Abstract mixed media with Barbara Whitbourn

Our Zoom demo in October was by Barbara Whitbourn, who gave a fascinating discussion and demonstration of how she works in mixed media – and takes an abstracted approach. I took a lot of notes while she was talking, so I hope they make some sort of sense on this page. The pictures are screenshots, and a bit rough.

Barbara started by asking: What do you enjoy about pictures you look at? 

Is it Colour? Technique? Abstraction?

She suggested that whenever you see a picture, especially one you like, decide what elements attract you and edit out the things that don’t interest you.

She followed this with examples of a trip to the Cornish tin mines, which she did recently. She keeps a sketchbook of all projects like this so she can refer back.

  • Take your time to look around, the shapes, the sizes,
  • what would you move to make the picture more interesting.
  • Take photos, make notes on the day.
  • Start sketching, just feel your way in.

You’re looking for your emotional response to the scene.

Things that help to transfer the mood to the paper:

  • Print photos out in black/white to get values.
  • Do robot drawings to get the emotional response to the scene. Add in what else is happening, birds, bees, footsteps. Soil colours.
  • Use random marks with nondominant hand
  • Thumbnails of what might work and what’s important to me.

Another idea is to look at a scene, look away, and sketch for thirty seconds. That helps you decide what’s really important to you.

Paints and other media (not complete!)

  • Off-primary colours, transparent . Golden brand. List of materials to follow.
  • Titanium white, adds oomph. Later liquid white or other liquid paint. Only three colours so all harmonious when mixed.
  • Pencils and marks. Puts charcoal, graphite etc in the end of a twig to get a rather uncontrolled line/mark, 
  • Also look for unusual tools e.g. wood grading tools.

Works on birch panel with rough gesso surface and works standing up. Sizes vary, A2 if working on paper, up to 1m or so with a birch panel.

I found the stencils she used very interesting. I liked those, especially the writing and the music. She has a collage box of interesting items, mono prints on tissue paper, using her regular colours, putting it on with transparent medium to build up layers.


There is no ‘up’ at this stage; she turned it round to work on it as she felt appropriate

As Barbara progressed covering the paper, I started to like it. The layer effect was very striking, and using the harmonised colours worked well – even when she started to use some paint sticks that made a ridge.

Next stage, turning it into a picture. 

  • Where to put the horizon.
  • What features or impacts need to go in.
  • What are the hero colours
  • Use stronger versions from same palette.
  • Make sure you take care to keep your instruments clean!
  • Stay abstract!

Knock back the sky using zinc white and lots of glazing layers

The first knock back of the sky – she did a lot more later which covered most of the patterns underneath

Then block the lower part, don’t be too regular and have lots of thin layers. Think of what they represent for your purpose.

Add the details! Like the wheelhouse and chimney for the arsenic pits… Then add cogs and wheels for the main pattern in the centre.

Aim is not to obscure layers underneath – and just to enjoy herself with no end in sight. See what happens. It uses a lot of paint/medium. Not a cheap method!

The end result, held upright for the camera


All in all it was a fascinating demonstration, one in which the picture built from nothing, looked like nothing much but pleasing shapes and harmonious colours, then (for me) lost its appeal, and then got it back again when the tin-mine specific motifs came into play.

Certainly gives one food for thought!

November News

I hope by now you have put your clocks back onto winter time (GMT). Check your car’s one, too!

Drop-in session

As November starts on a Wednesday, the second Wednesday is next week!

As usual the drop-in session will be at the Community Centre Large Hall on Hursley Road. Check this page for details.

Autumn Exhibition Sat/Sun 11/12 November

Our Autumn Exhibition will be at the Dovetail Centre (Church Hall), open to the public from 10 till 4 on both days. You should have received all the details about handing-in etc, and collection afterwards. If you are able to volunteer as a steward, even for an hour or so over the weekend, please contact Roy.

