Thursday, 29 November 2012


Watercolour on Fabriano Artistico Paper

I think that everyone can relate to this image. My students had a quiet chuckle to themselves when they saw this reference. I loved painting it. It is one of those images that one looks at in horror wondering how best to tackle all those chairs and limbs. But, being artists we can capture the essence of things and focus more on the most important shapes that will tell the story. The first thing is not to make the format too straight around the sides. The chairs do not need to be perfect. The right size, yes, and her weight needs to be supported. 

Because her pose is not the classical view, one needs to really on angles and shapes that make up her form e.g. use the apron to help get the proportions. Note how her back and the chair create a 'V'. Its all about the negative spaces. We used very simple tones for each object. 

The punch was created right at the end with the application of the creamy dark shadow that slotted all around her. I cannot tell you what a difference that made to a very wishy washy study so far. You have to push to the very end, so persevere. The added discord colour was applied in the form of cerulean blue which was dropped in whilst the background colour was still wet.

Yellow Pots

Oil on Canvas - slightly bigger than A3 and Unfinished

This was a class exercise that worked extremely well for everybody. As I have to demonstrate acrylics and oils in one class, I painted a mauve underpainting (in acrylics) on a large canvas and then divided it in half hence the unfinished edges. It gives the appearance of a sketch. It is good practise to learn how to finish one's shapes if they have to fade before the edge of your support. 

We then started blocking in the flatter shapes and then worked on selected areas of texture using our palette knives and brushes. Good colour mixing is still key and it is worth taking the time to premix some of the tones to save oneself getting into a muddy muddle later on. One also underestimates how dark some of the tones/shadows need to be to achieve exciting areas of contrast. A challenge was trying to paint the colourful wall around the doorway as it was a mix of blues and yellows. One can easily fall into the trap of painting a step-and-repeat pattern. The stones need to be different sizes and shapes. A palette knife made the task a little easier. 

Well done to all those in the class. I had great fun watching you progress with such enthusiasm.