Creating Sheep with Sunlight
Many thanks to Liz Leonard for another excellent image of Darlas and her painting.
After using a variety of paint mediums for 5 or 6 years Darlas Hunter started using Water Colours 17 years ago and has found it a very satisfying, yet challenging change.
Her photographs are an idea for an image from which she likes to create a painting of the overall feeling of the photograph. Darlas suggested trying to paint a landscape without using greens, as an exercise, using blues and browns to produce the effect with a limited palette.
As with many practical occupations, preparation is vital , mixing sufficient paint being one of the most important tasks.
Animals are not the easiest of details to add to a painting and Darlas had her own approach to their application. She believes only one animal need be a good shape and she creates them mostly with shadow colours not white. Animal shape and legs will be taken for the remaining animals. Inorder to imply the white fleece on a sunny day Darlas created the outline using negative painting adding darker colour around a lighter background. The outline stopping a short distance from the dark sheep shape.
Perhaps Watercolour painting more than other mediums is about “trapping the light”. Opposite colours on the colour wheel will enable the artist to de-saturate colours.
Darlas finished her painting by adding more detail in the forground of a very sunny pastoral landscape.
As you would expect from an professional artist and demonstrator, Arnold Lowrey shared his ideas and tips with regularity, giving the modest beginner and experienced pastel artist many sugestions for creating a pastel painting.
Both sandpaper and Canson paper, which has a choice of two textures per sheet, were used for the two paintings created during the evening as these have been the favoured papers of Arnold’s work for many years. He says he is “not meticulous” , that pictures are there to give ideas and not to be followed religiously. But he does like to keep order in his box of pastel colours by keeping the coloured sticks of pastels in rows of dark, medium and light colours. If you should bump into him near the cereal counter of the local supermarket it is not so that he can buy ingredients for cooking but rather buying an ingredient for cleaning – ground rice. Aparently pastel sticks shaken in a bag of ground rice come out clean. Like water-borne paints, pastels have gum arabic added to the mix which helps the colour stick to the paper, with the makes “Unison” and “Sennelier”coming highly recommended by Arnold.
Before any picture is begun a wide folded strip of strong paper or card is placed beneath the bottom edge of the painting sheet protecting artist and floor from the coloured dust produced and rescuing any dropped pastel sticks from breaking up on the floor, and a frame of wide masking tape is applied around the edge.
Various greys and blues were applied loosely to the sky area to be blended with the palm and edge of the hand into a very realistic skyscape. White is difficult to apply as a strong colour on top of dark pastels so Arnold has developed his technique of using an old-fashioned single edge razor blade to remove some colour from an area of sky to re-key the paper surface ready for the white pastel highlight. Using some quite vibrant colours, Arnold then created a towering landscape of rugged cliffs, filling in outlines of black and brown with bright reds and lime yellows. Blue and purple shadows added yet more drama to the stunning landscape. A distant settlement perched high on a distant headland added the mystery of unknown village life.
The second image, of an equally mountainous scene, showed a more clement weather situation ,blue skies and distant high snow-covered peaks in a chilly landscape. There was the interesting use of bright reds to add excitement to the peaceful countryside. What looked like a very lonely situation was relieved by the presence of a small cottage reflected in the still waters of the foreground lake. Like the treatment of the water in the earlier painting Arnold had used the side of his hand to drag the relevant colours vertically downward, to create the realistic impression of highly reflective water in one or two swift movements.
The touches of the master’s hand.
Detail of the line Drawing
Howard and his almost completed painting
Howard’s finished Line and Wash Painting.
Judging from the number of members who attended the Howard Jones demonstatration there was much interest in his type of image creation. He patiently drew the detail of Cathedral towers giving us his technique for creating interesting lines and completed the image with very freely applied watercolour washes. He avoids straight lines preferring to add small touches of detail to break up the line. Like many artists Howard identified the lightest and darkest tones needed to create the painting applying some definition with several different widths of pen point. He advised us to be wary of labels claiming that inks are waterproof – many are not and the drawing needs to be allowed to dry thoroughly before applying the washes. The outer lines of the objects in the paintings produce an abstract- like painting and are very important: “Impression with character created with squiggly lines.” As Howard moved around the painting we were given instructive explanations of his craft, such as paint colour combinations and his use of a rigger brush to cover large areas of paper not just thin lines. Though a photograph was used as the basis for the painting, Howard abandoned it in favour of his own choice of colour to make the painting more interesting.
The first meeting of the new year took us back to the 1930s as Mel Burgum demonstrated his characteristic style. Mel is a Cardiff- based Railway Poster type artist who believes ” Every Painting is an Adventure”, and who passed on several helpful hints before he proceeded with the half finished painting of Bristol’s Avon Gorge. He rarely dilutes his acrylic paint, only using a medium to add the more intricate details to his retrospective images and uses more dark blues and reds to create interesting shadows; as is shown in the boat’s reflection.
