brown in the Manchester version.[2]

The picture depicts a group of so-called “navvies” digging up the road to build an underground tunnel. It is typically assumed that this was part of the extensions of London’s sewerage system, which were being undertaken to deal with the threat of typhus and cholera. The workers are in the centre of the painting. On either side of them are individuals who are either unemployed or represent the leisured classes. Behind the workers are two wealthy figures on horseback, whose progress along the road has been halted by the excavations.[3]

The painting also portrays an election campaign, evidenced by posters and people carrying sandwich boards with the name of the candidate “Bobus”. A poster also draws attention to the potential presence of a burglar.[4]

The setting is an accurate depiction of The Mount on Heath Street in Hampstead, London, where a side road rises up above the main road and runs alongside it. Brown made a detailed study of the location in 1852.”

Following are photos of our group painting this BIG PICTURE.

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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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The Importance of Good Design

Yesterday I had the pleasure of stewarding at the Scottish Diaspora Tapestry being exhibited  at the Westminster Hall in London. This spectacular collection of embroidered panels from people of global Scottish descent was amazing in it’s blending of colours, line, and design. Many people commented on the use of similar colours and drawing style. This was because all of the 305 panels were carefully designed by one artist.  This  talented artist was Andrew Crummy. He drew each panel with lines and colour and left the actual stitching styles and some content  to the embroiderers. This gave this display the continuity needed for such a grand effect.

This continuity of good design and style is important for an artist to develop ones own reconizable artistic voice. Investigating many ways of doing art is all part of the growing process for an artist. Settling on one subject or method can be a challenge.  The backbone of artistic progress must be in good design. After that, following your passion is what inspires you to produce more.

Thoughts from a Dupont Art Club member

J. Alexander

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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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Spreading a little Love With Art

Spreading a little love with ART

Recently my friend and fellow artist Tina Stiles arranged to visit the Dane seniors home in Hove, UK to teach art.This was initiated by the Brighton and Hove Arts Council who arrange for outreach to the community to enrich the lives of others through having some of their many member organizations volunteer to do things like this. Tina and I are members of the Dupont Art Club.
We worked with a half dozen people who made and decorated their own cards to be sent to love ones. During this time there was laughter and comradely amongst the people with all of them able to complete at least two cards each. They were very happy to have people take the time to work and interact with them.
We each have something to offer others be it cheerful conversation, company or teaching a little bit of art. With art, people don’t have to speak if they don’t wish to and can communicate through their art. They just immerse the themselves in a relaxing activity.
Although we were the ones to give of our time, we were all the richer for this with feelings of giving a little of our skills to enrich the lives of others.

 

 

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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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