After five Mondays in January – such a long month – we have a short and snappy February programme.
On Wednesday, it’s our monthly Drop-in Session to help you get on with your own project in appreciative company. Details here, and remember it’s at the Community Large Hall on Hursley Road, not the Methodist Centre.
Saturday 11th it is the Watercolour workshop with Kirstin White. We put out a call for a late place available last month. I think it’s been taken, but if you are interested, contact Roy.
Sunday 19th Feb we have our monthly Life Drawing workshop in the Church Hall. Wrap up well as the priority for the limited heating is our poor model!
Wednesday 22nd brings us a Zoom demonstration from Chris Forsey entitled ‘Moorland in Winter’ in Acrylic. This looks to be very interesting. Since our painter in oils decried the plastic used in acrylics, it will be interesting to see what Chris says on the subject.
Members will have received two emails with the opportunity to book workshops (life drawing and tutored painting ones) late in January. If you haven’t already responded you may be too late, but check the email anyway. The process after taking all workshop requests is for a computer to allocate places taking account of whether you’ve been successful in the past or not. The aim is to ensure everybody gets at least one of their choices. Then there is the waiting list, so all is not lost if you miss out on a place you hoped for.
If you are not a member and wish to take part in workshops and other active art, then why not invest a very small amount of money in joining us? Contact Gill for details.
Our January on-line demonstration by Roger Dellar took a photo he’d taken in an allotment, and turned it into an oilpainting.
Plein air painting
Roger commented that it is perfectly acceptable to do this sort of plein air painting, but do ask the allotment’s association for permission, all the same. Many are happy to let artists work in their space, and get used to the idea of small groups of people coming around if you want to set up a regular visit. Always, with regard to painting in public, even if in not much doubt, ask!
The starting point was a photo that many of us might have passed over as a subject: a man kneeling on the ground planting his potatoes in a trench. I didn’t realise that was what he was doing, although after he’d said I realised what some of the other objects on the ground were. This was not just an issue for watching on a screen, though. Roger commented later that the more you look at a scene to paint it, the more details you see. He ‘discovered’ some tools in the foreground and those bags of potatoes quite late in the evening.
Finding the painting
First was a quick sketch of the main lines that he saw, making them connect to each other, to provide a substance to his work. This was in a thin umber that would be completely covered. Roger commented on ‘finding the painting’ many times. ‘Let it come to you’ seemed to be another motto.
Then he worked around the painting to block in the darkest tones first. This surprised me, as there were huge blocks of near-black he put in, but I had forgotten two rules of oil painting:
Use thin dark colours first, and thick light colours.
Make the dark colours slightly large as the thick light will go over and hide unwanted edges.
It certainly seemed effective, and enabled those black blocks to be toned down.
‘Look at masses and shape, and think about complementary colours. Let the painting come to you.’
Occasionally he reminded us of complementary colours, such as purple vs orange tones. Lots of green shadows use purple to make them dull green. Also, when mixing greens, cobalt blue give a fresher green foliage than ultramarine as that has too much red in it.
Another tip was to add perspective, eg by drawing furrows in the ground, even if they aren’t actually there. It’s a painting you want, and the painting needs perspective.
How long to dry?
In response to questions about waiting till oils dry, he said “painting wet oils is about laying out the paint, thinking about how to paint your scene, work from dark to light. It’s a myth about having to let it dry. It’s about pressure, about working from lean to fat.”
He also recommended doing a weekend oil painting course to improve our understanding and technique.
Of course, you could also take an art holiday – he’s doing a Crete trip with Art Safaris. It sounds blissful!
I must admit, the picture at the end looked most interesting, and I learnt a lot about making art out of what at first didn’t seem a very interesting subject. I still don’t see that line of light on the jacket hanging up, though!
Screengrabs by Roy. Images copyright Roger Dellar.
Don’t forget to check the details to access the demonstration with Roger Dellar on Zoom this Wednesday, 25th January.
Roger will be taking us onto his allotment in a presentation called ‘Living on the Veg!’ This is expected to be an oil painting, which will be great to watch. And you’ll learn everything you need to know about painting your veggies. I wonder if that gets rid of blackfly?
