John Nixon Demonstration

JOHN NIXON – FROM SKETCHBOOK TO CANVAS – mixed media

Local artist John Nixon gave an interesting and informative demonstration for our October club night looking at how to transfer a sketch to developing the finished painting.

John began by showing  some of his very accomplished architectural sketches, completed whilst out on his travels in Europe, explaining how he worked them up with key lines and detailed notes about the colour of buildings, of foliage, the street, where the sun was and reflections.

Using two copies of the sketch, one with keylines highlighted and the other with a grid of 4 x 4 squares and a diagonal line running from bottom left to top right.

By placing the sketch to line up with the bottom left and extending the diagonal line will enable you to work out the size of board to use for your picture.  The next step is to grid the canvas with the same amount of squares.

Using acrylic inks and the edge of small pieces of card John began mapping in the key lines on the canvas for the out line of buildings, where foliage was placed, a lamp post and steps, measuring from the grid on the sketch and bringing up the size in proportion.

The next step was to do an under-painting in the acrylic inks let down with a little water he sploshed on bright colours, dripping everywhere to create an impressive scene, taking care to use his notes on where the sun caught the buildings, and highlighting the reflections, and the general coloured areas.

We stopped for a cuppa then to allow the painting to dry before starting the next layer of oil painting.  Using very little paint and mixing colours with a little liquin, and a variety of different sized brushes, John started with the sky dabbing on different blues and whites taking care not to cover the whole area but building and highlighting particularly lighter areas around the buildings to offset a later contrast.

He then picked a yellow ochre for the church where the sun would be picked up, a red pantiled roof, a cream building with white shutters, foliage with flowers,  steps, lighter buildings, shadows, emphasising the contrasts of light and dark, and creating interest by using differing colours of a similar tone.  Finally people to give a little scale.

John’s  easy teaching style was much appreciated, demonstrating and talking throughout you could hear a pin drop in the room.  As he said it wasn’t a finished piece it was a work in progress but it showed the process of getting there.  Thank you John it was great.