The success of the exhibitions relies on people telling their friends, neighbours, and even casual acquaintances about it, so don’t be shy, spread the word.

Wednesday 22nd – Zoom talk/demonstration

Our next Zoom evening is with Peter Keegan on “The Power of Composition & Design”. Details are here, and you will be sent the joining link by email about a week beforehand.

A number of members had difficulty viewing the separate Zoom screen that the speaker was using for the painting last time. I hope to get some basic hints added to the Demonstrations page before this next session.

Life Drawing Sunday 26th

Our last life drawing session for this calendar year takes place on Sunday 26th in the Church Hall. There are a few places left at present. Contact Roy or Peter Maule to book yourself in.

Advance notice

Don’t forget to put the Christmas social event in your calendar: Wednesday 6th December in the Dovetail Cafe from 7.30 pm

After the success of the New Year’s Lunch last January, details are being finalised for one this coming January. Watch your newsletters for details!

What’s on in October

The nights are drawing in, and the weather is cooler (that might prompt this forecast heatwave, who knows?). So we have had our last Demonstration in the Church for the year, the rest will be delivered on Zoom, with the details being emailed to members about one week ahead of the event.

But we still have active art going on!

Drop-in Session Wed 11 October

Our monthly Drop-In sessions continue at the Hursley Road Community Hall. All the details are on the Drop-In page.

Wendy Jelbert — Positano, Italy (acrylic)

Workshop Sat 14 October

Wendy Jelbert will be hosting a Pen, Line and Wash workshop with the theme of Seascape/Boats. The workshop is full, but if you want to check with Roy or Bev, there may be a waiting list. This takes place at the Church Hall from 9.30 to 3.30.

Life Drawing workshop Sun 22 Oct

This is also at the Church Hall but from 2-4pm. Workshops are open to members only.  Details

Jacky Pett – Life drawing sketch in pastel pencils

Zoom Demonstration Wed 25 Oct

Our first Zoom demonstration of the winter is from Barbara Whitbourn. Full details including how to connect will be sent out to members about a week ahead of the event.

Early Spring Workshops

Bookings are now being taken for the January, February and March Workshops. Members should have received details and a link to the booking form last week. The booking form is open until midnight on Sunday 29th October, so don’t forget to complete it before then. After that, Roy will set the computer programme to work so people have a fair chance of getting at least one of their preferred places.

Methodist Church Food Bank – donations welcome!

As some of you may already know, the church has a Community Food Larder adjacent to the front entrance to the hall. This is supported by church members as well as the local community.  Could anyone, occasionally, pop a donation in the box near the front Linkway door?

Tins/jars of meat, vegetables, pasta sauces, pasta are always welcome. Toiletries and nappies are also welcome. They are unable to take items that must be kept cool/refrigerated. 

The church’s policy is to never query anyone using it.  They recognise that, occasionally, it may be abused. The times we do speak to a customer, they all say how they appreciate the church’s support.

Thanks on behalf Chandlers Ford Methodist Church. 

Working with Oils – beautifully!

by Bev Dunstan

Heather Jolliffe presented a ‘Working with Oils’ Workshop on 9th September, which was great fun.

Heather began the day patiently explaining the different types of palette knives available for the artist and how to use them to make marvellous marks with oil paint; complete with a comprehensive array of examples to see.  She continued with a thorough tutorial on the different types of oil paints, including water and oil based versions followed by an in-depth description on what surfaces to use and how to prepare them.  Heather then provided the group with her first demonstration using water based oil on a prepared ground base board.

The members then tried out the techniques for themselves and what an amazing paint medium to use!  Smooth as cottage cream that oozed under the knife, the paint stayed workable as it was manipulated over the surface of the board.  The brushes stayed in the box as the palette knife became more familiar in the hand and the magic happened as the paintings came to life.

Heather completed her second demonstration after lunch and then we set about our own masterpieces of seascapes and landscapes.