( Please click the Mel Burgum link for more details and gallery.)
Mel admits to using up paint brushes very quickly favouring flat topped and round types for most of his work. By rotating a small round brush backwards and forwards he applied a white outline to the speed – boat’s wake emphasising the boat’s motion.
He suggested using a light blue Caran D’ache pencil to sketch in a few details before painting as the pale blue does not show through the paint, unlike pencil. The nostalgic painting would eventually have a darker edge to blend the image into the black frame which would add to the Art Deco style of the finished 1930′s painting.
The warmth of a summer day radiated from the glowing poppy painting created by the much appreciated Soraya French. The colours were so dazzling that the poppy heads seemed to sway in a verdant cottage garden bordered by blooming cow parsley. Soraya used a combination of acrylic inks, heavy wax crayons and oil pastels to present an abstract background of different foliages starting by applying yellows and dark shadows to give depth and contrast. We were shown how painting over wet and dry areas with prussian blue and purple gave a very varied range of tones in the greenery and magically poppy heads appeared as negative outlines of shapes were painted in the background. Yet another demonstation of Soraya’s skill with beautiful colours.
After some preparitory pencil sketches, with some details masked against the coloured paints, Barry Herniman went on to create a lively seascape of waves crashing against rugged cliffs. Only 6 colours made up the palet Barry used excluding any earth colours or greys and greens. Using pools of very fluid paint and a sharpened end of a paintbrush the jagged edges of the cliff faces were outlined over some of the earlier washes of colour. Removing the masking fluid left white paper showing giving the illusion of wet rocks. The resulting painting was a gloriously vibrant scene of powerful waves and “flung spray” applied with a favouite paintbrush and gouache.
Please click the coloured link to see more about Barry Herniman.
A Portraits Progress
This series of photographs,interestingly put together by our regular photographer, Liz Leonard, shows how effortlessly David Cobley created the portrait of Norman in less than two hours. His seemingly simple technique of lightly applying a few well spaced vertical and horizontal lines, with a medium sized paintbrush to begin the process of shaping the face of the sitter, was all he needed as a basis for the portrait. Identifying tones, from light 1 to dark 10, is an important stage in creating the image for David. His practice is to work on the portrait as a whole thinking about why the shapes are the way they are. The portrait progressed while David answered numerous questions from the “floor” and many members were very interested to see and admire the portrait at close quarters.
Click on the coloured David Cobley link, above, to find out more about the artist.
David Cobley & Norman with the finished portrait at the end of the demonstration.
Waves and Pathway between the Trees were the titles of the two paintings demonstrated by Graham Cox ( Link to artists work ) using soft pastels. Circular pressure with the heel of his hand merged the first layer of pastels into a mist-like background onto which Graham then applied more dramatic colours as cliffs and shadows in his seascape. His second picture had a similar treatment to create a graduated sky above trees and fields. Graham passed on some useful tips such as twisting the tip of the pastel pencil to create a more naturalistic shape to the branches of trees. Another tip, regarding the mounting of finished pictures, was to triple mount so that the mount nearest the pastel surface was cut slightly smaller than the other two which provided a shallow trough into which loose pastel dust could drop and not spoil the mount.
SWAS members may be interested to note that Graham will be holding a workshop next year after giving another demonstaration to the Society.
Update: “Graham has generously donated his marine scene, titled Waves, completed at his demo, to the SWAS towards our Christmas Raffle”. Jan Robinson Chairperson
Skies, Light & Atmosphere
with David Bellamy at The Settlement, Pontypool 27 October 2012
Please do not to order tickets through the website as you will be charged the full price but contact Jenny by phone or email to get the discount. (See below)
Doors open at 12.30 p.m. for discount SALE of art materials, books etc.
Demonstration starts at 1.30 p.m.
This popular event begins with a 2 hour
watercolour demonstration by David on
painting Skies, Light and Atmosphere,
followed by a slide talk with commentary.
Entry price £13.50 includes tea/coffee
As president of South Wales Art Society David would like to offer SWAS members a discount on the tickets.
Contact email@example.com or phone 01982 560237
All SWAS members will receive a reduction on the cost of the tickets to £10.00 per head instead of £13.50.
Six lucky raffle ticket holders were selected from the society as subjects for Trevor Waugh’s portrait demonstration using water colours. He described his approach to the portraits as a “configurtion of shadows” that progressively and selectively became darker; almost carving with shadows. Beginning by painting the sitter’s left eye, on the paper, the image was formed around it. Using different textured papers, according to the character of his subjects, Trevor showed how, besides the conventional method of painting, it was possible to establish the basis for a portrait with only one loading of the brush with paint and not taking the brush off the paper until a recognisable image was produced. Corrections followed as necessary.
The following are the 6 images created during the evening.