NEWS

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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Lino Cutting Demo

Caroline Marsland, our tutor gave a demonstration of lino cutting at our July wednesday class. I have taken the liberty of copying the description of lino cutting from ‘Gradually Greener in Print making’ from the web site. Carolines comments and instructions are added at the end.

“What is a Linocut?: Linocuts are very similar to woodcuts. It is a printing method using a sheet of linoleum, in which a subtractive cutting method is used to take away the parts of linoleum where you want to leave the white of the page, and keep the parts you want to be inked! In the result you have a linocut that can reproduce the same image over and over again.

A Short History: While linoleum was first invented in the 1860s, it wasn’t used as a medium for printing until the early 1900s in Germany, where it was first used for making patterns on wallpaper! Artists ranging from Pablo Picasso to Henri Matisse have made linocuts, and today it is considered a respected art form. Linocuts are also very popular in teaching children in schools about the rewarding art of printmaking.

Why linocuts?: First off, linoleum does not have a grain like wood does, meaning there is no need to cut in one direction. Also, it is much, MUCH easier to cut than wood, especially when heated. Although linoleum is not quite as durable as wood, you can still make hundreds if not thousands of copies of the same image with a single linocut before it is too degraded to use. Linocuts generally remind me of illustrated children books, which is a style I very much like. One can even make several linocuts to be used together to make a print including color, and in some cases (depending on the ink and paper you use) a linocut print can be colored after wards with your medium of choice.

So lets get started!

Step 1: Materials

Materials

You will need . . .

1. One sheet of linoleum!

You can get these at your local art stores such as Jerry’s Artarama, or even at generic craft stores such as Hobby Lobby. The bigger you go, the more expensive the sheet, but generally they are not too expensive. If this is your first linocut, I suggest getting something around the size of 4″ x 5″. This way you do not have a giant piece to work on, but you also won’t have to work with itty bitty details. For your first linocut, I suggest doing a simple pattern with no positive (left, uncut away) pieces smaller than half a centimeter. I know folks who buy linoleum for flooring when they find good deals, and use this for carving. I have never tried this, but only imagine it is much harder to cut than art store grade linoleum. Stay away from anything pink or white that claims to be good for lino-prints, generally it is a rubber that is much too soft, and you will hack it to pieces within seconds.

2. Linocutting tool with an assortment of blades!

You could buy several different handles with blades and v-cutters permenantly attached for about $7 each. I don’t suggest this, as it is very expensive and simply unnecessary. Most art stores and some craft stores will sell a beginers kit that comes with one handle and 5 or 6 different blades for anywhere between $7 and $20. This is what I have, and it works perfectly! I bought mine from Jerry’s Artarama for $14. There is a similar product here ( http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Printmaking-Supplies/Speedball-Block-Printing-Supplies/Speedball-Lino-Cutters-Handles-and-Linozips.htm ) for those of you who would like to buy your tools online or who want to get an idea of what they are looking for.

3. A piece of glass! (At least 8″ by 12″)

You can get your piece of glass anywhere really. Many glass cutting stores will sell you scraps, as artists often use glass for pallets as well. I would get one that is at least the size of your common printer paper. I simply bought an old picture frame from a thrift store for $3, kept the glass and recycled the frame. You will be using this to roll your ink out onto before applying it to your linocut.

4. A brayer!

A brayer is very similar to a paint roller, but instead of the strange cushy material the roll itself is some kind of rubber. I suggest getting a hard or soft rubber brayer, and these will run from between $6 and $20, depending on the size and quality. I suggest getting a brayer that is at least 3 1/2″ wide. Once again, these are found at art stores and in some craft stores. Here’s an example. (http://www.jerrysartarama.com/discount-art-supplies/Printmaking-Supplies/Speedball-Block-Printing-Supplies/Speedball-Barens-and-Brayers.htm)

5. Ink!

You can also get your ink at an art store or craft store, but make sure it says on the bottle it can be used for print making! Any color you like will do. I found a nice little jar of navy blue speed ball ink for $4. A little bird told me once you can use slightly watered down acrylic, but I have never tried this.

6. Paper!

This is the paper you will be using to put your final prints on. If your ink is semi-transparent, you’ll want a lighter color of paper. If the ink is solid and white, try some darker colors! I suggest artist’s quality light weight paper, though stay away from anything that is very textured, such as heavy duty watercolor paper.

7. A dark magic marker!

8. A pencil!

9. An idea for your print!

For your first print, I suggest a pattern or drawing that does not have a ton of detail and without any shading. Try to keep your thinnest positive points (where linoleum is not carved away) about a half centimeter thick for your first print.

10. BANDAIDS

I cannot stress this enough. If it is your first time making a linoleum cut, I highly suggest you have a box of bandaids on hand. You aren’t in danger of cutting a finger off while making a linoprint, but no matter how careful I am, I always manage to slice a finger or two. Some antiseptic ointment is a good idea as well!”

Caroline covered much of the above information and went on to say that the use of two colours could use the same piece of lino with you doing the first print and then cutting back on the lino for the second to do the second print on top of the first. She suggested that you use the lightest as the first layer proceeding to the darker colours. Just a reminder that when you print, it comes out as a reverse. One can use a professional printing press but these are very expensive. A simple wooden spoon can also be used to rub the paper or textile over the block.
The inks come in water and oil based. Oil gives more of a sheen. There are also special textile paints as well.
She touched on repeat patterns which are used in textiles, and wall papers with Standen House being used as an excellent example of these wall papers.
UK suppliers include Intaglio in London as well as Lawrences in Brighton who both are well supplied.
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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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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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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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