Ultimately everyone agreed that the biggest disadvantage was the drying time particularly for the artists that favoured Acrylic paint.  Nonetheless, the workshop proved a wonderful opportunity to discover the fantastic properties that oil painting provides the artist, if only they were patient enough to wait!

September highlights

We start the autumn season with a workshop on Saturday 9th September.

Heather Jolliffe will be working with members with oils, palette knife techniques and more. Heather will cover some simple landscape and coastal scene compositions, with an aim that you will make some mini studies, followed by something more substantial.

Drop-in Session

As usual, the Drop-in Session will be on Wednesday morning 14th September, at the Community Hall on Hursley Road. Check here for details.

Life Drawing Session

Having missed a couple of months due to the exhibition, life drawing is back, at the Church Hall on Sunday afternoon, 24th September. Places are limited, usually the season is fully booked. Check with the Treasurer if you are unsure.

Demonstration – Sally Goodden, 27th September

This is our last ‘live’ demonstration of the year – for October and November we switch to Zoom meetings so you don’t have to come out in potentially cold and wet weather.

Sally will be demonstrating how to paint animals, such as lovely fluffy squirrels, using brusho and inks.

If (like me) you aren’t familiar with brusho – this is your chance to find out. The demo is in the Church and starts promptly at 7.30. Members free, visitors £5. Refreshments tba.

Summer Exhibition Round-up

So, the summer show is over for another year. Obviously, the Church Hall does not get as much passing foot traffic as the Hillier Gardens, but it is a great venue, and the Cafe is an added attraction. It has also made a huge difference that we now can store our own exhibition stands in the room adjacent. Thank you to everyone who got involved in making these, from a single nail hammered in to a finishing coat of our special grey paint.

Thank you also to Roy and Gill not only for all the amazing work they do for the group, but also for the daily sales update. Members can access the spreadsheet to see who sold what and when, but here’s a brief taste.

The exhibition in figures

We achieved sales on every day of the exhibition. Tuesday 22nd was the lowest (and was it the wettest?) with just cards sold – about 15 in all.  It’s odd, really as Monday 21st was our most successful day – we took over £700 that day, of which over £500 was for displayed artwork (which includes framed, canvases and sculptures). Browser sales also went reasonably well, with over £100 taken on the first Monday and the last Sunday.

Ruth Ann Lewis and Richard Waite each sold two artworks. Jenny Morgan, Trish Brant, Wendy Sleeman, Jocelyn Halfpenny, Patricia Dorling, Peter Maule, Tony Eaton, Chris Benning, Jane Nash, and Joan Willingham were the other successful artists.

Ruth Ann Lewis – Hanging Around; sold on the Saturday

In all we sold 254 cards. The most successful card art came from Nicola Williamson (29), closely followed by Ruth Ann Lewis (28). Totals in the teens came from (in no particular order) Angela Sweet, Colleen Cockroft, Elizabeth Saunders, Gill Brophy, Jenny Morgan, Lynette Vickery, Pradeepa David, Sue Bowery, Susie James and Veronica Bliss.

The browser sales came to fourteen in all, and several members sold more than one, including Angela Chambers, Ruth Ann Lewis, Trish Brant and Nicola Williamson. Jane Nash’s Dunstan Burgh was the last artwork sale of the show.

We didn’t keep track of the number of visitors, but there was a steady trickle most of the time, i.e. there was usually one visitor present! Roy would be interested in any of your ideas for increasing our footfall.


The Open Studio in MR3 for HOS 23, organised by Alex Phillips, was a very enjoyable place to be. It was usually buzzing with activity, creativity, coffee, tea and biscuits. Artists reported several delightful discussions with visitors, and many sold pieces they’d been working on at the event. Lynette Vickery sold some of her jewellery, too. This operated separately from the Summer Exhibition, so we don’t have detailed sales figures.

A notable first came for Hisham Edakandathil, who joined us on Monday, took part in the HOS workshop on Wednesday, and sold a picture! May it be the first of many, Hisham.

