Les explained how he trained as a technical and Scientific Illustrator, and having freed himself of the technical preciseness of a photo realistic painting, he now paints expressively and creatively; producing paintings that are based on feeling, light, energy and movement. This all started after he was bought a set of pastels, as a Christmas present, and realised the potential of these.
He likes to grade his pastels by the level of hardness, in a similar way to pencils and would like companies to do the same. For the demonstration he would be using Pan Pastels, as these are very pure and can be mixed like paint with special micro sponges. These also rub out easily with a rubber,
David had been to the gallery earlier in the day to do some sketches and take some photographs, in preparation for this demonstration. He chose one of these images to paint tonight.
His canvas had been prepared with an Umber wash, which acts as a neutral background. He uses a limited palette of about six colours, including Raw Sienna, Burnt Sienna, Prussian Blue, White and Black.
The painting was started using White, to pick out the highlights, before moving on to a blue grey mix. He squints to see the tones needed. He says he uses acrylic like watercolour, at this stage, to make it lighter, and painting quite fast at first.
A smaller brush is used next, a bit like a pencil to draw in shapes. He draws in the chairs using a dark colour, letting this dry before working on it again. He says not to be too wary of mistakes at this stage, as you can always work on them later.
At this stage, a mirror would be used to see the image from a different perspective.
Next, a subtle colour is used to paint the walls. He mixes a little Raw Sienna with White to reduce the harshness, before using it on the painting. Continuing to bring out the highlights, he looks for the reflections on the tables and chairs etc. He likes to give people something in a painting to think about and likes a theatrical feel to his work.
Details are now added and the painting starts to come together. He emphasizes that he likes to use Black, whereas some artists prefer to mix a dark colour. Next, a little weak Prussian Blue is added to certain areas, give the painting character so that it doesn't appear flat.
As he works on the tones, he uses the same colour, in several areas, to ensure a unified composition.
The painting is then turned upside down, as this helps to see any areas that still need work on them.
After turning it back, he is at the stage where he can't do much more on it. This is fortunate, as it is nearly time to finish. In his studio he would probably add blue washes and more glazes on it.
An excellent and informative demonstration appreciated by the members. David is very knowledgeable about the use of paint. As well as telling us about his technique, his anecdotes of art history was impressive , as he regaled us with several interesting facts as he worked.
After last weeks demonstration this week members brought their own pictures in to work on.
Olga gave a short talk at the beginning about how to capture a quick image of the animal using simple shapes like triangles and circles and them demonstrated this method.
Members then worked on their own pictures whilst Olga came around giving advice.
Later she stopped the group for a short time to show how we could draw eyes.
A really interesting two sessions, led by Olga,where members learnt a lot about a subject not covered before. A wide range of subjects, covered superbly by members, shows the number of talented artist in the group.
Olga started by telling us how a picture can be painted using Acrylic and on occasions Acrylic Gel. She uses several different approaches e.g. sometimes gluing textured paper on the board before starting the painting.
For this painting of the elephant, she has already drawn the shape out, added some textured areas and has applied an orange background colour, as she doesn't like having a white canvas.
She enjoys being creative and has collected several pictures of elephants as reference material.
She starts by mixing Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine to make a dark colour, which she uses to outline shapes and block in dark areas.
She then starts to build up more tones and shapes, ignoring detail at this stage. By doing this she starts to make the painting appear 3D. She thinks it is important to capture the character of the animal. Painting continues with the application of more mid tones of grey. She moves all over the canvas, not just working in one area; trying to analyse where different tones are and checking the light source.
She will finish the painting by adding the small details.
I read the title but wasn't sure what to expect, possibly drawing card players. I had a strange inkling it may be something else but couldn't put my finger on what!
Eventually, Robert 'toed' us what we would be drawing, and to our surprise, you have to 'hand' it to him, everyone joined in . To get people to do this was no mean 'feet'!
Most took it seriously, although one member, Carol, was more worried about the football match kicking off that night, rightly so, as it turned out to be a very 'sole' destroying result!
Anyway, I hope you like my' digit'-al pictures from the evening.
