Thursday, 30 July 2015

Wendy’s Art Class - Landscape, Acrylic Paint vs. Oil

Today in class we created a small 5 x 7 landscape on canvas board. Everyone used Wendy’s photo and the results were amazing. Mine wasn’t finished because I always paint slowly. Instead of making any changes to the one I did in class, I decided to make another. This time using oil's been too long since my last purchase:)). The landscape was the perfect subject matter: pretty, small and easy.

After researching different types of oil paints, I decided to try water soluble oils to avoid the need for turpentine. Also these oils would be easier to use in classs because the brushes can be washed off with water. Being a novice, there didn’t seem to be a reason not to use them. After using Artisan in Liz Haucks class and looking at the different brands, I went with Artisan water soluble oil paint. I found a great discount website to buy artist materials: Sticking to the less is more theory, I only bought Ultramarine Blue, Cadmium Red, Cadmium Yellow and Titanium White.

It took me no time, well two sittings, to get to the same point with oil paints as with acrylic… then another month or two of procrastination. Now it’s finished and I’m glad it's done. With only the three colours and white the painting was easily completed. The only real downside to painting in oil is the waiting, but it was enjoyable. Blending with oil is sooo much less hassle.

Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Drawing & Painting Class – Portrait w/ Joel (Red, Yellow, Blue & White Paint)

Last term in my acrylic painting class we did a glazing with black and white prints of people. I chose to do Robert Deniro, so for this assignment, I chose the same image. What a nightmare... it was difficult to draw him because his face was at an angle.

Using red, yellow & blue acrylic paint we made a grey wash for the background. Then with willow charcoal we drew the image, it didn’t come out perfect because only 30 minutes was allotted for drawing. Next we began to block colours in for the face. It would have come out better if there was more time, but the class is only 2 ½ hours so what you see is what you get.

I wanted to try and do another portrait in oil because Joel said it’s easier to blend since the paints don’t dry so quickly. I bought a cheap set of oil paints and some ‘Winsor & Newton Sansodor’ from WH Smith and started another Deniro at home. The oil painting was proving just as difficult and I’m too embarrassed to show a pic of it…sorry.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Art Class w/ Wendy - Loose Watercolour

In Class
In Wendy's art class we learned to do loose watercolours with masking fluid, salt, pins and ink, or, in my case, white gouache. The assignment was in the SAA March 2015 magazine. Everybody did the same thing but we all had unique results; it was a really great experience. Not everyone used the same hues and even if the colours were the same, the intensity was different.

At Home
I loved it and decided to do another at home using different colours and a lighter weight cold pressed paper.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Drawing & Painting Class – Tone and Edges w/ Joel

In Joel’s next drawing & painting class we worked on tone and mark making techniques. Starting with the same exercise from last trimester's class, we then chose a type of mark and used it to draw a rose from a photo. The decision on the mark type was made before we were told what we were drawing. Of course, I chose a difficult circular motion... as you can imagine my drawing didn’t go well. 

Didn’t finish the rose but instead started to draw the bust of a woman… this portraiture stuff might be for me. Creativity can be fickle, a few weeks of torture and then voila.

In the following class we were to concentrate on edges. Joel likes to paint people so there were mainly street scenes in his photographs. I really liked my choice and later found out that Joel painted the same photo in colour.   Don’t know if it’s the charcoal and erasing technique or the subject matter, but I loved this exercise.

It would be ironic if I wind up drawing people as an artist; when taking photographs, I’m always waiting for folks to move out of the way.

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Art Class w/ Wendy – Pencil Drawing & Landscapes

Instead of one class, now I'm taking two; Drawing & Painting with Joel and another art class with Wendy. With all my drawing practice I thought there would be improvement. But, in Wendy’s first drawing class, after a very intense negative space exercise… I'm not so sure. Not going to post a picture it was so bad. The subject matter was hard but that’s no excuse. I also drew a chair, the same from last year, and couldn’t even say that was better.

Oh well... in her second class we drew a landscape in pencil from a photo. Even though it's not finished; it’s better that the debacle from the negative space class. It's Alnwick Castle, the subject the artists painted in ‘The Big Painting Challenge’ on SkyArts.