Members will receive their Zoom link details by email in the next day or so.
If you need help setting up or accessing your Zoom system, contact Roy Brophy as soon as possible (and not after 7pm on Wednesday!). If you need a refresher, you could look at page 8 of this lovely guide from West Hunsbury Parish Council, which I found on the web.
We welcome 2023 in with our first Drop-in session of the year, tomorrow 11th Jan, at the Community Centre Hall on Hursley Road.
You’ll find the new programme has been updated here, with as much detail as we have until June, then mainly listings. Undoubtedly, like me, you will find the workshop you really, really wanted to do clashes with something else you’re booked for. With me, that is the Paul Berryman workshop, on June 10. I even got some of those charcoal pencils he recommended, as a Christmas present!
The highlight of the spring must be our Tabletop Exhibition on the last weekend in April (29/30) at the Church Hall. It’ll be eighteen months since our last one! How time flies.
January has a feast of all your favourites: a workshop with Helen Talbot on Buildings in Pen and Wash; Life Drawing Sunday; a New Year Lunch (sign-ups closed in December), and we finish with a Zoom Demo by Roger Dellar – Demo in Oils – on the last Wednesday of the month.
There must be something for you here, so I look forward to seeing you at one of the events (or online!)
At our Zoom demonstration last Wednesday Paul Berryman showed us his secret to shadows – use the Terminator!
Apart from a film character, ‘terminator’ is the word used for the border between sunlight and dark on a planet or moon. So this border between light and shade is what Paul focuses on when drawing life models.
He showed us how he draws, quickly and in one considered line, the outline of the model. Then he outlines the critical edge to the deep shades – the terminator. If I said he then fills it in and blurs it to the correct tonal values that would make it sound easy – but in essence that’s the plan.
What to use
It does depend on what you use, and Paul generously shared the tools he used on the demo as follows:
General’s Charcoal pencils – (orange) recommended 2B, 4B, not so much the 6B – very soft!
Tombow eraser – 2.3mm (try Jacksons for suppliers)
Seawhite newsprint pads A4 or A3 depending on your preference
Helix A5 Metal Pencil sharpener
Blending stumps, widely available anywhere
I was happy to see I was on the right lines with my first Life Drawing workshop as I’d brought a stack of newsprint (saved from packing when I moved) as it seemed a good medium with charcoal. But I must get those pencils and the Tombow eraser – and a good sharpener – I’ve already had several useful pastel pencils eaten by an ordinary sharpener!
I really enjoyed this demo – possible the more so because I could watch it from home and scribble as many notes as I liked. Paul also sent links to his model photos. I’m planning to practice on some of them.
The discussion on schools of drawing and the animation approach was very interesting. If you’ve missed it, or want to go over it again, Gill sent the link to the recording of the demo, but it’ll only be available for another week, so act now!
We had a quick discussion on lighting the models for our life drawing workshop, so I hope our organisers can get some good strong but low energy lights to enhance our model’s shadows for next time.
Comments from other members
It is certainly great not to venture out in these dark evenings.
Thank you for all the demo information on materials. There was a lot of information from Paul last night.
Thank you for forwarding the list- yes he was magic I thought. For me, best we’ve ever had.
Thank you so much Gill [for the recording link] that is excellent. We are looking forward to watching this demonstration when we have a moment.
It was a super demo, I shall enjoy it a second time with the recording, and I’m sure learn even more.
The Drop-in is next Wednesday, 9th, at the Community Hall on Hursley Road, 10 till 1. If you haven’t already made your piece for December’s social event, you might like to fix that here!
Sunday 13th is the watercolour workshop with Phil Biggs, which looks most interesting, but is fully booked. And please note it is Sunday, not the more usual Saturday.
The following Sunday is month’s life drawing session, and like the watercolour workshop, is the last one of the year.
We start our winter demonstrations on Wednesday through the medium of Zoom (at your own home, or place of convenience). Life drawing in charcoal, by Paul Berryman. Watch for the members email with log-in details.