Getting loose with a knife – and some paint!

by Jacky Pett

Stephen Foster’s workshop on 13th May was his second this year, and presumably just as much enjoyed by us as it was for our predecessors!

This was entitled ‘Spontaneous palette knife landscape/seascape painting’ and Stephen gave short talk beforehand on methods and materials, showing examples of his work. Then he picked one to demonstrate the techniques of using a palette knife on a prepared board.

Looking from a distance, the way Stephen blurred and moved the paint around to create clouds and trees was amazing. It was even more amazing, as I saw later, his spiky trees emerging from the clump were really just rough squiggles in the paint when you looked closely. His clouds showed the scuff marks on the board, too, but from a distance, they looked fantastic.

Despite the word ‘spontaneous’ and Stephen’s advice that if we wanted a reference, to look at it once, then put it away, quite a few people carefully drew out their landscapes and proceeded to fill them in. Maybe they were being more spontaneous with their paintwork than usual. They were certainly more beautiful than mine, which I thought were a mess. But then this was my first workshop with the group, and the first time I’d used acrylic paint in nearly twenty years. Thank you to my table mates Bev and Valerie for making me feel at home, and also for helping me get the paint caps off!

Although we’d been around the room and admired each others work, we also got a critique at the end from Stephen, who went through each painting and made useful comments. I think they were useful learning points for us all, anyway. And I came away with plenty of ideas about painting with a palette knife that I hadn’t had before.

Thank you to Stephen, and to Bev for organising it. A good time was had by all, I think!

Peter French – our October Demonstration

by Roy Brophy

Well, two for the price of one! Fifty people were entertained as Peter painted, from scratch, two very different pictures – in parallel! – during his demonstration on Wednesday evening. 

One, a townscape of a shopfront in Bath. Here is the reference he used…

The other, a loose pen/ink/watercolour of an autumn/winter landscape.

Townscape

Peter started with the townscape using a straight edge to set some perspective guidelines and then sketched in the form of the buildings using a 4B pencil.

A wash for the sky was then followed by some details of the buildings in pen. Throughout the demo, Peter explained the different types of pens and materials. (Click here for a link to a list of some of the materials he was using).

Peter using a ruling pen to apply masking fluid

All change

At this point Peter switched to the second painting.

This was started with some very rough pencil sketching – it was difficult to imagine what was coming – it was all in Peter’s imagination. A wash for the sky followed by some very loose brushwork “daubings” for the ground areas. 

A little penwork to the foreground to indicate some grasses then all change again – back to the Townscape for some more detail, and then back to the landscape for some more dramatic work to the foreground.

Where on earth is this going?!

The evening progressed, back and forth between the two paintings, with plenty of information from Peter on his techniques and thinking. By the break the images were….

Second Half

The pace quickened in the second half as more and more detail was added to both pictures. 

The techniques described and demonstrated by Peter were of value to any artist. Particularly fascinating was watching the leafless trees develop – and then  – hey presto! a few splatterings from a brush and just a few remaining winter leaves. The result was very natural looking.

The results …

Still some work to do, but a very interesting two hours.

Technically Difficult

This was a difficult demonstration for our audio/visual technician Richard, as Peter worked one moment on an upright easel, and then the next – flat on a table. Richard’s camera work was brilliant and everyone had an excellent view of the artworks as they came to life. Thank you Richard!

We can often judge how well the demonstration is working for the audience by how many depart at the break. On Wednesday everyone remained, and the audience were almost silent throughout, and (except for a few pertinent questions) – completely enthralled.

A brilliant demo with lots of inspiration, techniques & information, with time to chat to friends and like minded people, in comfortable surroundings, coupled with super AV equipment with  everyone able to see the work in progress very clearly. Thank you Peter and all concerned with making it happen – an excellent evening.


Sketch! Sketch! Sketch! Adebanji’s message

Wednesday 25th May 22

Adebanji Alade set up his area for the demonstration. As soon as he seemed finished, members and guests gathered round to pick his brains before the event started. And despite two hours of pearls of wisdom falling from him as he worked, they gathered again at the end of the demonstration, reluctant to miss a thing.

Continue reading “Sketch! Sketch! Sketch! Adebanji’s message”