News and Articles

Read about upcoming exhibitions and see art demonstrations and art tutorials from Dupont Art Club.

Painting a Christmas Card 27/11/19

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Caroline suggested that to get inspiration for your card it is a good idea to have a look at cards from earlier years. Christmas cards have evolved in their design from the Victorian age to the present day. We looked at several different cards from the Art Deco to the war years , here are a few examples:- Caroline decided on a stylised angel for today's demo. She started by drawing out the shape to fill the card using the angel wings to stretch up into the corners. She then chose a focal point which in this case would be a light being carried by the angel. Next she angled the lines of the wings so that they drew the eye to the focal point. You can find many different styles of angel on the internet on which to base your own creation. Once happy with your outline you must choose your colours so that the angel comes forward in the painting. Caroline started with a turquoise wash on the angel's robe and then used a cobalt blue for the background. She mixed a warm red to add interest to the robe. The light is then added using a bright yellow and this colour is also added to the angel's halo and as reflected light on her wings. This was just a quick sketch from which she would go on to produce the finished card. If you would prefer to make a humorous card , again there are many examples on the internet. Last year Caroline made a card for her friend who had a cat called Jack.  She drew Jack as a Christmas tree with his little paws holding candles and a fish shaped Christmas present under the tree.  

Importance of negative spaces by Keith Manning Kennedy

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Keith started by mapping out the outlines of fuchsias  in a vase using a 4H pencil. To create more interest in shapes and colour he added in two butterflies. He then carefully painted in the background by filling in the negative spaces between the flowers and leaves. Remember that the shapes created  by the negative spaces are themselves a very important element in your mosaic of colour. As he was painting a brightly coloured piece, he made sure to keep the background a subtle complementary colour. In this case, a pale blue to bring out the magenta in the flower. Old Holland permanent rose and permanent magenta were used for the fuchsia. Always use a freshly  mixed paint and don't be tempted to use some old ready mixed paint  from your palette which may have become tainted. He used a green gold colour for the leaves. Using a filbert you can get a nice fine line when needed and also get enough paint on the brush to fill in the spaces; a sable brush is well worth the money. For the more intricate little areas he used a small flat brush and if needed turned the painting upside down to let the water move around within the correct area. If you do get a small puddle forming, dry off your brush and use the brush to soak up the excess. In watercolour the general rule is that you can apply up to three layers of colour after which the colour goes dead. If this happens you can always get yourself out of trouble by going over it with a lighter shade of pastel or pastel pencil as used in this example. Failing this you can paint over with a thick  layer of white gouache then wait for this to dry...

USING OIL PASTELS 16/10/19

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Caroline introduced a session on oil pastels by saying that it is wise to use the best quality pastels. The ones she had were Sennelier (£3.50 a stick, or can be bought in boxes). For paper, a rough surface is needed and she was using a brown paper scrapbook (Seawhites).Caroline had a photo portrait of a long haired Roma male as her model for today’s demonstration. Beginning with a dark brown outline, Caroline sketched his features with the edge of the pastel. She blocked shadows with dark brown, followed by red and green reflected on one side of the face by the grassy background. The green was toned down by use of yellow ochre on top. Various colours were applied and built up either by layers of pastel or by blending with fingers. A useful tool was a paper pencil-shaped blender, which could be dipped onto the pastel to pick out small delicate areas. This method was useful for sections of the eye, such as upper and lower lids, and for the light reflected in the iris.        

PAINTING ROTHKO AND COLOUR THEORY 2/10/2019

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Mark Rothko. B 1903 D. 1970 Markus Rothkovitz was a Latvian of Jewish descent. His family emigrated from persecution and settled in Oregon in 1913, where he started painting. In 1920 he moved to the New York Art School where he became anti-establishment and was influenced by Klee, Cezanne and Picasso. Rothko taught children for 20 years. He liked the simplicity of children’s art. In the 1950s his art became completely abstract, using blocks of colour and influenced by the Fauvists. In the 1960s he used blocks of intense colour, following which he suffered from depression, reflected in his use of darker colours with less luminosity. Demonstration Caroline chose a thick first coat of yellow, then mixed Phalo green and purple as a compliment to the colour wheel. Then mixed an intense orange and placed it into the yellow square. There then followed a succession of different choices of colour to illustrate the effect of one colour on another.  

Painting in the style of Vincent Van Gogh

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Van Gogh was born in 1853, and had a tormented life with a lot of anxiety. It is possible that he may have been a manic depressive. He only started painting aged 27 and tragically died aged only 37.  However during those 10 years he produced roughly 2,100 pieces of work. His early work was very dark and his younger brother who ran an art gallery in Paris advised him to  change to a brighter palette. He therefore evolved from the Potato Eaters to  his much better known works like the Cafe at Arles or his famous Sunflowers. His favourite colour was yellow followed closely by cobalt blue, which together make for a striking painting. He had a unique style of painting which was driven by emotion. He used various brush techniques including contour painting and pointillism. His famous Irises were painted much more flatly using the silhouette method of outlining the subject first. Caroline started her painting of sunflowers by a background of a pale blue colour onto which she painted the outline of the sunflower in a light brown. Then she mixed up 3 shades of brown and using small expressive strokes she quickly filled in the centre of the flower. Next, she went over this with a darker shade of brown for depth. Van Gogh would have done layer after layer using very thick oil paint straight from the tube. After this, she filled in the petals with a dark yellow colour using swift expressive strokes. Using a filbert she went over the background with a strong blue and then mixes of white and blue and green and blue making sweeping strokes to create movement. Then she went in with a paler yellow on top of the petals , leaving some of the original colour showing through....

