News and Articles

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

Composition Demo 7th June

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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...

POP Art

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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...

Watercolour Demo by Polly Raynes 10th May

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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.

The Importance of Good Design

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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

When is a Painting Finished? 12th April

A Wreck (possibly related to 'Longships Lighthouse, Land's End') circa 1835-40 Joseph Mallord William Turner 1775-1851 Accepted by the nation as part of the Turner Bequest 1856 http://www.tate.org.uk/art/work/D25163
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.          

Perspective Demo 15th March

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Caroline gave a very interesting demonstration of the use of perspective last week. There was a detailed and fast commentary to accompany the diagrams, and for that reason, this report has only shots of the demo. Caroline has asked that, in the interests of clarity, anyone who would like to have any further explanation should speak to her. We all enjoyed the session very much, and watched in awe as Caroline deftly produced what seemed like architectural drawings at great speed. One Point Perspective was very useful for those of us attempting the terraced houses of Brighton/Anywhere, and Two Point Perspective no less so. The planning of stairs was particularly helpful too. With regard to still life drawing of vessels, the planning of an ellipse and cup showed method as opposed to freehand.

Life Drawing Domonstration

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Life Drawing On March 1st Dupont art instructor, Caroline Marsland gave us a lecture and demonstration on life drawing. She started out by advising us that we need to decide at the beginning what we want to say in the picture. We can be accurate, want to accentuate certain features, show certain emotions, etc. She recommends that we do several quick sketches first before doing a large drawing. Look at the general shape of the figure. Don’t start with the head. Draw the shape of the back, the shoulder placements along with the hips, and legs. See if you can see shapes in the body. identify points on the body to line them up accurately, look at angles of these shapes. Perspective is important with accurate drawing. A child’s body if approximately five times the size of it’s head while a man’s is seven times the size of the head. There are three heads size to the waist and hands fall to the thighs. For head measurement, from the palm of your hand to your finger tips are usually the measurement from the chin to just above the eyebrow. Look at negative shapes to assist with accuracy. Build up shadows for shape. Squint for these shadows. Always step back from your drawing to judge the accuracy. In order to judge the size, hold your pencil out with a straight arm against the part of the distant  body you are drawing and compare it to other parts. Use any paper which has tooth to it. Charcoal and chalk are dramatic and charcoal and watercolour work well together. She warned us that some of the charcoal sticks available now are quite scratchy. She recommends the Windsor and newton ones  give a smooth finish. This workshop is a precursor to an all day...

Portraits in Watercolour 15th February

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In discussing the differences between painting young and old faces, Caroline began with a very helpful hint: use wet in wet for young smooth faces, wash over first and drop in the colour, giving the bloom on the cheeks. The model this week was a Cuban woman of some years, accompanied by her cigar. Starting by penciling in the features, beginning at the nose, Caroline then outlined the mouth and lastly the eyes. To paint this very colourful subject, the following palette was used: Firstly she used a weak yellow wash generally. Yellow Ochre was the base colour, mixed with red & green. For the brown, Caroline always mixes her own with red and green. For the wrinkles she mixed Cadmium Deep Red with Ultramarine and Yellow Ochre was made and orange for the eye sockets. For the olive green of the cheek patch and background, Hookers Green, Claret or Cherry red were used and a purple used for the lips. We all watched with awe as the aged face emerged under Caroline’s deft brushwork. The following pictures give an idea of the gradual building of the portrait.

Mixed Media Demonstration

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Caroline Marsland demonstrated the use of mixed media to the Dupont Art Club  class on January 18th, 2017 It is important to chose the media to match the painting. Layering is the key to mixed media. She pointed out that almost anything can be used in a this type of painting. Suggestions for the first layer could be regular or water colour paper which could be painted, layered in tissue which is glued on, or use of old maps, newspapers, fabric, canvas, wood, metals, old books, etc. Layered materials which can be used are all types of paints, inks, pens, pencils, charcoal, pastels, chalks, waxes, as well as fabrics, pieces of wood, leaves, wire, modelling paste used with stencils, etc. In her demonstration, she chose a photo of a Maori painted face which she drew and layered with stick charcoal using a child's birthday wax candle to highlight the eyes and added water colour to the face. She glued on hessian for the hair and painted it black. She encouraged everyone to search online for demos using mixed media to find new ideas and other sources of inspiration.

