Phil Biggs demonstration

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!

Charles Evans Returns!

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!

Ian Risley Demonstration

Ian Risley Pastel Artist

 Local artist Ian Risley demonstrated pastel techniques on April’s club night.  His relaxed style and humour engaged us whilst explaining the merits of different pastels and how to use them, and the paper he used spending time on deciding which colour paper to use that would enhance the picture.  He showed us the way he used blending techniques by placing a little pastel colour at the side of the paper and using a stump picked up a little colour to add into the painting.  Also how to sharpen pastel pencils taking the wood away with a blade and using sandpaper to develop the point.

Ian explained how over the years he had developed his style from blending the whole picture to now blending the under-painting and not doing so on the top layers.   The subject for the evening was a Barn Own, which Ian started off by drawing the outline with charcoal, then taking off some of the black to leave more of an imprint, as he didn’t want to spoil the white that would go on top.  Then working from dark to light, and spending some time on the eyes and the main structure of the bird, using different colours and building up the layers.  Finally he put on some white which completed the bird, then he finished off the perch.

Ian never fixes any pastel paintings as he says it dulls the colours, and if framed correctly they would be ok.  In the final few minutes he asked if there were any questions and an interesting discussion took place.

He produced a lovely little barn owl, which he says are very popular, people always buy them, and lucky us, he donated it to the club!  Thanks Ian.

Wildlife Painter Ian Risely
Wildlife Painter Ian Risely

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Charles Evans demonstration

In March we had the pleasure of a visit from Charles Evans, a popular artist, demonstrator and TV personality.  He travels the country demonstrating and doing workshops using Windsor and Newton products, of which he says there are 150 colours in their range and he uses only 8!

Charles produced two watercolours, one before the break and one after, with a running commentary with many tips and wrinkles along the way.  The first scene could have been in the Northumbrian hills, taking a pencil he drew a simple scene with hills and valleys.  Then with a big brush and loads of water he wet the sky area, again with his large brush swept colours into it, he then squeezed out the brush and began to take out colour to form the clouds, moving it from one place to another, it was very effective.  Sky done.

Now on to the hills, building colours, mixing on the palette and dropping them into the picture and leaving a blank line right across the middle.  Filling in the foreground with the lighter colours, building them up as well – they all dry 50% lighter..  Finally the blank line in the middle, lots of different darker shades were sploshed into it, and then whilst still wet, Charles produced a piece of plastic, not unlike a credit card and began scraping across the tops of the dry stone wall and forming the bricks within it – amazing effect!

He then started darkening the foreground under the wall and to the front of the picture, telling us to mix a black never use a premixed one as it makes the picture flat, the final touch was scraping upwards with his finger nails to create grasses within the wall which was also an interesting and effective technique.

Charles second painting was at the seaside, again building the sky first, then the coastal hills and sea areas, again using his credit card to scrape out the rocks on the beach and the headland, a few darker spots to emphasise the grasses coming over the headland and the picture was almost done.  He then showed us how to place people in the picture, he said we must remember a letter ‘P’ and ‘Y’,  ‘P’ forming the body with a head on top, and ‘Y’ forming the legs.

It was a very entertaining evening, much banter and a lot of hints and tips along the way, most people seemed to enjoy it.  Charles donated the paintings to the club, thank you Charles looking forward to seeing you again.

 

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.