In the third class we did a tonal painting of a landscape; I chose a picture from Paint My Photo by Dave Webb. Tonal paintings are much easier for me; in a later class I painted a colour version of the same subject... what a disaster. Somehow matching colours correctly to photos is not my forte; not sure if it’s the watercolour paint or me. I don't think I'm colour blind, but there is definitely something wrong.

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Drawing & Painting Class - Line, Shape & Form w/ Joel

My last acrylic painting class at Surrey Adult Learning Centre was a success but the next class was cancelled due to low enrollment; so instead I took Drawing & Painting with the same instructor, Joel Wareing. This class turned out to be better suited to my needs because we had a lot more instruction on drawing. The first three sessions were dedicated to Line, Shape and Form.

In the first lesson, we did self-portraits concentrating on drawing lines combined with using the cross hatching technique. Mine came out much better than expected and even though I wasn’t originally interested in portraiture, it might suit me. I didn’t come out looking like a great beauty but the portrait closely resembled me. Now I know why self-portraits often look so sombre… it’s because the artist is trying to draw and concentrate.

For the second assignment we looked at breaking down objects into their basic shapes; we had multiple still life set ups to choose from. Still life drawing is very difficult for me. I can’t see a good composition and have a hard time fitting everything on a page when I do.
After class I did a few drawings at home; you would think it gets easier over time, but I didn’t find that. This one was the best out of about four...

Form was our topic for the third class and again we had still life settings to choose from. Form as described in ‘Draw like the Masters’ by Barrington Barber is “work to show us that two-dimensional marks can be read as three-dimensional things occupying space”. We used charcoal for the background and an eraser to build form, this was easier than drawing with graphite on white paper. Of course I had trouble with composition, but this time drawing a violin was fun. It’s such an awesome shape but very hard to draw; I would love to have a violin to observe and draw at home.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Paint my Photo Hibiscus & Lightning Watercolour

While looking for a watercolour lesson on YouTube, I came across Lindsay Weirich 'thefrugalcrafter'; she has a ‘Hibiscus watercolor painting tutorial’. The lesson was easy to follow and my watercolour came out pretty nice. 

Lindsay used a photo from Paint My Photo, a membership website, that has photos you can use to paint your own works of art and sell.

The website has since moved platforms and, in my opinion, is not as easy to use. is still a remarkably inspiring meeting place for both photographers and artists. With about 60 photographs loaded on the site... I'm just waiting for someone to paint my photo.

Each month there is a photography and a painting challenge. For the month of May I took part in the painting challenge. My watercolour wasn’t as fabulous as a lot of the others; but it was fun to submit something and I got to use my masking fluid.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Surrey Artists’ Open Studios 2015

Last year’s Open Studios were a great way to meet artists and visit local studios. This year I visited fewer studios and spent more time with the artists. With more painting experience it was easier to have meaningful conversations and obtain additional art advice.

Karen Pearson creates beautiful artwork covering mixed media, watercolour, acrylic painting and sculpture. She is interested in helping other artists hone their craft and in the short time speaking with her I knew she was a kindred spirit. Can't wait to to attend her next set of classes in Dorking.

Eric Barfield has an intimate studio where he paints, sculpts, draws and runs art classes. I took an excellent taster class with Eric and learned about drawing hands and feet. There was also a bonus section on drawing a live belly dancer. It was a fantastic tutorial and I can’t wait to take his life drawing art course.

Paul Simmons is a great guy with absolutely beautiful artwork; he will be speaking at my local art group meeting in November. Paul loves to paint and gave me expert advice chock full of wonderful tips and tricks of the trade. I fell in love with a particular watercolour painting by Paul of Manhattan.

Ochre Print Studio is an open access print studio in Guildford for artists of all abilities. The studio exhibited a large variety of artwork from their students and with a large facility they have many different printmaking courses, which look fun and interesting.

Treacle Gallery Group is where I caught up with the wonderful Lillian Spibey, who was my photography instructor last year. There were three other artist displaying their artwork. Julie Barham with ceramics, Louisa Sullivan with glassworks and Becca Clegg with acrylic paintings. Julie wasn’t there, but Louisa had a wonderful display of glass objects and was very easy to talk with. Becca was enthusiastic about her artwork and happy to discuss her beautiful landscape paintings of colourful skies, fields and flowers.