Painting a glass bottle 7th December

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In this very interesting demonstration, Caroline started with a pale green wash, onto which she loosely sketched the shape of the straight sided bottle. Then she put in a white background around the shape. Using a flat brush she painted in the four corners and the base of the bottle, then the round neck. A lighter tone of the green base colour filled in the body. Caroline said that the complex and numerous shapes and reflections could not all be recorded, so we should select some shapes that appealed. A green bag and red bauble that were behind the bottle were incorporated. Keep the highlights until last and use a rigger and white paint. When painting round bottles, make sure the ellipses match. Caroline finished with some shadows thrown around the base of the bottle.

Book Jacket Talk – 12th October

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My thanks to Lesley McBride for again supplying notes and images for this talk. Caroline began by discussing the ways in which book covers are designed nowadays. Everyone uses a computer, employing either GIMP or Photoshop, which are both compatible with Mac and PCs , but GIMP is free. The work is done in layers: The first layer may be the author's name The second layer the title of the book The third layer the image you have chosen Caroline gave a quick demonstration using one of her still life images, and showed us how to manipulate the image to fit, and also how to change the background colour, font styles and colours to obtain the most effective result. You would go about choosing your image based upon what the book was about, e.g. historical, modern, spy, murder mystery, sci-fi, romance etc... Remember the design needs to stand out on the bookshelf. To this end it is useful to employ red either in the image or the lettering as the eye is always drawn to red. Similarly a nude is likely to draw attention. She discussed several book jackets that were used for Lord of the Flies, some of them being much more effective than others.  We all agreed that the one showing the silhouette of the young boy in white and the flies in red invading his brain was the most compelling. You may prefer another one, as it is a subjective thing. I have included copies of some of the jackets for your perusal. It should be borne in mind that the image should not make the lettering hard to decipher, they should complement each other, and the lettering should not be so stylized that it is confusing.

Watercolour Textures Demo 28th September

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Caroline introduced a number of ways to produce washes, using both a paintbrush and other materials to get varied effects. The first was with an upright board and brush: Wet on dry Wet on wet Graded Wet on dry: using a flat 1” brush and dark paint, not too water brush once across and drag down for a drop down effect Wet in wet: using very clean water and wet paper, soak in for a minute. Paint across quickly…don’t over-work, then paint across. Graded: Start with a sideways sweep and use less colour for a graded effect. Clouds can be inserted by using a balled tissue to remove the paint. Note: Kurt Jackson used watery paint and turned the board sideways to dribble and splatters too! Flat work using materials for application  Cling film: using strong colours, apply cling film and ruche it. Leave to dry before removing for a foliage effect. Can also be used for rocks, using dark brown, green and wet in wet red. Washing-up liquid: can be used for waves by squirting into applied wet paint. Dry brushing: on very dry paint, drag a dry brush across. Fan brush: use to produce a wood grain effect Oil pastels: use colour free pastels and make marks, then brush over with a wash of colour. Salt: put on a wash, and quickly sprinkle on salt. Leave until fully dry before brushing off the salt. Good for a rain effect or snow on a dark ground. Scratching:  Apply the wash then then scratch with scissors to make trees. Scratch downwards so paint goes into runnels.  

Abstract Still Life Demo14th September

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Many thanks to Lesley McBride, who kindly provided the photos and commentary for this demo. The still life Carolyn selected to work from was this: Artists often pick out one aspect of the still life. Difficult to know where to start?  Consider:  Look at line  Look at colours: are they warm or cool?  Colours talk to each other with often magical results.  Try using a colour wheel to see how each colour affects another.  Look at light/shadow/shapes. Remember you can also use the negative spaces. Cubists use shapes as their main focus. Always make sure you have a focal point. You may choose to be either objective using the colours and shapes of the object in front of you, or you could be non-objective and express your feelings about the object without actually painting any physical aspects of the object itself. You should think about colour, tone, light value and composition Carolyn started by establishing her focal point, which in this case were the flowers.  She wanted the focal point to be vibrant and lively with the base more subdued. She decided to use the jug handle opting for black as this leads the eye up to the focal point. (Use black sparingly.) She put some folds of fabric into the base using subdued colours which complemented the rest of the painting. Red was used in the base to lead your eye around the painting. This is the finished work, completed in less than 30 minutes.

