Stephen Foster workshop

Words and pictures by Roy Brophy

On Saturday 11 March, Stephen Foster led a workshop where he shared three paintings of Hengistbury Head. He explained why he had chosen particular colours, including Titanium White, Prussian Blue, Yellow Ochre, Vandyke Brown, Magenta, and a Terracotta Red, and showed us a framed version which he felt had not worked because he wanted the sky to have more mystery and feeling.

To demonstrate his technique, Stephen then used a blank 40×40 board primed with a light orangey-red and marked out a similar layout. He showed us how to create a sky using white, with his recommended Hobbycraft No. 6 palette knife, using swirling movements and adding a tiny bit of Prussian Blue, which was most effective. By using just four colours, mixing where necessary, and using touches of reds to add sparkle, Stephen produced an image of Hengistbury Head showing the power of using just a few colours to create a coordinated painting.

Although Stephen was not satisfied with his painting, he encouraged us to have a go. Stephen asked us to use the work as a base for our own feelings on the subject, and after two hours, we had produced a variety of images. Our artists created some amazing skies, and one particular image stood out – by Gill Evatt, of two walkers on a windy beach. Everything about it conveyed a sense of wetness and wind, with the white tops of the waves adding to the atmosphere.

Overall, it was an excellent day, ending with a “show and tell” session during the final half hour. Stephen provided constructive feedback on the works presented, leaving us all feeling inspired.

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