Having started by doing illustrations for books, such as "Hidden Places" Les was spending up to twenty five hours working on a single painting. Pricing an artwork to sell, after spending so long on it, made it difficult to price. Then he discovered pastels, where a painting could be produced quite quickly and a whole new world opened up to him.
Talking about the wide range of pastels available, all with different hardness, he moved on to talking about 'Pan Pastels', a high quality medium that he uses. These can be mixed like paint and can create a watercolour like effect.
You are also able to draw over them with a variety of pens and markers, as well as erasing highlights. He then demonstrated colour mixing and then adding marks on top of these areas.
Les, then started his first demonstration, using a photograph as a resource. First, he prepared a light background using soft Yellows. Working light to dark, he next added Magenta and Pinks, as well as Ultramarine, to portray clouds. At the bottom of the sheet he had masked off an area to try out his colour mixes. The pastel was applied with a specialist sponge and then detail was added to the picture, using a marker and ink pen.
His next demonstration showed us how easy it is to do a sky. Again, he started with the lighter colours before using a rubber to take out highlights. A masking tape was added to give a line for the sea. After this is removed, he added a distant rock formation with a building on it, also adding reflections in the sea. Darks were then added and we were shown how the edge of the sponge could be used to add details. Again marker pens were used to add further details and finally a hard pastel was used to give texture to the sand at the front.
For the last demonstration Les decided to do a dramatic sky from his imagination. Following his usual process, lights were added first before the darks. Marker pens etc were used to add detail.
A fascinating and informative demonstrations and it's not often you get three completed pieces of work in one session. Les Darlow says that he likes to create energy and movement in his work to stop it becoming static, and he certainly showed us how this can be achieved. We look forward to his next demonstration at the club.
Elise told us that she likes doing animal portraits and the one she was going to demonstrate was of a Field Mouse done in one of her brown sketchbooks. In this instance she was working on a grey mount board.
She started by sketching out the picture with a white gel pen before adding some background colour in watercolour paint. Using Lemon Yellow around the shape, some of the white outlines vanish a little. At this stage she used colours such as, Carmine Red and Indigo very loosely; keeping the edges soft. She then did some more drawing with the gel pen before adding colour to the mouse.
Next, she added some dark around the mouse before adding some of the berries; varying the colours slightly and adding some darks to the negative spaces around them. A brown pen was then used to add some fur and a white one to bring out some highlights on the berries.
After adding the eyes with a black marker, she continued to build up definition to different areas. Again with the black pen, shadows were added where needed and these were smudged with a finger for a softer look.
She continued to use gel pens in order to add the fur as well as the whiskers. Next, she gave the berries more definition.
A fascinating demonstration, although it was a shame that feedback on the audio visual equipment stopped it being shown on the screen. Elise worked hard and even had to do some of her work upside down, so people could see.
It was also interesting to see the demonstration done on the grey mount board, especially within a restricted time frame and to be able to compare and contrast it with the original painting.
There was a good turn out for this event, which was nice to see. Let's hope this may continue.
One of the innovations at the art club this year, has been the benefit of club members' skills in running workshops, giving demonstrations and talks. The last two weeks Lynn has run two workshops telling us about Mono printing and then allowed members to try it for themselves.
Fortunately, the technique was fairly quick, so we could produce a variety of prints starting with rolling ink on a plastic sheet, then placing paper on top of it before doing a simple drawing. We were then able to experiment with adding offcuts of cloth, wallpaper or other materials to the sheet, and after inking them up some interesting abstract results were accomplished. To take this further, pastels or paints could be added at a later date. Different effects could be achieved and we could also print on coloured paper.
Before the break, we prepared some sheets by painting a watercolour wash on them. When dry, we were able to use the techniques, we had practiced, to then print on top of the watercolour base and try out more ideas. Again, some of these were more successful than others., but it was certainly an interesting learning curve.
A really enjoyable couple of hours, in both sessions and a fascinating insight into one aspect of printing by a very knowledgeable member of the club.
Having seen David's work in exhibitions. we were looking forward to seeing how he achieved the effects in his work.
Although described as Urban sketching, we started by experimenting with a painting of a still life, using a candle for a resist and ink or watercolours. This was to get us used to using the materials.
David demonstrated his technique and we could then experiment with this style ourselves. Considering this was new to some members, the results were quite impressive with a wide range of end results, often reflecting the individual's own interpretation of the still life.
After a short break and a chance to view some of David's impressive Urban Sketches, we returned to either sketch along or watch him demonstrate how he drew a recent picture of Ordsall Hall.