Abstracts in Watercolour 31st August

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Using a photograph of a farmyard battle between two cockerels, Caroline introduced abstract painting with the concepts of non-objective, by which we express something from within, and objective, in which the artist paints their impression of a subject. Caroline chose to begin with the tail feathers of the black & white bird, using bold strokes of black, which she later etched with the end of the paintbrush. Then, the opposing bird, which was ginger, was positioned using feathered strokes. A beak was added, and an angry eye! Pink dewlaps completed the confrontational element, which also gave the appearance of bloodied beaks. Loosely painted the dribbled effects added to the atmosphere of aggression and fowl play!

Water Colour Portraits 4th August 2016

Stephanie Butler Watercolour Portrait Demo 4th August 2016 Last Thursday the club arranged a demonstration by Stephanie, using watercolour for portraiture, which was very well attended. Stephanie advises using a palette of 6-7 basic colours, listed below: Aureolin, permanent rose, cerulean, cobalt, ultramarine, burnt sienna, permanent rose. Stephanie starts with a very faint drawing of the subject. First, put masking fluid on the eye highlights, using a straight paperclip. Using a mop brush, wash the basic shadow areas with water. Then mix one of the blues with permanent rose for a mauve and drop randomly in the wet shaded areas. On the light side of the face, mix aureolin yellow and permanent rose for flesh tones. Only paint as much as you can control. Eyes will get the most work, so vary tones by using a darker mauve for the pupils and eye edges. Remove the masking fluid and soften the eye whites. Dark skin subjects: mix burnt sienna with permanent rose for skin tones, and use shades of mauve for shaded areas. Use violet rose for a stronger mouth colour. Blend hair with the background colour to unify the image. Stephanie brought a delightful selection of cards and prints  for sale, and there is a video of her painting on YouTube, for reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AroSL73Ks5o Some tips: To make black, mix indigo and cadmium red. Washes: don’t look for the wet parts, just drop the paint in. Hair: don’t try and copy each hair, use lowlights. Paper clip: good for hairs and whiskers. Preferred Materials: Artists paper 300 grams. Fabiano Winsor & Newton Artist’s grade water colours Rosemary & Co: No 12 Da Vinci mop brush and rigger  

Using Resins in Art – A Demonstration

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  On Wednesday, July 27th members of the Dupont Art Club were treated to a demonstration on the artistic use of resins by Aram Friedrich and Rob Jenkins of Eli-Chem Resins U.K. Aram explained that 95 percent of their business was industrial and 5 percent was for artistic purposes. They have excellent demonstrations on their website listed below which one should review for the detail on how the artistic process works. The use of resin as a painting medium results in a contemporary abstract design. By pouring the clear resin on paintings, the colour in the painting is much enhanced leaving the surface glass like and hard. Those who do watercolour were pleased that they would not have to use heavy glass over their paintings if they elected to use a resin top coat. During the demonstration, the class was allowed to add coloured resin to a surface to make a contemporary design. The photos below show how it first looks before some mixing and hardening. Although not a masterpiece (15 artists dabbling away) it does show the depth of colour and design possible. Aram stated that if members of Dupont were to order as a group, we would receive the reduced rate he offered on July 27th. Those interested should contact a board member to inform them of your interest. At the end of the afternoon, everyone attending agreed that it was very worthwhile learning of this new product with some embracing it as a new medium to choose to pursue. Aram Friedrich Eli-Chem Resins U.K Ltd 
Astra House, The Common, Cranleigh 
Surrey, GU6 8RZ, United Kingdom aram@elichem.co.uk 
www.elichem.co.uk Tel : +44 ( 0 ) 1483 26 66 36 or 37 
Fax: +44 ( 0 ) 1483 26 66 50 
Mobile : +44 ( 0 ) 77 11 66 9607

Seas Demo July 20th

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Caroline showed a number of images from the work of Kurt Jackson among others, drawing attention to his techniques of painting the sea in stripes with a thin stripe on the horizon, and his use of “splattering”. As Caroline started to paint, she said that the horizon often disappears. The focus should be on either a bland sky and detailed sea or vice-versa. There is no need to to go into every wave and foam, just think about the atmosphere. Colours used were ultramarine mixed with phthalo green, a line of white under that, followed by blue. Put on a mid-tone first, moving the brush from side to side. Colours go paler and more yellow the nearer to shore. Waves: Save the whitest areas of paper for foam. Use pale green for the waves and work in white over the green. Use runny white for splattering. .