Aquarius in Godalming was the last stop on my tour of studios. I met two very nice ladies Nola Armstrong and Elizabeth Calthorpe. Each has a different artistic style and both artists produce beautiful works of art. Nola uses mixed media to create magnificent floral arrangements and sells cards along with lovely framed abstract artwork. Elizabeth is a versatile artist who uses different mediums to compose breath-taking imagery of animals, landscapes and beach scenes.  The three of us chatted for a while; talking about different mediums, techniques, art groups and photography…it was a great way to end the three eye opening weekends.

Saturday, 11 July 2015

Cloud & Tree Lessons on YouTube

There are many cloud painting exercises on YouTube and this one by Rick Nagualero was very comprehensive. Free Acrylic Painting Lesson In Real Time - Painting Simple Clouds  My painting didn’t come out that well, so believe it or not... I painted over it. It’s not like me but I’ve got to change my thinking; if it’s not good enough to sign it needs to be recycled.

Fear not, because with another YouTube video, another painting emerges. ‘How To Paint Trees Full Slow Video "Apple Barrel" Acrylics Canvas Lesson Art Class' by Ben Saber made painting look easy, and it was... for the most part. It’s not perfect but my husband likes it.

Watching the long version of a video can be tedious, but if you listen to the artists talk as they paint, you can pick up various little tips and tricks.

Thursday, 9 July 2015

Acrylic Painting Class – Final Project with Joel

We had three weeks for the final project and could choose any subject to paint. A cool picture of my dog Linus as a puppy was my choice. I wanted to use the colour mixing and glazing that we learned in previous lessons. Three weeks was not enough time; even after bringing mine home to work on, it was never completed. This was partially due to my unwillingness to make the painting worse in order to make it better and partly because I just wasn’t sure what it needed. Someday I hope to come back to it. If anyone has any constructive suggestions I'm open to them. The dog doesn't pop like it should and the background may be too busy.

While painting this photo I was inspired to try a pallet knife version and be bolder and more abstract. I didn't restrict myself to mixing the paint and didn't put in a background. This painting took a lot less time and in my humble opinion, came out better than the final project.

I brought it into class for Joel to look at and he liked it too.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Acrylic Painting Class – Life Drawing with Joel

Instead of acrylic painting Joel was going to get a live model for us to draw; but Surrey Adult Education wouldn’t let him because it wasn’t outlined in his syllabus. So Joel modeled for us, but it was hard for him to come around and help. Not really proud and a little embarrassed to show my drawing; but here’s hoping there will be MUCH improvement next time.

We did warm ups before the live model and these were difficult for me, so in true AMS fashion, I bought a book. ‘Drawing Like the Masters - Be Inspired by Great Artists of the Past’ by Barrington Barber has many illustrations from famous artists and some of mine are below.

The female and male face's are by Leonardo da Vinci, the female nude by Julius Schnorr von Carolsfeld and the male nude by Raphael Sanzio.

I would recommend this book, which outlines different types of drawing; Line, Tone, Texture, Form, Space and more chapters on style & composition. After writing this blog it’s clear I need to read the book in full and not just copy the drawings. Books are fantastic learning tools, but there is nothing like taking a class, so my next step is to look for a life drawing class.

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Acrylic Painting Class – Glazing with Joel

For Joel's next class we needed to bring in glazing gel; let me tell you... it’s not easy to find. Hobbycraft had ‘Winsor & Newton Galleria Gloss Medium’, it didn’t say glaze on the bottle, but it worked.

For our assignment, we were able to choose from a couple of black and white A3 photos. The first step was to add various shades of grey. In the second class we began to add colour. Even though the subject matter was AWESOME, this was probably my least favourite exercise. The shades of grey were applied incorrectly, so the glazing technique didn't work so well.

At home I did a portrait of my brother’s dog, and was happy with the result.

After class I went to George Weil  art store and bought ‘Daler-Rowney Glaze Medium – Matt’ because the W&N gloss medium was too shiny.

Thursday, 2 July 2015

Acrylic Painting Class – Impasto Painting with Joel

For the impasto project we were asked to bring in modelling paste; I cheaped out and made my own from a great You Tube video.  The paste was pretty good and so far no cracking. Joel and the students in class tried it as well and liked it. You can alter the consistency to be denser or looser and it's way less expensive than the branded pastes.  Again we had to draw an object from the table that Joel prepared for us. Mine was a pepper, which Joel helped me to draw.

Inspired by the pepper, I made two paintings of them at home, sans paste.