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.
A record of Saturday afternoon activities.