Painting Rocks Demo June 22nd

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Painting Rocks Demo 22nd June   Caroline showed several photos from her sketchbook. Make dark and shadow shapes first, and then washes of colour after light. You can use sandpaper on the rock for surface (NB Put shapes in first with a light pencil). She mixes gouache with the watercolour to make some colours more opaque. Don’t over-water the paint, as it could affect your paper. Caroline then coloured the washes green, then went over them with red to tone them down, especially for the shadows.  

Presentation & Pricing of Pictures for an Exhibition.

As we have our exhibition coming up, we have decided to add an extra lecture/demo by Caroline Marsland at our regular class on July 13,  Wednesday afternoon at 130. it will be on presentation and pricing of pictures for an exhibition. All Members are invited to join the Wednesday class if they like and stay to paint.

Composition and Simplification

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Our Wednesday. June 8th Dupont class lecture  with Caroline Marsland covered composition and simplification. It was an excellent class for all levels of artist. Some of the main points she covered were as followed: Decide early on what it is you wish to express in your picture and centre your design around this. Paint with large brushes using large shapes, Give yourself a time deadline to paint to, Do several thumbnail sketches first, Feel free to move or add objects in the picture to improve your design, Our eye is always drawn to a human figure in a picture. Tissot was used as an example of a great artist who was the master of simplification so if possible, study some of his paintings. Caroline used a photo of the familiar seven sisters  where she moved objects around to create a good composition. The photo below showed the result of this.   

Hashim Akib Demonstration Review

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Recently a number of Dupont members attended an acrylic painting demonstration by well known artist Hashim Akib. Demonstration in Acrylics by Hashim Akib at St Helen’s Hall, Hangleton August 22nd 2015 Hashim Akib commenced the demonstration by showing us his preferred paints. He uses Daler Rowney System 3, heavy body colours from large tubes, which are reasonably priced and about a quarter of the cost of Golden acrylics. He piles his colours into a large, round palette with white paint in the central portion. His brushes are wide, flat ended decorator type brushes. He had a leaf-green prepared background on his canvas and was ready to start after showing us three photos, one of which we chose by a show of hands. It was an image of tourists walking down a Venetian street in bright sunlight. This would be his reference picture and he attached it to the left side of his canvas. The picture showed a large, historic building on the right with arched windows receding to further buildings with a tower in the background. Buildings on the left were undefined and cast in dark shadow. The figures occupied the centre foreground, reducing in size towards the farthest buildings and gave a sense of scale to the image. The sun cast deep shadows around them. Hashim Akib has a distinctive style, using large strokes with his flat brushes. He achieves lively, fresh paintings in bold, bright colours. Hashim had not used this Venetian photo as a reference before so he took a minute or two to absorb it, then chose his colours to block in the main building. The warm ochre colour was achieved by mixing several colours on his brush and blended together. These included white, burnt sienna, yellow ochre with violet and blue green to give it...

Big Picture Painted

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Over twenty artists from Dupont painted their way through Samuel Spencer's 'The Resurrection of Cookham' on May 29th at Ventnor Hall. When we first gazed at this picture, it was hard to keep track of who was raising out of which gravestone but after study, you could see what a humerous  and technically painted piece this was. With twenty artists each working on our own small section, struggling to see what they were suppose to paint, I'm afraid that Mr. Spencer would have rolled in his grave! The piece lacked the continuity of previous big pictures and one struggles to make sense of what we are seeing. Never the less, everyone had a fun time with this one Many comments could be heard around the room about discovery of a rising bodies in their piece which at first looked like a shadows, and people trying to match up colours with neighbouring tiles being painted. All in all, a good time was had by all. Maybe a nice Monet might be easier to get continuity in the future. Many photos will follow shortly .

Painting In the Garden

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A few brave souls joined Judy Alexander in her back garden for an afternoon of painting. With all of the spring flowers in bloom, it was a chance to hone ones skills with plein aire painting. The cakes and tea were welcomed after  as the wind was brisk and cool.  

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