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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A successful BHAC Exhibition

A very successful  Brighton and Hove Arts Council Annual Art Exhibition  took place April 10th  -13th. Trustee,  John Hird was quoted as follows;

“Many thanks for your support last week at what turned out to be our best art show.
 
    I have been involved for the last eight years and this year was the most successful.
 
    We had 135 pieces of art work, paintings, embroidery,sculpture,drawings and calligraphy.
 
    We sold 15 works of art and had 1022 visitors, the largest number we have experienced.
 
    Congratulations go to Victor Perkins of Dupont Art Club who won the Peoples Choice Cup for his oil painting  ” Grace “
 
   The runner up was Vanessa Reynolds of Adur Art Collective.
 
   Please pass on our thanks to all the members of your club who took part, I am already looking forward to next year.
 
John Hird
    Trustee
   Brighton & Hove Arts Council
www.bh-arts.org.uk
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Brighton & Hove Arts Council Annual Exhibition

The Brighton and Hove Arts Council’s Annual Art Exhibition

Friends Meeting House
Ship Street, Brighton, BN1 1AF
10 – 13 April 2019
Wednesday – Friday • 10am – 5pm Saturday • 10am – 4pm
• Over 100 works of art by local artists • Vote for the Picture of the Year
• All art work available for sale
Participating groups include:
ADUR ART COLLECTIVE • ATTIC ART CLUB • DUPONT ART CLUB • EMBROIDERERS GUILD (BRIGHTON BRANCH) • ROTTINGDEAN ART CLUB • SEAFORD ART CLUB • SOCIETY OF CATHOLIC ARTISTS (SUSSEX REGIONAL GROUP) • SOCIETY OF SUSSEX PAINTERS, SCULPTORS AND PRINTMAKERS • ST THOMAS MORE ART GROUP
Show sponsors:
Brighton & Hove Arts Council
Registered charity No. 270293
www.bh-arts.org.uk
@BHArtsCouncil @BH_arts_council

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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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