If we thought that painting in abstract was a walk in the park, Chris Tkacz’s presentation on March 27th made everything clear. Or did it? Painting landscapes in the style of abstract expressionism was the theme for the presentation which kept us spellbound for two intriguing hours, with lots of questions and healthy banter – the sign of a good night!
Chris hails from Matlock and now runs the Little London Gallery Studio following a highly successful career in academia where he studied at The Birmingham School of Art and Design. This led to him teaching art in Leicestershire and becoming head of art and design at a leading grammar school.
Evidently his early work embraces American Abstract Expressionism which on this evening was fused with a ‘hint’ of English Romanticism in his interpretation of landscapes. But to put it all in perspective Chris began with a short historical appreciation of the subject abstract art superb presentation
Through the evening John applied vast amounts of high-pigment wet colour to create his own mixes on the paper itself all applied with flair and confidence– he paints with an enthusiasm that inspired everyone on this evening.
Thanks Chris for an outstanding evening – and do come back soon!
Our thanks to everyone and especially Tim Rose who braved the bitterly cold conditions on 27th February to get to our second demonstration of 2018. Tim again wowed us with his consummate water colour skills creating a remarkable street scene in Sheffield his home town in just 90 minutes. True genius!
Tim has the unique ability to bring street scenes to life and in this case capturing a mixture architecture of traditional and new architecture in stunning detail whilst talking through his subject with humour and helpful tips as his artwork came to life in front of us.
He worked from a detailed pencil sketch in a dynamic style painting boldly and loosely to get things started. Using his favoured un- stretched Saunders paper and Winsor and Newton paints, Tim quickly established the skyline first configuring the shadows and then applying base colours to get the perfect tone. Things then took shape with cranes, industrial units and even his favourite pub coming into view.
Tim normally paints city scenes ‘al fresco’ using a photographer’s tripod and working with a palette of both cool and warm colours. He said “Street scenes are pictures of human life” demonstrating this case by adding people in the picture last together with trees to soften the view. His tips included looking at where the light was coming from and appreciating the contrasts that light created.
Altogether this was yet again an inspiring evening and in spite of the cold we all went away with a warm feeling and lots of ideas for the future. Well done Tim!
For our last demonstration of 2017 and on a cold November evening the club extended a warm welcome to John Connoly an acclaimed artist who lives in Nottinghamshire close to Sherwood Forest. In an exciting evening John gave us a magnificent presentation that captured a woodland scene and a sea-scape using his favoured medium, acrylics. This was very much a tutoring session which showed us both the thrills and the spills of this quick-drying medium.
The demonstration began with a woodland scene in the New Forest. John started on the background using a Cobalt blue and magenta mix applied with a flat half inch brush to create hints of saplings and mature trees through ‘stippling’, which allowed wet paint to cascade down from an inverted position.
While the work dried off John applied Cadmium Yellow to the foreground, again using the ‘flicking’ technique, to suggest the leaves and dense foliage in a picture that morphed and changed by the minute to illustrate different aspects of painting woodland scenes. John then tamped down the picture using a cloth to smudge some areas before the paints dried.
After the break attention turned to painting a sea-scape. Using similar techniques as before John divided up the picture into ‘thirds’ (sky, sea and foreshore) and painted the sky in blue . He then layered-in the sea to create perspective using ultramarine and cobalt blue and applying white using a credit card to show breakers, and as luck had it an upturned bucket to give the evening an exciting finish.
Throughout the evening John chatted incessantly describing how he used his trade mark techniques to create many stunning landscapes for customers around the country especially those in the South of England. Thanks John for a memorable evening!
On October 24th in a change to programme John Pooler stepped in for Steve McLoughlin with a fabulous Venetian theme which captivated the imagination and left us saying ‘Wow, how did he do that!’. Amazingly John created three paintings in two hours – the Franchesi in Rome; Gondolas near St Peter’s square and a scene reminiscent of the Bridge of Sighs.
John who lives in Nottingham and has been an artist since the age of 18. He paints loosely in blocks of water colours using a Windsor and Newton colours, in this case Ultramarine, Burnt Sienna and Raw Umber on 400 gsm non-stretched rough paper. Having first sketched out his subjects in pencil from photographs, John started with a Sable Rosemary no 12 brush blocks of colour wash using what he described as ‘unusual technique’.
Through the evening John applied vast amounts of high-pigment wet colour to create his own mixes on the paper itself all applied with flair and confidence and with no reference to symetry. John is a natural artist and irrespective of his subjects – scenes of Venice, Churches and even people’s houses – he paints with an enthusiasm that inspired everyone on this evening.
Thanks John for an outstanding evening – and do come back soon!
On 27th June we had enormous pleasure in welcoming Phil Biggs to Charnwood Drawing and Painting Club.
Phil, who lives and paints in Lincolnshire, re created a wonderful landscape in the Lake District, the beauty of which he adores and which he has painted many times.
It’s fair to say that Phil paints in a very traditional way that shuns gimmicks. He says his influences are Turner and the old masters, but he has clearly developed a unique style using light and atmosphere creating a breathtaking scene near Lowswater looking down the Pike, amazingly finished in two hours!
Phil applied Windsor and Newton tube paints on to 300lb Saunderswater paper which he likes with a rough texture. Working top-down using a Devinci Squirrel brush for the sky he used Burnt Umber and Paynes Grey beginning with a wash. Working down the page using his familiar size 12 Windsor and Newton brush he painted the hills dark-to-light creating stark crags and rising mists.
