Mike Skidmore painting Still Life
Mike is a professional artist who paints mainly portraits and still life subjects. As well as demonstrations Mike runs excellent workshops and on-line tutorials. After attending art college in the 70's which sapped his confidence Mike now teaches his students to have confidence in themselves and not be too self critical - " look at the "best bits" and not the others and try to get more of them."
Starting with a pencil drawing of the subject on canvas Mike uses a grid system to transfer it from a photograph. The photograph is small as this helps to get the subject with the correct detail for the optimum viewing distance as the artist can only see a small amount of detail when working. The canvas is primed with a very thin layer of Paynes Grey and Titanium White. Then using Paynes Grey and Raw Umber the shapes of the gasses were painted in. Highlights were added with dilute acrylic Titanium White using a sable brush trying to get the basic shapes not an exact copy.
Mike uses a limited palette of 4 or 5 colours. If he finds a pleasing mix of colours he stores the mix in a jar in the freezer for possible future use!
Continuing with oil paint Mike mixes a very thin glaze of Ivory Black and Raw Umber with a medium of:- 4 parts real turps : 3 parts linseed oil (boiled - raw takes too long to dry) : 3 parts Dammar varnish : 1 part Venetian turps. The final glaze is done with a blending brush. Using a cloth Mike wipes out some of the lighter areas on the glasses then softens the edges. The outlines of the glasses are then re-affirmed using a mix of Ivory Black and Raw Umber. Raw umber is used to put in the darker tones over the wet paint of the glaze using fairly thin paint.
Continuing to the highlights Mike puts in a darker base tone by using thin Titainium White which picks up some of the underlying colour . He then adds slightly thicker paint until the main highlight is reached which is painted with a really thick coat. This helps the highlights stand out from the darker areas.
The cloth is painted flat first then a glaze put over the shadow areas. The highlights are put in using the sable brush and thick paint. A mix of Raw Umber, Ivory Black and Titanium White are used to paint the cloth between the shadows. Then using the blending brush white is worked over the shadows to soften them following the shape of the folds with the brush. Finally more highlights are added as necessary.
This was one of the best demonstrations we have seen. Mike is very informative and with his humorous way of teaching we learnt much during a very entertaining evening.