Acrylic and Collage

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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...

Building an Acrylic Painting with Layered Washes

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  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.    

The use of a flat brush

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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.

DEGAS – Pastels with a twist

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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.

Painting in the style of Monet

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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.

Monoprinting by Caroline Marsland

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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,...

Making Eye Measurements in Painting

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Instructor Caroline Marsland demonstrated how one could take measurements of the objects you are painting. She provided us with a simple picture of how to do it. Just using a brush or pencil, one can work around complicated objects or scenes more accurately.

Fish painted in watercolour

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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.  

The Zorn Pallet

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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:"

Using a Grid for Complex Subjects

Lucy was our instructor for the Wednesday class and took us through the use of grids when drawing accurately. Anytime you want to draw something that requires accuracy such as a portrait, pet, vehicle, a complex still life, etc. we may wish to use the grid method. It starts with drawing a grid of squares over the photo of the work you wish to copy. These squares can be numbered and lettered  to make it easier to follow when drawing. Next you then draw the same numbers and letters  of squares onto your drawing paper/canvas. You then carefully copy each square from the grided photo copy onto your painting/drawing surface. Be careful at the corner of the eye and bridge of the nose as these can be tricky. If you don't wish to mark the photo you can always copy the grid onto clear acetate and layer it onto the photo. There are also various grid drawing assistance apps on your tablet which you can download and layover the photo to be copied.

Pen and Wash demonstration by Caroline Marsland 3rd April 2019

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When selecting a paper for pen and wash, a smooth hot pressed watercolour paper is best, as rough watercolour paper catches on the pen. Caroline chose to work with India ink, you can also use Quink.  She doesn't recommend hobby craft ink, as it can wash off when your wash is applied, whereas the India ink is permanent. She prefers to work with a mapping nib rather then a drawing nib, which can be a bit scratchy. The joy of using a dip pen is in the good expression you can get from the different thicknesses of strokes. First, think about what part of your painting is going to be pen and what part wash. You may want it mainly one or the other. This is the photograph Caroline was working from ( it's the steps up to Whitby Abbey) Caroline chose to start with  the pen, as this gives the most freedom of expression. You should look for where the light is coming from and then make your lighter strokes on the side that is getting the light. She started with the lamppost as this was central and then worked out from that. Remember it doesn't have to be perfectly drawn; it is your impression of the scene.  If you prefer, you can draw it out lightly in pencil first.  Dip pens are good for squiggles and shapes to suggest bushes. You shouldn't try to put in every line. A few details are all that's needed and the viewer fills in the rest.  If you have an accident and get a splurge on the page, this can be covered using white gouache. The distant subjects should be drawn lighter with the heaviest lines saved for the foreground. Caroline used a rigger for the railings to make them stand out....

OIL PASTELS DEMO by Caroline Marsland

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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 .

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

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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.

Charcoal portraits

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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.      

Watercolour Painting of Patterned Fabric

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Caroline Marsland took the Wednesday Dupont class through how to watercolour paint a patterned fabric on paper. We were not painting the fabric.  She started off by lightly drawing the general shape of the fabric lightly with pencil. She then painted in the the colour of the fabric first with all of the shadows that are in it. She layered the shadows for best effect and used tissue paper over the wet parts to show texture at times She worked away from the centre with a wet in wet technique. For the really white areas, she suggested using masking fluid. You need to exaggerate the shadows because when you put the pattern in, they will disappear somewhat.  Once the background is dry, she said to very lightly draw in the pattern first with complex patterns  but with a simple pattern, she just paints the patters in. Some suggestions: Remember to sqint, She painted from light to dark to light as needed. 

Painting with Charcoal and Watercolour

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On November 14th instructor Caroline Marsland did a demo on painting using charcoal and watercolour. This was done on 140 pound watercolour paper. This medium is good for moody pictures. There is usually a tinge of charcoal in the watercolour leaving a shaded picture. She used a piece of charcoal but using a charcoal pencil is fine. Caroline started off with a drawing of the shadows in dark charcoal. She used a loose dribble runny wash for the sky. In order for this not to run into the foreground, she turned the painting upside down to prevent this while painting. Once it is dry, she overpainted it to give it a darker, more dramatic look. The foreground was painted with watercolour which blended into the black charcoal shadows. The overall effect was a quick moody picture of moody stones.  

Painting leaves in watercolour and in acrylic by Caroline Marsden

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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...

Painting a still life in acrylic by Caroline Marsden

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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...

Rest areas in paintings

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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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