He showed a unique ability to bring a rather ‘brooding’ scene to life with some deft brush strokes whilst at the same time chatting constantly and answering our questions in a humorous and engaging style.
Surprisingly the demonstration involved limited drawing and painting directly onto canvas from the palette (which he kept scrupulously clean) applying plenty of water onto pre-stretched canvas.
Phil created his picture from a fairly restricted palette of 3 yellows, 4 reds and 3 blues working steadily to capture the drama of a what was stormy scene. His tips included: sticking with imperial sized papers; locating the light source; and knowing when and where to paint light or dark.
All present found the presentation rewarding and entertaining and an occasion to remember. Thanks Phil for a truly great evening!
On 28th March we once again took pleasure in welcoming back Tim Rose who recreated a truly wonderful street scene from San Francisco in two stunning hours using watercolours.
Tim has the unique ability to bring a scene to life with some deft brush strokes whilst at the same time talking through his subject in a most engaging style whilst giving some most helpful tips on making the best use of light and dark.
Tim also showed us how to effectively use Saunders rough high white paper which he was trying out for the first time on the night! His demonstration involved minimal drawing with paint (manganese blue) applied straight to paper without a lot of water.
He used a fairly restricted palette of colours too working quickly to capture the essence of the subject but not slavishly copying it! His tips were many and included looking at where the light was coming from and the contrasts light created. He used Soft blue for the San Francisco sky and Naples Yellow to great effect.
“Paint with the lights and draw with the darks” he said.
Altogether it was yet again an inspiring and most interesting demonstration by a craftsman who knows his subject both inside and out and so well done Tim for a truly great evening!
On Tuesday night we enjoyed the welcome return of Charles Evans, a professional artist and demonstrator from the North East of England. Painting in his preferred medium, Windsor & Newton acrylics. We watched him create a woodland landscape and, after a short break, a beach scene from his beloved Northumbria.
Charles has the unique ability to paint, talk and entertain whilst simultaneously delivering advice and very useful tips on all manner of painting topics.
The two paintings showed us two vastly different representations of skies: The landscape with a pleasing sunlit summer sky; the beach scene with its dark foreboding storm cloud. Both were painted in a similar way to demonstrate how colour choice can make a huge difference to a painted scene.
Charles also showed us how a restricted palette of 8 or 9 colours can help maintain colour harmony and save cost, as any other colour can be mixed from those few colours.
He gave us many other pieces of advice during the demonstration including using wet and dry acrylic palettes and a tip on restricting blue within a painting. Stick to one blue he recommended using the same colour in both the sky and in the green mixes, again in order to maintain harmony within the work. For Charles this is invariably Cobalt Blue.
Altogether it was a very interesting demonstration by a master of his craft as well as being a very entertaining evening. Thank you Charles!
Our first professional demonstrator for 2017, Christine Adams set the calendar off with a delightful splash of colour giving the illusion of a still life pot with flowers. With her easy style and humorous anecdotes we were in for an entertaining evening.
Christine uses Bockingford 140gm stretched in the bath, she likes painting large, the bigger the better. Her love of flowers came from feeling uncomfortable painting landscapes alone in the countryside, and by using real flowers the colour combinations could zing out with her impressionistic style. Using three reds, three yellows and three blues, she creates all the colours she needs and will only use Windsor & Newton because, she says, they are the best. Although she doesn’t like the new tubes because you can’t see what you have got – W&N take note!
A large blank canvas and a pot of flowers should be quite daunting when you don’t sketch out what you are painting, not so for Christine who likes to work flat at home in the studio, as she likes to see how the colours work with each other. For our benefit the work was upright and the composition progressed in sections, wetting the paper with a sponge as she worked and using a large part sable brush, paint was applied capturing the general feel of where flowers would be placed. The composition was as much about where the paint fell and how it looked and the still life merely used as a guide.
There were plenty of tips along the way, like when using blues in the painting they come forward and for foliage which was meant to be behind it didn’t look right, so tone them back. Also when painting the centre of a flower (say) in a bolder colour, don’t use the same colour as a shadow as it just looks like another flower centre.
Christine painted a fabulously colourful still life, creating the illusion of flowers, giving us all the inspiration to have a go. Thank you Christine, what a great start to the year.
PS. If you feel uncomfortable about going out into the landscape to paint on your own, then join the Walk and Draw group on Tuesday mornings, get some fresh air and sketch along the way.
Carol Hill’s demonstration evening Tuesday 22nd November 2016 –Review by Paul Lockton
Tuesday night was for me full of surprises. Not least because I had expected the routine and mundane – desolate farm scenes in winter are surely not the most edifying or cheery. But instead I found myself inspired and eager to learn from a most accomplished artist and one who is also an undoubtedly brilliant art teacher. Yes, I’d love to be in her class!
Carol Hill knew Derbyshire Dales landscapes and for two hours re-created it’s rustic secrets, even if those were captured in the dubious splendour of a run-down farm one misty, cold autumn morning.
The presentation began with a detailed verbal explanation of the scene and of her use of a quite limited water-colour palette (limited for me who likes to make full use of colours). Lesson 1: to use colours selectively and mix colours on the canvas. Lesson 2: try painting dry not wetted (helped by the use of pre-stretched canvas) all intelligently blended on the canvass not mixed in the palette!
Working steadily progressed down the page helped by some diligently sketched pencil lines, and members saw emerge a gem of a picture in under two hours. Carol’s finishing touches featured the clever use of light and shadow of a lightening-struck tree in the near foreground and at the end her generous donation of the finished picture for the Club to auction for Rainbows. Thanks for everything Carol!