Having already splattered some resist on the paper and roughly sketching out the building, he started to apply different shades of black ink, to block in areas. Using a smaller brush, he then added details. The next stages involved several types of white pens and markers to add highlights and window frames etc. Finally, finishing by using an old toothbrush to splatter ink on areas of it and a block of carbon to darken the sky.
This is a very simplified description as the sketch started to appear from those first early marks. Obviously, to do this has taken many hours of practice and like a lot of good artists he made it look so simple. Below is the original sketch on the left and the one on the right, completed for us in just over half an hour.
A fascinating evening and one in which we all learnt a few tips to help with our sketching and ones which several of our members, who go out Urban Sketching, will be able to use in future.
After an interesting workshop last week looking at paintings by Mondrian and Kandinsky and then experimenting in the session, members were looking forward to this week's workshop.
The theme was Abstract Expressionism. Danny started by introducing the subject and then moved on to looking at how Jackson Pollock progressed from his early studies and paintings using early native American symbols, to his more well known action paintings.
Our first task involved the use of a pipette and black ink. We experimented with mark making using squeezing the pipette to get different thickness of lines and creating bubbles that popped to give splatter effects. Considering that we all had the same starting point, it was interesting to see the range of results. It was enjoyable to have the freedom to experiment and it was easy to see how these could be developed further.
After the break, we looked at the work of Jasper Johns and particularly his paintings using the numbers 0-9. It was interesting to see how these could be combined and give a different painting.
We were asked to pick a word of four or five letters and design a composition built up from these letters. The distracting spaces could be filled up with shapes if we wished. Again, it was interesting to see the range of work produced and often difficult to guess the word used as they were so well done.
Another superb session by Danny and it certainly made us think about creating more abstract work. There was even enough material for at least another two sessions! Hopefully, we will be able to expand on this, with him, on a future date.
After an informative demonstration last week, it was our turn to have a go at the technique Anthony illustrated. He completed his painting in about one and a half hours whereas, we probably needed twice as long. Having said that, there were some impressive paintings by members. It will be interesting to see if anyone carries on in this style and we may even have some examples in our exhibition, at the end of September.
To introduce the topic, Anthony showed us a series of his paintings demonstrating a range of techniques, before revealing the Manchester scene that he was going to do.
He uses a limited palette of Burnt Sienna, Processed Yellow, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine, Phthalo Green, Alizarin Crimson and Titanium White.
Starting by finding the horizon line, he then applies a quick wash of colours allowing them to drip and run. Next, he starts to draw the subject using a paint brush with a dark colour. In the foreground he blocks in rough shapes, of the figures that he wants to include in the painting. This helps him to create depth. He then adds the buildings to balance his composition, before painting in the sky.
After this, he starts painting the buildings, adding shadows and some warmer tones. Here details are starting to be added. The figures are then painted with thicker paint and as the painting progresses, opaque paint is added to the road and buildings. Here he is looking for negative spaces to bring the composition together and make the figures stand out.
He continues to add details, where required, constantly standing back to see where adjustments are needed. His marks are still applied quickly, as he works all over the picture. He looks for highlights and starts to add faces etc to the people in the foreground. Finally, white is used in areas to finish the work. He explains that he has started with mid tones and then added the lights and darks in this painting.
Like all good demonstrators, he explained his work as he went along and produced a skilled final composition. Next week, we will all be following along on our own work, hopefully it will be as easy as he made it look; although I doubt this will be the case.
Never volunteer for anything is the saying! At a recent Committee meeting, members asked if anyone could run a session and I agreed to do either a workshop or demonstration. I have done several workshops but never just a demonstration. I thought nothing more of it until my name appeared on the programme in September for April, but April then seemed a long way off.
The session was soon approaching so I decided to offer a workshop for those interested with other members being able to just watch the demonstration. I picked a painting I had done before and decided to scale it down because my usual paintings take about five hours and I only had about ninety minutes.
The week before, I gave out the list of materials I would be using in case anyone wanted to paint along:
Oil Paints: White (large tube), Cadmium Yellow Pale Hue, Lemon Yellow Hue, Cadmium Orange Hue, Burnt Sienna, Cerulean Blue, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Blue, French Ultramarine, Cobalt Violet Hue, Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber.
Wooden Palette or similar on which to mix paint, Palette knife, Canvas or Canvas board, Toilet paper, Pencil.
Wednesday 3rd April Salford Art Club
Arriving early, I stated to set up ably helped by my wife Sue and committee members, Robert and David. Panic soon settled in, with me hoping that I had remembered everything. A fleeting anxiety moment flared as I wondered if anyone would turn up!
Eventually, the room slowly filled up, a few people have brought paints etc but most decide just to watch. Although I have brought a range of palette knives, I really only use the one shown at the bottom of this group.
