Sue Chatterton’s demonstration on May 22nd taught us all how to raise our game especially when painting ‘Big Game’.
The elephant was well and truly in the room for all to see and how instructive her talk was with lots of tips on creating personalised animal portraits in stunning watercolour.
Sue is a British wildlife specialist who now lives in Stafford having spent a lot of time in the past studying wildlife in her native Botswana where elephants inspired her to paint. Working from photographic references Sue first created a pencil sketch then applied paint directly to non-wetted 425 gsm Sanders Waterford paper without stretching.
Using plenty of water for the background she mixed her colours on the paper not on the palette using her favourite Rosemary and Co brushes. Three predominant colours were used throughout: Burnt Sienna, Cobalt Blue and Veridian, which she certainly made the most of giving us all lots of encouragement to explore different colour contrasts in two hours flat.
Whilst Sue ran short of time and did not complete the portrait it mattered not as the tips she gave were extremely valuable and well appreciated. It was also great to see many new faces who we all hope will return for future demonstrations. Thanks Sue for an outstanding evening – and do come back soon!
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 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!
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!
The Club had a great outing at Charnwood Community Hero’s day even though the music was deafening the weather was fine and we met quite a few interesting possible new members.
The best comment of the day was the organiser came up to us late in the day and said that there was a guy further down the market place who was sketching having seen us he started again after years of not doing anything.
That’s what the day is all about!
Our club demonstration evening was fronted by artist Tim Rose, his subject was Architecture in watercolour some of his work on show included highly detailed views from inside St Paul’s Cathedral.
We were all captivated by Tim’s paintings, here’s the finished results