Next week, the serious matter of 'hand'-ing in work for the annual exhibition!
An excellent turn out by members for the first session of the year. We were treated to another superb demonstration by Anthony who makes it look so easy.
Next week there is another Demonstration to look forward to.
Demonstration by Harry Caunce
Harry started by explaining that he uses Alkyd oil paints because they dry quicker that oil paints, these are painted on a canvas board he has primed with Johnsons acrylic primer. This gives a better surface to the board and stops the paint soaking in too quickly.
Next he put a piece of masking tape across the board to give an horizon line, before staring to work on the sky using cobalt blue and white. After covering most of the sky he used a dry decorators brush to blend it together. adding French ultramarine and a little Cadmium Red Light for the darker areas.
The next stage in this section is to add the distant headlands remembering to add blue to show the distance.
TIP: When you purchase a new brush dip it in Vaseline and work this into the ferrule. This will make it easier to clean after use. Also only use white spirit or Turpentine to clean it and after cleaning dip it in the Vaseline again and squeeze into shape.
He says that he normally does a careful drawing, sometimes taking three days on site to complete a painting. The picture he is doing tonight is just a demonstration so is not done in quite the same way.
After removing the tape he worked on the sea and larger headland on the right, using Raw Sienna, Olive Green and French Ultramarine, being careful to get the tonal perspective correct.
Finally in this section he adds the waves using French Ultramarine for the shadows and adding the white at the top of the wave with a palette knife.
TIP: Note the paint palette at the side. This is just a piece of card covered with an A4 plastic wallet. This can be thrown afterwards and is a cheap easy way to help clean up.
After the break he started work on the grassed area to the front, using Olive Green, Indian Yellow, Burnt Sienna and French Ultramarine. He used a course brush adding the colours to the brush and letting them mix as he applies them. To demonstrate the ease of this method he asked a couple of members to have ago.
He then used an old brush to create effects and next stabs at it with the handle of a brush to pick out dead flower heads.
Finally on this painting he uses tissue paper to remove some of the paint in the centre to show a pathway.
Using a painting he prepared earlier, which was dry, he showed how to make the headland on the right to appear further away. To do this he mixed the sky colour with turpentine until runny to create a glaze and painted over the headland, before removing some of it with tissue paper.
Before running out of time he quickly showed how he would add figures to the composition.
A superb informative and entertaining evening. I certainly learnt a lot and it was appreciated by members.
More of Harry Caunce's work can be seen at https://www.facebook.com/HarryCaunceArtist/
Anthony started off as a pastel painter but has moved on to oils, acrylics and mixed media paintings. He is an extremely talented painter and demonstrator.
For tonight's demonstration he was using a lining paper primed with acrylic Gesso. He started by a light underpainting of greens, blues and purples. Rubbing them lightly together and then with hair spray before adding the next colours.
He is looking down at the model, Jan, and this influences how he adds lines to the oval shape he has drawn, showing where the features will be. He has started, with hard pastels, building up the shapes and features
He is now mainly looking at tones blocking in areas on the face, as well as in the background. The lighter side of the face is first, with the addition of tones and shapes, next dark blue is used to add shadows into the eye and other areas. The application is still very loose. At this stage he stands back to survey his work. Highlights are now added and red to the lips and other areas.
This was then an appropriate time for a break and Anthony sealed the work, with hair spra,y to give it chance to dry for when we returned
After the break he started working on top of the colors defining shapes and picking out highlights, adding black to the top of the eyes and just a couple of other places. He was still using hard pastels until towards the end when the dearer soft pastels were used in a couple of areas such as the corner of the eyes and mouth. After continuing to adjust the colours he worked on the blouse and added more colour to the background and hair. Continually stepping back to get a better view of the finished piece.
After finishing he sprays the portrait to seal the pastel.
An excellent demonstration by Anthony and members will have learnt a lot. His ease with the audience and colour use were excellent. Next week there will be a chance to put these skills into practice with a female portrait session.
More of Anthony work can be found at www.anthonybarrow.co.uk