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Thursday, February 1, 2018



This was an evening devoted to viewing videos chosen by Di to help us with our art.
She put much effort into selecting them and getting permission for us to view them as a group so we are grateful to her for arranging such an entertaining evening.

        The evening started with a video on how to photograph pets to get a picture to help with painting a portrait by Glynis Barnes Mellish. She suggested that the photographer gets down to the same level as the animal and doesn't use flash. The background should be simple and the picture not include people.
         The second video dealt with composition and the "rule of thirds" - usually regarded not as a rule but an aid to composition. The author - Will Kemp - does on-line courses .   

         We then had a series of drawing tips by Phil Davies. Referring to a still life he suggested that the general arrangement is drawn first. As curved lines are more difficult it is best to draw a series of straight lines first then turn them into a curve. Block in the shadows first and then the highlights.
          Di then did a live demonstration on scaling up a portrait from a photograph using strips of paper and proportional dividers. The strips of paper were placed on the photograph to form a grid and a proportional one created on the canvas. This was done using the dividers and locking on to features such as the tip of the nose as reference points. It was then easy to transfer the subject in the different segments using good judgement. She referred us to her website www. Old England Fine Art . for more information.

         After the tea break we had another video by Will Kemp this time on mixing greens to paint trees. He picked up blues and yellows on a wide flat brush and then rolled it across the canvas to produce a tree. Sound simple but needs practice!

         We then had a session on "loosening up" by Peter Keegan. The first point he made was that it is best to stand back from your work and hold the brush by the main part of the handle and not the ferrule. Also a large brush helps a looser style and if it feels too big it is probably just right. Using few brush strokes helps and - even more important - take a break!

          Next followed a tip from Rob Dudley who suggested dividing a large sheet of paper into squares with masking tape to form small "paintings". These could then be used to practice e.g. skies in different colours and moods and produce good reference material.

          We then had 5 top tips for portraiture. These were:-
                (i) nose - this is usually drawn too long so turn the photo reference if using one on it's side to get the feel of the length. Compare the length with the distance to the eyes or chin.
                (ii) eyes - these are usually the same size as the bridge of the nose. They tend to be pushed apart.
                (iii) ear - this is slightly down from the eye line so keep it low.
                 (iv) neck and shoulder - these are lower than you think so check that the neck is not lengthened.
                  (v) jaw - usually made too round so keep it angular. 

This was a fascinating evening so Thank You, Di, for all your hard work.




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