NEWS

Acrylic and Collage

Collage was first used as early as 1910 and Picasso did some collages.

Collage is a great way to add new dimensions to your paintings. The list of things you can use in collage is almost infinite, but here are some suggestions :-

Natural things like – shells, stones, pieces of broken glass, seeds , lentils, rice, dried beans or dried grasses –

just be careful not to use anything which might go mouldy.

Household things like – keys. zippers, jewellery, coins, washers, screws, bolts etc.

You can also use newspaper, wallpaper, gift wrap, sheet music and  cut-outs from magazines. Note that it can be difficult to paint on top of any shiny magazine clippings.

You can either start your painting by using a lovely piece which inspires you and then incorporate this into your painting, or you can use the collage to enhance a painting or give an interesting background to it.

Caroline started with a striking photograph of a young african woman, then she selected cut-outs from magazines to add a lively dimension to her painting. The finished painting can be mostly collage or 50/50 or any proportion you feel works best. Once you have your theme it is best to choose items to use as collage which are related to it. Caroline recommends using wood glue to stick on your items as this is very strong and nothing will fall off when the painting is hung.

This was her photograph

She mixed up some thinned paint, diluted with some glaze medium ( this is a good chance to use up your cheap paints as they are low in pigment) and applied this  on top of the collage so that the pattern showed through. She then continued to build up layers. How much paint you apply and how much collage you leave visible is entirely a personal choice. If you find that you have overdone the painting and not left enough collage you can always stick on some more.

Depending on the finish you are looking for you can paint over the finished artwork with glaze and varnish over the entire thing until it all takes on a solid look, or you may prefer to leave it textured.

Caroline said she would have added a little more collage but she didn’t have it to hand. She used scumbling to do the hair, which was very effective.

 

Here are some examples of collage and acrylic

 

The one above used small rolls of paper to great effect.

 

While this seaside scene is made up of different shells with sandpaper for the beach and the sea is painted.

 

This one is a more abstract work about the space programme of the sixties.

It may be a good idea to frame your finished work in a box frame to protect it.

 

 

 

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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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DEGAS – Pastels with a twist

Degas was one of the forerunners in impressionism. He preferred to work in his studio, and was not impressed with his contemporaries who painted en plain air. Born 1834, he was a little older than the others. He was a trained draughtsman, who then went on to study  at the Ecole des Beaux Arts. He was a highly skilled sketcher, who liked to capture everyday people.

The new paint colours which were just becoming available were the main catalyst for the impressionist movement. Degas’ compositions were dramatic and quite experimental at the time, as in ” Dancers “, 1889.

Caroline used the top left hand figure from this painting for her demonstration.

She began by grating some pastels using a nutmeg grater

Combining acrylic paint (Degas would have used oil paint) and pastel, she started the painting by using a dark pastel to form the outlines. She then put in areas of colour, blocking them in and also using scumbling.

Scumbling is a method of putting one colour onto of another, but leaving some areas of the original colour showing through. All of this work is considered the underpainting

Then, using a white pastel, she went over the face making the colours appear more flesh like. She used small strokes thereby mixing the colours on the paper.

If your colours should come out too white at this stage you can add a bit of yellow.  Working this way she built up layers , getting thicker and thicker.

Finally using some flesh tone acrylic paint, mixed with some of the white grated pastel for texture, she applied this on top. She then mixed some blue grated pastel with the flesh toned acrylic paint, and so on with the other colours, until the desired dramatic effect is achieved.

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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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Monoprinting by Caroline Marsland

Caroline gave us three demonstrations of monoprinting

Monoprinting is a spontaneous  and quick way of working, and good for getting texture.

The first example was using an oil stick. She started by preparing a frame using an old cat food box made of cardboard, tracing paper and regular printing paper. She then glued the frame in place so it wouldn’t move when she rubbed the top layer onto the framed part.

She ripped out shapes to form mountains from a separate piece of paper and carefully placed this on the framed paper.  You can draw this out if you prefer.  Then she pulled the tracing paper , which has been covered with the oil stick, over the top. She then rubbed hard over the frame and once the tracing paper was removed it revealed the outline of the mountains . Then, turning the torn paper upside down, she placed it to form the reflections of the mountains.  As some of the oil stick has already been removed the second rubbing will be lighter, which worked well.  She then went on to add more details by drawing on the tracing paper and reapplying some more oil stick where needed.

Next she did another print using charcoal. Pastel paper is best for this as it traps more of the charcoal and stops it just moving  around the paper.

She coated a sheet of pastel paper with charcoal then placed this charcoal side down on top of her regular printing paper. She did her drawing on the back of the coated paper and used rubbing to create the shadows.  You can use hatching and crosshatching if you prefer.

For the final demo, she used acrylic paint, and a piece of glass ( from her fridge) and printing paper.

First she coated the glass, starting at the bottom with a mid blue going darker to black at the top to represent the night sky. She put the paint on very thickly making the strokes dynamic to show the energy released by the fireworks. She then folded the paper over the glass and pressed very hard down on the paper.  Next she lifted the paper and, by flicking the paint, spattered several colours onto the glass.  Again press down very hard with the printing paper. Finally she added some buildings to the bottom of the glass and pressed down on top with the paper.  Resist the urge to paint directly onto your print!

 

 

 

 

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Fish painted in watercolour

Caroline’s subject this week was “fish, painted in watercolour”. The vibrancy of the medium was well suited to this subject as can be seen in her beautiful rendition of a tropical fish.
First Caroline lightly outlined the fish in pencil then applied the fish scales and part of the body in a light tone. She carefully left some areas without paint to be filled in later.
The fish’s tail lent itself to some experimenting with use of paint. The tail was painted and then scored with the end of a paint brush to suggest lines and again some areas were left free of paint.
While the paint dried Caroline applied a viridian green loosely to the background to suggest water and reeds. Contrasting colour was used as opposed to considering tonal values at this stage, whereas later darker tones were used to enhance the body of the fish.
Finally the details were carefully painted in with a rigger and some of the white areas were washed over with a pale tone. Some of the painting was left to drip and flicking paint on the green gave it a watery feel.

 

 

Thanks to Judy Richardson for photos and text.

 

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The Zorn Pallet

On April 24th instructor Lucy Parker gave a brief talk to the Wednesday Dupont class  on the zorn pallet used by many artists She described the colours used as yellow ocher, cad red medium. black and white. She said that in using oils, the dark colors should be laid down first. This was a brief outline of her colour mix. 

 

It is described as follows on line:

“The Zorn palette refers to a palette of colors attributed to the great Swedish artist, Anders Zorn (18 February 1860 – 22 August 1920). It consists of just 4 colors being yellow ochre, ivory black, vermilion and titanium white. Cadmium red light is commonly used in place of vermilion by modern day artists.

Whilst this may seem like an extremely limited range of colors, Zorn demonstrated through his paintings just what is possible with such a limited palette. Here are some of his paintings which appear to utilize the Zorn palette:”

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