I started by loosely adding the lighter tones mixing White with Lemon Yellow and Cadmium Yellow. Next , I mixed a green using Cerulean Blue and French Ultramarine and added them to the yellows, I had already made; this made my greens.
Afterwards, I mixed a darker colour, using Burnt Umber and French Ultramarine, to give myself a foreground tree and a shoreline at the back. The foliage at the back is added using the end of the knife whereas for the reflections in the water, the paint is dragged down the canvas. The colours are applied in all areas to unify the composition.
After getting the basic structure in, I started to add the other colours. A little Red on the shoreline to give a contrast to the greens and a little Blue to contrast with the Autumn Oranges I am using.
Once the canvas starts to be covered, I worked on the top third adding texture, with the tip of the knife, and then lights and darks to give a contrast.
Next, I worked on covering all the water, dragging more colours in to depict the reflections, also starting to add definition to the tree and foreground. Time for a tea break and to my surprise, I had completed more of the painting than I had expected.
After the break, the whole canvas was covered so I then had to make the reflections in the water more realistic. To do this I used the tip of the knife to scratch across the colours to give the effect of ripples in the water.
Stepping back to see if anything stood out, I was then able just to add a few final touches before finishing with time to spare.
This allowed me to have a questions and answer session. This also allowed me time to inform members about my upcoming exhibition in May at the Parsonage Didsbury and to invite them to the preview on Sunday 5th May 1-3pm. It was even suggested the club uses this date as an outdoor sketching event for members.
For my first demonstration, I was pleased with how it went, even though my timing was slightly out. All you can hope for is that members have enjoyed the experience and have been able to take something away from it. Possibly inspiring others to have a go at this technique.
It was therefore pleasing to see this comment from Gill one of the members.
"Thank you so much for the inspiration Philip. I got home, dug out my oils and palette knife and used an oil and acrylic paper pad I had in a cupboard. I then completed my first ever palette knife oil. I thought I'd give it a go."
And George also commented.
"It makes you want to go home and have a go!'
Some brief notes that some up the talk by David. The session was highly enjoyable, informative and enjoyed by the members.
* Born in an age of political rebellion in Europe and Religious change. The Netherlands gained independence from Spain and divided into a Protestant nation in the North and a Catholic country in Flanders
* Artists faced a crisis in the North as the puritan style religion did not want so much decoration in its churches. Artists had to develop new genres such as seascapes, still life pictures, domestic scenes and more and more portraits.
* Rembrandt's full name was Rembrandt Harmeszoom (son of Harmes) Leidon(from the town of) or Rembrandt Harmeszoon Van Rijn (by the river Rhine) His father owned a windmill.
* In his first studio his work was admired by the secretary to the Prince of Orange. He made a name for himself painting portraits that were sent all over Europe.
* His next studio was in Amsterdam.
* Married Saskiatha daughter of a burghermaster, in 1634. A big step up in status. First 3 children died before reaching the age of 2.
*Painted for the whole Amsterdam community: -Jews, Baptists, Mennonites Calvinists and Catholics. He could then paint religious subjects like Carravagio and paint portraits like Titian.
* Highly successful and bought a large studio. Lived extravagantly, painting group photographs of Civic groups including the famous Night Watch.
* 1642 Saskia died 9 months after son Titus was born. In her will half her money was left to Titus. She also stipulated that Rembrandt should not remarry. Because he missed home life so much he was able to put a good deal more humanity into portraits than anyone else had managed to do.
* Lived with a housekeeper and this shocking behaviour caused Calvinist custom to drift away.
* Unpaid debts forced him out of his studio and into bankruptcy. Lived with Hendrichije Stoffels and Titus.
* In later life he lost his son and Hendrichije Stoffels so that his later life was lived out in penury, painting self portraits.
Background on the Local Champion
Name : Stephen David Charles Surtees.
Born : Salford
Rank : 8th Dan Hanchi. Professor of Martial Sciences.
Style : Shoto Ryu under Sensei Yoshio Kimura Soke, direct lineage toGichin Funakoshi.
Other style : Shito Ryu, (Shukokai).
Other arts studied : BJJ under Tony Delany 8th Dan Hanshi, under Rick> Young & The Machado Brothers. Filipino Arts under Tony Delany & Dan Inosanto.
Accomplishments : Kumite, Double WUKF World Champion. WUKF European Champion, 15 times KYK National Champion, British SKU Open Champion. England International, Ex GB International.
A good turn out from members and fascinating evening sketching Stephen, which produced some excellent results. Stephen even asked to take a few home with him.
A record of Wednesday evening activities.