Here’s a short (14 seconds) clip (on Youtube) of the HOS activity.

The show and HOS are both time consuming to prepare, and can’t take place without the many many helpers. However small you might feel your contribution is, it is invaluable. Thank you so much.

Watch for details of the Autumn Exhibition, scheduled for 11/12th November.

Summer Exhibition in photos

Although it wasn’t busy on the first Sunday of our exhibition at the Dovetail Centre (Church Hall), we did have visitors, and the purchase:visitor ratio was excellent!

Members are receiving a daily email update on sales and activity at the exhibition, so if you haven’t got it and you’re a member – check your spam box. If you’re not a member – contact us to join.

Here are some photos Roy took on Sunday. Thank you to the visitors and stewards for adding some life to the still life.

Don’t forget to come and visit any day from 10 till 4 until Monday (Bank Holiday). Bring your friends!

One week to the Summer Exhibition and HOS23

Just one week to go until we hand in our exhibits for the exhibition on Friday night and Saturday morning, 19th August.

The committee and many helpers have been working flat out to make the new hanging stands, and get everything ready, including labels for every submission, every artist, and more.

Forty-eight artists are represented, with 164 artworks, not including browsers and cards. Most are for sale.

The exhibition opens on Saturday 19th, at 10 am, in the Church Hall at the Dovetail Centre. It runs through to Monday 28th, 10 till 4 daily.

You can’t miss the banners already outside the Methodist Church, so tell your friends, and everybody else you know, bring them along, have tea of coffee one morning in the Dovetail cafe…

Hampshire Open Studios HOS23

And while you’re visiting, don’t forget to visit our Studio set-up for Hampshire Open Studios this year. Artists will be working on their projects, as well as showing examples of their work.

Artists change from day to day so come back for a second visit and see some different approaches!

This will be in Meeting Room 3 (MR3), which is between the Church Hall and the car park at the rear. Times and dates as for the exhibition.

Delightful Summer Hedgerows at the July workshop

by Bev Dunstan

Our July workshop saw Lindsey Cole provide a ‘Summer Hedgerow Workshop in Acrylic’ for the Chandlers Ford Art Group.

She provided comprehensive preparation instructions prior to the event to ensure that little time was wasted on the day.  

Lindsey began with a detailed demonstration of the techniques we were to practice including working with acrylic washes and inks and allowing them to run on the prepared painting and find their own way.  She continued to add to her demonstration piece as the day progressed so that everyone had a chance to see and then follow along.  

The participants worked the new techniques into their own finished pieces to produce a large array of work come the end of the day.  

An enjoyable Workshop from which we all went home exhausted!

August already – exhibition time!

If you haven’t completed your submission forms for the Summer Exhibition, you may be too late! Priority obviously goes to those who submitted on time, but contact Roy if you hope to get a late entry.

No Workshop, Life Drawing or Demonstration

This month we focus entirely on the exhibition so no workshop or demonstration. They’ll be back in September. The Life Drawing session was cancelled as it clashed with the hall booking for the exhibition. That will also be back next month.

Drop in Session

The drop-in session at the community centre in Hursley Road goes ahead as usual. That’s on Wednesday August 9th.

Summer Exhibition and Hampshire Open Studios

The details for the Summer Exhibition and for Hampshire Open Studios were sent to all members at the end of June.

Don’t forget to read the submission guidelines and instructions for presentation carefully, and bring your entries to the Church Hall at the appointed time.

If you are creating your own mini-studio in Meeting Room 3 (MR3), for our HOS23 event, running parallel with the exhibition, don’t forget to bring your working equipment and floor/table coverings!

And… tell your friends. Flyers are available to hand out, but please do not post them publicly except where you have permission.

And even if you’re not exhibiting, please come along and bring your friends. It’s sure to be an amazing show, and hopefully lots of visitors will be tempted to buy a beautiful, unique artwork.